Thrifty Dining Table Makeover

This is less of a DIY How-To Makeover Your Table, seeing as that would imply I’m somewhat of a chief expert on the subject of making over tables. (Pause, cue laugh track.)

I would love to go elbows-deep in projects like this and earn my real DIY Wings someday, because it’s a whole heck of a lot of fun for me, and I don’t think I’m half bad.

Plus, the result? I really, really love it. (“How many really’s?” My mother would tease me growing up, when I excitedly double-really’d in a conversation.)

TWO REALLY’S here, Mom, two really’s. Maybe three.

Rather than considering this your holy grail table tutorial, consider this an aggregate source of my sources, with maybe a sprinkle of inspiration on the side.

A coworker buddy of mine moved recently, and as his move occurred around the same time as our move, there have been home-makeover cubicle-talks aplenty in recent months, and he introduced me to the ever-addicting world of buy-sell-trade apps. Think Craigslist, but better, and there are a lot of them.

While you were wondering what I was doing at any given minute in the past two months like I just know you were, you would win a lot of dollars betting that I was trolling buy-sell-trade apps. A brief timeline of the “you should take a look at these apps” conversation-day with my friend:

7:59am: friend tells me to look at apps.
8:00 am: app LetGo downloaded.
4:30 pm: met family to pickup table from app.

Time wasted: 0 minutes, approximately.

I scored this beauty for $30: bonus future-Picasso red-pen etchings on the top and alphabet-sticker legs absolutely included. This is a photo of the table in its best light, and I’m kicking myself hard for not taking better photos that would showcase the “what the heck are you thinking” notions that HAD to have crossed my sweet husband’s mind as he unloaded this gem. It was bad, and I probably should have negotiated lower.

But at the LetGo meeting, I super gelled with the sweet, small family of 6 who had loved this table hard through 4 children and many cousins, and the mom threw in an electric sander, free of charge. I left feeling, despite the evenings of elbow-grease I knew I was facing, like I came out with a great deal.

The piece has awesome bones. It’s structurally super sound, and has a foldable leaf for more dining real-estate that I’m obsessed with. It folds out from the middle and hides underneath; ideal as an apartment-dweller with limited space for trivial things such as table leafs.

As great as I thought it looked structurally, when my brain takes hold of an idea, I have to be careful. I easily have the confidence of ten Chip’s in my ability to DIY a whole roof over my head, and a very short track record of actual projects to prove I can do this.

This confidence stems not from a collection of participation trophies, millennial though I am! But my dad actually teaching me how to sand, stain, and use a hammer from a very young age. (In addition to a vested interest in HGTV from the time I was like eight). I would spend hours at the workbench he built himself with old scraps of wood, sanding them to perfection, staining, and hammering nails at odd angles until I made a Keychain Holder! A Necklace Holder! A Letter L For No Good Reason! And these are some of my fondest memories I have with him growing up. My dad is an expert gunsmith, and I love that he taught me the parts of this craft that I found interesting.

Therefore, sanding was not something I needed to really research. In sanding, the smaller the number, the heavier the grain -aka, the more coarse your wood will feel, but the better to strip crayola drawings with, my dear. Start with the smaller number, and do the job several times, graduating to a larger number each time so the wood begins to feel smoother and smoother with the finer grains.

I left bits of “character” on the surface of the table because that’s the look I was going for. I don’t have to worry about nicking or scratching it myself and creating an eyesore this way. Also, Farmhouse Chic is kind of *the* thing.

I layered two types of stain (jacobean and dark walnut), an idea from this great place, to get the color I was looking for, and because I thought it would add a little depth. I sealed with a clear polyurethane, and will likely reseal again several more times real soon when life settles down. (I just needed the project to be dry, and not look like crap, and be out of my Bustling & Unpacking A New Duplex way for a bit).

The legs + piece under the table top (professional name) received a face-lift with a couple coats of handy-dandy chalk paint, no sanding required, and sealed with the same polyurethane. I read an awesome comparison of Home Depot brand chalk paint vs. infamous Annie Sloan paint here, and went with the Home Depot brand at half the cost. (Thrifters, unite!)

The industrial-style chairs we virtually stole on a weekend furniture deal from Target (this wood and natural metal style sold out now), and the place mats are also Target of many moons ago.

I found the the aluminum charger plates at Pottery Barn to tie natural metal up into the place settings, but the centerpiece + napkins + rings are the brainchild of my mother-in-law and I working out the visual details of the space.

Napkins & rings are simple from World Market, but her idea for me to antique for something milk glass for the center really set off the look. (Thank you, Lula B’s Oak Cliff, for making all of my/our milk glass centerpiece dreams come true.)

Meals are so incredibly central to community, and for us, that is supremely important. We wanted a centralized place that was inviting, spill-friendly, and as un-cramped as possible in our space to be able to break bread with friends, and I hope we met that goal. By Robin standards, I’m thrilled with my $30 table to these ends.

2 thoughts on “Thrifty Dining Table Makeover

  1. caitpb says:

    I love this! The color you chose for the top is just gorgeous. I am going to save this post because I want to do our table in the exact same color scheme! Right now it is an orangey-oak color. I can’t wait to update it! Great job!

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