dining room, diy

Dining Table Redo

Sharing my dining table makeover! In my Dining Room Design post, I mentioned that my Polyvore design board had a Restoration Hardware table that was to die for.

     See? Isn’t it amazing? Unfortunately the price is not in my budget. So, I started searching online for round pedestal dining tables that were similar. I found many options, however what I didn’t realize was that a round pedestal dining table was already sitting right in front of me. It was not the color I wanted, but I knew I could change that pretty easily.

Here is our table before. It’s a honey oak classic from the ’90s and still in great condition. Solid wood (so I thought, but I’ll get to that later) with no scratches, water marks, dents, markings, etc. Overall it was a pretty great table.

      Once Joe was on board with me re-staining the table (he had been asking me to do it for a year or so), I went to Lowes and bought the stain. I did my best at matching the color to the legs of the tufted chairs I planned on buying. It was kind of hard to get an exact match, since I only had a picture to go by. Luckily Minwax has many color options, and color swatches that show how it will look on different woods. Ultimately, I chose Special Walnut, as it was the closest color match. I already had a sander from some previous projects (surprise! this wasn’t my first time refinishing furniture), just needed more sandpaper, sponge brushes, and a mask.
     A few days later, Joe helped me bring the table outside, as seen in the photo above. I actually completed this project at our old apartment before we moved into the new house. The table was already clean, so I got started on sanding it right away.


I love my little sander, but for this project I should of bought a bigger one. The table top had a a lot of varnish or some type of sealer on it (or years and years of Pledge build up, haha) and I felt like I was sanding forever before I was even getting to the bare wood.
      This is so not a picture I would ever be posting, but I wanted to show that clearly I was not enthused. It was about 7pm, hot in the middle of a 100+ degree summer, and I just had to laugh at how ridiculous I looked.
      I moved on to the legs, and they were much easier. BARE WOOD! Unfortunately, I did not take a good before picture of the pedestal, it has a few curves and ridges in it that made it hard to get my sander in between them. But, I’ll share that part a little later.
      By this time I was done for the night, tired and covered in wood dust. The next morning I was up bright and early to start the staining.

First I used Minwax Pre-Stain Conditioner applied with a sponge brush. I’m sure most professionals would never use a sponge brush, but I always have for all my projects and have never had any issues. They are cheap, come in many different sizes, and I just toss them when I’m done. I usually don’t worry about cleaning them for re-use. Also, I’ve never used pre-stain conditioner before but decided it was a necessary step for this project. Because the table top is obviously the only thing really seen on a dining table, I didn’t want any imperfections (on my end) showing when it was stained. I was worried that maybe the stain would not be applied evenly, or I may of not sanded evenly and didn’t want that noticeable.  I let the conditioner dry for about an hour and then started on the stain.

I did not buy a very large can, because I know stain goes a long way. I think I paid $7.99 for a 32 oz can and when I was finished, I still had a half can or more left over.


      I applied the stain the same way I did the conditioner, making sure to go with the grain of the wood. I let the stain dry for about 2-3 minutes and then wiped off any excess with an old t-shirt. I applied a couple more coats – first because the instructions are to do so, and second because I wanted the color to a be little darker.
      Steps 1, 2, and 3. The top of the table was starting to look great. Next, I moved on to the pedestal and legs.
     This part of the process was not as easy as the top. As I mentioned earlier in this post, I was not able to sand down every nook and cranny of the pedestal. There is also a circular disc at the bottom of the pedestal that I planned on painting, once I discovered I wouldn’t be able to sand it. I had some stripper from a previous project and sprayed it on the larger part of the pedestal the night before while I was sanding. This was the result once I applied the stain –


      Horrific! I applied coats and coats of stain and the “wood” would not soak it up. I’m still unsure if the stain wasn’t soaking in because of the stripper I used or because maybe this piece of the table was not actually wood but some type of pressboard. Honestly, I didn’t know. But, I do see now why in almost every pedestal dining table makeover I have seen on Pinterest, the bottom and legs are painted and only the table top is re-stained.




     From every angle, it was just awful. So I decided I would just have to paint this piece as well. I used black acrylic paint applied with a sponge brush, of course. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this process because I was so in the moment about how I was going to fix this, it was all I was focused on. I was worried I had ruined a perfectly good table and would have to end up buying a new one, something I was trying to avoid.  I chose black to give the table more of rustic look, and I also painted the smaller disc at the bottom. Once, the acrylic paint was dry I grabbed some sand paper and sanded down various places by hand. I also dry brushed some of the hard angles and legs with the black paint to tie into the pedestal.
    And just like that I was applauding myself for fixing something that five minutes prior looked so horrible.

By this time, it was about noon and the heat was coming so I decided to go back inside for the day. Later, Joe came home from work and I took him outside to see my completed project.



     And this is what I saw, orange, orange and more orange. I didn’t know what had happened, this morning it was such a rich shade of dark brown and by the afternoon it was screaming orange. Maybe earlier in the morning without direct sunlight, I didn’t notice the orange, but neither did my iPhone camera. Sorry, but Orange is NOT the New Black in this case, lol.


      It was like the table hadn’t changed at all and was a deeper shade of honey oak.  So, I swallowed my pride and went inside to see my old friend Google. I don’t remember exactly what I searched for or how I came across this (maybe Pinterest) but I found a web page that stated oak can sometimes take on an orange color. The solution was black or very dark stain. Well, I obviously had black paint but no stain. So, Pinterest for the win again I discovered “dark washing”. If you are familiar with white washed furniture finishes, it is the same concept but with black paint instead of white. It is basically 1 part paint and 2 parts water, rubbed on with a cloth or brushed on, and then wiped off.
       The next morning I grabbed an old Tupperware dish, some black latex paint from the garage, another sponge brush and some water. I mixed my paint and water and got to work.
      The left side of this picture is with a very light coat of the dark wash, right side without. Once again, it was early morning with no direct sunlight so there was no orange hue to the table. I applied the dark wash in several coats, trying to get as dark of a finish I could without making it look like I just painted the table black.

The black shows darker in some spots more than others, but overall I was very pleased. I then continued the dark wash on the lip of the table, pedestal, and legs. The dark wash tied in nicely with the black dry brushing I already did on the pedestal and legs.


In this photo, you can see a little but of the orange trying to come thru – but I don’t mind it. It’s a little reminder of what this table once was.

     This table was by far my largest furniture project, yet. It wasn’t easy, and there were a few hiccups along the way, that ended up being my favorite part about the table. I’m so happy with how it turned out!

And here it is in our new house! The stain ended up matching the chair legs perfectly. The charcoal fabric is a nice compliment to the painted part of the pedestal.

I love it! In this picture you might notice my industrial styled shelves, I’ll be sure to have a post about those. I did post a picture on Instagram a few weeks ago, and Marshalls regrammed it! I was shocked, it was so exciting!

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4 Comment

  1. Reply
    October 29, 2015 at 11:07 am

    That's great information. Thanks for sharing this blog. I did a search and found your blog and glowing review. It's been a big help! Thanx! toolsadvisors

  2. Reply
    Steven Hunt
    December 3, 2015 at 7:06 am

    Excellent build. Fantastic and simple. I was waiting for something like this and perhaps I will shamelessly copy your design of the table. You can see some woodworking project at my woodworkingbuddy blog.

  3. Reply
    Tom Brady
    April 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Nice blog! I especially read your blog. Thanks! Please share with me when you have new posts. I will wait…

  4. Reply
    Brian Tran
    June 23, 2017 at 11:11 pm

    WOW! The chairs are stunning. What a great job you have done. That fabric was the perfect choice for those seats. Thanks for sharing such nice blog about table topping with us.

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