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Old new table – DIY restoration and renovation

If you have an old dining table that is dear to you as a memory, or you just want to save reasonable money on buying new furniture, then you have an interesting job as a restorer or decorator..

Keep in mind that restoring a kitchen table with your own hands is not the easiest thing and, in some cases, not justified, because not every table can be repaired, and it is better to entrust antiques to professionals. But more often than not, the right “upgrade” can bring your old friend back to life and transform him beyond recognition..

In what ways can you update the table?

Kitchen table renovation and restoration ideas

To upgrade your kitchen table with your own hands, you can use one of the following proven technologies:

  1. Traditional painting – we will consider this method in detail in a step-by-step master class.
  • An interesting way of decorating and painting furniture is painting through tulle – the table top is painted through it, and a lace pattern is formed according to the principle of a stencil.

Table dyeing through tulle

  1. Ceramic tiles will allow you to decorate a dilapidated, badly damaged countertop and make it more practical – you can put hot on such a surface and wash it in any way.

Refreshing the table with a mosaic

  1. You can update the old table using decoupage technique. We will also talk about him in more detail..

Decoupage table

  1. An easy way to modify the table with your own hands quickly and on a budget is to paste over it with self-adhesive film.
  2. Burning out will renew the undamaged wood surface.

Master class – 6 steps towards a new life

In this workshop on simple do-it-yourself dining table restoration, we will update, repair and repaint such an old veneered table with a moderate number of defects..

DIY table restoration - before and after

So, to update your kitchen table you will need:

  1. a sander or sandpaper of coarse, medium and fine grit, as well as glasses, a respirator and gloves;
  2. alkyd enamel paint of the desired color (or another desired coating, for example, wood stain), as well as a flat, non-fading paint or art brush;
  3. wood primer and small roller / brush for priming;
  4. wax paste or varnish.

Step 1. Inspect and repair parts

We carefully inspect all fasteners in the structure and defects of the countertop – how much the veneer has delaminated or the wood is damaged.

DIY table restoration

If the table is a little loose, then you just need to tighten all the screws. If it requires a more serious restoration, then you need to completely disassemble the table, re-fasten all the parts, or clean and sand all the grooves and joints so that the new glue better grabs, fix the glued parts with clamps or self-tapping screws, and then remove them after 15 hours, when the glue is completely dry.

  • Sometimes the underframe needs replacing, not only because its parts are badly dilapidated, but also because the legs can completely transform your old table. For example, if earlier the legs were simple, now you can replace them with beautiful carved balusters..
  • When disassembling furniture, do not forget to mark the installation location of each of the parts, so you will not get confused and will cope with the task faster..

Step 2. Remove the old coating

Now put on your safety goggles and prepare 2 types of sandpaper: coarse-grained for the initial processing and fine-grained for smoothing. Get ready for long and laborious work – removing old paint or varnish is not easy.

Table restoration - the stage of removing old coatings

Step 3. Close up cracks and chips

After grinding, we thoroughly clean the table from dust, inspect the table top and look for defects. Keep in mind that even the smallest damage will be visible after painting. All chips and cracks must be locally repaired with wood putty or polyester putty, and then the entire surface must be sanded again when the “patches” are dry.

Restoration of veneered kitchen table top

On a note – covering the table with stain:

  • if the tabletop does not have severe damage, then you can not hide the natural beauty of the wood and cover it with stain, and then varnish, shellac or wax. The photo below shows an example of a restored table with a stained top in the color “Bleached Oak”.

Staining effect of bleached oak

Do-it-yourself table update with bleached oak stain

Step 4. Primer and sand again

We continue to work. Now we need to not only clean the table, but also degrease it. And after the table dries out, we proceed to the primer. This stage is mandatory, since without it the paintwork will lie unevenly and quickly be damaged. You can use an alkyd or shellac wood primer. In this master class, a universal alkyd primer Zinsser Cover Stain (pictured below) was used, which dries in just 1 hour, protects the tree well and prepares it for painting. It costs about 500-600 rubles, but is not sold everywhere. The table can be primed in 1-2 layers using a small sponge roller, while each layer should dry completely.

Table restoration - priming stage

When the primer is dry (within 1 day), sand the countertop again with an emery cloth or a medium-grit sanding sponge to smooth the primed surface and prepare it for painting. And don’t forget to put on your respirator again!

Table restoration - grinding of primed surfaces

Step 5. And now we start painting.

Water-based alkyd enamel

It is very important to choose the right paint and its color. Avoid cheap paints, because this is a dining table, which means that the tabletop should withstand frequent washing, wiping, bumps, and more. In this case, a premium water-based alkyd enamel paint with a satin finish is used, but you can opt for a more sustainable acrylic-based enamel. Also, be fond of choosing a quality brush so that it doesn’t fade in the process. A large flat art brush is great, not a paint brush.

The paint must be applied in 2 thin layers, while it is better to leave the finishing layer to dry for 3-4 days.

  • If you chose a dark paint color, then it is better to apply it in 3 thin layers;
  • To create scuffs in style shabby chic the paint can be sanded in some places, for example, at the ends of the table;
  • Also, to create an “antique” effect, the table can be patched.

Step 6. Apply a protective coating

Varathane polyurethane varnish

As we said, you can protect the table surface with a varnish such as a water-based matte polyurethane (pictured on the left is a great varnish from Varathane). It should be applied evenly in 2-3 thin layers, lightly sanding each layer before applying the next layer of varnish. Of course, all layers must dry completely before sanding (4 hours).


The second option is protection with wax, which will make the countertop matte and can be rubbed to a shine. To do this, the wax must be rubbed gently into the wood with a cotton cloth, then let the first layer dry for at least 1 hour. After that, polish the surface in a circular motion, and repeat the procedure 2 more times within one day. Well, now, be patient and leave the table for 1 week, so that the surface has acquired the necessary performance properties..

Well, that’s all – the restoration is complete and the old table has found new life in a trendy white color..

Do-it-yourself table restoration - the result

And here is another interesting video from the program “Cheap and Angry” on the topic of tabletop restoration at home from improvised means.

Updating the countertop with decoupage


If you do not want to be satisfied with what has already been achieved, or your table does not have serious damage, but just needs a small update, then you can decorate the table with drawings: paint it with acrylic paints by hand, use stencils and stamps, or update the table using decoupage. Perhaps, we will consider this very popular decor technique in more detail, because decoupage will not only allow you to budget and quickly transform the table or, for example, stylize it like Shabby chic (as in the photo below), but also hide some defects of the dilapidated surface.

Kitchen table decoupage - Shabby Chic style ideas

To update the table with your own hands using decoupage technique, you will need:

  • acrylic primer and acrylic paints – if desired;
  • putty for beige wood;
  • sander and sandpaper of varying grain size;
  • rubber spatulas;
  • flat and artificial artistic brushes;
  • matt or semi-matt varnish for wood;
  • decoupage napkins or decoupage card;
  • scissors;
  • PVA glue or special glue for decoupage.

What is needed for decoupage wood

Decoupage decor can be started either after priming and sanding (see step # 4 above), or after painting and varnishing. Then you should choose a picture – it can be any image on paper or table napkins, as well as special rice paper for decoupage.

First, markup is performed, lightly marking with a pencil the places where the images will be located. Put the cut paper image “face down” in a container with water and keep it for half a minute. Then the soggy image is laid out in the same way “face down” on a polyethylene file, and all excess paper layers are rolled off. Then the picture is carefully coated with glue and attached to the tabletop. The file is not removed – through it the image is smoothed as much as possible.

Diy table decoupage

The surface around the pictures is decorated with paint. The final stage of decoupage is varnishing with acrylic varnish. After three days, the varnish will dry out and the table can be fully used.

Finally, a selection of photos for your inspiration..

Diy table decoupage - idea

Decoupage of the kitchen table - bright ideas

Decoupage of the kitchen table - floral motives

Decoupage kitchen table - ideas

Decoupage kitchen table - vintage style ideas