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Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover

A thrifted banged up dining table gets a quick and simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial shows you how.

There are some mornings when I wake up and my brain says, “You need to paint something today.” Even before my first cup of coffee. I mean… my body isn’t usually as energetic as my brain at 8 a.m., but once it wakes up too, there’s no stopping that need to beautify something.

After a huge list of obligations keeping me from the DIY scene for the past few weeks, I was just itching to get my hands on a piece of furniture. And the first thing I thought of was our dining room table.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

We bought this little guy from Craigslist two years ago shortly after we first moved in, and I always knew I wanted to do something to it… I just couldn’t figure out what. It originally came from Pottery Barn that we scored for $250.

The wood was mostly pretty to begin with, but it had seen better days. Whenever I get stuck in a creative rut, I look around on the high-end home furniture and decor sites to see if I can mimic their looks in my own inexpensive way.

And then one day, I came across this table at Restoration Hardware. All it cost was an easy breezy $1500. Ha! Nope. Not happening. But I finally had the style I’d been looking for.

Supplies Used:  (Affiliate links are provided below for convenience. For more info, see my full disclosure here.)

I avoid varnish stripper like the plague, thanks to a couple of really horrible disasters, so I decided to sand the layer of varnish and stain off of the table top instead.

At this point, I’d been sanding for over an hour.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

And after three hours it looked like this. Thanks for the arm workout, little sander.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

FYI, our dining room had a layer of sanding dust after it was all over, but it was nothing a vacuum and duster couldn’t fix. (This is what happens when I get impatient and can’t wait for Robert to get home from work to help me move furniture.)

Then, the fun part!

I’d used this beautiful weathered oak stain on Olivia’s vintage schoolhouse desk a few weeks ago and fell in love, and I was so excited to turn out even better on this table. This is definitely not a dark stain, but I low how it enhances the wood and shows off its natural character.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

I worked in quadrants by brushing on the stain with a foam brush on one quarter of the tabletop, waiting a minute, and wiping back using a clean rag. Then, I’d move on to the next section.

The right side of the table in this shot is just stained/wiped, the top of the left side had just been brushed with stain, and the bottom of the left side is still bare wood, to give you an idea.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

The stain lightens a good bit once it is dry too.

I heart all of the pretty, subtle light brown and gray wood tones this stain brings out.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

I applied two coats of the stain, following the directions on the back of the can.

Then, the next day, I added three thin coats of polycrylic to keep it all pretty. We’re not all that rough on this table since we only use it on occasion, but if you ever makeover a table that takes a lot of frequent wear and tear, polyurethane might be your better bet.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

I ended up painting the base with two coats in the ASCP Pure White too. I debated distressing the white a little bit, but I left it alone since we already have a lot of other distressed pieces around it.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

Now, our dining room is feeling much more finished. And every single thing in this room was a DIY project (all listed at the bottom of this post), except for this jute and denim rug I just picked up. I kind of love that it has a casual vibe to keep the rest of the more formal furniture in here from feeling too stuffy.

It hopefully distracts from the fact that we have carpet in here too, which I’m not a big fan of for a dining space.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

Hold on a sec… can we just ooh and ahh over how far this room has come in two years?

dining room

My photography has gotten a smidge better too, but we won’t even go there. 😉

I think I’m ready to stain everything with weathered oak now. Who’s with me on this?

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

If you want to check out the sources of any of the other DIY projects in our dining room, here are all of my previous tutorials/sources:

The grand total for this dining room, so far, is $925! Trading Spaces would approve. Sigh… I miss that show so much.

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

I’ve thought about one day putting floor-to-ceiling board and batten in here, but we currently have a bigger job on our plate… like that still empty playroom that’s mocking me right now.

Now that we’re getting into the fall/winter when we have more holidayish gatherings, we’ll be so glad our dining table is looking spiffy. And thankfully the creativity-craving beast in my brain is fed for now.

What are y’all staining/painting/tweaking these days? Got a creative brain of your own that you have to feed every once in a while? Spill!

And if you want to save this post to try out later, you can pin it here:

Weathered Oak Dining Table Makeover | blesserhouse.com - A thrifted banged up dining table gets a simple weathered oak finish for a high-end designer look. This tutorial is so easy!

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112 Comments

  1. Lovely makeover, the colours on the top are so pretty

    Just curious, is there a legal reason why you can’t include a pic of the inspiration piece along with your link to it? I see it’s on final sale now and I’m sure anyone who reads this post in the future will just get a “item not found” dead link.

    1. Thank you! Yes, to be on the safe side, I didn’t include the inspiration picture because of potential copyright issues. It might be okay, but it wasn’t a risk I wanted to take.

  2. Beautiful! I love it! Where did you find the rug? Also the lantern on the table I like it with the small plants in it! Different! Keep the pictures coming. ❤️?

  3. Hi,
    Can this stain be used on builder grade oak? I am looking for ideas on what to do with my 80’s oak fireplace mantel.
    Thanks,
    Deanna

    1. I believe so! But the most challenging part would be in the prep work. Your existing oak would most likely need a varnish/stain stripping job and sanding. But it could certainly be done.

    1. Thanks, Alissa! My mom is the same way. Those inventive mommas are great teachers like that, aren’t they? 😉

    1. Girl I soooo miss it. I’d rush home from school so I could catch it at 4:00 most days. Haha! I love the huge makeovers and all but HGTV and DIY Network need to help out us small-budget people. 😉

  4. OMG I couldn’t love your blog anymore even if I wanted to, but this post is just heaven sent, I just picked up a table last week to replace my dining set (which I already sold) and I have been pining white tables with wood top like a mad woman, so this post couldn’t have come at a better time, I absolutely love how it came out and now I have all I need in one single post. I was even thinking about asking for your advise on the table and picking the chairs. Yayyyyy!!!!!!!!!

  5. WE LOVE THAT STAIN! We bought the same one a few months ago to stain our circular kitchen table my husband built for us and the color it takes on from the wood is just incredible. So warm, but fresh and inviting! I love how your table turned out.

  6. Wow, Lauren, it all flows together beautifully and seamlessly. The denim/jute rug is inspired. Big high-five to you on all the work you put into this lovely room. Cheers, Ardith

    1. Thank you, Susie! I didn’t at all go into this room with a plan but it’s great seeing it all come together. 🙂

  7. Beautiful!!! I love the two toned look with the white and light wood. I just used that Weathered Oak stain on a picture frame and I’m already trying to find something else to use it on…it’s such a neat finish!

  8. The table looks great and has added to the beauty of your dining room. I had never heard of a denim and jute rug, what a find! Nice job!

    1. Thanks, Carol! No, sorry. I need to go back and clarify. I only used the polycrylic on the top. After I painted the base, I sealed it with Annie Sloan Clear Wax.

      1. why would you use the wax on the bottom and not the top part? is it for the compatibility of the stain/paint with the wax?
        what kind of paint did you use for the base? it looks incredible:)

        1. To seal chalk paint (which is what’s on the base), you have to wax it with a clear wax, but wax doesn’t stand up too well on staining dining table tops because of heat from dinner plates and moisture from drinking glasses. Polycrylic is better suited for dining table tops.

          1. It looks fabulous Lauren. I have a pine table that I was going to use ASCP on, including the top. Do you know if you had used ASCP on the top; could you use polycrylic on just the top? instead of the wax? I understand your concerns about the hot plates and moisture.
            So glad I found your blog……love, love, love your style!
            Thank you.

          2. Oh ok. I see what you’re saying. 🙂 Yes, I would use polycrylic on the top instead of the wax to seal the ASCP. Polycrylic also won’t yellow like polyurethane will, so if you are using white paint, you especially want to make sure it’s not polyurethane.

            Hope that helps! Thanks so much for your sweet compliments!

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