Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My amazing kitchen table and chair transformation!

I love how so many people have taken their light oak tables and 'easily' transformed them into the Pottery Barn like beautiful black table. So, when I saw this oak table on Kijiji for $20 I knew I had to buy it! Well, that was a year ago and I been living with the ugly oak table and even uglier reddish lattice back chairs since then. After spending countless hours researching and getting no definitive answers on how to paint a table without brush strokes showing, I decided to just do it.

In all my excitement, I forgot to take a before picture of the table...but this is the same table I have:
I got these chairs over 10 years ago (during the "I am still poor after University" stage of our lives) at a local Grocery Store for next to nothing. But they are comfortable and sturdy...here is the before of the chair:

It is pretty embarrassing that I lived with those pieces of furniture together for as long as I did. For an extra dose of embarrassment, I will show you how disgusting the chair seat cushions were (this isn't even the worst chair). Remember, I have two kids and I can blame every spot and stain on them :)
I knew when I recovered these chairs, it had to be with a washable fabric.

Method for the table:
I took the table top off and sanded it and the base lightly in the garage.  I started with a rough sand paper and got finer. I didn't take off all the shine, I just roughed it up and got rid of any scratches.
I cleaned the table top and base with TSP and brought them back into the kitchen and placed them onto a tarp.
I then primed the table top and base with the Zinsser odorless oil based primer. I put on 2 thin coats with a high density foam roller and those cheap foam brushes for the hard to reach places. If there were any rough spots, I lightly sanded them. This product is AMAZING! I used it inside the house and it had hardly any smell. It went on so much easier then I ever expected.

Once the primer was completely dry, I left it for 24 hours just to be sure, I started painting the table black.

I used the Valspar Satin paint in Black (I forgot to take the picture of the can before I painted with it). This product comes pretinted so it is a nice deep black. It is a water based, roll on paint that goes on really thin but sticks like spray paint. I loved that I could still see the grain of the wood through the paint. I did 5 thin coats of this paint, allowing it to dry 8 hours in between each coat of paint. I used the same type of roller and a good brush for the edges.

A piece of advice to anyone wanting to do this: The hardest part for me was not to touch the paint before it dried. I would see a small imperfection and I would want to touch it up and fix it immediately. This makes it a million times worse. So let flaws dry because you will probably not notice them later or you can always lightly sand in between.

Here is the after of my beautiful table..can you hear me oooohhing and aaaahhing :) :
I struggled with roller marks but after every coat they got a little better and as the paint cured they diminished even more. I am still toying with the idea of putting one more coat of paint on and maybe doing a top clear coat. But we will see.
So on to the chairs. 
I had no intention of painting the chairs because they were so ugly but when I priced out some nice leather ones, the cheapest I could find was $150 per chair. What is the point of being frugal with the table when I am spending $600 on chairs? So I thought what would be the worst thing to happen if I paint them and they don't work out...I have to buy chairs. What I planned to do anyway.

I didn't sand the chairs at all. I took off the seats (4 screws) and primed with a roller and small foam brush.
 I painted them with the same paint and foam roller that I did the table with. These were far more forgiving than the table because there were far fewer smooth surfaces. But they turned out amazing.

I bought 1 1/2 yards ($20) of outdoor fabric (both stain and water resistant) for the cushions and my loving husband recovered them one night I went out and he was home alone. How sweet!

Here is the amazing after photo of the chairs:
Don't you just love the fabric!!!
 I wish I did this a year ago...can you believe it?

Cost: $10 for the primer, $10 for the paint, $20 for the fabric and everything else we had on hand.  $40 for a NEW kitchen set!


  1. oh my gosh.
    this is phenominal!
    good for you!
    that's a lot of work, that we can all just read about in 30 seconds, but you can SEE how much work went into this, so KUDOS! great job. You should be proud.

  2. So glad I saw this. I have been bugging my husband about letting me do this (it is his grandfathers table...no antique). He cannot envision how it would look so thanks to you I can show him a pic. Great job.

  3. Wow!! What a great job! I have a kitchen table almost the same wood color and I dont like it. I have been debating about what to do with it. You have answered all of my questions! Thanks so much I have to try this.

  4. Awesome job! Im actually in the process of the same thing! Except im staining the top and painting the legs. The fabric you have is super cute too! Love it!

  5. Wow I seriously love that fabric, and you can't even tell that is the same table and chairs. Amazing job. I love your blog.

  6. They look great! I especially love the fabric you chose!

  7. That is just amazing! What a difference paint can make! What a nice husband you have to recover them for you! Great job!!

  8. Looks GREAT! That must have been a ton of work but they came out amazing!

  9. Wow! I LOVE THIS!!! I have been wanting to reform my kitchen table and chairs. You make it look so effortless. I'm feeling the fever again, lol!
    I really thank you for sharing this~ I can't wait to transform my kitchen table and chairs. :)

  10. that looks great, and the fabric is fab! so glad you did this, you should be super proud of the way it turned out!


  11. That is fantastic! It looks so sharp. Great job!

  12. amazing. great job

  13. I think it's funny how furniture hasn't really changed - if we buy things that aren't "faddish" - just changed colors!! This is such a great post about just that!! Great job!

  14. Excellent! I painted a table this summer and love it, too. Yours look wonderful.

  15. These look awesome!

    I gave you a blog award!-you can pick it up on my blog at http://cupofdelight.blogspot.com/2010/12/blog-award.html

  16. It looks WONDERFUL! !! You did a great job!

  17. Love the new look. A wonderful transformation! Terry

  18. Wow...great transformation!! :)

  19. Amazing transformation. Paint is a wonderful thing, isn't it? ;)

    Thanks for linking to my party. I look forward to seeing what you link up each week.

    Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

  20. Amazing! You should be so proud! What a HUGE transformation!

  21. Shut up! You'd never know it's "before" state was so plain. I'm sure you're thrilled. Thanks for linking :).

  22. Love it!! I think the black makes the details show up better. I painted a cheap set for my formal dining room black with stained top and just love it! Great job!

  23. You did a great job transforming the table. It looks like a million now. Come over and link up at my party at iheartprettystuffs.blogspot.com

  24. Wonderful job! We did the same thing a couple of years ago but my hubby used his spray gun. Extremely fast and easy. You may want to splurge err invest in one. You can do so much more painting in half the time :) and no brush/stroke marks.

  25. That's great! my Dad has a similar table...time to start convincing him we need to paint it, and buy new chairs. lol

  26. What a transformation. I recently painted my table black too but it's no where near as elegant.

  27. EEEEKKK!! I love this!! I've been putting off this project myself... but now that I have a little break for the holiday's this will be on my list!! I LOVE THE fabric!!!

  28. Wow it looks great! Totally bookmarking this site because I plan to do this within the next couple of weeks. I'm currently painting my kitchen walls and cabinets white and the table will go black. It looks almost identical to yours. Question: I've been using the TSP on all wood surfaces, only....it doesn't seem to do anything...am I using it wrong? Am I supposed to scrub harder? Cuz when I'm done, there is still tons of shine. Only sanding gets the shine off. Ideas? (amiedanny@msn.com)

  29. Great transformation. I saw someone use clear vinyl that you can buy by the yard at your local fabric store on the kids chairs. You just put it right over your fabric and you can wipe anthing right away.

  30. LOVE this...i have been wanting to do this to my dinning set. I do have a question for you...how is it holding up regarding scratches and knicks? just curious....

  31. Stunning!!! I am on the hunt for table and chairs! You have inspired me!!!

  32. I. LOVE. THIS.

    I have this exact table. Did you end up putting a top sealant coat on it? How is it with cleanup?

    I have been wanting to do this to my table for YEARS. Thank you for the inspiration.

    Love your blog!

  33. Hello Amy,

    Thanks for your comment.
    I did not put a top coat on but I am going to. It has held up and wipes down extremely well. When the weather warms up I am going to give it a really light sand and one more coat of paint (just to freshen it up) and then a top coat of sealant. I think it need a little more shine to it just to make it look professionally finished. Plus with two kids, the table needs all the protection it can get.

    Thank, Stephanie

  34. This looks great. You did an amazing job. I recovered my kitchen table chairs too. You can check it out here. I love your blog btw.


  35. Love love love the fabric you chose to cover the chairs. I have a similar table and chairs and am looking for a duralbe fabric to cover the chairs with.

  36. Wonderful job! They did the same thing a couple of years ago but my hubby used his spray gun. quick & straightforward. You may require to splurge err invest in. You can do a lot more painting in half the time & no brush/stroke marks.

  37. I have been checking out a few of your article stories and I must say pretty clever stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog. Thank you very much.

  38. I just book marked your blog on Digg and StumbleUpon.I enjoy reading your posting. thank you very much.

  39. Such a well versed blog, glad to see these are still around.

  40. I am SO glad I found this blog!!! I have almost the same exact dining room table and I HATE it. I've been wanting to paint it forever but I was too afraid of "ruining" it. You've given me the little push that I needed & I'm going to start this tomorrow! Thank you thank you thank you so much!

  41. So I have a question about this...after you do the black do you need to do a clear finish on it? It is an eating surface & is going to be spilled on & wiped down, so what would you recommend putting over this to protect it & prevent chipping & stuff?

  42. I found you through Pinterest and I love, love, love your blog! Thank you for this tutorial-I have wanted to do this for so long, but have been nervous to attempt it-you have now given me the courage. I am a new follower..maybe I should be honest and state that I will be stalking you, LOL!

  43. i am excited just reading about your success....i am going to start straight away on my very old table and chairs, cant wait to get going, no matter how i do it it will have to look better than they do now....wish me luck....and thank you for the "push" to get going

  44. This transformation is out of this world.!!! Great job and technique.


  45. Fantastic a girl after my own heart. If I can get it free even better!!! Im gonna subscribe to you.

  46. Do you make house calls? Beautiful!

  47. Do you think this could be done in antique white paint?

  48. Beautiful!!!..I'm so going to paint mine now. You said that you used an oil based primer then painted it with a water based paint, didn't it peal? I ask this because i've made this mistake before and it pealed off in sheets. If you use an oil based primer you need to use an oil based paint. For some reason if you do it the other way around(water based primer then oil based paint)it doesn't peal

  49. Where did you find the fabric for the chairs? I have a set that desperately need to be covered but cannot find any fabric for them?

  50. these are beautiful. I painted my cabinets this summer and decided it was time to re-do the shelf paper inside...I found a black and white pattern very similar to your seats at Target...just in case you want another little project!

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