One of the first pieces of furniture we bought for our house was our 6 foot dining table and 4 chairs to match. We managed to find these in a charity warehouse nearby for a bargain price and got them delivered the next day. The table was a traditional pine farmhouse style table and was very sturdy so we knew it would suit us well. the only complication was that it was a bit scratched up and heavily laden with coats of orange varnish. Knowing in the shop that it was solid wood, I had big plans for this new purchase and so began the largest upcycle I’ve ever done…
First things first, we needed to get rid of all that thickly painted varnish that just didn’t go. To do this we used a sanding mouse and just sanded to our heart’s content in the direction of the grain of the wood. To do the top of the table it took us about 2 hours because it was so heavily varnished. To sand down the legs of the table and the chairs we used sandpaper and a sanding block as a sanding mouse is too cumbersome to get into all the little nooks and crannies of the design.
Once we were happy with the finished look of the wood, we wiped everything down with a damp cloth and let the dust settle overnight. The next step was to paint the table and chairs to bring it up to a more modern standard. As the table was going in our conservatory that has quite an neutral theme, we went for a white chalk paint. White is easy to use as it goes with so many other things and using a chalk paint with a farmhouse table works well as it gives it that used look like it’s had a good life. We decided to paint only the legs of the table and chairs and then the top part of the backs of the chairs so that some of the natural wood came through as it is such good quality. Each section took two coats of paint with about 4 hours drying time in between.
After all the painting was done we varnished the painted areas with a clear matte varnish just to protect the wood from bumps and scratches over it’s life time. I did two coats of varnish on the legs and only one on the backs of the chairs as this area wouldn’t see as much usage. We left the rest of the chairs varnish free to give it a natural look and did the same with the top of the table. The only thing we did do differently with the table top however was that we oiled it with a clear mineral oil to protect the surface. My oil was from IKEA but you can get them in any decent DIY shop. The good thing about these oils is the wood soaks them up and stops the wood from cracking over the years. They are clear so don’t ruin the finish of your furniture and so easy to apply. You just rub it in with a soft cloth and leave it for about 24 hours.
Once this project was finished (after many weekends of hard work) we were so pleased with it. It is such a focal point to the house and everyone who sits at it says it is beautiful and sturdy too. Let me know what you think of the finished piece and whether you’ve upcycled your own dining table.