How to Paint a Dining Room Table & Chairs! Makeover Reveal!

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I teased my dining room set makeover in the dip into color post, now here is the full reveal including how to paint your own dining table and chairs tutorial!

This DIY is my most ambitious project to date, it was a lot of hard work, a lot of late nights and a lot of wine.  (Thank you, two buck chuck, or else this project would have been SO expensive) 

I LOVE my new dining set and it was worth it, but I was unsure of my ability and terrified all my work would be for nothing!

When we left Hawaii, we sold our IKEA dining set; we had it for years, it was good to us, but with the move, I wanted to makeover areas of the house (and name brand furniture sells at a premium on Hawaii Craigslist).

We moved to Ohio in November and I began pinning inspiration.
Thanks to a pin from Lonny Magazine and my girlfriend who liked the pedestal table the best- the hunt began for a pedestal dining table.  The pin is very modern, which was not what I was looking for, but I knew I could paint it a shabby chic/vintage look.

Four months and $75 later, this beauty came in our lives:

The chair hunt did not end until May, I had been looking for two months and my daughter’s 1st birthday was coming up in June- my goal for the dining set to be complete.  My next step is to find lighting options, which I am checking out at Hinkley Lighting!  
So, I finally found a set of 6 chairs for $24 (Craigslist again) and figured that at $4 a piece I would just paint them for her party and get rid of them when I found something better.  I liked the chairs, but I did not LOVE them.
So, naive, am I… 
Stripping, sanding, priming and painting 6 chairs is VERY VERY VERY time consuming.  
My best friend banned me from using the word “chair” in conversation I complained so much.
So at $4 a chair it was a great deal that will stay with us forever =) (They are quite beautiful chairs, it just was not exactly what I was looking for)
The before chairs:

Multiple washcloths (I am messy)
Plastic Scraper
Good quality brushes (avoids brush strokes)
Foam brushes (this helps avoid brush strokes & allows you to get in the hard to get places easier)
Dropcloth/Old Sheet
Chosen Paint
Safety Supplies-
Sanity Supplies-
1/2- 1 Case of wine
Loving husband or friends willing to listen to complaints
The helpful people at Lowe’s (No, I am not affiliated, but I could not have done it without their paint section employees!)
First Step- 
Clean the surfaces and decide your method of stripping.  I chose to chemically strip, because of all the little crooks and nannies I did not want to use a handheld sander.  Personal choice- some people rock the sander- I am not one of them.
Follow the instructions on your stripper- I used Klean Strip Green (1st time using it, worked well, but do not have much experience in this area)
Second Step- Remove Paint
Once the stripper is on, leave on for 30 minutes (or the amount your bottle states), check if the paint will easily come off with a sponge or washcloth. If it does not, leave on longer and check periodically. 
If it does you can proceed to scrape or rub off.    The table had to be scraped, the chairs only needed a wipe down, it depends on the paint/varnish of the piece.
Also, be safe when using a chemical stripper or sanding.  Removing old paint can bring up quite a lot of crap you would not want to breathe in!
DIY Laurel- (They should do a DIY Barbie!)
Third Step Priming:
Priming is a fun step if you are painting your set white, because you get a tease of what it will look like!
Priming is also easy- paint a light coat on surface, dry for at least 24 hours.  
Now, you are ready to paint!
Step Four- Paint- I painted three coats on mine, but use your discretion and paint as many or as little as needed.  I waited at least 24 hours between each coat.  

Note: The sandpaper wedge comes in handy during Step1-4.  Sand away imperfections during stripping, priming and mistakes when painting.

Step Five- Protectant- 
I had no idea what to do here and started googling.  Since it is a kitchen table, it will get a lot of use, so I wanted something that would help me protect all my hard work!
I found one of my favs- Young House Love had instructions.  (I wish I found earlier because they go through whole process) 
Apply a thin coat of the protective finish, wait until completely dry & apply another coat.
YHL recommends waiting 72 hours to 5 days for it to cure.  I went the extra mile and waited a week because I was terrified of anything happening, lol.
YHL has more detailed info on the protectant, including alternatives- I did everything they said to do– Thank you so much YHL!
And here is what I ended up with:
What do you think?  
I really love it! All the hard work was worth it! I get so happy every time I walk in the room and make my husband stand there with me and just stare at its beauty.
P.S.- I just created a Facebook Page for A Bubbly Life– I would love for you to join me there!

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  1. Hi Laurel: My first time to your blog, and wow–nice work on the table and chairs–they look gorgeous! Take care, and have a great rest of the week!

  2. GORGEOUS!! Love, love, love the white with the dipped blue legs. I did a dipped stool(sounds so gross) for my Pinterest Challenge:

    But I definitely did not need as much wine, lol.

    • Laurel says:

      Thank you Tanya! I love your stool (wow, that does sound gross, lol) It is so elegant! I am SUCH a wuss with color- 4 inches of blue is about all I can handle right now, lol!

  3. These turned out beautiful and I love all things white:) Awesome job!

  4. It looks SO beautiful, you've done a great job and boy it sure DOES look like a lot of work!


  5. WOW… Absolutely GORGEOUS!!!! My dining table is up for another paint job, you've given great suggestions!

    Would love for you to come link up at the heart&home link party! happy thurs!

  6. This was so awesome, I shared this today on my blog as a Favorite Project from the Summer Pinterest Challenge!

    Check it out. 😀

    Can't wait to see more!

  7. vicky says:

    This is gorgeous!!!!!!!

  8. Dropping by from SITS!

    Fantastic job with the table and chairs. It really looks fantastic!

  9. Feisty Tapas says:

    That looks absolutely gorgeous, I find this kind of task really daunting, I've never been very good at any crafts or DIY. You have done such good job. Now, what are you going to impress us with next? Off to Facebook to like your page now (came by via SITS)

  10. love! love the photos and the running commentary of how much wine you drank. having gotten in over my head on some DIY projects, i can relate. but wow, that's a beautiful result.

    • Laurel says:

      Hi Susan! Thank you so much! Yes, I should avoid these over the head projects in future or my liver may suffer, haha! Thanks again!

  11. Brandi says:

    Beautiful makeover. I love the dipped legs on the chairs. All of your hard work paid off!

  12. Kacey says:

    Hi there! Stopping by late from SITS sharefest. Your tutorial is so timely because I've been thinking about painting our dining room table and had no idea where to start. The project still scares me but I hope to get the courage to do it this year. I really would like to do white too but not sure how well the color would hold up with 3 kiddos.

    • Laurel says:

      HI Kacey! Feel free to email me with any questions (my email is located under Follow A Bubbly Life) The task is more time consuming versus scary!

  13. Libby says:

    You did an absolutely fantastic job. And trust me, I know how much work you put into this project because I just finished refinishing a chest of drawers with those nooks and crannies. And I didn't have any wine! lol Feel free to check it out on my blog: You have a great blog! 🙂

    * stopping by from meryINK

    • Laurel says:

      I love your makeover Libby!! Yeah, it was quite a daunting task, I love the result though, but need a furniture makeover break for a month.

  14. so glad I found this tutorial!! I have a set that I'm redoing for my craft room and was really unsure where to begin. Now I know where to start….and what to drink!! :0) Awesome!!

    • Laurel says:

      Hi Kealy! Please contact me if you have any questions- if I am able, hopefully I can help, I am new at this tutorial thing 😉 my email is on the right hand side of the page in the top corner!

  15. Kimberly says:

    Beautiful! I love the dipped feet!! Such a simple way to add color! And also easy to change if you ever wanted to. I love it!!
    Stopping by from the CSI Project.

  16. Jae says:

    Fabulous job. The set looks wonderful. I have an oak pedestal table that I found for free that needs a similar treatment.

  17. I love the center table as well as the dining table of yours. The dining table is rare now.

  18. Schweitzer5 says:

    Beautiful Job! I have a couple of questions…I am currently working on what appears to be the exact same table!! I am painting it black and just finished the 3rd coat. I was wondering if the grain still shows through or if paint and clear coat created a smooth table top? Also I was wondering if you sanded between coats of paint and/or clear coat. I did a similar project 6 years ago and my scary little memory cannot recall the final steps in regards to the sanding.

    • HI! Thank you so much for your comment 🙂
      My grain does show through, but it was also my desired look, so I did not look into it further. This is also why I chose not to sand between each coat (I only sanded bits and pieces to do some marks on purpose). I like the "shabby chic" look so I did not want a full gloss top. I have seen black gloss tables before, so I know it is possible!! I am sorry I could not be of more help!

  19. Jenn says:

    This is AWESOME. And I am in LOVE with the dipped legs!

  20. barb says:

    This turned out so beautiful! I love the sanity supplies. Made me smile!

  21. Anonymous says:

    You need a real respirator!

  22. Love it! Would you be able to share the name and type of white paint that you used for this project?

  23. Holly says:

    Hello! I'm about to embark on the same project. Thank you for the step by step guide. The one thing I wanted to ask is whether you had any suggestions on what paint to use. A lot of "pins" suggest using Chalk Paint, but I find it really expensive and not widely available in Canada. Any other suggestions?

    Thank you!

  24. Robin says:

    Hi Laurel,I just searched a DIY dining room table painting and couldn't be any happier that I ended up here. Just tonight we picked up the same table and five chairs (not lovin them) for $30 on craigslist my new best friend. Your DIY tutorial is going to come in helpful so Thanks…I can't wait to check out everything else you have here.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Love this so much. Would love to do white but hubby doesn't.

  26. DIY Save says:

    The paint job turned out stunning. And you make it sound so easy! What a transformation. Just because something is real wood doesn't mean it should stay natural.

  27. Wow it's amazing how much a paint job can help! The set looks great!

  28. Jamie says:

    It looks great! I'm currently planning my own DIY dining table and chairs and am curious how yours is holding up after a year of wear? How about the chairs and table top surface specifically?
    I'm also considering using and primer and paint in one. Have you worked with anything like that?

    Thanks and good luck with upcoming projects!

  29. Hi Jamie! There was no reply email, so I hope you come back!

    Mine is holding up, although I definitely have to clean it more since it is white.

    I have used Primer & paint in one and it has been great!
    I did not for the table, since it was such a huge project and I did not want to risk anything going wrong. (I was being overly cautious)

    I used paint+primer in one on this project-
    No problems and it has been over a year!

  30. Larissa says:

    Hi! Stopping by from Hometalk and love your job. I have a pedestal table set I will be working on for my shop and am so glad to see what you've done for inspiration. Keep up the good work! :o)
    Larissa ~ Prodigal Pieces

  31. amanda fischer says:

    This has helped me SO much. I'm about to do the same to a yellow oak pedestal table – only paint it black. This was the extra jump I needed to start it! 8 month old twins at home and if it's not easy or mapped out – we don't do it. LOL

  32. Luann Combs says:

    You did a fabulous job, not only do you have a beautiful table and chairs for a little money, but you have dramatically increased the value of the set! Great going!!!!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Can you tell me what type of protective finish you applied on the top of the table. I'm currently at the 2nd coating of paint step. Wondering if I should put a glossier coat on as mine looks kind of dryish and dull. I think!I bought polyeuthethane but I'm kinda scared to use it and don't want to sand (again). Thanks!

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