Painted Oak Dining Table and Chairs

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This dining table and chairs were given to me by a lovely senior couple who are friends of my mother.  The solid wood set had gotten too heavy for them to manage, so they asked me to haul it away and give it new life with paint.  

Dining sets take forever for me to re-do.  6 chairs to paint and reupholster, and the table itself.  It can be overwhelming!  So I painted it little by little over the course of 6 months or more.  I really lost track, but a very long time. 

Here are a few shots of what it looked like originally. I really loved the shape of the pedestal, but wasn’t sure about that inlaid wood design on top.  Could I strip that?  Gel stain it darker?  You’ll see the route I ended up taking to keep it simple.

dining set before collage

Resource List

Here’s what you will need to complete this project.  (Please note these are affiliate links from which I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.)

Dixie Belle French Linen

I started with the chairs, painting them 2 coats of French Linen which is a gray-beige color.  It looks different depending on the light, and what other colors are around it.  I distressed lightly around the edges, spindles and details, as well as a light scuff sand over the whole surface to make it buttery smooth.

The small round synthetic brush worked perfectly to get into all the details of the spindles.  I also used a spray mister bottle to thin the paint a little with water as needed.

dining chair upholstery

Next up was upholstery.  Since the existing fabric wasn’t dirty or coming loose, I went right over it.  I purchased 2 yards of this Waverly Volterra Giardino fabric from fabric.com.  I love the little pops of color on the neutral background. 

My electric staple gun wasn’t getting the job done, so I took a little field trip to my father-in-law’s and used his staple gun hooked up to a compressor.  Boom, all 6 seats were done an hour later!

upholstered chair

Refinishing without Stripping

Then I moved on to the table, and painted the base in 2 coats of French Linen as well.  I followed that with some distressing to match the chairs.  Then it was time to deal with the top.  This was the part I was dreading because I just wasn’t sure how to approach that inlaid wood going in every direction.

I am all about refinishing furniture without stripping if possible, so when I saw this blog post from Lost and Found Decor I thought I’d give it a try.  I used all different products than she did, but chose similar ones.

dining table no leaves

There are several steps and products involved in this finish, but still much less work and time involved overall than stripping would be.

First off, if your table has leaves, it is best to put them in when you do the top.  I have done the leaves separately before, and realized my mistake.  It is far more challenging to get a consistent look on the whole top when it’s not put together.

When I added the leaves, I realized my table had little extra supporting legs that folded down on either end.  So I gave those a quick couple coats of paint as well.

Step 1

As a base, I gave the top 2 coats of Drop Cloth, a creamy warm white. This stage was a little scary, but it’s needed as a clean slate for the new finish.

table with drop cloth coat

Step 2

When that was dry, I used Voodoo Gel Stain in Tobacco Road.  I painted it on 1 section at a time using a chip brush, and then wiped it back in straight lines with paper towels.

You can see what this coat looked like on the closer end of the table here.

table with stains

Step 3

Next I took Voodoo Gel Stain in Up in Smoke and painted it on.  This color was a thinner consistency, so I didn’t wipe it back.  You can see what that coat looked like in the back of the photo above.

Step 4

This last coat is what really brought the whole thing together for me.  I put both Tobacco Road and White Magic stains on a paper plate.  Loading my chip brush with both colors, I blended it on with long strokes in the direction of the grain.  I also used my water bottle to thin it a bit and make the blending easier.

The white stain really blurred things out and pulled it together.

dining set close up

Step 5

First, I lightly sanded the whole top with a 220-grit sanding pad to make it super smooth. Then, I sealed the top with 2 coats of Satin Clear Coat.  

I used the applicator pad for the clear coat, which makes it really easy to apply evenly and without brush marks.  It only took about 10 minutes to apply each coat, and I let it dry about an hour in between.

dining table with leaves

If you like this painted oak dining table and chairs, you might also like this old world set I did a while back.  Please Pin, and leave a comment.  I’d love to hear from you! 

Also, if you want a free download of “The Comprehensive Guide to Dixie Belle Chalk Paint: Everything You Need to Know”, click the picture below.  Or check out the full blog post here.

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13 thoughts on “Painted Oak Dining Table and Chairs”

  1. Leanna says:

    Table tops are always a challenge to refinish. Yours looks wonderful. What a nice update to old furniture. Its beautiful and worth all that work.

    1. Shannon says:

      Thank you so much! I agree they are a challenge, but very rewarding when done. Sounds like you have your hands full with 3 bathroom updates; can’t wait to see the results!

  2. What a beautiful transformation! Love your color and fabric choices. I also hem and haw over certain furniture pieces before I can even get started on painting. You did great. xo Kathleen

    1. Shannon says:

      Picking fabric is even harder than picking paint finishes for me! Glad you like it!!

  3. Kim Felder says:

    Hello, I am in need of haven’t by dinette table and chairs painted. It’s a high top table that is a golden oak stain. I am wanting to change it to black I believe but would be open to your suggestions as I value your opinion.

    1. Kim Felder says:

      Oops that supposed to be in need of having

    2. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Kim! It really depends the style you like and the other colors in the room. If you prefer farmhouse, white and black are always great options. Unless you really love to decorate with color, I’d stick to something neutral like that or gray.

  4. Michelle says:

    A very lovely makeover! So many details in the chair spindles, etc. Those details make the set so pretty, but I can see why this was a long project!

    Michelle
    http://mybijoulifeonline.com

    1. Shannon says:

      Yes, it felt like it would never end! Time for some smaller projects now 😉

  5. Pamela says:

    The table and chairs turned out great! What an update!!

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks! Glad you like it!

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