How to Upcycle a Dining Table

By Natalie 19/04/2022

How to Upcycle a Dining Table

A complete home makeover plan rarely sees execution; and that’s alright, because fortunately, little tricks can help breathe new life into a home. For instance, upcycling the dining table can change the appearance of your dining room well within your budget. We have put together a couple of ideas that you can explore to upcycle the dining table and give it a classic makeover.

Also, upcycling an old dining table can lead to finding some classic difficult to find pedestal dining tables and similar tables.

But first, remember that the material of the dining table plays an important role while refurbishing it. If it’s made of treated wood, it will need a good sand and a primer run before you start painting. If your table is made of untreated wood, go all out!

Bare it down with bleach.

Everyone thinks about painting and staining when it comes to upcycling or refurbishing wooden furniture, but the easiest alternative is: “to bleach”. The wood is pared down - all the lacquer, varnish, paint, and any discolouration, staining and watermarks gained in its past life removed completely giving it the natural wood feel and look. Bleaching the dining table can also produce a more trendy, contemporary looking table which can look very scandinavian inspired - minimalist restored look.

Handling bleach, a highly potent chemical should be done carefully. Also note that it is environment friendly. You would definitely need a good set of gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes from the harsh chemical. Once bleached to your desired effect, the dining table can either be painted to your liking or waxed to retain the bleached wood look.

Create magic with paint

Painting the dining table really transforms the furniture and uplifts the entire room. You can either choose one colour, or go for a two-toner. A grey paint wash on a conventional wood colour tabletop with white legs and chairs will be quite interesting if the space around the dining room reflects the same colour palette. The light shades of the furniture will make it stand out and brighten up the room. Add a vase of fresh flowers or greens for a pop of colour to make it look straight out of a décor magazine.

You can also choose to paint the tabletop black and the rest of the table white to give it a funky transformation. The table blends well in a room painted in light shades.

Another way to experiment with different colours is to retain the oak finish for the tabletop and paint the table legs in bold colours. The combination of the subtle with the bold is quite a farmhouse vibe.

If you are a beginner DIYer with paining furniture, these tips will help you get started:

  • Choose chalk paint if you are a beginner; it’s fairly easy to use. But if you are painting treated wood, stick to primer and emulsion.
  • Paint in one direction to ensure a smooth and clean finish.
  • Start off from the not-so-important parts of the furniture and then move on to the main sections.
  • Apply polyacrylic coats over the paints for protection. Water-based poly works well with chalk paint and is more durable than wax. As a rule, stick to the same finish for protective coats as the paint to ensure a consistent look.

Elegant stencil art

Stencil art is a great way to give an old piece of furniture a vintage touch. There are many patterns you can choose from – mandala, paisleys, boho, damask, and more. With stencil art, it’s all in the details and accuracy; so, basically you need a steady hand and loads of patience!

Acrylic craft paints and latex paints are good choices for stencilling on wood. Pick up the right brushes so the paint doesn’t bleed under the stencil. Clean the brush dry before you dip it back in paint.

If brush painting seems too tedious, choose spray paints. Do short, quick sprays on the stencil to prevent bleeding and remove the stencil once the paint is completely dry. Keep the paint layers soft and thin for better results and quick drying.

As a last step, seal the table with varnish to protect from scratches, spills and stains.

Tiles are trendy

Another great idea is to use tiles to spruce up an old dining tabletop. There are so many options – colours, sizes, patterns and shapes – you can go wild refurbishing your table with tiles. If tiles are too shiny for your taste and need something muted but and neutral in colour then concrete dining tables are a wondeful option. They also features texture and unique and natural design on the table top.

Start by sanding out the irregularities of your furniture; the table should be clean and smooth, without bumps or scratches. Besides tiles of your choice, you will also need tile glue, tile spacers and tile grout for this DIY project. You could even just use peel and stick tiles – this lets you change the tiles often for a makeover. But remember, they would not be as durable as the regular ones.

Tiles are pretty resilient when it comes to moisture and spills. Nevertheless, applying a coat of waterproof sealer can protect your table and ensure the grout doesn’t erode.

Top with accessories

Sometimes all your dining table needs is a nice centrepiece. Decorative bowls, pottery, dried or fresh flowers or foliage, candle stands and even quirky table runners can do wonders to your old dining table.

Upcycling your furniture can be quite a daunting task. It requires patience and good humour, especially when things don’t go the way you would have liked them to. Accept that DIY projects do not have to be perfect. Or… just call in the experts!

All said and done, when your dining table is finally upcycled, the feeling of satisfaction and joy is immeasurable. Give it shot if you have an old table handy.

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