DIY Dining Table Makeover

Seven years ago Brent’s sister and her family were moving back to St. Louis (Boo). So we were able to buy their dining room table from them (Yay). We had a glass top table at the time with stone pillars that I loved but it was not kid friendly, it wasn’t adult-friendly as I had hurt myself on this table many times before. Since Paxton was only months old, their table was a perfect addition to our home.

As you can see the table was in pretty good shape when we received it. The picture below was taken just months after getting it.

But over the years, this table saw a lot of activity!

Here are a few pictures taken over the years. You can slowly see the wear, the love, and how the table got to where it is today. This table has been through a lot. If only a table could talk!

It watched Paxton grow from a baby into a toddler…

It supported baby sister when she came home…

It cheered on many arts and crafts projects…

It held the cutest little pumpkins I have ever seen…

It sat through endless conversations over coffee and hot cocoas….

More crafts and painting…

So many holidays with new and old traditions….

Not just hours, but days of Lego building…




And best of all, the many family meals with loved ones…

You can see now the love and wear this table has endured over the past 7 years. I got tired of covering it up when company would come over. I couldn’t even look at the table any more! I had to do something and I saw project written all over it! Sure, we could have bought a new dining table, but where would the fun be in that!

To say this project challenged me would be an understatement! The only other piece of furniture I have ever redone was Mahlias dresser which is now our kitchenette. I have never stripped, stained or used an electric sander before! But what did I have loose, I surely couldn’t make it worse that it already was!

There was a lot of trial and error, google searching and talking with the friendly Home Depot and Menards Associates on what products to use. Everyone has different opinions. I found products I love and products that ended up being a waste of time and money.

Here is how I completed the table, and what I learned in the process:

I started with the chairs. I bought a can of Ebony stain for the chairs which ultimately did not give me the look I wanted. My instinct from the get-go was to paint. I ended up buying Canyon Black spray paint. I loved this color and how they turned out! Here’s the before and after picture.

To protect the chairs I found a Polycrylic in a spray can. I thought this was brilliant since I was not a fan of Polycrylic after my kitchenette project. I sprayed several layers on the chairs and they still felt rough and unprotected. Great, another product that didn’t work!

I also spray painted the table legs and walls. Here is the before and after.

The next step was to strip the top of the table. Never having done this before I was nervous, but I found this feeling was normal with each new step I did for the first time. In this step, I again tried a product that did not work. I bought a spray can of Klean-Strip Premium Stripper Aerosol. I went through the entire can and barely removed anything! I headed back to the store where I picked up a can of Klein-Strip  Strip-X Stripper. This stuff was amazing! I left this product on for about 15 minutes, then I used a plastic scraper and watched the top layer peel right off!

Here is the table with the stain stripped off.

Next it was time to sand and get an even surface! With no one around to show me how to use an electric hand sander, I of course called my Mom for a pep talk, threw on a pair of safety goggles and prayed for the best!

I didn’t want to gouge the table but I eventually found the right amount of pressure to removed the carved triangle in the table top (I’m not going to point fingers, but it was on Paxton’s side of the table…just saying) and I got the smooth finish I was hoping for!

Here’s what it looked like after sanding!

It was suggested to keep the table top like this. I did love the different wood variations and I think it would have looked awesome as it was, but I am not sure it would go with my kitchen and the look I had in my head.

Staining was the next step. I went with a red mahogany. I was not able to get past this step without the constant image of Will Ferrel in my head and his famous “I’m kind of a big deal” Anchorman line.

I found this to be the easiest step in the whole project! The key was using a terry cloth sponge!

Now for the last and my least favorite part…applying a protective coating. I feel like I’m ruining my furniture with this step since I always get the brush strokes when applying. I used Polycrylic on the chairs and Polyurethane on the table top. The nice Home Depot Associate recommended I try a lambswool stain applicator brush. I tried it and immediately called it a game changer as it gave me a smooth application. So I spent $15 on brushes so I could also finish my chairs. Soon after, I learned that the lamb hairs from the brush were left behind dried into my table. So I had to sand the table again and try to remove the lamb hair but I couldn’t remove all the marks left behind. Since the terry cloth sponges worked so well with the stain I thought I would give it a try with the polyurethane. It wasn’t ideal due to the liquid it absorbed but it gave me the smooth finish I was looking for!

As you can see I did the final protective coats inside the house. The weather was so beautiful we had all the windows open to ventilate.  The garage was way too dusty for this final step!

I can nit-pick and be a bit of a perfectionist so after about 5 coats of poly, I had to finally call it “good-enough”!

I am completely happy with the results and it felt so good to accomplish something I have never done before!

I love the mirrored look of the finish!


Product List

If I were to do this project again, the following list would be my go-to products. I wouldn’t waste time on anything else!

Of course I had to buy new seat cushions and placements to protect all my hard work!

Before and After









I loved this project and I love even more that I am finished with it!

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