DIY Kitchen Table Facelift


Let me just tell you, this little project that we decided to embark upon was a labor of love. And I’m thankful to say that it didn’t end in divorce 🙂

We’re not exactly experienced do-it-yourself-ers. But, alas, pinterest takes us all to new heights, causing us to believe we can do anything just because we read someone’s “how-to” blog tutorial. Let me tell you, the blogs make refinishing furniture sound easier than it is.

Our kitchen table has been in desperate need of some love since we got it about 3 1/2 years ago. Our table and chairs were living in Adam’s parents’ garage when we got married {I believe they were once Adam’s sister’s?}. His parents offered the set to us, and we eagerly accepted since we had not a stitch of furniture.

I loved both the table and the chairs, but they didn’t match. We were planning to repaint the table shortly after we got married, but it never happened. We’ve been busy for the last 3 years. Recently, though, we got the brilliant notion that refinishing the table would be a fun project to work on together in all our spare time (HA). I read a few blogs and thought it sounded easy enough.

And, thus, we began.

Almost two weeks, a whole lot of work, and eight trips to Home Depot later, we finished. {FYI: Home Depot is less than a mile from our house. Good thing or we would have gone broke paying for all the gas to get there and back what seemed like a bazillion times}. After all that, though, I must say that I’m pleased with the finished product.

Here’s a photo of the table and chairs in our first apartment. I used those placemats to try to tie the wooden chairs together with the black table until we could get around to changing it.

Our goal for this project was to sand the table down to the original wood and then stain it to match the chairs {as closely as possible}. Easier said than done. I really love the chairs, though, and wanted to leave them the same. The table was originally painted white and then black. Adam sanded through all that paint with an orbital power sander.

Here’s the tabletop sanded down to the original wood {that little spot on the bottom is just water}.

I decided to paint the base of the table green to match a green bench from Pier 1 that’s in our kitchen. With my shoddy painting skills, I was achieving the exact look I was going for–that distressed look with layers of paint showing through. I had to go inside to feed L, though, and Adam finished my painting job just a little too perfectly. So, I had to go back and scuff it up a bit with some sandpaper. This is Adam’s perfect version below.

After sanding down the table, we stained it with Minwax Wood Finish–Golden Pecan. This color choice came by recommendation from our new friend Bob at Home Depot. We took a picture of one of the chairs in and asked him to help us pick a color that he thought would match.

Well, unfortunately Bob was a little off with his color choice. This stain gave the wood on the table more of a red tint than the chairs had. To be honest, it wasn’t really Bob’s fault. It’s hard to pick a stain match based on one little iphone picture. The chair did appear to have more of a red tint in the picture.

So, I went back to home depot to consult with Bob. He told me that since we had only stained and not sealed the stain with polyurethane, we could use  paint thinner to get about 80% of the stain off. Then, he helped me pick a new stain that we hoped would match the chairs when combined with the 20% of the former stain left on the table.

And the new stain did match a LOT better. But the stain was slightly darker and exposed all of these little markings made from cross-grain sanding with the orbital sander. You can see them below…not too pretty.

So, we had to sand the entire table again, this time by hand. JOY! Luckily, we were able to get most of the markings out. We stained again, let it dry overnight, and then sealed it with several coats of polyurethane, sanding between each coat. The polyurethane bubbles very easily and dried leaving bubbles on the table after the first few coats. So we had to thin it by mixing it with some paint thinner.

This picture below shows how the green bench goes with the green table base {which is hidden when all the chairs are around the table}. It’s not an exact match but pretty darn close. Those fabulous chair cushions were on clearance at Pier 1. Score.

Here’s the finished product of the tabletop.

And here it is in our little breakfast nook. We did put a coat of polyurethane on each of the chairs so the finish would match the table. And we do have a fourth chair, but I’ve yet to poly it since we use the bench for seating.

So, there it is. I’m glad we made it through our first major DIY project. It was a lot of work, but I think it was worth it. And I’m certainly glad that my kitchen is back to being a kitchen rather than a workshop!

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