What it is about renovating a room that suddenly starts an avalanche of unplanned projects in the surrounding areas? You would think that after tackling a long grueling kitchen renovation that we would take it easy for a while, wouldn’t you?
As we were wrapping up the kitchen, I decided to switch up the artwork in my dining room. I really liked what I had, but there were a couple of pieces that just weren’t the right size for the walls I had them on.
Too big and definitely not enough negative space around either one of them.
Then I found an awesome chippy old cabinet at the flea market for $20.
And I decided to swipe a table that was functioning as a bar in the dining room for my sunroom makeover.
And then it was GAME ON. Switching a couple pictures around turned into 2 major unplanned DIY furniture projects, painting a bench, and a DIY salvage art piece. Once I finish the rest of my projects I’ll share the whole room, but today we’re focusing on….FRANKEN-TABLE.
A little history: my current dining room furniture was one of my all time best thrift store deals. I found the china cabinet, buffet, table with 2 leaves and 7 chairs at a thrift store for $150 for the whole set. I happened to go in during a “50% off the store” sale, so I got all of it for $75. Killer, right?
I didn’t like the chairs, so a friend took them off my hands. The china cabinet and buffet were in decent shape, but the table was not – so it languished in my basement for several years before I gave it a shabby faux finish:
There is nothing wrong with it, I still actually like it, but I think you have to be careful when you put a lot of vintage and antique furniture in one small room – it’s easy to have it look fussy and too formal. The rooms I like best are a mix of vintage, rustic, and cottage with touches of contemporary, so I wanted something a little rougher to balance out other two pieces.
I hate to jump on the farmhouse table bandwagon so late in the game….I have bits of farmhouse style here and there in my house, but I wouldn’t say it’s the predominent theme. But – I did have this stored in my basement:
This is the original dining room table I bought shortly after I bought my house. It’s big, and with the leaf in it seats 10 people. It isn’t a high quality piece and the finish is pretty dated, but with a little surgery and TLC I thought it would make a sturdy base for a rustic DIY table, plus $25 worth of lumber fit nicely into my (non-existent) budget.
Fun story – shortly after I bought this table (along with a big dining room hutch) a family member came over with his passive aggressive girlfriend to check out all the work I had done on the house. She is one of those people who believes that if you don’t spend an obscene amount of money on something, it isn’t worth anything. She looked at the dining room furniture (which I was very happy with at the time) and said,
“Well….these will be nice until you can afford something better”.
Can you imagine saying that to someone? Seriously…
At any rate, the sub standard dining room table served me well for years before I put the faux finish on the vintage table and retired it to storage. It’s been down there long enough that we needed to either make something out of it or donate it.
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The first order of business was to repair one of the corner pieces – it was pretty much destroyed.
We thought we would try gluing it together before attempting a total rebuild, so we removed it, added a lot of construction adhesive and clamped it overnight.
Since the table had a leaf, the base is actually in 2 pieces. We dismantled the whole thing.
And used metal straps to connect the two halves:
We decided to use the pieces from the old table that expanded and contracted the table for supports across the table since they already had holes drilled in them.
Next, we cut the 2×6″ pine boards for the top. My table took 7 of them, plus the 2 end pieces on the short sides of the table.
We used a compound miter saw to cut the wood, THIS is the one we have.
Once we were happy with the top, it was time to paint the base.
I have been wanting to switch out a couple of my dining room chairs for a bench, and I even had an old one in my basement.
It was too long for my old table, but perfect for the new one – so I painted the legs on that too, after using a de-glosser on both pieces.
I did a little distressing with a sanding block:
Next I added a coat of stain. I used a foam brush to get it on the furniture, then rubbed it in with a soft rag. You don’t have to be precise with this method, just slap it on there:
Just rub it in until you like the looks of it.
Finally it was time to stain the new table top. I planned to use Minwax Dark Walnut, which I love and have been using on all my projects lately, but I did a test piece and it looked TERRIBLE in the room. I couldn’t figure out why, until I realized it was clashing with the wood tones on my china cabinet and buffet.
The Dark Walnut has cool undertones and the cabinet and buffet have warm, golden tones. The hardwood floor and window seat do too, so the Dark Walnut just didn’t jive with everything else I have going on. You don’t have to match your woods, but it will look a lot more cohesive if you stick with all cool or all warm undertones.
We headed back to the store and picked up a quart of Minwax English Chestnut, which turned out to be perfect.
The two colors are equally as dark, but you can see that the second sample is much warmer with a lot of golden undertones. Perfect! Always, ALWAYS test out your paint and stain. I would have been crushed if I had ruined this project.
I brushed the stain onto the planks with a chip brush, let it sit for about 15 minutes, then wiped off the excess with a rag. Once it was dry, we assembled the table. Since the support cross pieces came from the old table, this was super simple – it was a just a matter of screwing the boards onto supports.
Once it was completely assembled, I gave it 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic.
We’re really happy with the way it came out and it wasn’t a difficult project at all, even with our limited carpentry skills.
I like that the room immediately looks more casual and relaxed.
I still have a bunch of work to do in this room….I need to decide what I’m putting in the planters on the wall, finish my salvage art project, make some pillow covers, figure out what I want to display on the buffet and wrap up the liquor cabinet DIY we’re currently working on.
But overall…I’m calling it a success! We spent $30 on lumber with some left over for another project, plus the stain. If you have an old table that could use a face lift, this is an easy, budget friendly way to update it.
I’m linking this project up at some terrific blog parties – you can find my complete list of places I party HERE.