The inspiration struck me to swap our breakfast table around to our formal dining leaving us with a big hole in our breakfast room. Let’s be honest, it’s our most-used table. We use it for much more than breakfast.
While looking for a replacement, one style of table kept coming up over and over again. It was just a matter of finding one in good shape for a great price who could meet on a day I was free for pick-up. You should be able to find this EXACT table locally. I still see them all the time! Look for the gorgeous pattern on the top of the table and the carvings on the side. I wasn’t crazy about the chairs. While they have a great look to them, I’m in love with a set at Furniture in the Raw that I intend to snag some day soon.
First, I set about removing the finish from the top to prep for retaining. The least-damaging option I’ve found is Minwax Antique Furniture Refinisher. With a bit of Steel Wool, some nice gloves, and a drop cloth, you can remove most of the finish from a wooden table in under an hour. The steel wool also helps get into grooves like on the edge of this table. After the finish is removed, I sand again with steel wool to prep the surface for stain.
The table I purchased included it’s leaf. While I didn’t plan on using it, I went ahead and refinished it with the table so if I ever do move it to a larger space (or re-sell it), the leaf is ready to go.
On a heavily-used piece of furniture like a breakfast table, I like to use a penetrating stain. That way, minor surface scratches aren’t noticeable and the finish has a long-lasting finish. I used Minwax in Dark Walnut. Using the Furniture Refinisher doesn’t leave the wood as open to absorbing stain as it would be if it was bare & new, so the stain won’t penetrate as deeply as it would on fresh, new wood. It may take several applications separated by several hours. I use a clean, old t-shirt torn into small squares. A little goes a long way, no need to apply stain in thick coats. I did 3 coats over a weekend, then sprayed on a durable clear coat.
If you’ve read other Remodelicious posts, you may know that I’m generally not a fan of Chalk paints. They never seem to have the coverage or ease of application promised and leave a gritty, streaky, unprofessional-looking finish. I generally prefer to spray oil-based enamels for furniture. This is a rare occasion where I wanted that worn-in look and decided to try yet-another chalk-type paint, although not one of the big ones touted on Pinterest. Instead, I opted to try Rustoleum’s Chalked Paint in Linen White. I have to say, the results were much better than any other trendy paint I’ve tried: better than Ann Sloan, better than other $50/can chalk paints, better than General Finishes Milk Paint… this one is a winner (and they did not give me this for free!).
After 3 coats (I probably could have done 2) and not covering the engraved details on the side, I used a sanding sponge to lightly distress the table base. I’m not a “distressing person”. To me “shabby chic” is a dirty word for “I want to sell this worn-out crap for a premium”. I generally prefer a clean, gorgeous finish… but this one time I felt that the table’s design and intended function (read: daily abuse from kids) warranted distressing. It was a big nerve-wracking trying something different, but it was easy and turned out as expected. I’ve found that the key to distressing is to let go of perfectionism. After distressing, I finished with Rust-Oleum’s Chalked spray topcoat sealer and it was ready to move into the house!
Furniture Refinisher Qt | Gloves | Drop Cloth | Steel Wool | Minwax Stain in Deep Walnut | Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane in Satin | Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint in Linen White | Sanding Sponge | Rust-Oleum Calked Matte Clear Topcoat
You should be able to find this exact table locally if you take some time to look. I love how the engraving lends itself to this look and the way toe wood is laid on the top adds some great interest. Staining is much easier than it sounds. The wood does the work for you, you just wipe it on and wipe off the excess. The rest of the steps also leave a margin for error. The most important is sealing your work, and using spray cans helps keep streaks at bay. Just keep it moving in even strokes about 10″ away to keep drips at bay.