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How to Refinish a Dining Room Table

An elegant dining room table makes an impressive statement in any room; it can really set the tone of a space. It’s such a grand piece of furniture and the style of the piece often really reflects the unique tastes of the owner. You may find a quirky table in the home of someone with eclectic style or an opulent table in the home of someone who favors ornate furnishings. Unfortunately, dining room tables are prone to damage from hard dishes, cutlery, hot plates, and general wear and tear from people moving them and bumping into them.

No one wants a beat up dining room table setting the decor tone for their house, but a good table costs a lot of money to replace. Often, the damage you see on dining room tables is quite superficial and can be easily fixed up with some well-placed time and energy. If you have a table that’s seen better days and you’d like to give it a second life, then read on to discover how to take it from a shoddy eyesore to a swanky eye catcher.

Restoring Former Glory

If your old dining room table was a stunner to begin with and you miss its original look, then you probably want to get it back to as close to its beginnings as possible. Start by assembling all of the tools and supplies you’ll need for refinishing. You’ll need to start out by selecting a stain that is closest to the original color of the table (or something different if you want to vary some from the original). You’ll also need sandpaper, a sander (if using), polyurethane, rags, a mask, tack cloth, and stain brushes.

Start by taking off the current finish using varying grits of sandpaper (from coarsest to finest). Once the piece has been stripped you can rid it of dust using the tack cloth. Now, it’s time to start applying the stain. The stain can be brushed on, following the wood grain and then wiped with rags to take off the excess. Adding more coats or allowing the stain to penetrate longer before wiping will result in a darker stain. As advised on HGTV.com, “Apply at least two coats of stain. Depending on the desired color depth and richness, apply more coats.” You may choose to sand the table between coats to keep the wood very smooth. If you do, be sure to wipe it down again with the tack cloth before re-staining. Once the last coat of stain is dry, apply four or more coats of polyurethane, allowing the table to dry for 24 hours or more before using it.

Painted Perfection

There are many ways to give old tables a whole new look. If you love the bones of an old table, but want to give it a funkier style, then painting it a different color may be the way to go. Tables with a uniform stain tend to have a more traditional look, so opting for paint can give a table a modern update. First, you’ll want to choose your paint color. Next, you’ll need to sand your piece, as above, and clean it off to remove the dust. After that, you’ll need to cover all surfaces to be painted with a thin even coat of primer paint. Be sure to wipe up any drips as they occur.

Once the primer is dry you can start with the coats of paint. Making sure to keep your brush strokes long and smooth is important to create the most even end result. Allow each coat about two hours to dry before applying the next. To make the finish ultra smooth, you may even want to sand each layer with a fine grit sandpaper and wipe clean before adding the next. Table tops should get at least three coats, as they see a lot of wear and tear. Once all your layers are on you may choose to add a layer of polyurethane to further protect the surface. Again, leaving the table to dry for at least 24 hours is recommended before resuming use.

The Best of Both Worlds

If you can’t decide on a look or if you’re just looking for something a little more edgy, then the two tone or dipped furniture trends may be for you. If you haven’t seen it before, dipped furniture features a painted portion and a wood grain portion on one piece of furniture. For example, a dining table may have legs that show the wood grain and have a painted top, or vice versa. Alternately, dipped looks have only a portion of the legs ‘dipped’ in a different finish. To create a two tone look, follow the steps above for each type of finish. To give your table a dipped look at the bottom, you’ll need to tape off the area above the section to be dipped. Then, paint (spray paint works well here) the bottom portion.

No matter the finish you choose, take your time. Rushing the process can result in a disappointing end product or a finish that doesn’t last. Be patient and you’ll be thrilled with the outcome.

Author: lacarpet

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