Giving a French Provincial Dining Set Some OOH LA LA

22 Materials
6 Days

I've always been a push over for any furniture with beautiful curvy legs so it wasn't a surprise that I had to buy this French Provincial dining set. I also LOVED the chair backs!

Remove Seat Cushions

Before cleaning, I removed the seat cushions from the chairs and decided to go ahead and take off the fabric. The first layer was a stretchy tee shirt fabric. The second layer was a nice upholstery fabric once upon a time. This was a job and a half! There were tons of staples. I also numbered the seats and chairs using painters' tape and a marker. This helps to make sure the seats fit when it's time to reattach them.


I gave the table and chairs a good cleaning using Simple Green, a Scotch Brite sponge, and a clean bucket of water.

Sanding and Repairing

It was time to give the table and chairs a quick sanding using an orbital sander and a 220 grit pad on the table top. I hand sanded the chairs. I wiped down everything with a microfiber cloth. The table top had quite a few deep scratches and chipped veneer on the edge. I removed the drop leaf sides to make it easier to work. To repair the damage, I used wood filler. After the filler dried, I sanded those areas.

Time to Prime

I primed the table skirt, legs, and chairs with my go to primer, Zinseer Bin Primer with Shellac. This primer is great for preventing bleed thru when using light colored paint. I like to use a high density foam roller and then a foam brush to get in the tight spots. I painted on 2 coats and gave them a light sanding in between for a smooth surface.


I chose to paint the chairs and bottom of the table with Fusion Mineral Paint in the color Picket Fence. I love this paint because it has a built in sealer. Since I was using a white paint, I applied 3 coats.

Wood Graining

I really wanted a stained top but there was damage to the table top and because it was veneer I was afraid that sanding may do more damage. To solve this problem, I used a product called Retique It. This is a liquid wood product which is applied with a brush. I applied 2 coats of the the Retique It to get full coverage of the original top. Then it was time to create the grains.

This effect is created using a graining tool which is drug across the Retique It while it is wet. You use a rocking motion as you drag the tool. I watched MANY YouTube videos first. Then I practiced on scrap wood several times. You have to PRACTICE. A few things to remember are:

1) Paint it on a row at a time.

2) Use the graining tool immediately after painting a row.

3) Rock the tool slowly.

4) Alternate directions when dragging the tool.

After the finish was dry, I did lightly sand it with 320 grit sandpaper to smooth out the finish.

*In the photo, you will see the side on the left is before graining.


Retique It recommends not using an oil based stain. I used Varathane in Dark Walnut. I applied the stain with a lint free cloth and then wiped of the excess with another cloth. I did have to rub hard to wipe back the stain excess.

Not bad for my first time!

Top Coat

To seal the table top, I applied 4 coats for Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane in Satin. I use a high density foam roller first. There will be tiny bubble in the finish. To eliminate the bubbles, I then use a foam paintbrush to wipe over the area I just rolled.

Upholstering the Seats

Luckily, the foam on the chair seats was in good condition. I did, however, want to make sure the yellow color did not show through my fabric and give them a little more cush. I laid out my batting and just used my finger to gage how much I needed to fit. After cutting the batting, I attached it with my electric stapler.

For my fabric, I had to make sure the pattern matched and lined up in the center of each chair. I measured from the middle and cut my fabric accordingly. I like to fold the fabric so I don't have a raw edge underneath. This gives the staples more to grip and it just looks neater.

What a difference!!!!

The end result is definitely worth all of the work!

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  • GMS28 GMS28 on Sep 17, 2020

    do you keep this outside to use? or brought back into house

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