Asked on Apr 01, 2018

Can you refinish an enameled tabletop?

Joanne Hickling
by Joanne Hickling
This table has painted wood base, with a built in silverware drawer. The top can be unlocked and slid to extend. The top has an enameled finish. I love the table, not the colors. Any suggestions?
  20 answers
  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 01, 2018

    Use a Tablecloth...........

  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Apr 01, 2018

    This is a great antique table. I have sold several of these in my antique booth for several hundred dollars. If you paint it, I would only paint the base and leave the top as is or you ruin the value.

  • Ardale Ardale on Apr 01, 2018

    Yes you can but the method depends on how you want it finished. If just painting then you will simply have to rough your surface up to give it teeth to hold a new coat of paint. Sand it with a fine grade of sandpaper so your surface won't be to rough and will still have teeth to hold your new paint. Once sanded run either a tact cloth or a slightly damp rag over the surface to remove any dust created from sanding let it dry a minute then paint. If you plan to refinish the wood to bring it back to it's original beauty then you will have to strip all the paint off first using a paint stripper of your choice. It's a more time consuming process but it's well worth the work. Strip your table outside or in a garage or porch were you have shelter and good ventilation. Follow the directions on your stripper container. Once you get all or at least most of the paint stripped off and rinsed then you let your wood completely dry before going further. I'd suggest letting it dry overnight before doing anything else. The next day you will have to sand to remove any paint or paint residue left on your wood and to also sand the tiny raised fibers in the wood so your finish is smooth. When wood gets wet the fibers slightly raise in your wood and if you don't sand them off once your piece is dry your finish will be rough. You will want to use a med grade sandpaper to remove your paint residue then use a fine grade sandpaper to remove your raised fibers and if you want a really smooth surface you can go over your wood with a piece of fine grade steel wool. Once sanded be sure to run a tact rag or very slightly damp rag over your wood to remove the dust or you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove it without running the risk of raising any more fibers on your wood. Now your piece is ready to either put a good quality sealer on or stain of your choice. If staining let your wood dry over night after you've stained it to give it amply time to dry before putting your sealer on. If you put multiple coats of sealer on make sure to let each coat dry completely then lightly sand with your find grade steel wool, vacuum then apply your next coat and do this with every coat you apply. You will have a truly beautiful piece of furniture that will last your lifetime and possibly longer if not abused to much. If you need pictures then just google furniture refinishing and you will get tons of helpful instructions as well as pictures. Hope this helped!

  • Mona Blake Mona Blake on Apr 02, 2018

    I would decoupage the top using my favorite color of tissue paper and 1/2 milk + 1/2 Elmer's glue and then 4 coats of clear epoxy.

  • Gen20871116 Gen20871116 on Apr 02, 2018

    You can use beautiful tiles but you won't have a completely smooth top.

  • Gerry Davis Gerry Davis on Apr 02, 2018

    Do not attempt to do anything to the top. Our children found us an old 50's set, top gray and chairs were "orange" from being exposed to the sun for years. We were able to find someone to redo the upholstery with a much better grade of red material and the legs on the table and chairs are chrome, so my husband ordered something, on line, to clean, even around the table. I love it and going to use it in our new home. You have a retro table and they are extremely hard to find. If you do not like the color on the top, find yourself some retro salt/pepper shakers or napkin holder, or a retro tablecloth (found on line) something to keep it original. I agree with stripping the wood legs and repainting. Never do anything to change the retro table. You didn't mention chairs, but the original ones can be found if you are patient and persistent. Good Luck.

    • Carol Cole Carol Cole on Apr 02, 2018

      My table was given to me by an Italian lady I use to clean house for . It is only about 2 ft wide if that. I use it in the corner of my kitchen to hold my microwave, extra bowles , miwave dishes , Toaster over and knife set, cutting board.

  • Carol Cole Carol Cole on Apr 02, 2018


  • Debi Crossman Singer Debi Crossman Singer on Apr 02, 2018

    Don’t do it. Sell it, give it away, or cover it but do not do anything to the top.

  • Jean Jean on Apr 02, 2018

    obviously the top is the part that bothers you color wise? being a previous antique furniture dealer I agree I hate to see you do anything to permanently change the top of the table. But it is your table LOL however if you're just wanting a different color on the top , there are

    some really nice looking contact papers out there now. you could cover the top part the enamel part with something that coordinates with your kitchen. then clean or paint the legs and base. It'll give you a different look and it won't run the table top just make sure and clean it well before you try and stick to contact paper down.

  • LibraryKAT LibraryKAT on Apr 02, 2018

    That's a nice antique or at least very vintage table. Use a tablecloth. If it was in poor shape, you'd refinish it like any metal surface. Please consider the tablecloth.

  • Deanie Deanie on Apr 02, 2018

    I understand what others are saying about not doing anything with the top because it's antique. But in my opinion, if you want to change up the top, it's yours to do as you please. One thing you could do is take different colored paints and dab on in random patterns to make a formica counter top look and finish with a spray sealer. Or you could do the same thing to a piece of wood and sit on top of the table. That way you would have a new finish you wanted and the old finish is still there if you decide to keep it as an antique someday.

  • Mike Mike on Apr 02, 2018

    get the junk off the table top. go to Hobby Lobby look for a smaller farmhouse white ceramic flower vase, go to their artificial flower area and add some spring type flowers that may match your liking or your room color. Then look for a 12" to 18" diameter mat to go under the vase and buy [2 sets] coordinate place mats. Add 2 small plates, 2 matching napkins . Finish with 2 sets of silverware and maybe 2 coordinating coffee mugs.

  • 9530106 9530106 on Apr 02, 2018

    I wouldn't be so forward as to tell you how to decorate, but that is a beautiful antique table. Personally, I would leave the top original, because I love the history!

  • Melbrooks Melbrooks on Apr 02, 2018

    Sell it to someone who loves the color, and I'm sure you'll make enough to buy one that YOU love.

    Look on Pinterest or Etsy and you'll see that they really are very desirable. I just sold one i picked up at auction for $55, and made $145 on it without doing anything!

    I also have one that I just repainted the wood bottom, but it's all mine! Chrome legs and pull out leaves... I love it!

  • Den32177231 Den32177231 on Apr 02, 2018

    I have one that I used as a kitchen table then put short legs on it as a coffee table then repurposed it now to a kitchen island I don’t recommend painting the enamel top but work with the wood colors paint to accommodate and compliment the top

    • Mary Boger Mary Boger on Apr 07, 2018

      Now I have some ideas for the four enamel top tables I

      have! Love these tables. The one in my kitchen is red/white..goes great with my red/white hoosier. I clean

      the tops with just a tad of soft scrub.

  • Denise Denise on Apr 10, 2018

    For something not permanent. Have a glass top made to fit top of table. Put fabric on table top ,cut to fit just table top, sandwich cloth between table and glass. The fabric can be switched for different occasions, birthday theme, Christmas, or lace, etc....

  • Kat Kat on Jul 19, 2020

    I have a simular issue a good-sized 6 sitter table that was gifted to me unfortunately it has a yellowish color scheme on the enamel top; that doesn't match with the rest of the decor. Whats even more strange is the chairs dont match the table colors (pea-green) and I can tell its a pair beauce of the bamboo wood-design.

    Anyway luckily it came with a glass top so I can place a round cloth.

    I'm eying wallpaper (`peel-and-stick` kind) at the moment because I want this new design to be as snug/close to original enamel-top as I can. Plus my table is round and I don't have much faith that I can sow a perfectly round table cloth.

  • Mary M Barson Mary M Barson on Jul 30, 2020

    I have a porcelain or enamel top table I bought for 30 bucks from a women on Facebook. It appears someone either spraypainted the top or painted it with something gritty. I think it is old spray paint. Attaching pics. How can I remove the paint without ruining the porcelain or enamel underneath? Also, she said it is porcelain, but how do I know for sure? I am disabled with bad shoulders, so I can't use too much pressure to sand it but do have a powersander somewhere in my garage. What grit paper? I'm trying to get the paint off to have the original porcelain top. Thanks!

  • Cath Cath on Oct 20, 2020

    I have a porcelain top farm table...the leaf slides out on the end not the sides. I need a picture of the underside of the table . I need to see how the leaf slides out....I want to see how the slide mechanism works