DIY the French Country Look on a Budget

10 Materials
1 Week

If you’re into DIY, but working on a budget then you NEED to be stalking Facebook marketplace and your local swap pages. I had been looking to change up the feel of our dining room decor, and really had my heart set on a round pedestal table with a gorgeous detailed base. If you’ve looked into purchasing a dining table with any sort of character then you’re well aware they can cost a small fortune. Diligent stalking of the marketplace let me to a table with a gorgeous base for a cool $75. SOLD.

diy the french country look on a budget

diy the french country look on a budget

The top needed some SERIOUS work, but that base made my heart skip a beat. Having never stripped a piece of furniture in my life, I naturally chose to tackle this piece as my first project.

Here’s a list of the supplies I used.

  • Citristrip
  • Saran Wrap
  • Stripping pads
  • Plastic Scraper
  • Old rags
  • Drop cloth
  • Sponges
  • Gloves
  • Bleach ( I used regular Clorox)
  • Liming Wax

I did my late night Pinterest browsing a.k.a. "research" and found that Citristrip would be the best option to limit the use of harsh smelly chemicals. I purchased both the liquid as well as the spray and got to work.The table originally had a leaf that was now missing and a split base. I dismantled as much as I could to get access to the most surface area possible. I painted the Citristrip onto the top and base using an old chip brush, then used the spray can to get into any nooks and crannies. Multiple DIY-ers recommended covering the piece with saran wrap and letting it sit overnight (shown on the left side of above image).

diy the french country look on a budget

This was the aftermath of an overnight Citristrip "masque." It quite literally resembled something that would come out of an oil filter. I almost threw in the towel at this point, but I had too much invested. I scraped off as much as I could with a plastic scraper, then scrubbed with the 3M stripping pads and a little bit of water. I did a final wipe down with mineral spirits to get any remaining residue off.

diy the french country look on a budget

After TONS of scrubbing and scraping I was left with this on the top.

diy the french country look on a budget

and this on the base.

diy the french country look on a budget

diy the french country look on a budget

The top still needed some sections repaired. I filled in any substainal missing wood and rot using JB Kwik Weld putty and wood filler.

diy the french country look on a budget

A portion of the top had been broken off at one point, and poorly repaired. A removed that portion of the top, sanded down the old glue and reattached using my Kreg Jig for extra stabilizing.

diy the french country look on a budget

For the bleaching process I simply wiped the surfaces down with 100% kitchen bleach. Be sure to do this outside for ventilation purposes, and use protective gloves. Doing this on a sunny day will speed up the drying process. I bleached with six coats and was left with the lightened wood look you see here on the right. After sanding down with 220 grit sandpaper I applied the Briwax liming wax (shown here on the left side for comparison).

diy the french country look on a budget

diy the french country look on a budget

Once everything was reassembled I was left with this beauty! The French Country look on a budget. This was a very time consuming process, but the end result was so worth it. You can see even more after images as well as instructions over on the blog!

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
13 Spectacular Ways To Display Your House Number
15 Pieces Of Furniture That DIYers Built From Scratch
17 DIY-Inspiring Kitchen Backsplashes
14 Cool Ways To Upholster Chairs That You Can DIY
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
17 DIY Decor Ideas To Get The Party Started
These Upcycling Ideas Will Blow You Away!
13 Spectacular Ways To Display Your House Number
31 Coastal Decor Ideas Perfect For Your Home
Craft Organization Ideas Mom Will Love
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
30 Fun Way To Brighten Up Your Backyard This Summer
21 Totally Terrific Things You Can Do With Doilies
Jessica @ The Martin Nest

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 10 questions

Join the conversation

2 of 77 comments
  • Carla Seltveit
    on May 25, 2019

    Try denatured alcohol, it will pull all the lacquer off and bring up the dirt from deep in the wood. However you need to have a lot of air, not a winter job. Mask, gloves, paint brush, steel wool, lots of rags. Lay the denatured alcohol on with a brush let it sit until you see gummy like appearance. Use a putty knife or an old metal spatula to scrap off the goop. Continue the process until you get the tone you want. I did a whole 1890' house. with bad rot on the window seals and it did a great job. But caution, if you don't wear heavy duty gloves and your skin will burn. Do not inhale the denatured alcohol ever.

  • Sue
    on May 28, 2019

    Oh my,beautiful.I just love the legs.Great job.

Your comment...