Updating a Bar Height Dining Set

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If you’ve got a bar height dining set, or any dining set, that needs updating, I’ve got you covered today!  A friend of a client reached out to me to paint this beautifully-made oak dining set.  I hesitate a little with dining sets because they are a ton of work, but since there were only 4 chairs and not too many spindles, I took the job.

bar height dining set before

Kim’s preferred décor style is farmhouse and most of her house is white.  She wanted this set painted black for contrast, so I chose Dixie Belle’s deepest black, Caviar.

 

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If you want tons of information on Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this Comprehensive Guide post, and you can download it free here by clicking the picture:

Painting with Caviar

After cleaning the set really well with White Lightning, I gave it all 2 coats of Caviar.  I did a light sanding in between coats with a very fine sandpaper.  Using my mister bottle and paper towels, I wiped it all down before starting my second coat. 

One tip I have for painting spindles is to paint them the short way around instead of the long way with long strokes.  You get fewer drips, and it also seems to get the job done faster for me. 

I painted the stools assembled, but toward the end I had my husband take the tops of the stools off the bottoms so I could paint in between there.  When you are eye level with them, you can see right in that gap, and I wanted to make sure everything was covered.

4 bar height chairs

Sealing Black Paint

Sealing black paint is tricky!  I have tried liquid topcoats and hemp oil, but it’s still a struggle.  For this set, I decided to try black wax.  It still requires a bit of elbow grease, but the end result is worth it. 

I applied the wax with a natural bristle brush, and immediately spread it out and buffed it in with an applicator pad.  I chose the applicator pad for its lack of lint.

Then once I had wax applied to a whole chair, I went back and buffed the heck out of it with a dark t-shirt.  It is very important to use a dark t-shirt and not a white one.  Again, avoid lint at all costs! 

After letting the chairs sit for a few days, I buffed them once more with a finishing pad (or very high grit sand paper).  And then I finally had that beautiful wax sheen that you just can’t get any other way. 

table with leaf 3 chairs

I sealed the table legs and apron with wax as well.

Sealing the Tabletop

While I could have just waxed the top, I really prefer liquid topcoats for durability on tabletops.  Again streaks can be an issue, but I have some tips for you. 

Mix a dollop of Caviar into the satin clear coat.  Stir it well.  Apply it thinly with the blue sponge or applicator pad.  Don’t overwork it!  You can use a synthetic brush, but the pad is extra insurance against brush strokes.

I decided to add black wax on top of the clear coat to give the top the same look as everything else.  That’s the beauty of Dixie Belle products! They are water-based, so you can use them all together in any order.  

table top with leaf

Lastly, I distressed a bit around the edges.

Look at how gorgeous this set turned out!  Very farmhouse and modern, and Kim was able to re-use her well-made pieces.

dining set distress detail

If you liked this project, you may enjoy these as well:

Painted Oak Dining Table and Chairs

Dining Table Makeover | How to Achieve an Old World Look with Paint & Stain

Vintage Dining Set Refresh

As always, if you learned anything or were inspired here, Please Pin!

dining set pinterest
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15 thoughts on “Updating a Bar Height Dining Set”

  1. Rachelle says:

    This table with chairs turned out beautifully. Thanks for all the tips about Dixie Bell products.
    Visiting from Piece Past time link party.

    1. Shannon says:

      You’re welcome, Rachelle! And thanks for your kind comments. xo Shannon

  2. Ann Butler says:

    Thank you for participating in our linky party!

    1. Shannon says:

      Of course! Thank you!

  3. Meg Daves says:

    We are so excited that you participated! Thank you for sharing your creativity!

    1. Shannon says:

      You’re welcome! Thanks for hosting!

  4. Thank you so much for sharing! Your project is absolutely darling!

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Beth!

  5. What a great addition to our linky party! We are so happy to have you!

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Laura!

  6. Such a fabulous upcycle! I’d love for you to share at our Creative Crafts Linky party https://creativelybeth.com/creative-crafts-linky-party-3-join-in-the-fun/
    Have a great week!
    Creatively, Beth

    1. Shannon says:

      Just did! Thanks!

  7. The table looks great! I have a table that definitely needs a makeover. I’m just not sure what color(s) I want to paint it! Anyhoo, thanks so much for sharing at the Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Link Party!!!

  8. LISA says:

    You did a beautiful job! It can come to my house 🙂
    xo Lisa S

    1. Shannon says:

      Thanks, Lisa! It looks simple enough, but it sure is more work than it looks like! xo Shannon

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