Hi there! Today I am sharing a post that is a little outside of my normal wheelhouse. I’m sharing my process and results for a DIY project on my dining room table. I asked if anyone would be interested in a post about it and had a positive response, so I decided to go for it. Here’s the tweet that I posted!
I’m redoing an old dining room table and chairs this weekend to look like this. Would anyone be interested in a blog post about it? pic.twitter.com/M681JvpspT
— Living in Full Bloom (@livingfullbloom) June 7, 2018
So, that’s what I’m here today to talk about. How I took an old dining room table and chairs and revamped them completely! I did the project in early June, but I wanted to wait to publish the post until I had them all set up in my new place. I just moved, so that is why the post is so much later. Shout out to my mom for helping me with this big project!
How Much Did it Cost?
First of all, let me tell you how much I spent on this project:
- Dining room table: Free. It was my great-great grandma’s table, and my grandparents gave it to me for free!
- Chairs: $50. The table did not have chairs with it. I bought wooden chairs for $50 from a college friend.
- Supplies: $47. We bought sandpaper, primer, stain, brushes, and spray paint. We did not have to buy polyurethane because my parents had some. There was a lot leftover, so we probably could have spent even less. We also saved by using old tshirts and newspapers to protect the ground and wipe off excess stain. We found everything we needed at Ace Hardware, although it might have been cheaper elsewhere.
If you can get the dining table and chairs for cheap (check out facebook marketplace, I saw some great deals), the supplies really aren’t that much! For under $100, you can have a full matching set that looks just as nice as a brand new set in store.
Here you can see all the supplies we got for $47!
Step One: Clean
Let me tell you, this was super important for my project. This dining room table, while in great condition, is old and has been sitting in a garage for at least 50 years. It was dirty. We used hot water, rags, and dish soap to wipe it all down and get off all the gunk. We also had to remove some weird metal claws that had been added to the table legs at some point and were rusty as heck. Once the dining room table was all clean, we dried it off and made sure to get all the soap off so it wouldn’t damage the table. The chairs were much newer and recently used, so we didn’t really clean them as much. All we did for the chairs was remove the seats, in order to make painting easier.
Here’s what the table looked like before cleaning! This was the state it was in, not too bad, but definitely needing some love. (Excuse the messy garage!)
Step Two: Sand & Prime
I hate sanding. Fortunately, my mom is a seasoned DIY-er and knew that if we used the right primer, we wouldn’t have to sand! We used this primer, Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 in white. We applied this to the chairs, and the bottom of the table. After two coats, it was pretty much covered and ready to spraypaint!
For the top of the table and the chair seats, we wanted to stain them so they would be darker. For them, we did sand so the stain would sink in. We bought two types of sand paper, medium and fine grit. We started with the medium grit and did one quick round of sanding on the table top. When you’re sanding, make sure you go WITH the grain.
The table top had less varnish, so we only sanded once. For the chairs, they had more varnish to strip, so we used medium grit once and fine grit twice. Below you can see what the chairs looked like after 2 coats of primer.
Step Three: Spray Paint/Paint
It’s up to you if you want to paint by hand or spray paint, but we went with spray painting. I think you get the same quality and it is much easier. I also prefer it because you don’t see brushstrokes in the paint! We used the Rust-Oleum 2x Ultra Cover in Blossom White.
For spray paint, it only took one coat. We spray painted all of the chairs (4) and the bottom of the table. This used 3 cans of spray paint, I had to take a break mid painting and go get another can. While spray painting, have a small paint brush on hand to stop any runs. Sometimes if the spray coats too much it starts to run, and if you don’t clean it up it will dry like that! Just use really gentle motions with the paint brush to dab up the extra and stop the run.
When we spray painted the table, we covered the entire table top with newspaper and used painter’s tape to protect all of the wood from the spray paint. That way none of the pain got on the dark wood!
Step Four: Stain
The next step was to stain the table and chair seats. The table was naturally darker than the chairs, so we knew it would need less stain than the chairs. We used Varathane Premium fast dry Wood Stain in the shade Kona. We used a flat brush to apply a layer of the stain, going with the grain. If you’ve never stained before, make sure to do it somewhere you don’t mind getting dirty. Wear old clothes & gloves!
The stain goes on really dark, but don’t freak out. Let it sit for just a moment, then wipe off the excess lightly with an old t-shirt. Use a smooth material, because if it has any indentations, that shows up in the stain. Wipe lightly with the grain – this is so important! If you mess up, don’t freak, just apply a bit more stain and re-wipe it off the correct direction. Make sure you get the sides as well, and be careful not to have any drips.
Allow the stain some time between coats, at least 15 minutes. Then give it several hours to dry before the final step!
If it isn’t dark enough, do another layer of stain! We did 4 coats on my chair seats to get them the same shade as the table top, which only required one coat. We went through 8 old t-shirts so make sure you have some ready to go! Here’s what the table looked like after spray paint and stain!
Step Five: Polyurethane
This is not essential when working on some projects, but I think it is really important for a dining room table, since you will be putting food and drinks on it. The polyurethane will prevent water rings from happening. We went ahead and applied it to my chairs too. It was semi-gloss, so we wanted them to match. We waited until the next day to apply this final step, in order to give the stain plenty of time to dry. Then, we did two coats of it, just to make sure my table top would be fully protected.
Step Six: Let Dry
I would say let your table sit for at least one full day before trying to move it or use it! Paint can seem dry but then suddenly it chips or smears when you least expect it. Allowing a full day of dry time prevents that from happening. Once it is dry, re-assemble any parts and move it to wherever you want to use it! Sadly, I had to wait for a whole month before getting to use my table in my new place.
So there you have it! All of the steps you need to completely revamp your dining room table! You can customize it however you wish, paint the legs a different color, stain it all, or even paint your own designs onto it if you are crafty! I loved being able to take this family antique that was going to waste and renew it for another life in my new place.
When you’re moving, be careful not to brush or scrape anything against the paint. As with any other paint, it can chip off. We had some oopsies with my table, but I am going to use white paint and a small brush and just touch up the mistakes!
Without any further ado, here is what the table and chairs look like now in my apartment! The lighting makes the stain look different colors, but the wood is all the same color in the apartment.