Dining Series – End Result

I can’t even begin to tell you how many hours of labor went into this project. Mostly because I am too scared to add them all up. It was not easy! And I’m starting to see why people simply gave these chairs away, and sold the table for peanuts. So before you decide to dive into a project of your own, here are a few things to consider:

  • Where do you plan on doing this? If you are sanding and stripping a full table in your garage, be prepared to lose it as a parking space. Are you willing to give that space up for days? How about weeks? And what about the sanding? That produces so much dust. Can you set that up outside? Do you have the area to do that?
  • How confident are you in the project? It’s great to want to take something like this on but be sure you have your expectations adjusted. Is it just surface damage and a new color you’re after? How is the structure of the item? There is nothing worse than finishing a project only to find its not what you want! Especially a project that requires this much work.
  • Do you have everything you need? Sawhorse? Sander? Wood conditioners, stains, top coats, etc? It can be extremely frustrating to start a project only to run into a speed bump down the road when you need to stop everything because you don’t have what you need.

Those points are not there to discourage by any means. As I mentioned, it is a lot of work. But if you are willing to put in the time and effort, you could have results like these for about $100. (Furniture = $40, stain, paint and wood conditioner = $60).

We have a wall in our eating area that we were never really sure what to do with. We had a corner cabinet when we first moved it, but it was never used and seemed to close off the space. When we upgraded our table we had a large decorative shelf in its place. But that also seemed to take up a lot of room for something that was only decorative.

So with all the money we saved on our table and chairs we decided to buy (yes buy.. full price too!) an IKEA bench to place against the wall. The thought process was that when we had company, a bench would fit (probably) four kids, and four adults could comfortably take the dining chairs. It also gave me an excuse to have more throw pillows.


The pillows can easily be changed out with the decor over the years if need be. The bench itself is a medium grey (similar to the chairs). And in true IKEA style, the cover comes off fully so it can be washed or replaced with a new one! Perfect for a kitchen and kid friendly. We all know that no matter how careful we are, and kids SAY they are, messes still seem to happen.

Oh, and I forgot one of the best parts… the bench actually opens right up for added storage! When company comes, I can simply lift the top and store my pillows away before eating. You could also store place mats and other table settings that maybe don’t get used on a regular basis.

We have been living with our table and chairs now for a couple months so at this point I can give you a pretty accurate review. The bench has gotten spills and have been so easy to simply wipe clean with a damp dish cloth. The kids did pile onto it for not only one, but two, birthday parties. The table and chairs clean easily with the added top coat. And we have gotten tons of compliments on the finish itself.



Dining Chairs

After our amazing Harvest Table find I was determined to get some wooden chairs to match. I watched for several weeks on Kijiji and had a rough time finding four or more. They seemed to either be over priced or not what I was looking for. But I kept my eyes open in search of another hidden gem.

And behold, luck a second time around! I scored four solid wood dining chairs, for FREE! They were in terrible shape. Lots of discoloration, staining, scratches, you name it.. they had it. If I was going to explore different finishes then these beauties were the perfect guinea pig chairs. If I ruined them along the way, I wasn’t out a penny. It seemed like a great gamble in my eyes.

At first we thought we would just strip and stain to match the table. But upon examination of the wood we realized it was quite different then the table. Now, anyone who has worked with stain knows that different wood types can absorb differently. Colors will also fluctuate between different woods too. It eventually just seemed like a very bad idea. What if we put in all that work and the color is completely off? I opted for plan B.

I decided it might be a better idea just to paint the chairs a color. Make them into an accent instead of trying to match the table. (Which really is a beauty all on it’s own). I’ve used FAT paint in the past so I was immediately drawn to chalk paint collections for inspiration for the dining chairs. I eventually decided on “Fusion Mineral Paint” after helping my sister paint some dining chairs at her cottage. The coverage was great, they were durable and easy to clean, and I really liked the finish. It was a mix between a matte and a pearl (depending on how you looked at it). So I chose the color “ash” and I got to work!

I didn’t have to prep the chairs very much. Just a good cleaning with some soapy water (I used dawn dish soap), and a light sanding to remove some gunk. I decided to leave a lot of the imperfections on the chairs. It gave them some character and matched the harvest table more by being loved and abused a bit.

It took two coats to cover the chairs thoroughly without any of the light color showing through. Once they were dry, I used a spray varnish to seal them and provide a bit more of a glossy finish. Stay tuned for a final post of the whole thing tied together!