Skip to content

Love the One You’re With…

July 23, 2009

Hopefully no one has felt too neglected in the past few days of no posts. I’ve spent the better part of the past two weeks getting this project together! Sean and I got a hand-me-down dining room set when we first moved into our house. We were about the 3rd or 4th generation to own this particular dining set, so it had certainly seen better days. Not to mention it was less than stylish with it’s 80’s-ish oak coloring and ornate woodwork. Here’s the dining room before:


Don’t you love the orangey glow radiating from the dining room set?

Well…dining room sets are, obviously, quite expensive. Any dining room set that we could even remotely afford would likely be made with wood veneers, which would seem like a step-down from our sturdy, solid wood table (call me a wood snob, but veneer’s just not the same). So I decided to refinish it!

Here’s what I did:

  • I started by sanding the top of the table with an electric sander. WORD TO THE WISE: This is one job where cordless tools are not the best option. I spent most of my time waiting for the batteries to recharge for another round of sanding. I worked my way through three grains of sandpaper (starting with the most coarse and ending with the finest).
  • I thought I was going to stain the top of the table and paint the bottom for a farmhouse effect. The lower part of the table, including the pedestal, was simply too ornate to even consider sanding. Let’s face it, some things just aren’t worth the work in my eyes. However, when I was at Lowe’s the sales guy recommended Minwax Polyshades:IMG_5316While this stuff got mixed opinions online, it’s pretty much a miracle worker on difficult to sand areas (so long as it isn’t lacquered or shelacked). It is both the stain and polyurethane, so you don’t have to buy a can of each.
  • I applied the stain with the brush in the picture, using long strokes going in the direction of the grain. I used three thin coats to avoid globbing.
  • I stained the chairs without sanding as well. It was a somewhat annoying job because of all the angles, but the effort was worth it.

Take a look at the gorgeous, oh-so-modern table that I have now!


I adios-ed one of the pedestals to make it less bulky. The one pedestal is plenty strong. There were two pedestals to accomodate an expansion with a leaf, which I never had.

I decided to move the table from the dining room into the living room. We never really used the dining room as it was because, hey, let’s face it–we’re a young couple who likes TV when we have a casual dinner at home. Besides, it looks super cute in front of our previously awkward fireplace.


So what was the grand total for this overhaul? About $30. I had to buy some sanding discs for the sander (about $10), a brush for the stain (about $5), and the stain (about $15). Remember that reusing the stuff that you already have is not only cheap, but earth friendly. Most things have more potential than they sometimes appear.

So what do you think? Have you ever given new life to an old piece of furniture?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Mom Hill permalink
    July 26, 2009 3:59 pm

    Ah yes….the all consuming refininshing project! The dining room set looks so much more modern, Briana. Did you try it at the other end of your living room as originally plannned?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: