a DIY dining room makeover

Over the past ten years of living in this house, I have stared at this dining room and felt like something was off. Unlike many homes where the dining room is set off to the side and you fight off the urge to create a home gym or craft room, our dining room is smack in the center of the house and a main focal point of the entire layout. But I could never put my finger on what I didn’t like about the room. But after multiple carpets and wall color changes, I finally realized what really needed the makeover: the table. 

So here is the back story of this table: When I first bought this house in 2008, I owned nothing more than an air bed and few random K-Mart bookcases. My parents generously handed me down their old dining room table, which had been handed down to them in the 80s. It’s a fine table. Solid wood but with a lament wood top. It was the table that I grew up with. I have memories of sitting around this table for family dinners: watching my younger my brother doing his homework and pressing down so hard with his pencil that the word “monkey” became engraved into it.  And another time watching my little sister having a tantrum and slashing the top of the table with a butter knife. Good times. But ever since moving this table into my house, I have tried to find ways to decorate this room around the table. And it never really quite fit. Until suddenly I realized maybe it wasn’t the color of the room that needed changing, perhaps it was the color of the table. So with two weeks and the tiniest of budgets, I finally got a “new” dining room table.IMG_7677

Here are some “before”photos to give you a good look at the table in it’s original glory. Let’s take a moment to remember the sweet boom box on top of a  plastic K-mart bookshelf.Then there was the time I decided to go bold and paint the room a smoked orange color. You know, to match the poop brown rung I found on clearance at Home Depot. What was I thinking?!

I finally wised up and painted the walls a light color (Benjamin Moore “Paper White”)  and added a DIY stenciled rug. The rug was a fun project, but because the rug was el-cheapo, my cat and dogs tore this rug up in under a year. But as you can see, the table still didn’t seem to fit in.And here we are now.

  Here are the steps I took to re-do the table:

  1. Strip the old paint off the table. I used Citristrip Stripping Gel because it can be used indoors. I says to let is sit only for an hour or two but I let it sit over night and still had to put some elbow grease while scraping off the old paint.
  2. Sand the table with a fine grit sandpaper.
  3. Use wood filler to fill in any holes or scratches that were too big/too deep to sand out.
  4. Stain the table using Miniwax Wood Finish Stain. I used “classic gray.” I did two coats but I wiped off immediately (with an old white towel) after brushing on so that it could really penetrate into the wood and also not come out so dark.
  5.  Once the stain as dried now you can “white wash.” I am not sure if that is the technically term, but let’s roll with it. I had an old can of white ceiling paint so I mixed half white paint/half water and used long brush strokes following the grain of the wood. Again, I did two coats and wiped off in between.
  6. Using fine grit sandpaper again, now here is where you have some creative freedom to distress as you would like. I decided to do some light distressing on the top of the table to show more white in some areas than others. But also some harder distressing along the edge of the table to let some of the original wood to peak through!
  7. Paint the legs and chairs white. I primed the legs and chairs using a Chalk Paint Spray Paint. Then followed up with two coats of the same random white paint I had leftover in the garage.
  8.  Coat the top of the table and the legs with a Wipe-on Poly Max. I used this brand. Of course I had to include a photo with Liam’s booster chair, because #reallife. But to be honest most meals, I still throw on a table cloth to protect my newest masterpiece. Let me know if you have any questions about what I did or how I did it. I am no expert, but I love talking about these things! Enjoy your week! Priscilla

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