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!



Harvest Table: Refinish

When we moved into the Dream Home, our kitchen table was something we struggled with. The one we had was nice but not our style. We upgraded to a more “contemporary” style with a pretty good find on Kijiji. But it still wasn’t the look we were going for.

We kept the contemporary table and 4 leather chairs until we could make up our minds with that we wanted to replace it with. And with all the other projects we had on the go, it just wasn’t a priority to switch it all around. So we kept our eyes open and waited for a hidden gem.

As you all know, I’m big on Kijiji! I love that site. I watch for great finds all the time. There is a lot of junk and things that are not my taste, but if you keep up with it, there is always some great deals. Someone moving out of town and can’t take their barely used furniture with them, maybe someone who can’t store their treasures anymore. Or, in our case, someone who just doesn’t see the potential.

We picked up this harvest table on Kijiji for $40! It was a terrible orange color, and it was not properly taken care of. There were crayon markings all over it, crumbs and sticky foods. It was a disaster. But a quick trip to Home Depot for some wood stripping supplies and all those flaws quickly vanished. The orange varnish and stain peeled away to reveal some gorgeous wood grain patterns underneath.

Next came a good sanding. This step was pretty much all Dave. Mostly because I didn’t have the patience to get down to the good part. And my arm felt like it was going to fall off from the vibrations of the sander. Look how beautiful she is! No more terrible orange color, all the dents and scratches have vanished. Now, the fun part, picking a color!

We chose MinWax “Dark Walnut” for the stain. Make sure you use a wood conditioner prior to applying your stain, this will keep the stain absorption even. (So no streaks or blotches of any kind). Once you apply the stain and reach your desired color let your surface set for several days to ensure it’s thoroughly dried. Next will be a clear protective coat, especially for surfaces that will see a lot of traffic (like this one).


Furniture changes Everything!

Furniture can be a rooms best friend, or worst nightmare! It’s why staging a house is so important before putting it on the market. Furniture is literally the potential of the room. A 12X12 box can become a bedroom, office, playroom or home gym, based on what you decide to put in it.

Dave and I are both collectors when it comes to furniture. We both had mixed matched, dated items when we combined and moved into our home. We decided there would be no splurging (if we could help it). And that we would upgrade to better things and re use or re finish our older things.

I wanted to quickly shed light on our dining room. We spend every supper hour here together. It also doubles as a coffee date Cafe in the morning, a home office in the evenings after the kids are asleep, an arts and craft area and a dumping ground for shopping bags after a grocery run. It didn’t just need to be pretty, it had to be practical! Check out our before and after furniture upgrade!

Before: This was my grandparents kitchen table. It’s a beautiful wood table, but the traditional style made it an eyesore in our new home. The corner cabinet was a $20 kijiji steal. Our new kitchen is mostly dark wood finishes, and these light wood pieces stuck out like sore thumbs!

After: We upgraded the table to a marble top, dark wood beauty. The chairs are upholstered in a dark brown faux leather. We scored this combo on kijiji for $150!

We replaced our corner cabinet with a long wood and metal decorative shelf that we purchased at Costco. It was a lot more than we wanted to pay. But hubby practically lives at Costco and waited until the shelves were almost gone then asked management about purchasing the display! It was already put together and we took it as is for a fraction of the cost!

I decided to retire the cheap plastic lime slice placemats and create a pop of color with some green glassware items on the shelf. I slowly collected these pieces with a few trips to Homesense. (The green glasses on the second shelf were only $1/each!)

***Stay tuned to see where our traditional table and corner cabinet were moved to***