Tuesday, May 1, 2012

DIY projects: Dining room table

Yesterday I posted about our updated light fixture in our rental. That was a quick fix, and my only actual involvement was picking out the lamp shade and acting as photographer/cheerleader for Josh, who was the "hands-on" guy. But this dining room table project was all me! And I'm pretty proud because it turned out pretty great :)

Perhaps the best part? We got the table and 6 chairs at a thrift store in Pennsylvania for $45, the day we moved out of our house. We drove the U-haul to the thrift store, and there was this table set, as well as a buffet (more on that in next post!). Even better? The Air Force paid us $0.60 per pound of what we moved, so we technically got paid for buying the dining room set and buffet. Not bad!

The table was solid, but unattractive. 70's upholster (which I pondered keeping, actually), and chipped, peeling finish over the oak colored wood. Our plan all along was to paint it white and put it in our eat-in kitchen. One of the reasons the dining set was priced so low is because the table is missing its extension leaf. We eventually plan to make one, but haven't done so yet. But, I digress.... Here's the before pictures of the table and chairs.


I used a spray-on paint stripper just on the table top, followed by a good sanding. I sanded the top of the chair backs since they were all peeling. For the table top, I used a high-density foam roller and used and oil-based primer and oil-based epoxy enamel. I chose oil base over latex even though clean-up is a real pain. You have to buy a separate paint thinner for oil base paints since soap and water will not clean your brushes.  However, I went with oil base because it is waaay more durable (there's a reason cars are painted with enamel rather than latex), and I know our table is going to get a lot of abuse and be exposed to moisture from spills, etc. I chose a high-gloss finish so the table can be wiped clean easily. Additionally, the paint I got is enamel-epoxy, meaning there's a glue binder in it. This particular paint is meant for high-heat appliances, like a stove top or a grill. It provides an ultra-hard finish that is just about scratch proof. Make sure though, that if you ever use any sort of oil-based paint, it's for a project you can work on outside. The fumes are almost overwhelming even when you are outdoors!


Once I had primered and painted the table, and used a brush to get into the grooves and details of the legs, I was starting to feel like I didn't want to move onto the 6 chairs! I knew I was going to have to use a brush, which takes forever. I told Josh, "Gaaaah, this would be so much easier if I had a paint sprayer!" And he was like, "Oh, yeah, I have one."

Um.... what? In the words of Robbie Heart in The Wedding Singer, "That sort of information would have been a lot more useful to me yesterday."

Anyway, we rolled Josh's 40 gallon air compressor out to the back yard and hooked up the paint sprayer. It seriously made priming and painting the chairs a SNAP. It is my new favorite tool!

So, after the chairs were painted, I headed to Joann's and picked out some upholstery for the seat cushions. I went with a yellow-goldish color with a damask imprint. I wrapped the new fabric over the old and used a staple gun to secure it (our staple gun was around $10 at Home Depot, and I think it's a tool everyone should own). I was so happy to see how it all came together, and it looks great in our dine-in kitchen. The finish turned out really smooth, even on the table where I didn't use the spray gun. High density foam rollers are the next-best thing to airbrushing, if you're careful go over your lap marks with light strokes.

In closing... in that middle picture of the table, do you see that window? Yes. Well, we had our pastor and his wife over for lunch after church a couple weeks ago (we barely know them), and the wind was blowing crazy outside, and that window came crashing down on the pastor's wife's head. Yes, you read that right. Completely embarrassing for all. Apparently, the window pane wasn't secured in the framework for whatever reason. It's secure now.

Well, that's the project. My next post will be on our thrift store buffet-turned entertainment center!


  1. Really nice! Great job! Can't wait to see it.

  2. I also need to refinish my dining room table. I'm dreading it, but I think summer is the best time for this project. Total envy over your paint sprayer!

  3. Exquisite and so clean looking - know you will love it! You are so clever!!