Asked 2 days ago

How to transform an heirloom table?

PhaedraJeanne MartinNancy Turner


This unique table was my Mom's. I know it as at least 50 years old... I grew up with it. I want to keep it but can't think of how to bring out its 'character'. I don't want anything super modern or just plain old stain either. I want something 'homey' and comfortable -- a nostalgic kind of feeling without looking as old as I It;s in rough shape but the bones are in great shape.

q how to transform an heirloom table
q how to transform an heirloom table
11 answers
  • Cheryl Rambo
    2 days ago

    Sand it down well, then prime, choose a color to match your decor and then either chippy paint or shabby paint it. Since both of those ideas don't need to be perfect the small flaws left will add character. I did this with a very old Victorian dresser and it came out lovely. I primed it then used regular latex paint. I put a spray stain finish on top of finished dresser. It looks like something out of a magazine and it was my first try. Lots of ideas and tutorials on Hometalk. Good luck!

  • It looks like it’s pretty damaged on top. What about painting that and then stenciling over it. You could choose a stencil that fits with your nostalgic inspiration. :)

  • Gk
    2 days ago

    Hello Cindy! I think I would take some stripper and fine steel wool and carefully remove the old finish on the top. Be careful not to remove any finish on anything but the top. It looks as if the finish is worn enough that it wouldn't be hard to remove and using the stripper and steel wool may also take off the black stains. I would stain and poly the top, paint the bottom with chalk paint and purchase some new hardware. You could reuse the hardware by either spray painting or using chalk paint and poly.

  • Jacqueline

    sand down the table and put some lovely old photos of you and your mum and/or old tickets of places you visited together then use the beading as a frame and put a piece of glass in there

  • Reblcant

    Cute table. If you didn't want to refinish it, you could find a piece of marble or stone and place on top of the piece. It would give it a different look with a durable top. Then use a dark colored furniture oil to cover any scratches on the rest of the piece. Sometimes you can find the stone or marble tops cheap at flea markets or have Home Depot/ Lowes cut it for you.

  • PainterNoni

    I think this would be a great piece to either use unicorn spit (after a preliminary coat of chalk paint on the top as a background) could be really adventurous.........use the top for an acrylic pour, then stain the rest of the piece with a nice dark wipe on stain..............OR decoupage a nostaglic napkin or an old piece of sheet music or some such

    • PainterNoni
      31 minutes ago

      Well, first you have to catch the unicorn.........oh, no, really...........unicorn spit is a water based colored stain that can produce all sort of wonderful...........please google it to see all the fascinating possibilities.

  • Emily

    Since you consider this an heirloom and since it did not have any decorative or current trendy style application on it, I would simply refinish the top by using stripper and then gentle sanding and applying a sealer (polyurethane etc). I would NOT recommend doing any gluing, applying, of any extraneous material to your valued table. Just refinish top and you will have a very serviceable piece of furniture that reflects the use your mother put it to.

  • Nancy Turner
    20 hours ago

    I totally agree with Emily. Since this is a family heirloom, I would consider refinishing the table to bring it back to its old glory and not painting it. I have family heirlooms from back to my great grandmother who died in the sixties at 99 11/12. My father lovingly refinished her small desk and other things passed down from their parents. He stripped and stained them all in the eighties and used polyurethane coats to finish them and to this day, they look they were just refinished, even his mom's clawfoot dining table that is used and abused daily in my house. I don't think all these bookcases, desk and tables would mean so much to me if he had painted them, but I love wood and all the various grains that you see more than I like painted furniture, of which I only have one chest of drawers that my mom painted with enamel to have for storage in her craft room.

  • Jeanne Martin
    20 hours ago

    I refinished this table into what I think is homey...maybe you like the look? No distressing as I'm not that fond of it. I sanded and stained then sealed the top. The bottom I painted with Valspar Furniture paint that is My go to paint for furniture. I absolutely love love love the smooth professional look it gives. I added a pic of a close up of the leg to show the smooth finish It is self leveling so no brush strokes. I added a farmey (is that a word? Lol!) cup handle to the drawer for that extra homey look.

  • Phaedra
    9 hours ago

    Before you strip your table or do anything else drastic you might want to try something a little less invasive. Heres a tutorial on using denatured alcohol and laquer thinner to restore your tables finish .

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