DIY Farmhouse Table (aka “Franken-Table”)

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.

Old dining room

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.

old chippy wall cabinet

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.

Do you have a dining room table that has seen better days? Give it a whole new updated look with my tutorial for a DIY Farmhouse 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:

shabby vintage dining room table

shabby vintage dining room table

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:

old dining room table

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.

(this post contains affiliate links. For my full disclosure policy, go HERE)

The first order of business was to repair one of the corner pieces – it was pretty much destroyed.

broken dining room table

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.

broken dining room table

Since the table had a leaf, the base is actually in 2 pieces. We dismantled the whole thing.

old dining room table

And used metal straps to connect the two halves:

metal straps
This was about the time I began calling it “Franken-Table”

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.

table base
And yes, we did eventually get them all pointed in the right direction. 🙂

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.

DIY Farmhouse table

We used a compound miter saw to cut the wood, THIS is the one we have.

DIY farmhouse table

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.

old bench

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.

bench and table legs

I did a little distressing with a sanding block:

distressed vintage table

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:

antique finish

Just rub it in until you like the looks of it.

antique finish on dining room table

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.

Minwax Dark Walnut stain

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.

minwax dark walnut and english chestnut stain

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.

DIY Farmhouse plank table

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.

Do you have a dining room table that has seen better days? Give it a whole new updated look with my tutorial for a DIY Farmhouse Table.

Once it was completely assembled, I gave it 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic.

Do you have a dining room table that has seen better days? Give it a whole new updated look with my tutorial for a DIY Farmhouse Table.

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.

Do you have a dining room table that has seen better days? Give it a whole new updated look with my tutorial for a DIY Farmhouse Table.

I like that the room immediately looks more casual and relaxed.

Do you have a dining room table that has seen better days? Give it a whole new updated look with my tutorial for a DIY Farmhouse Table.

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.

Do you have a dining room table that has seen better days? Give it a whole new updated look with my tutorial for a DIY Farmhouse Table.

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.

Do you have a dining room table that has seen better days? Give it a whole new updated look with my tutorial for a DIY Farmhouse Table.

I’m linking this project up at some terrific blog parties – you can find my complete list of places I party HERE.

Cheers Julie Signature

About Julie

Julie is a serial entrepreneur, marketer, former newspaper columnist, black belt bargain hunter, voracious reader, gardener, music lover, foodie, wino, avid party thrower, hopeless romantic, closet Parrot Head and DIY machine.

  • Lisa Taylor

    Oh I love this table. It turned out beautifully!

  • What a fabulous makeover! Love how it turned out!!

  • Jeanette M

    That looks great! Did you screw the boards together at all, or just to the support? Also, what kind of paint did you use for the bottom? I’m thinking about making myself a similar table and also getting ready to paint a piece of laminate furniture, so have lots of questions. 🙂 I like the idea of the de-glosser. I will look into getting that, tanks!

    • The deglosser works really well, but you want to make sure that your piece is really clean. For example, if you’re working with kitchen cabinets you’ll need to use a strong degreaser first (like TSP), then the deglosser. For anything else, something like PineSol works fine.

      As for paint, I just used regular latex. You’ll probably want something without a shiny finish, either flat or eggshell.

      • As for the boards – I just screwed them into the supports and the base, not to each other and it feels really solid.

        • Mickey Bogdan Seerveld

          How did you screw the top boards onto the base without seeing the screws on the top?

          • Because we used the old table base and supports, they already had the holes for the screws, so we drilled them in from underneath. You just have to make sure you use screws that aren’t too long for your project.

  • Your farmhouse table looks fantastic Julie! Thanks so much for sharing it with our party last week! Take care, Tara

    • I didn’t think I had linked this project up on any parties yet….LOL. But thank you!!

  • Wow – that turned out amazing!! I love when you can make something into something else! #HomeMattersParty


    This table is just gorgeous! I am such a fan of the farmhouse look & to DIY this is awesome! #HomeMattersParty

  • Crystal Mendez

    This turned out really awesome! Julie, you are a genius! I love the look 🙂 #HomeMattersParty

  • Love that table and the bench too. What a fantastic project, and you did a great job. It looks beautiful Thanks for sharing and being a wonderful co-host of the #HomeMattersParty – we love having you on the team! 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

  • J J

    I really love how you’ve redone this table. Beautiful room, and fabulous decor. Thanks for sharing! #HomeMattersParty

  • karyl henry

    Wow, what a beautiful table! Love the colors. And I might…just might…have enough wine corks to do a similar centerpiece 🙂

  • Debra Pashkowsky

    You did such a nice job on the table, it looks great.

  • Sherry Thecharmofhome

    Julie that looks amazing! A farmhouse plank table is my favorite! Thank you for sharing at Home Sweet Home!

  • Sherry Thecharmofhome

    This was great! I will feature today at Home Sweet Home!

  • Keri Roberts

    Julie, your Farmhouse table looks awesome and what a lovely price tag! You did a great job. I’m glad you tested the stain…whew! I really like how you mixed rustic with formal. I can’t wait to see the room when you’re finished. Btw, i thought your old table was awesome too!!

    • Thanks Keri! You know, I was planning on putting the old table on Craigslist, but it’s still sitting in my garage because I’m not sure I’m ready to part with it. #DIYProblems

  • Awesome upcycle! Love how your table turned out Julie! Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight party. Shared See you again soon.

  • Stacey Keeling

    I predict that this post will go far!! Pinning and pinning. 🙂

  • What an amazing transformation. Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful post at Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

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  • Great job on this table — it looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing at Share it One More Time, as you already know we are featuring it today!! 🙂

  • Laura Harrison

    Julie- you are so talented. This table is fabulous!
    Happy TOHOT!

  • Carol Lander

    Julie, I’m laughing because I can relate to moving one thing leads to another and another and another. The table turned out beautifully. Great work. Thank you for sharing at Your Inspired Design link Party.

  • Mary Kalpos

    Julie that is one beautiful table. I am so glad you mentioned about the undertones. Sometimes you know something is not right but you just can’t put your finger on it. The room is coming along nicely. And make sure you banish that girlfriend from your house … forever!!

  • Becky Lamb

    What a great fixer-upper, it turned out fantastically! Thanks for sharing at the Talk of the Town party!

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  • Susanne Leggett Stewart

    I love your table Julie!!! I have been looking for one now for about 6 months with no luck unless I want to spend a couple thousand dollars!! I am trying to talk the hubby into making us one 😉

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