Dining Room Table Makeover



So if any of you have been following my blog at all, you will have seen my dining room table appear several times already.  I even mentioned its sentimental value in my All Things Autumn Home Tour ? but if you missed that, here we go again.  This table and chair set belonged to The MR’s aunt and uncle when he was a child.  He recalls Thanksgiving dinner and really any big family get together happening at their house and this table was a big part of it.  In this photo it is at it’s smallest but it has 2 additional leaves that can be added to expand it.  Plus it is so wide that you can fit 2 people at each end if need be.  Eventually over the years it got passed down to The MR’s parents and they had it in one of their homes for when they had all the kids and grandkids over.  When they sold the home this was in, they gave it to us and our brood!


This is what it looked like, pretty much.  Unfortunately I can’t seem to locate the pictures I KNOW I took of before I had done a single thing to the table or chairs but you can get the idea from this.  The whole set was this color wood and the seats had black and tan striped cushions on them.

I started by scuffing it up a little with some sandpaper just to remove some of the glossy finish.  Then I painted it all over with Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer.  That stuff will stick to any finish providing some tooth to adhere paint to.  I’ve used it on tile, laminate furniture, high gloss finishes…..all sorts of things.  Now you do need to allow it about 1 week to fully cure before expecting the end results but it’s worth it!  I don’t wait that long before top coating, just before allowing the piece to be used.


I applied it with a small 4″ roller and ordinary roller sleeve for smooth surfaces.  A foam roller on something like this would leave bubbles and it wouldn’t be a nice smooth application.


I also painted the legs with the same roller as the top and used a paintbrush to get into any spots the roller couldn’t reach.  Then I let it cure for a couple days.  That sounds better than “I let it sit for a few days looking like this before I was able to get back at it” , don’t you think?  🙂


I painted it with 2 coats of my top coat color which was a couple sample pots of BEHR paint that I had leftover on my paint shelf and mixed together so I won’t bother telling you the color!  It’s a nice soft creamy white.  After it had dried fully, I took some very fine sandpaper and distressed the entire table, on the edges, random places on the top, anywhere that it would receive wear.


Meanwhile, out in my “studio” (aka garage) I was working on the chairs.  I had already taken the seats and re-covered them with a leather-look vinyl quite some time before I got around to refinishing the table.  This gives me a look I like with my interior style while still being able to  easily wipe the seats down which is a must with 5 young kids in the house!  The previous seat covers had seen better days from all the kids that had “enjoyed” them over the years.  I did the same thing with the chairs, first priming them with Zinsser Bullseye 123 Primer (only this time I used the spray can version), then painted 2 coats of my top color, including the cane backs, then lightly distressed them with fine sandpaper.

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Here you can clearly see where I distressed back to the white primer in some places, and all the way down to the wood in others to create this worn, old look.  This also shows the vinyl seat covers.  It is very soft and has a very realistic leather feel to it.

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Painting the cane backs was a slight bit tricky as I it runs through the holes and down the other side as you paint so you have to paint with a fairly dry paintbrush and keep going back and forth between the front and the back of the cane to catch any runs and drips.  I did not distress the cane backs at all.


2 coats of Minwax Polyurethane in a satin sheen on the entire table and chairs with about 4 coats on the table top, and it was done.  Clearly I let it cure for a few days (ie: got busy) before I started using it just to make sure the finish was good and hard.


You can see how easily I can style the table with any theme and color combination now that it is a neutral color and it is the perfect backdrop!


I hope this tutorial allows you to see how you can easily take a large piece of furniture like this and give it a completely new life with very little expense and just some time and effort! This allowed me to keep a sentimental piece in the family but have it blend in much better with my style and decor. If you have any questions on anything in this tutorial, please drop me a comment below and I am happy to answer them.

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