This piece is a new unpainted, unfinished small table that was purchased at AC Moore. I sanded it very lightly, then applied two coats watered down flat acrylic white paint that had been tinted very slightly with pink and umber acrylic water-based craft paints. The idea was to create a white-washed or pickled effect, so it was important to keep the paint sheer. I then added a few streaks using a very soft brush that held just the tiniest amount of tan acrylic craft paint, first brushed off on a paper towel to make sure there was not too much paint on it. I let the table dry thoroughly.
I chose craft paint colors to match the design in the wallpaper border, and reproduced just the design at the top and bottom of the border on the table top. The center floral design I reproduced on the apron, or front of the table, because it was unusually deep, and there was plenty of room for a more elaborate design there. With painter's tape, I taped off the striped areas around the table top, and painted them first, carefully removing the tape while the paint was still wet. If you wait until the paint is dry, sometimes the dry paint cracks when removing the painter's tape. Also, while the paint is still wet it's easier to wipe off any small areas where the paint may have bled under the tape.
After completing the free-hand designs, I allowed the table to dry completely and then used three coats of semi-gloss acrylic sealer. A poyurethane sealer would have worked as well, just be sure your sealer doesn't develop a yellowish tinge as it dries-this is fairly common. The sealer should be absolutely clear so that it doesn't distort the colors at all. My favorite is Minwax Polycrylic, a water-based product, so it dries fast and is easy to clean up. When everything is completely dry, which usually requires several hours, I recommend attaching self-leveling tips to the legs of the table because these inexpensive unpainted or unfinished pieces of furniture are often not perfectly level.
This design technique would be great not only for wallpaper borders, but also curtain designs, upholstery or pillow fabrics- any design that could be repeated on the furniture to help tie the elements of the room together.