An Easy Way to Bring the Farmhouse Touch to Your Home – Our Dining Table Makeover

Confession:  I introduced a series several months ago here on this blog and then never added any projects to it!!  Where in the world does time go!  Thankfully, the delay has been because our business has really taken off and we have been super busy with projects.  Sorry that I let this ball drop but I am picking it back up today!

Here is our dining room.  You might remember it from the Home Tour post.  Be sure to check out that post – it shows the open living area that includes the dining and living rooms and kitchen.  We really love the wide open space it provides when all of our family is here.

We bought the dining set about 20 years ago brand spanking new from a furniture maker in North Carolina that also sells to a local furniture store.  It is solid oak, has 2-24″ leaves (only one is shown) and we have 8 chairs, 2 of which are captains chairs. The finish is literally applied and then heated so that it will stay protected.  I can certainly attest to the finish!  It has lasted through our family of five, their teenage friends, countless family dinners, homework, crafting projects….you name and this table has experienced it! The oak was stained in a dark tone and I love the contrast it has with the natural colored oak wood flooring we have.

As much as I have loved this table for 20 years, I was looking for a change.  When I first mentioned the idea to my husband, well let’s just say he wasn’t thrilled with the idea but I think he loves it now.  I wanted to lighten up some of the wood, but not the whole thing.  Contrast is so necessary in home decor to add dimension and texture so I decided to paint the table base – the legs and apron – not the top.  He was relieved 😉

The first step I took in prepping the the indestructible finish was to use these 3M Moderate Stripping Pads.  They are a nylon version of steel wool and much easier on your hands.  They are pretty rough and they did a great job of knocking off the shine. I completed this project in our dining room so I put down large pieces of a cardboard box under each leg.  That helped with clean up and also saved the floors from the paint.

Here is a before and after of one of the legs.  You can see the beautiful grain in the wood.  Oak is such a gorgeous wood!

Afterwards, the finish was dull and chalky looking.  I didn’t spend a lot of time on this step but I was sure to remove most of the shine.

I used a small stainless steel brush in the groove that runs the length of the apron of the table all the way around (not to be mistaken for a tooth brush – they are about the same size 😉  I gave the table a good vacuuming with the shop vac and then wiped it all down with a damp micro fiber cloth.

While the surface dried, I mixed my paint. General Finishes is one of my favorite paints.  It is not a true milk paint but the quality is outstanding.  I decided to mix two colors – Snow White and Linen – so that if my walls were ever painted white, the table would still look nice in the room.  Currently, the room is Lovely Buff by Valspar (I think) so the Linen will look nice as well.  An empty Talenti cream container (mint chip to be exact!) was used for the mixing and I used approximately equal parts of each color.  I had to do some guess work here because I didn’t use measuring cups and I also had to mix enough to cover the area I would be painting.  If you custom mix your own colors, be sure to mix more than you need.  Trust me, you will never get exactly the same color again!

These little chip brushes are so nice!  I realize some of you might cringe that I am not using a name brand, fancy paint brush but honestly these brushes give the look I want.  I love the brush strokes because in my opinion, it adds to the farmhouse feel. Sometimes a couple of bristles might come off while painting – no problem – just remove it as you paint!  And if you miss a bristle after the paint is dried, they come off very easily and add to the distressed feel of the piece.

After the first coat was put on, I let it completely dry.  You can see the brush stokes in the images below.  The paint goes on so nice that you can even see the grain of the wood! I love milk paint on oak!

Each short end of the table has a drawer so I was sure to paint the drawer fronts after removing the hardware.  I was also sure to paint the apron on the extra leaf that we usually store in a spare closet.  Leaving that out would have made for an awkward looking Thanksgiving table 😉

And here it is after the second coat of paint.  I lightly distressed it with my knife – only catching the high points and edges.  After the distress mess was vacuumed, I applied one coat of General Finishes High Performance in Flat.  It provides added protection and a smooth, flat finish which is my preference.  You could always use a clear coat in a satin finish if you want a little more gloss.

You might be wondering why I didn’t paint the chairs.  Well, I just might!  Since we have so many chairs with lots and lots and lots (you get my point) of spindles, I might paint the captains chairs only 😉 Still trying to decide that one!  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

This is such an easy and fairly quick way to add the farmhouse touch to your home.  It looks beautiful without painting the chairs and would be equally as beautiful if the chairs were painted.  This transformation took only about 3 hours not including drying time!  By the way – I remembered to add the hardware to the drawer fronts after I took the photo 😉

Thanks for reading this and I hope it helps you to add the farmhouse look to your home!  If you do a similar project, be sure to tag me on Instagram @reinventeddelaware.  I would love to see you project!!

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  1. Patti Donophan says:

    Your table looks great with the contrasting colors, I would never have thought of doing this! I love this look and the updated table really adds a lot of character to your dining room….

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks so much Patti! The table just needed an update – kind of like getting a new haircut 🙂