Refinishing a Dining Room Table

I had a reader comment on this post that they liked my table and chairs, and wondered where I got them from.  Since they were something we made and didn't buy in a store, I thought I'd let you know how we did it.  

For the first 4 years of our marriage, my husband and I lived in and rented my Mother-in-Law's condo since she was living in Guatemala as a missionary.  The condo was fully furnished, so we never needed to buy big pieces of furniture like a table and chairs or couches or anything like that.  When we bought our first house just over a year ago, we were smacked with the realization that we had a beautiful new house with no furniture to put in it.  As I browsed the price of dining sets I couldn't believe that even a cheap set was going to run us about $500.  Um, not going to happen.  We considered putting our patio set in our dining room until we could figure out a solution.  

Then about a month before we were about to move, I started browsing used items on kijiji.  I started seeing the potential in the pieces, and knew we were capable of refinishing them.  We bought a dining room table for $20.  

It was a light coloured pine on top with a thick layer of clear varnish to protect it.  Steve began by using a stripper on the table top so he could get down to just the wood.  Once that was removed, he sanded it smooth and then applied three coats of a really dark wood stain.  With that many coats, the top of the table looks black, but you can still see some of the wood grain coming through which I love.  After a few days the stain had cured and he was able to apply a couple coats of clear varnish to protect our new table top.



The underside of the table as well as the legs were already white, so I gave them a couple new coats of paint to spruce them up.  I wanted a really graphic table with the black and white juxtaposed against each other.

We then had to go searching for some chairs.  Brand new ones were anywhere between $50-$100 each which I couldn't stomach.  I held out for a good deal and finally found these beauties: all four for $15 total.

They were in really rough shape, but I knew the bones of them were beautiful.  I removed the seat, and painted the chair frame with a couple coats of high-adhesive black paint.

The seats were really uncomfortable, so we removed the two layers of hideous fabric that originally must have been from the 50's but had been recovered with equally hideous fabric from the 70's.  We discovered a pitiful 1/4 inch padding between the fabric and the wooden seat.  We chucked all the layers in the trash and started fresh with just the wooden seat.  We purchased a big chunk of 2 inch foam for $50, which ended up being the most expensive part of our project.  We placed the wooden seat on top of the foam, traced around it and then cut out all four pieces.  

I fell in love with this Alexander Henry Livingston Seagulls fabric, so I ordered it online.  It was a discontinued fabric so we ordered twice what we needed so each chair could be recovered once if need be (you know, sticky hands and painting projects and all).  

My favourite thing about this fabric is that it isn't uniform.  The big and little seagulls float and fly all over the black sea in random order, making each chair slightly unique.  It also meant we didn't have to be super careful when wrapping the fabric around the foam and wooden seat. To upholster the seats, it was as easy as wrapping a square of fabric around the foam and wood, flipping it over and stapling it.  

My husband and I were thrilled with our efforts.  It took some elbow grease and some patience waiting for the right items at a good price.  But SO worth it.

This entire dining set, including the materials to refinish it, was about $125.  A price that was easy on our wallets and we ended up with a product that we LOVE. 


Julie Hawryluk said...

love love love!! Thanks so much for sharing! I think I know where to look for a new table and chairs now and what to do with them!! Awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

You AMAZE me with your creativity Kin. Nice work.

Kindra aka "The Meal Planner" said...

I'm glad you found the post helpful Julie! You'll have to post pics of your finished creation :)

Thanks Victoria!

Pineappleqtpie said...

What an amazing accomplishment!!!! You are an inspiration!!!!

Kindra aka "The Meal Planner" said...

Wow! Thank you so much Pineappleqtpie.

Dorie said...

Wow! Kin and Steve you have done such a great job on this set. Dimetri and I went all black and white crazy when we first moved in together. All of the other bright colours in the room look so great with it....great photography skills too!

Blog Archive