Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How to Refinish a Dining Table

Yay for today! I have waited so long. Like, a really long time, to refinish our dining room table and now it's done.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

Over the summer I finally got clearance to take on this project from my sweet husband.  Now to clarify, my handsome man isn't particular about much when it comes to me switching stuff around and redecorating but our dining room table was a gift from his parents and he didn't want me touching it for the longest time. Thanks to 2 kids and their love of milk at every meal, and crafting with permanent markers and glue, the table was finally deemed beat up enough for a makeover. Here are a few shots of it before.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

I mostly covered it up for pictures. It was perfectly fine from afar but mostly I wanted something a little less shiny and a little more casual. My goal too, was to have something that looked more like my favorite piece of furniture in the whole house maybe even the world. This $40 craigslist gem:


It's just a pretty warm wood, aged to perfection.

Now that it's not a million degrees out, I borrowed a card table to be a stand in, had Joel help me get the table into the garage and set to work refinishing it.*this post contains affiliate links for your convenience*

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

We already had some stripper out in the garage so I didn't have to go out and buy any. When you're looking for some at the store, you'll see types that say they are gel or made for vertical surfaces. It's just a little bit thicker and stays put a little easier. I also used a cheap paint brush and some gloves. Chemicals like this are nasty. Stay covered.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

I worked in smaller sections, poured on the stripper and spread it around evenly with the paint brush. You have to make sure it's on there thick enough so that it wont dry while you're waiting for it to soak into the finish. The container will say how long to leave it. This one said 15 minutes.  The longer you leave it (and it doesn't dry out) the easier it is to scrape off the finish.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

You want to make sure you're careful with the scraper. Stay at an angle when you are scraping so that you don't gouge the surface of the wood.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

It was a good amount of work to get this table stripped. It's an Ethan Allen table and was done really well so it wasn't easy to undo.  For that reason, I made sure to let the stripper soak in as long as I could.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

 I put the peeled up finish into a plastic bag as I worked.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

You can also use the peels and move them over to a section that needs to soak longer. The peel still has the wet chemical on it. Might as well reuse while you can.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

Because I use the thicker stripper, I just painted the legs and the sides of the table in the same way to get the finish off of them.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

After the table was completely bare, I sanded it really well. First using a coarse sand paper (a 100 grit) and then using a finer grit (250) to make sure that the surface didn't have any sanding lines in it. Make sure you sand with the direction of the grain of your furniture. If not, it's noticeable.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

After sanding, it was time for staining. I used my favorite color of minwax stain. Provincial. It's the color I used for the entryway hook rack, the dining room light fixture, the girls desk.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

I wore gloves and used a piece of cotton scrap. Dipped it into the stain and rubbed it on with the grain of the wood. I did the legs and sides first then moved to the top.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

Again I worked in sections at a time so that it wasn't drying to quickly and wouldn't look streaky. With stain, the more you put on, the darker the piece could be. I spread the stain kind of thin so that it wouldn't get too dark.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

A couple hours after I stained it, it was time to seal the finish. I used polycrylic in satin. Remember, the big reason I wanted to redo it is so that it wouldn't have a shiny finish. Satin gives you a sealed look but with out much shine.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming, project for great reward.

I used a new brush and painted it on with the grain of the wood. You want to apply this stuff liberally, brush it where it needs to go and then leave it alone. The longer you mess with it, the more brush strokes you'll get. Also, if you put it on too thin you'll get brush strokes but, if you put it on too thick it won't dry well.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming, project for great reward.

There are a lot of steps but this is not a hard project. I promise. It's just a little time consuming.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming, project for great reward.

 I came back through and lightly sanded the finish after it dried, then gave it a second coat.

I didn't plan on this part but to finish the table off, I used the same product, Minwax polycrylic in satin but the spray paint version. I would not have sealed the table like this from the start. I'm glad I used the paint because I feel like it insures a better, thicker coating but the spray over the top assured that I wouldn't see any brush strokes in the finish. It worked and I am so happy with the finished product.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming, project for great reward.

You can see the sheen is so subtle. I'm so happy with the change. Our big kid, however, saw it and said, "it looks exactly the same...."

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

I really don't care if nobody notices the difference. I LOVE IT! Also, Joel thinks I did a good job. I had to do a good job so he'd keep trusting me with his prized possessions....I mean, besides his kids..

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

Do you notice the other thing that changed?

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

I made this quick wall hanging out of a thrifted blanket and some dye. I'll share details on that later but anything else?

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

We got new chairs!! The Novogratz sent us these 'campbell' dining chairs! They are the exact right amount of modern in this eclectic space and I love them. They're metal and are easily wipe-able when the girls get their grimy, syrup hands on them. I love that they're low so that don't take away from any thing else in the room.


Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

There you have it! Our dining room makeover. I'm so happy with how the table turned out. It took almost a week when things were said and done but it was well worth eating on a wobbly table for that amount of time.

Refinishing our table gave me the look I wanted for our eclectic, casual space. It's an easy, just a little time consuming project for great reward.

Shop the room from the pictures below:



Have you ever refinished a piece of furniture? Does this tutorial make you want to try it... or hire it out? ; ) Let me know if you have any questions I can answer. I'd love to help!

Also, come back Thursday for an extra post and a giveaway!

Thanks for reading, friends.
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