Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Kitchen Table - Shabby to Chic!

Years ago, we purchased a table for a space in our kitchen.  It has served us well and over the years the chairs went from white, to blue, to green.  

Over time, both the table and chairs took a pretty good beating.  The kids carved into the paint on the chairs and the table chipped badly ... and it wasn't a good kind of chipping.  Whatever paint was used by the manufacturer was very brittle and came off in chips like this.  An ugly mess.

Refinishing it was on my list for years, but I only now got around to doing it and really even deciding HOW I wanted to refinish it.  I considered doing it the same way I did my dining room table, but in the end I decided on a more distressed, sort of weather worn finish.  

Step 1:  Sanding.  Lots of sanding on the table.  I love my Rigid orbital sander for this, but even then, it was a tough messy job getting through that thick layer of paint.  

Here it is fully sanded except for the pedestal which was in pretty good shape.

Step 2:  Whitewashing.  I used about 2:1 paint/water mixture and applied it with a brush.

Then, I wiped it off with a sponge.  

Step 3:  Distressing.  Next I sanded the table all over to get even more depth with the finish.  This is where I started to feel like all the work had been worth it.  SO much better than the chipped mess from before.

Step 4:  3 Coats of Polyurethane.  I used oil poly because I think the finish is more durable, but water based is fine too.  Table complete.

Step 5:  Next came the chairs.  I went back and forth trying to decided what to do with the chairs.  I thought maybe I would just paint them from this spring green to a solid white and I even started to do it but I wasn't happy with how it was looking.

 I opted to strip the chairs since my dad told me how EASY it would be to strip the multiple layers of paint compared to sanding.   

This was a messy job.  No matter how careful I was, I seemed to manage to get the stripper on me, but I did the best I could.  Here are the chairs after they were all coated with the paint bubbling up.

After only a couple of hours, I could scrape the paint from the seat past 3-4 layers of paint and down to bare wood on the seat, but the rest was a pretty good mess that didn't come off well at all.  Even where it did work well, there was still all this goo to contend with.  

Eventually, I moved back to the sander once the majority of the stripper was off and the chairs were dry.  In the corners I did the best I could sanding by hand.  This was a long, hard job and it took several days - much longer than the table.  After the chairs were stripped, I applied the whitewash, but did not remove it with the sponge as I had the table.  I wasn't getting the same effect.  Instead, I just sanded the chairs after the whitewash was dry which was pretty much as soon as I had finished applying it.  It dried fast.

I could have stopped there, but while these were outside, we were using our dining room chairs and noticed that the finish of those chairs, which I'd distressed with stain, looked great with finished table so I decided to go a little further and use the walnut stain as I had previously.  

I just applied it and quickly removed it with a rag.  You have to move fast though because the stain doesn't give you a lot of time to work with it.  After this, I did a little more sanding to get the look exactly how I wanted it.

For the chairs I used a spray polyurethane just for convenience sake and to avoid all the potential drips.  After a couple of coats, I was finally done.  

I could not be happier with the final product.  

It blends great with our kitchen island and it's so nice to sit at a beautifully finished table without all those dings in the top.

I'm not sure about the dark cushions, but with kids, they're good for now.  I'm hoping to find a nice cream or pale pattern eventually.

My advice if you want to tackle a project like this - 
1.  Get a sander and lots of 80 grit sanding disks.
2.  Take your time.
3.  Enjoy the results!

Linking to the Home Sweet Home Party.


  1. That is a fabulous finish you got on it. I love the gloss it looks great! Thanks for joining Home Sweet Home!


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