I picked up this double pedestal oak table and chairs back in the Fall. It is huge and very heavy. I seriously thought this was going to be an easy makeover. If you’re looking to do a makeover on your own table and chairs, I say definitely go for it. It will be worth all the work in the end, and it doesn’t get any better than customizing a look that you want.
You can see this is before I got my new truck—this is the truck I always had to borrow when I had a large load.
This oak dining table only had five chairs with it, but they were all in really good shape—very heavy and sturdy. I know some of you may think it was wrong to paint this set, but the table top was in very rough shape. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of it.
You can get a glimpse of the table top in this picture. Note the damage on the rung of the chair. I did some sanding on it to lessen the damage. I also sanded the table top quite a bit to remove scratches.
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A good furniture makeover begins with cleaning
Whenever you work on anything that’s been in a kitchen I think it’s best to give it a really good cleaning with some TSP to make sure there are no signs of grease and grime. Paint will not stick to greasy wood. In addition, you don’t know if someone may have waxed the table base and chairs with some furniture wax such as Pledge. I know back in the day, there were cans and cans of it used around this place—but not by me. I’ve never been a huge fan.
For the cleaning, I sprayed the TSP on with a bottle, then wiped everything down really well with an old rag. I prefer to wear latex gloves when I use a lot of cleaning products.
A Finish Max Paint Sprayer makes furniture makeovers easy
As always, I mixed up a batch of my DIY chalky paint primer using some Plaster of Paris for my Homeright Finish Max. I mix it in a cup, then strain that mixture with a mesh paint strainer –then add a little more water to thin the paint.
The chairs got their first light coat of paint while being rested upside down on tarps. Then I turned each of them upright. Can you imagine painting all of these chairs by hand with a brush?
Even the table would have been challenging to paint with a brush. This is after a couple of light coats of the DIY chalky paint primer. I love using my own homemade primer in the same color that I’m going to use because it covers so much better. I intended to leave the set this light gray.
How to paint dining chairs
Even after trying my best to cover every bit of the chairs, I found that resting them upside down like this on a makeshift table worked the best for getting in all the nooks and crannies.
You can either stand on your head, or turn your furniture upside down. I prefer to shift the furniture.
You can see it's best to paint horizontal surfaces such as table tops vertically. I find it gives much better coverage.
Now, this is where it gets a little crazy.
I posted this picture on Facebook, to get opinions on which finish I should use. The chair on the left is straight diy primer in Stargazer (Behr). Then in the middle, the chair is waxed with Heirloom Traditions Paint black wax. The chair on the right has a black “wash” on it. That means I watered down some black paint, brushed it on and wiped it back.
But here’s the honest truth—you may remember I have a bad shoulder. It’s been bad for years, and most days it’s manageable. But the thought of waxing and buffing five chairs was more than I wanted to think about. In the end, the brushing on and wiping off the black paint wasn’t much easier. I had to spread this job out over many days to allow my shoulder to recover.
When you don't have furniture glaze
This is me doing the wash on the table base. I used a cheap chip brush to paint the wash on, working on small sections at a time. Small sections such as half of the pedestal, wipe, the other half of the pedestal, wipe. This picture gives a good view of the before and after of the black wash.
Oh how I wish I had the Smoked Glaze when I did this project. See how easy it is to use in my post How to Glaze Painted Furniture.
When the rag got so saturated with black paint, I had to switch to a clean rag. But using the saturated rag on parts of the chairs worked really well.
Do I need to seal my dining table after I paint it?
I gave everything a nice coat of Minwax Polycrylic in semi-gloss using a nice purdy paint brush. It’s been around the block a few times, but the bristles still get the job done.
Here is the oak dining table and chairs after I finished painting it.
Of course I wasn’t about to carry this huge thing inside to stage it, so this is the best I could do. I listed it on craigslist.
A very nice couple from another town came to pick it up and Paula was so nice to send me pictures of it in her dining room. I love her style, don’t you? heheeh did you see the level in the corner by the hutch? LOVE it! 🙂
So, as I said at the top of this post, don’t put off your diy projects. Yes, they are a lot of work, but you will be so happy you did it.
Hi, there! I’m Gail, the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. I’m obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believe that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again—myself included! I hope you’ll enjoy the journey and pick up a few tools along the way… literally!
Lol, Gail Wilson,, I am on the app Nextdoor and I saw your post because I was searching to see if it would be worth picking up a set exactly like yours that someone is giving away. Guessing it would probably take me a year or two to get your results, will let someone else get it, hope they enjoy it just the way it is for now. You did a fantastic job. I know this is a bit late. Hope your shoulder is feeling better.
How fun that you found me! My shoulder pain comes and goes, but overall it's so much better day to day. Thank you for stopping by to check out the table and chairs. Gotta love free finds!
I really like how you showed the changes that you were able to do to pedestal tables, and I think that this really widens our options for our search! My wife and I have been looking for pedestal tables for our home, and being able to have your tips on how we could change the color to something we want makes it that much easier to find something we like. I'm going to have to share your article with my wife, and be sure that if we do choose pedestal tables that we are going to stain or paint, that we take your suggestion to clean them very well so they're free of grit and grime! Thanks!
Wow that came out gorgeous! I say paint away if it make it useable again! Love it in her house too 🙂
Thanks Susan.... If I see one in the next two years, it will be too soon for me! So much work for this old gal!
You gave me some things to think about! My next project is to re-do my dining room table and chairs. The table is french country so its not as heavy as your oak one. I'n planning to stain the top darker and paint the table skirt and legs. I can't decide if I want to stain or paint the ladder-back chairs. They have a fabric seat so I can't use the same stain/paint combo. I'll reupholster the chairs I haven't decided on the paint color. I recently painted my hutch in pure white ASCP and used black wax as the finish. It's a lovely aged gray. Now to pick out a paint that complements the gray and the black Bombay chest that is on the other wall!
Sounds like you've been busy Nancy. I'm sure whatever you choose will be perfect with the lovely aged gray (probably one of my favorite looks personally)
I'm new to the world of refinishing furniture and have learned so much from your blog.
I love the black wash that you gave to this dining set. If I wanted more of a rustic, white wash look, what would color you paint the base, and what stain to give it the rustic whitewash look? Thank you and your work is bith beautiful and inspiring.
I'm not sure what look you're going for, but it sounds sort of like you want the look of the stuff I did in my glazing 101 post. https://www.myrepurposedlife.com/glazing-101/
You can get the look with dark umber paint, or dk walnut stain. The watered down paint is a little easier to work with.
I'd test out a few smaller projects first to see what you think. Sometimes it's harder to get a large project to look good when you do it yourself. I find that if I have a place I'm not quite fond of, my eye will always go to that place. Whereas when your friends or family look at it, they are looking at the overall appearance not focusing on that spot you weren't pleased with. I hope that makes sense.
have fun, good luck!
Glad Paula shared the picture of her dining room. It looks great and really showcases the table. That looked like a lot of heavy, hard work to me and you did a great job despite your shoulder condition. It's been a long time since I've done refinishing. Back then I never thought of using paint the way you all do these days. I'm learning so much from your site and others as well.The "itch" is growing stronger and stronger. Now I'm on the lookout for small pieces that I can work on. I do have a sewing machine in one of those square tables with the spindly legs that I picked up from FreeCycle a few months ago. The top is in pretty rough shape, so I think painting it will be the way to go--getting all kinds of ideas from you and Serena over at Thrift Diving. Just waiting now for the weather to warm up a little more so I can work in the garage comfortably. Thanks for sharing. The love shows!
I have a similar set in my dining room waiting for a paint job. (Love those turtle feet!) I totally agree that paint brings the design and look to a new level of style. Mine has a lot of bubbles where hot items were set and left too long. I'm thinking my only option is to do a crackle varnish or similar textured (but flat) finish to disguise the bubbles. Seems like the oak top design is a veneer and I'm afraid that sanding it down will cause the veneer to come apart and peel. Erg - don't even want to go there! Too many bubbles,and some too large, to do the slit/glue fix. Did you have bubbles on your table top? How did the table top react to the sanding?
Thanks for your help,
No, I didn't have bubbles on this one... but I have tried to deal with them before with little success. I think my problem before was using a dark paint. I think if I had painted it a lighter color, they wouldn't have shown so much. You can see that table here.... https://www.myrepurposedlife.com/large-farm-craft-table/
Debbie @ Refresh Restyle
Love the new color!! It all looks great in the new home!
Wow! I was "feeling" it with you and your shoulder on this project. I have really bad carpal tunnel in my right hand and I sweat over projects that end up being more work than I thought they'd be! You did an amazing job on this! I tend to use lots of bright colors in my painting, so those colors would not have been my choice. Your choice was perfect- it looks like it was made for the new owners dining room!!
Bright colors are fun, but they don't sell around these parts. I'm doing a naval project and I'm hoping it will sell.
I'm sorry you have that condition, it makes it tough for us to do what we love.
such a nice finish to the set; and so glad the new owner shared the pic with you. (hope your shoulder is doing ok.)
Thanks! The shoulder will never be right, but it's not near as bad as it was a few years ago. It's nice to put a "pretty" picture on the blog, so yes, I was very happy she sent a photo!
Oh Gail... About 6 months ago, I found a smaller round oak pedestal table w/ 4 chairs at a salvation army that someone failed at refinishing for $19. I wanted so bad. Been wanting one for years! I walked away from it because of all the sanding it would have taken to get it back down to bare wood. I never thought of painting it.(kinda dumb huh?)
In my head, those type of tables shouldn't be painted, but wow...!!! I love how yours turned out! Always regret when I don't bring things like that home... I wanted it for my kitchen table. I guess I'm a bit concerned how durable painting is on something used every day.
As I'm looking around the house, most of my painted items that get a good work out are stained on top. With the exception of my fireplace hearth. It's been years, and it's holding up pretty well. I like polycrylic for sealing and protecting painted furniture pieces.
too bad you passed on that table and chairs....
thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!
Have you tried mixing the acrylic in with your paint? I watched a contractor mix equal parts of both to finish cabinets. I may try that on a test set. I'd like to paint my kitchen cabinets.
He claims it gives a high gloss look (unless using satin finish) and reduces brush strokes.
No... I rarely use acrylic. Although I guess the hot pink I used on Lulu's toy box was acrylic....
Let me know if you try it.
I think she means polycrylic?
Ohhh, Julie-you're right. That makes more sense. I have never mixed a poly product with paint.
Looks great, Gail! That was nice of Paula to send a picture to you to show you how much she likes this piece.