A few Springs ago, I decided to refurbish our dining room table. When we got married, we got given a high gloss, dark wood table from someone who was getting rid of theirs. It was a really lovely table, except it didn’t match any of our furniture (and also Ben accidentally melted the gloss varnish one time when ironing a table cloth on top of the table…!)
So I decided to refurbish it to fit in with the rest of our furniture. Firstly I wiped the whole table down and dismantled it. Then I stripped the table and chairs of varnish using varnish stripper. If you don’t want to see the grain and are happy with an opaque finish, I’ve heard you can skip this step and go straight to using the chalk paint. If you do strip the table of varnish, You definitely need to do this outside – this is the messiest job as it’s so gloopy. First paint on the varnish remover and then scrape off the varnish layer with a paint scraper. The table top is really fun as it’s lovely and flat to scrape (be careful you don’t scratch it) but the rest with all the corners and edges is unbelievably boring to remove the varnish from and seems to take forever. I liked the end effect immediately and was tempted to stop at this point (just in case I mucked the rest of it up), but it still didn’t match the rest of the room.
Once all the varnish was removed, I decided to do a two tone effect table with the table top a natural wood, with the bottom and chairs a blue grey colour. I wanted to age and grey the wood on the table top to make it feel a little more “drift wood” looking so do this, I’d heard about using vinegar and steel wool. All I did was put a glass jam jar of white vinegar (from tesco) with a ball of steel wool in it. I let it sit for 24 hours and gave it a shake ever now and then. The liquid was grey with bits of steel wool at the bottom. Then the following day, I painted on the stain in line with the grain of the wood. Here’s the difference before and after.
I then bought some Annie Sloan chalk paint in Paris Grey and painted 2 coats on top of the chairs and table. You don’t need to prime or sand down before but I did both (as I didn’t believe the paint can). I just used basic paint primer and briefly sanded the chairs with sandpaper. If I were to do it again, I probably wouldn’t bother. Chalk Paint leaves a slightly aged, scuffed, textured look. I wanted a smoother finish so added a tiny bit of water to make the application smoother, then I gently sanded it to soften it. I also used some really watered down chalk paint to lighten the grey table top. I just applied this on top of the vinegar stain, waited for it to dry and used some sandpaper to distress it. I finished the whole table and chair set using a lint free cloth and soft wax just to buff and protect both them both.
I bought some fabric from a John Lewis sale and my mum kindly covered the cushions for me.
And here’s the finished table. (I don’t think we reconstructed it very well as it collapsed on our dear friend Avril when she came round for Sunday lunch one time!). 2 years on, it’s still standing the test of time. I probably should re-wax it and restain the table top, but the scuffs kind of match the salvage/shabby chic/antique/aged look.