Refinishing Our Dining Room Table

6 Materials
6 Hours

Refinishing this dark wood dining table is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I loved this table, and it’s color, when we first bought it over 8 years ago, but it just didn’t look right in our home anymore. Especially after I painted the walls white and painted the hutch blue and this thrift store piece blue too. I wanted the table to be more Coastal looking. This table is located in our dining room, which I admit we don’t use that often, but it is the first room you see when you enter our house. So, I really wanted to see if I could lighten it up. It took a lot of time and hard work, but I am so happy with the result. Here is a step by step on how I did it.

Step 1: Stripping the paint…

The first thing you need to do when refinishing a piece of furniture is strip off as much of the old paint as possible using a paint stripper. I used Citristrip which is less harsh smelling and more environmentally friendly than your traditional paint strippers. I tried a new technique on this piece. First, I applied a very thick coat of the stripper, then covered the entire table in plastic wrap. Then I let the paint stripper sit overnight to really let it soak in. Once the plastic was off I began to strip the paint using my scraper. I had the table outside and it was very hot and humid so some of the Citristrip dried up under the plastic wrap, but I was still able to strip off a good amount of the stain. I did have to reapply it and re-scrape several stubborn areas.

Make sure you are wearing safety googles and gloves when scraping the paint and discard the paint into a tin can. Once you are done stripping the paint off, you need to apply some Paint Stripper After Wash or Mineral Spirits. I used Klean-Strip since I had some in the garage. This product essentially removes any paint residue left from the stripping process. To use, follow the instructions on the back of the can and make sure you wear gloves and safety googles.

Step 2: Sanding…

Once again, please make sure you wear a mask and safety googles if you attempt this. You DO NOT want to get any dust in your nose or eyes. Thankfully, we have a hand sander which is a MUST when refinishing furniture and it is awesome. However, it is very messy and very noisy.

The sanding process took A LONG time. Approximately 4-5 hours total. It was hard work and the dust gets everywhere. But, it was worth it for me. I just love the way it started to look once that dark stain was gone. I was pleasantly surprised by the wood underneath. Here are some pictures of the stages of my marathon-long sanding session(s). I worked in one section at a time and used A LOT of sand paper. I used a few different sand paper grits when doing this, starting with 80 and then went up to 220 to finish it off.

Step 3: Top Coat…

Once I was done sanding I had to decide if I wanted to stain the top or keep it as is. I loved how it looked as is, so decided to try and find a sealer that wouldn’t change the look of the wood or be too shiny. I could have used MinWax polyuerthane since I had some in my garage. It is a water based polyuerthane that I have used on most of my furniture refinishing projects, but I didn’t want to alter the look or color or make it too shiny. After some research I found this product called SamaN in Dead Flat Clear Coat on Amazon and was very happy with the result.  According to the company, ‘SamaN stains protect your decorative surfaces and leave a non-reflective finish. SamaN Stains are safe for the earth, safe for people and safe for pets’. I liked the sound of that!

Before you begin applying the sealer, make sure to clean up all the dust. I used a rag to get rid of every last speck of dust. Here are some pictures of the stages of the sealer going on. Verdict, I LOVE IT. I used 3 coats of this using my small paint roller and paint brush.

I got some slipcovers for the chairs and painted the end chairs (they have arms and I couldn't find slipcovers that would go over them). Here is the final look. I love how it came out!

You can see lots more pictures on my blog too.

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


Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • D
    on Oct 20, 2019

    Wow! What a difference! You must really love that specific table to work so hard at refinishing it. It turned out gorgeous! Bravo!

  • Linda
    on Oct 20, 2019

    I love how the table turned out. The color is beautiful. Your hutch in the back is gorgeous. What color blue is that and was the hutch a thrift find? Great work.

  • Glhill
    on Oct 28, 2019

    I've got a stained stand. Would that stripper work on removing that stain?

    • Glhill
      on Oct 31, 2019

      It's just a stand with 2 doors on bottom & 2 shelves over it, it's made of pine & was hand made for me back in the 80's

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