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.
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.)
- Mouse Sander (I use this trusty sander ALL the time.)
- Course grit sanding sheets
- Safety glasses
- Sanding respirator mask
- Minwax Weathered Oak stain
- Minwax Polycrylic Matte
- 2 foam brushes (to apply stain and polycrylic)
- Several dry, lint-free rags
- Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Pure White
- 1 angled paint brush (This one is my favorite for any and every furniture painting project.)
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.
And after three hours it looked like this. Thanks for the arm workout, little sander.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hold on a sec… can we just ooh and ahh over how far this room has come in two years?
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?
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:
- DIY Rope Chandelier
- DIY No-Sew Upholstered Dining Chairs
- French Provincial China Cabinet Makeover
- DIY Craftsman Window Trim
- Ticking Stripe Curtains
- Jute and Denim Rug (I searched everywhere and Amazon sold it the absolute cheapest.)
- Large Windowpane Lantern
- Shutters (Free from junking in my in-laws’ barn)
- Dishes/silver (Inherited from my great-grandmother)
The grand total for this dining room, so far, is $925! Trading Spaces would approve. Sigh… I miss that show so much.
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: