How to Makeover your Kitchen Table (and a Lesson I Learned the Hard Way)

Happy Monday everyone! I hope that you all got to enjoy some fun in the sun this weekend!

If you’ve been following along with me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve been hard at work on this seemingly never ending project for weeks now! You may even remember a picture toting the hashtag #thisbetterbeworthit. It was a longer process than I had imagined (made longer than it should have been by my eagerness to get it done) – so, you can imagine my excitement today, after what feels like an eternity of working on it, to FINALLY share my Kitchen Table Makeover!
How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains
It all started with an old oak table that I found on a local buy & sell site. I’d been picturing this exact table, well my made over version of it, in our kitchen since the day we bought this house. This one was listed for $60, which wasn’t exactly a bad price for the perfect table, but everyone knows that you don’t just hand over asking price when you buy something second hand … this was my chance to score a deal! Thinking I’d end up at $50, I went in with a low ball offer of $40, which didn’t sound so terrible to me, until the reply came back from an email that my husband recognized … turns out the gal I was trying to score my deal from was a co-worker and friend of Brady’s. Whoops! I suppose it could have been worse … I mean I could have offered the $35 I had originally told Brady I would until he talked me out of it (it would appear I’m the cheap frugal one in our relationship!), so I guess $40 wasn’t all that bad. Thank goodness she was a good sport about it all and came back with a very fair $50 counter, which I was more than happy to take! Anyway, all cheap negotiating embarrassment aside, we walked away with a lovely table that couldn’t have been a more {perfect} match for what I had been picturing!

As much as I loved this beautiful piece and the potential I knew it had, it sat neglected and ignored in our basement for many months. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it, but sometimes having a perfect picture in your head can be intimidating I suppose – having never actually refinished anything, I was a little nervous that my dreams would turn into disaster and my perfect table would be ruined. To be honest, I’m not sure what finally gave me the push to tackle this one except for the fact that it had to happen sometime and I REALLY wanted my kitchen table!

So, after helping Brady haul it into the garage, It was time to get to work taking my trusty palm sander to that table top. Though I hadn’t used this sander much aside from a quick once over here and there through past projects, this little guy (seriously, why aren’t palm sanders just a little bit bigger?!) and I got to spend a lot, and I mean A LOT, of time together! I’d love to say that I followed the directions that I’d read online explaining the process of starting with the most abrasive (or lowest number) grits first and moving onto the finer (or higher number) grits along the way. Instead I did the exact opposite! That’s right, in my rush to get going with things during C’s nap time, I quickly read through these instructions and then forgot most of them by the time I got down to the garage (which isn’t as far of a walk as I’m making it sound!). So, rather than waste precious time running back upstairs and re-reading the instructions (or even logically thinking things through really), I went with whatever popped into my head first, which was, for some strange reason, to start with the finest sandpaper we had — seriously, what was I thinking?! Needless to say, the process of sanding this baby down took me much, MUCH longer than it should have. Although it cost me a couple of nap times, a few hours of that weird feeling in my fingers post-sanding, more than a little sandpaper and of course, my dignity, in the end the table top turned out okay and that’s all that really matters!

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains
After the epic sanding job, I was SO relieved to finally be staining! As recommended on the can of stain, I started with a coat of this to help keep the colour as even as possible. Thankfully the process of staining this big flat surface was super quick, only taking about 15 minutes at a time, though it took four coats to achieve the dark colour I was hoping for. Finally, I finished the top off with 3 coats of this polyurethane to protect my hard work – for this step I used a water based product to prevent yellowing and for an easy clean up.

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains
Now that I was done with the top, it was time to show the bottom some love. I pulled out my Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White and slapped on 3 coats of paint (taking care not to paint the table top of course!). Those of you that have been following along with my adventures for a while know my love for this amazing paint … with absolutely no prep (aside from wiping off the sawdust), painting the bottom of my table was by far the fastest part of this project! After rubbing in a coat of Annie Sloan’s white furniture wax over the paint, my table was all ready to go — FINALLY!

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains

How to Makeover your Kitchen Table :: making it in the mountains
I am SO in love with how it turned out! It was totally worth each and every (sometimes painful) minute!!! Now it’s time to get to work on the chairs!!!

*UPDATE* You can check out new chairs here

Dining Chair Makeover :: making it in the mountains
Dining Chair Makeover


Do you have a project that you’ve been too scared to try?

Wishing you SUCH a lovely week!

Happy Notes copy    

168 thoughts on “How to Makeover your Kitchen Table (and a Lesson I Learned the Hard Way)

  1. First of Kristi, let me say gorgeous table! That is exactly the look I want for ours!! Although ours has six chairs included…. wonder if they’d be hard to sand? I had to laugh… sounds like we are a teeny bit alike πŸ˜‰ You know, the frugleness (yes, my husband disappears when I make an offer, but I’ve saved us lotsa $$) and I’d totally jump in without carefully reading directions! Lol! Fantastic job, Kristi! It’s beautiful!

      1. Gorgeous table!! Do you have links or could you tell me the brands/types of products you used. I’m about to do my table and yours is the best I’ve seen by far!!

        1. Thanks Morgan! I’m SO happy you love it!! For the top I used Minwax wood conditioner and Minwax Dark Walnut stain and then some Annie Sloan Pure White chalk paint for the bottom. Good luck girl!

    1. This is exactly what I’ve been thinking of for the kitchen table I just bought!! Im glad I found your article, now how are you going to transform your chairs, and any ideas of how I could do this to the bar shelf!??

  2. I am so the frugal one around here. It’s starting to rub off on my husband, although he still can’t negotiate to save his life. I just drop and number and wait. LOL! He finds it very uncomfortable.

    Your table looks fantastic!! I have been wanting to restain the top of mine for months now and I’m just skeeeered. I think you’ve given me the confidence to just DO IT!

  3. Great makeover and totally worth the time and effort it took to complete! I love the dark stain mixed with the white base. I’ve stripped one piece of furniture many years ago and I haven’t done one since, so I know how time consuming this project was. Awesome job! Thanks so much for sharing at Your Designs This Time!

    1. Thank you SO much Kristin! There were many moments that I found myself wondering if it was worth it … I’m so glad it turned out to be worth every minute!

  4. Amazing transformation of a $40…I mean $50 dollar table. I grew up having meals on a table very similar to this one. I remember staring at the table legs when I did not want to eat what was on my plate. I love the new life you gave it. Well done!

  5. Kristi, let me just say wow, it turned out beautifully, your hardwork definetely paid off! I have a table that’s been waiting for an overhaul like this, I’m hopeing this fall I will finally get to it. Thanks for sharing your “how to”!

    1. Thank you SO, SO much Jillian!!! There were definitely some lessons learned, but in the end it was all totally worth it! Good luck with your table makeover – I’m sure it will look fab!!!

  6. Oh my gosh that is basically the same table type I want and the color I want. I can’t find one anywhere near me!! How did you find yours? I’m so completely jealous!!

    1. I’ve been wanting one for years too Danielle and I was SOOOO happy when I crossed paths with this one! Wishing you luck on your search too!

  7. Fabulous job on your table! Our kitchen table really needs to be refinished. Thanks for the inspiration and the great tutorial.

    Pinning! Please share this project at my Show-Licious Party on Saturday morning!

    {big hugs}
    ~ Ashley

  8. What an amazing transformation!! I love it!! I want to redo my dining room table, but still deciding…it has tiles…soooooo….not sure how I may redo it.

    Thanks for sharing yours!!

  9. Girl! This is absolutely gorgeous! I am dying for a new dining table, and I keep going back and forth between refinishing our current table or having Donnie build a new one. (Because why would I just go the easy route and buy a new one at the store….that would just be silly! πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for the tutorial– it turned out beautifully!

    ~Abby =)

    1. Thank you SO, SO much Abby!!! I know exactly what you mean … what would be the fun in just going out and buying one? I love that I can make a table completely custom for my space and I can find about a zillion better ways to spend the money that I saved in doing it! Brady actually offered to make a table for our dining room after building our outdoor table … so we may have yet another table in our not too distant future too πŸ˜‰

      Been thinking of you a ton Abby!

  10. Oh how I love a good thrifty find and a makeover! This turned out beautiful. I love a dark top and white painted bottom on a piece of furniture. I think you get the best of both worlds. Thanks so much for linking up to the Be. YOU. tiful link party! So glad to have you and see what you are up to.

  11. Saw you at The Girl Creative. LOVE this table! You did a fantastic job on it. Your hard work and perseverance pay off. I have a similar table that I did the same thing to, but I stained the apron under the top – I like how you painted yours better…… I may have a redo on my hands πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you SO, SO much Kristina!!! There were MANY moments that I wondered if it would be worth it and in the end I’m thrilled with how it turned out! My original thought was to stain the apron too actually, but the only reason I chose not to was because I felt like it would be harder to stain the carved detail around it than to paint it. I think it would look wonderful stained too!!!

  12. This looks fabulous! I love the dark walnut top with the white.
    I would love to do something like this one day. I’m curious – do you know how the chalk paint holds up to wear & tear?
    Found you at Show-licious. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you Kim! I’m so in love with the two-toned look too! As for the chalk paint: I can’t say for sure through my own experience as I’ve only just discovered it. According to Annie Sloan (and it would seem many others), chalk paint is quite durable, especially with a coat of wax applied regularly – though I personally would be nervous to paint the top of a really well used table.

  13. This is so pretty! I didn’t think I’d like seeing you cover up the scroll work with paint but it adds a texture I didn’t expect. Love it!

    ~Meaghan from DIYfaerie

    1. Thank you Meaghan! I really hummed and hawed about painting that apron, but in the end decided to mostly because I wasn’t sure how well I would do at re-staining it. I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out!

  14. First of all it’s absolutely gorgeous ! Love it !( saprano voice lol) You may have posted the answer to this question and I missed it , but is there a reason you didn’t use liquid sand paper ? I want to do this with a table I have but I have arthritis in my hands so using a sander is a bit painful . Ty for sharing so many ideas . You definitely have a new follower .

    1. Thank you SO much Shellia! I chose to sand it with the sander simply because I am SUCH a newbie that using liquid sandpaper hadn’t even occurred to me! If I were you, I’d definitely check good ol’ Google to see if you can find any reason not to, but it sounds like it would be the perfect way to go for you! Good luck with your table Shellia! Would love to see pictures once you get it completed! And definitely let me know if you have any other questions that I might be able to help with!!!

  15. Your table turned out gorgeous! I love the dark stain against the white. I recently scored some pallets and went through the same thing when I started sanding the boards. Thanks for sharing with Creative Spark Link Party.
    Glenna @ My Paper Craze

  16. Found you through A Bowl Full of Lemons link party, I love how this table came out. I have one just like it minus the etching around the top, I would love to do this to the top of mine. Thank you so much for the idea and though I am not thrilled about the sanding part I think I will be so much in love with it after that I might forget about the horrible sanding party. LOL Thanks again and I can not wait to try it. Have a great day. πŸ™‚

  17. So gorgeous! I can’t believe how much work went into it, but so worth it. I have been there with the sanding problems myself. Before you do a project like this again, invest in a belt sander! It would strip anything down in a few minutes. I am in love with mine.

  18. That was quite a score on the table! It looks absolutely beautiful the way you’ve made it over. Thanks so much for sharing all the steps. And thanks for linking to Grace at Home–I’m featuring you this week!

  19. beautiful table! just one question: did you stain the underside of the table top as well or paint it white? thanks!

    1. Thank you Linda! I didn’t do anything to the underside of the table top – it hadn’t been stained before and I figured that nobody would see it. I did stain the underside on the outside of the skirting and then painted the skirting white. Hope this helps!

  20. What a beautiful result! I love how you transformed this into something your family will enjoy for years and years. I can relate to the sandpaper, hurrying-to-get-the-job-started-during-nap-time method. I often rush into things in my small slivers of kid-free time. I need to refinish my kitchen table, so it was very helpful to read your experience. Thanks for sharing with Pin Your Friday Favorite!

    1. Thank you SO, SO much Nicki!!! It’s so hard not to rush into things when you’re time is so limited! I hope your kitchen table makeover goes more smoothly than mine πŸ˜‰ Have a fab weekend!

  21. Isn’t it funny how some projects turn out to be such a headache? You were right–this project was totally worth all the hiccups. Your table is beautiful and I love what you did with it! It still has tons of character but has a much more updated look! Thanks for sharing this at Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop!

  22. Hi Kristi,
    You did a fabulous job on the table! I’ve been wanting to do the exact same thing to my kitchen table but, i don’t want mess it up. My table’s in great shape but, it’s that old light yellow oak except when sanded it may look more like buther block. In your opinion would it work with a medium stain?
    Thank You,

    1. Thank you SO much Lisa! I think any stain would work – especially if you’re pairing it with white! Most hardware stores will have a display that shows you what each stain colour would look like on pine and on oak. Use those to pick your fave colour. Hope this helps!!!

  23. Wow Kristi…you have to know by now how much everyone loved this post. In fact, you were one of the top votes over at Share it Sunday. Featured you in this weeks SIS post as well sharing out on FB this week. Thank you Kristi for partying with us each week.

  24. This table turned out beautiful! I love the colors that you chose! I totally hear you about sanding and how frustrating it can be, even if you use the right grit from the beginning πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing the tutorial!

  25. Wow that looks amazing! We have a thrifted kitchen table and I the top is getting a little love worn since I have two toddlers who refuse to let me use a table cloth! I’m pinning this so I can come back to it when I have the energy to make my table over.

  26. A long with all the other well wishers I could not let this one go by without telling you how BEAUTIFUL your table top came out. The whole table is great but the top is sooooo nice.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Now (as a beginner) can you tell me what you used to apply the stain? I want to do a table or a dresser but I am not sure about how to apply the stain. I know the directions are on the can but I want to know what you did. Also I have used stain in the past but it was water based(I used this type for easy clean up),do you think the oil based is better? Your top is just so nice and smooth ,no brush marks or any marks. It looks like a professional company did it. Sorry for the long post, but can you please help me with any and all advise that you can offer.
    Best regards

    1. Hi Debbie! Thank you SO, SO much for your very kind words! I should say that I am by no means a staining expert, but I can tell you what I did. I used an oil based stain because I read that the durability was best and since this will be a well used piece, I knew I needed it to be durable. I also read that oil based gives a better colour. To keep cleanup easy, I applied it with a foam brush with the grain, which I simply stored in a sealed Ziploc bag between coats, and then wiped off the excess with an old rag. I used a water based polyurethane to seal it because I read that oil based tends to yellow over time, plus, because poly should be applied with an actual brush, I liked the easy clean up.

      Hope this helps Debbie!

  27. Thank you for this. I have been contemplating this same project and trying to get up the nerve. Could you tell me how your tabletop finish is holding up? I really want to do the exact same on my table, but I’m worried. Our table is a major work horse for all sorts of activities and we are not table cloth people. It won’t get babied around here.

    1. The finish is holding up VERY well so far with the three coats of polyurethane that I used. But, if you’re worried about it, you can always add more for extra protection.

  28. Looks amazing – I love it! This was exactly the look I was going for with our kitchen table about a year ago, but goofed up and rushed along the way and ended up painting the table top gray and finishing with wax. Well, I HATE the painted surface and it is just not holding up to our everyday use. So I will be doing this very soon!

    Couple questions… is the water based poly you used, Polycrylic? I’ve tried it in the past and it’s very hard to get a smooth, bubble-less finish. Just curious! Also, do you think I could sand down a painted surface, or would I have to apply a stripping product (again)?

    Thanks! Beautiful job!

    1. Oh no Sarah, how disappointing! I hope you are happier the second time around! I used polyurethane and it was very easy to work with. As for the paint, I would definitely try sanding it down first – as long is there aren’t a bunch of coats one on top of the other, I think it should be fine! Good luck Sarah!!!

  29. Hi, I am about to do the same thing with my table I just inherited. I am not the crafty type so I am scared I am going to ruin it! Eek, did you only sand the area that you stained?

    1. How exciting Rebecca! I did only sand the stained area, the rest was painted with chalk paint, which required no prep at all before painting, but if you are going to use traditional paint, I’d be sure to start with a good primer. Good luck girl!

  30. i have this exact table! We bought it at a thrift store 13 years ago along with the chairs when we lived in CA. It has been resealed over the years but I want to paint it and when I went to pinterest to look at painted tables this one popped up! I’m hoping to convinve my husband. He hates painted wood. πŸ™

  31. I have the exact same table and when I seen yours, I knew I had to do mine as well, love it.
    I didn’t want to read everyone’s comments so my apologizes if I am duplicating a question. Did you have to sand the entire table (where it is painted white) or just the top? And then I guess same for the chairs?
    thank you.


    1. Thanks so much Tara! I’m thrilled that you love it! I only sanded the top of the table to apply a new stain, the bottom and chairs I used chalk paint, so there was no prep involved other than a good wipe down. If you are using regular latex paint, you will likely need to sand and use a boat of primer first. Good luck!

  32. Hi! Your table looks amazing, I have an identical CraigsList baby in storage, too. I have been picturing exactly what you did here! Thanks for the specifics on the products you used. I’m curious about the chairs you put with the table. Mine came with 5 rectangle-backed matching wooden chairs. I’m torn between all-white on those (maybe with cushions?) or white chairs with the seat stained to match the table top. What do your chairs look like? Clearly we think alike. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you SO much Laura! My chairs are white with beige seat cushions, but I’ve had my eye out for some that are all wood. I love the idea of staining the seat, but painting the rest white!!! Good luck Laura, let me know if you have any questions.

    1. I didn’t sand the base for this table as I was painting it with chalk paint, which requires no prep aside from a good wash. If I were using traditional latex paint, I definitely would have given it a quick sand. Good luck Trina!!!

  33. Beautiful Table!! Do you remember what brand Polyurethane you used, you said Water-based, was it Rustoleum Varathane Fastest Drying Polyurethane? And since it is water-based, did you use a synthetic brush to apply the poly? Did you sand in between coats, if so, what grit? Any issues with bubbles or brush strokes? Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks so much Sheri! I used Varathane brand, just their regular old water based Poly. I followed the instructions on the can to apply – if I remember right, I used a disposable foam brush and was sure to time my coats so that I didn’t have to sand, but if you leave the coats to dry for too long, you will have to do a quick sand before applying another. I didn’t have any problems at all with bubbling, but I was sure not to over brush. Hope this helps and thanks again!

      1. Thank you so much!!! We are trying the Minwax polycrylic and struggling with brush strokes and bubbles. The directions on that one say to sand in between, so that’s great if you can avoid it with the varathane. Any ideas if I could put varathane over the polycrylic since they are both water based? We just need 1 nice final coat πŸ™‚ if you still have the can of varathane do you mind taking a pic? I see a couple varieties available. Thank you again for your help!!

        1. So happy to help Sheri! I don’t have any experience with Minwax Poly, but was very happy with the Varathane brand. I would sand down with some fine grit paper and try the Varathane – should be fine to change brands as long as you sand first. I’m sure you already know this, but be sure to stir well and don’t shake the can as that will create bubbles. Also, limit your brushstrokes. I found using the foam brush a great way to go because it really kept things from getting streaky or showing brush strokes. Here is a link to the exact product I used: I really hope this helps Sheri! Good luck!!!

  34. What sheen did you use on the poly? Satin? Semi gloss? I am redoing a table and didn’t know what sheen to use but I like how yours turned out. It’s a beauty.

  35. I could have written this post, except for the completion part, lol.

    I have the exact same table and want to do the exact same thing … I’ve giving up the project for the winter, but I want to finish it this summer.

    I was OK sanding the top of the table, but how did you sand the little curvy borders, the patterns, etc.?

    1. Awwwww, it is A LOT of work, but so totally worth it. I sanded the little edges (very carefully) with the edge of my palm sander. I decided not to sand the pattern work as I didn’t want to ruin anything and simply painted that bottom edge of the table instead. If you do decide to do that more intricate sanding, sanding by hand or with a dremmel might work best. Good luck!

  36. Hi! You have my exact same kitchen table. I’m curious how the chairs turned out? I want to do this to our table but I’m not sure what to do with the chairs….two-toned or all white?

      1. Thank you! So we have the chairs that go with the table…I took a picture to show you but I can’t post it here. I really don’t know what to do with them….they are solid wood and have a bunch of carvings just like the table. Can I email you a pic and get your thoughts?

  37. Great work on the table! I’m curious about the chalk paint. What’s the advantages of chalk paint versus standard white paint? Ur post motivated me to do mine.

  38. Love your table! I’m about to attempt the same thing and wondered if you stripped the stain off of your table top before you sanded it or just sanded? Mine is a honey colored pine that I want to stain a dark walnut and paint the legs and chairs either white or grey. Also what is the Mini wax conditioner you said you used? Thanks Connie

    1. Thank you Connie! I didn’t strip the table, though I would definitely think about it now that know better – would make much faster work of sanding down to the original wood. I did use the Minwax wood conditioner too, though I don’t think the brand matters much for that so long as you’re matching the base (oil vs. water) to your stain base. Good luck with your project Connie!

  39. Can you tell me what the feet are on the bottom of your table? I am trying to decide what to replace the round rolling gold wheels that I have had on it forever which are a little to tall. I am not sure what was originally on this type of table and am open to ideas. Thanks.

    1. Hi Bre! The feet are just little metal disks that the legs of the table sit on, maybe 1/4 inch thick – you could probably use wood ones there too if that’s easier to find. Hope this helps!

  40. Gorgeous table! I recently bought a table off a swap&buy to refinish for $40 and can’t wait to complete this project! Just wondering if you had to sand down the bottom & legs before you painted it?

    1. Thanks Marisol! That’s a great score! I used chalk paint, so I didn’t sand before painting, but if you’re using regular latex, you’ll want to sand it down a bit and use a good primer before painting.

  41. We have this same table as our current dining table, but in its original glory. Ha! It looks like our top is different than yours though. Is your table top solid wood? We have the matching chairs/chairs that came with the table. I’m think of doing the same thing to my table, with the same concept to the chairs.

  42. Gorgeous love this table!!! Couple questions… Did you sand the base as well or just the table top? After sanding the top I could white wash it right?

    1. Thanks so much Danica! I didn’t have to sand the table base because I was painting it with chalk paint, which requires no prep. After sanding it down, you could definitely choose to whitewash it, that would look lovely!

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