Painting Your Dining Room Table


May 2, 2012 by Gina

I completed my BIG project this weekend!  And…it turned out fabulously, if I do say so myself!  I painted my dining room table black.  Brian was gone all weekend for Army reserves so he helped me carry the table into the garage on Thursday night (and yes…we are still married after that).  I started Thursday night and was completely done on Sunday morning.  It really didn’t take that much time but I had to wait in between coats to ensure everything was dry.  All in all, it probably took about 4-5 hours of actual painting and hands-on time.  Here’s how I did it and how you can transform your dining room table or other piece of furniture into something “new”!

The table before the paining experiment!

First I gathered all of my supplies which mostly meant visiting my local Sherwin Williams store.  I wanted a paint that was durable so I opted for an oil based primer and paint with a polyacrylic top coat.  I also bought some additional sandpaper, a new brush, and mini-rollers.  Here is my complete list:

  •  cardboard or a drop cloth for under the table or piece of furniture (sweep your garage floor first)
  •  medium and fine grain sandpaper
  •  Primer – I bought a quart of Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel Oil Based Paint and had it tinted to provide better coverage (you don’t have to use oil-based primer and paint but it is more durable for a piece of furniture like a dining room table that is going to get ALOT of use)
  •  Paint – one quart of Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel Oil Based Paint in Black Satin Finish (it already comes in black so they don’t have to make it up)
  •  Sealer – one quart of Minwax Water-based Polyacrylic protective finish in clear semi-gloss
  • A good brush or two
  • Small, mini rollers for the top of the table and a small paint pan
  • Paint thinner to clean your brushes

During the painting process - after one coat of primer and paint

First, you want to rough up your table’s finish by sanding it.  You can use an electric sander or do as I did, just sand the heck out of it by hand a few times.  You just want to get that shiny finish off of your furniture.  Wash off all the sanded residue, let dry completely and then do one coat of primer or tinted primer depending on the color you are painting the table.  A tinted primer really helps with the finished product when you use a black or red paint because you won’t need as many coats of the actual paint.  After priming, make sure you wash your brush well with paint thinner and let dry completely before using it again.

The next day while Finn was watching television and Getty was napping, I put the first coat of black paint on.  It only took me about 40 minutes.  I used a brush to paint the edges of the table and the pedestal but opted to use a roller for the top of the table.  It produces a smoother finish and you don’t see the brush strokes.  Later that night after the boys were in bed, I painted the second coat of black paint and was really pleased with the outcome.  It already looked like a completely different table!  Between coats of paint, you can just wrap your brushes in plastic wrap and put them in the refridgerator.  Take your brushes out a few minutes before you use it for the second coat so they aren’t so cold!  With this method, you don’t have to clean your brush as often.

Saturday morning, I put on the first coat of polyacrylic topcoat.  It goes on white but dries clear.  You need to brush this top coat on, even for the top of the table or you’ll get little air bubbles all over the top of your table.  I finished the second coat of this top coat Saturday night when the boys were in bed.  After each coat of primer, paint and top coat make sure you inspect the table for any brush bristles that may have come off the brush or any missed spots.  You want to make sure you have a nice finished product!

Sunday morning, I checked the table and it was beautiful!  A bit shinier than I had wanted with the top coat but I also knew that it was necessary to stand up to two small children!  My friend and I carried the table up from the garage Sunday afternoon and had dinner on it with her family and mine.  And isn’t that the point…to have a gathering place for family and friends.  I was so excited about this project because to me the table (and the kitchen) are really the center and heart of our home.  We eat three meals a day here together, not to mention snacks.  We’ve talked, laughed, cried and disciplined around this table and will do so for many years to come.

All in all, the “new” table cost me about $45 in supplies and some time.  I also got four newly painted and upholstered chairs on Craig’s List for $140 and they look wonderful with the painted table.  I learned all my painting skills from my dad who painted in the summer and taught junior high the rest of the year.  I only had to call him once during this project for a quick question.  I guess he taught me well!  Thanks dad!

AFTER - what a great reward for all my work! I love it!

7 thoughts on “Painting Your Dining Room Table

  1. Erica says:

    Now I really want to invite myself over to your house, so I can see this table. Our table is the same “blah” color, and that would be a cool update.

  2. Annie McConnehey says:

    That looks beautiful and brand new!!! Great job !!! I might do this to my table now!!!

  3. Sarai says:

    I can’t wait to see it in person later this week!

  4. Sarah Dass says:

    Gina it looks awesome!!!!!

  5. Carol says:

    ok it has been a year now – how’s the table look? I want to paint my table = which gets heavy use. wondering how it is holding up. love the table and chairs

    • Gina says:

      Hi Carol, Thanks for reading and commenting! Yes, it’s been a bit over a year with the painted table and it still looks great! I do, however, have it covered with a tablecloth most of the time. I have THREE young, rambuncious boys so if it wasn’t covered I think it would have considerable chips and wear. It has been worth it for sure though! Paint away!!

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