Asked on Mar 13, 2016

Oak dining table and chairs- to paint or not?

I have oak cabinets in my kitchen, and oak table and chairs. I'm surrounded by oak! My husband doesn't want me to paint the cabinets, so maybe I should do something with table and chairs. My kitchen is red, with grey countertops. Should I try to paint my table or just buy something new? My overall home style is pretty traditional, so I keep thinking that if I paint the table it will look too country.
I'm thinking about painting the bottom of the table and chairs a medium grey, and refinishing the top in a darker stain. Would love to have suggestions.
Table, also has two leaves and six chairs total.
  28 answers
  • Deb Deb on Mar 14, 2016
    Why not try a tablecloth and cushions for the chairs? This may let you update and change the look without making a change to the actual wood. I find I get bored and need to make changes often. Fabric lets me do that inexpensively.
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Mar 14, 2016
    I love the idea of the fabric change! A white tablecloth would be pretty with a colorful centerpiece!
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 14, 2016
    agreed on the tablecloth and chair pads.
  • Lynne Childers Mcintyre Lynne Childers Mcintyre on Mar 14, 2016
    I personally have a hard time painting pretty wood. Love the tablecloth and cushion idea.
  • Christina Pennywise Christina Pennywise on Mar 14, 2016
    I agree a tablecloth or runner with a centerpiece is a great idea!- but like the idea of maybe painting just the base too for a subtle dose of color. I've seen some tabletops where they'll stencil a border or medallion design in the center so it almost looks like inlaid wood. Can't wait to see what you decide
  • Barb Barb on Mar 14, 2016
    Ah, surround me with oak and I will be very happy! Although oak painted black sill show a beautiful grain.
  • Amitcohen22 Amitcohen22 on Mar 14, 2016
    Paint only the top and put chair pads that will match. I changed mine...
  • Shari Shari on Mar 14, 2016
    I'll paint anything and everything! There is absolutely nothing that will give you an instant update for so little money like paint will. If you have the time and patience, be fearless--PAINT! Your plan of paint and stain sounds lovely! My guess is when it is all said and done you will love it and wonder why you even hesitated. Now, about wood-loving husbands... All men seem to love wood--even bad wood or things that look like wood but aren't really wood at all. My husband used to be the same way and he would just about have a heart attack whenever I talked about painting something wood. I'm pretty stubborn so when I get my mind made up about something, there is generally no talking me out of it. The funny thing is, once I painted something my husband had reservations about, he has always admitted afterwards that whatever I had painted looked far better! Now he doesn't even flinch when he sees me with a can of paint and a paint brush. Paint the table and chairs if you want to. Then, once your husband sees how fresh the set looks, he probably won't be so resistant to painting the cabinets.
  • Carole Bisby Carole Bisby on Mar 14, 2016
    In the process of doing this myself. Had my top redone in Formica in black and I am going to paint the table black. I got the legs done now I have to move to the top, so far so good, love it!! Cheaper then a new set and I have 2 nice big leafs that go with it which is hard to find in the new sets. I am still stumped on the chairs, probably black and redo the seats in gray. Good luck and let us see what you do after you are done, just paint it!!!!!Keep the top the wood if it is still in good shape
  • Eaa1125516 Eaa1125516 on Mar 14, 2016
    I used chalk paint and painted my table and chairs a cream colour. Now it looks great!
  • Nina Wethington Nina Wethington on Mar 14, 2016
    Beautiful set you should give it a white weathered look its traditional and it would look beautiful and try to find some grey and red or white cushions for your chairs wayfair and overstock has some beautiful cushions.
  • Marilee H Marilee H on Mar 14, 2016
    Paint! Maybe just the base of the table, in a distressed white. The chairs could be painted to match. or you could use fabric (maybe table runners with ribbon glued on if you don't sew) for covers for the backs.
  • Vlhuff Vlhuff on Mar 14, 2016
    I am usually against painting wood. However, I recently painted a dark oak bedroom set that had been sitting in my garage for years after my divorce. I had made some draperies for my bedroom using some gorgeous oriental print fabric. I had also bought and made some pieces to coordinate with the draperies. I was all set to purchase a new bedroom set to fit into an oriental-themed design, but reconsidered - thinking about the unused bedroom set sitting in the garage. I painted one piece a black lacquer to see if I liked it. I liked it so much, I painted the remaining pieces - 6 in all. I absolutely love it! To round it all out, I found small 2 thrift store tables that I repaired, sanded down and then painted black lacquer. I topped the tables with small square mirrors to make them look like they belonged together. I have no regrets!
  • Leslie Leslie on Mar 14, 2016
    Jeannie, If the grey is a dark charcoal try that for the table bottom. Leave the top alone. Paint the sides of the top the gray but leave the little squares natural ( do the leaves the same also). On the bottom leave some of the indented rings the oak color and the rest the charcoal. Plan out what you want to tape off first before you paint and as you go see if you want to modify before continuing. You might decide to leave the top of the base the original oak :) For the chairs you can either paint the seat charcoal or leave just the top natural and do the sides. Paint the spindles in the back charcoal and leave the hoop natural. the legs do the same as you did with the base. As you tape off it will give you and idea of what to leave natural and what to paint. Good luck with your project and update us on the outcome :)
  • Susan Bechamp Susan Bechamp on Mar 14, 2016
    Go for it. Paint the base grey and stain the top. You can still use the table cloths and chair pads as suggested by others. Its like getting new furniture for the price of a can of paint.
  • Pgl Pgl on Mar 14, 2016
    Paint, I will bet you have already thought of you favorite color. I'm not into the distressed look but you could do it on the table,the chairs spindles may weaken so be careful.
  • Shari Veater Shari Veater on Mar 14, 2016
    You could paint the legs of the table and chairs, leaving the table top and chair seat oak. My birch dining set is that way and we love it! We chose black paint since we have alot of black wood furniture....Good Luck!
  • Rhi Rhi on Mar 14, 2016
    Stain the top to save the wood grain! I love mine redone!
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    • Rhi Rhi on Mar 22, 2016
      Thank you! If you notice the chairs and table were not a set. I pained the chairs the same as the table and made them look like a set. Bought those Ethan Allen chairs for $30 a piece!! Steal
  • Bobbie Littlefield Bobbie Littlefield on Mar 14, 2016
    IF the red you say your kitchen is - IS on the wall. Have you thought of repainting the wall to a more fire engine red? That will make the greys POP and your kitchen will have a more contemporary feel to it. With that addition I would agree with Rhi's paint idea however- I would probably go black instead of white ...I like the contrast with the grey and red better as the white screams the shabby chic to me...good luck with whatever your choices are. I am sure you will have a wonderful finished product! Don't forget to post your "finished" pictures for all of us!
    • Jeanie McCoy Keel Jeanie McCoy Keel on Mar 14, 2016
      The red is tomato red, and don't plan to change that. I think I'm going with the gray table, and staining the top a darker color. I plan to post when I can get it finished. Thanks for your suggestion.
  • Leslie Leslie on Mar 14, 2016
    Most welcome glad you liked them :)
  • Naydene Cook Naydene Cook on Mar 14, 2016
    Stain they have some beautiful colored stain colors in Unicorn Spit stains and gels. You can see your wood grain thru it.
  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Mar 14, 2016
    I like either black or white painted legs, stained top. Cushions for your chairs could bring in accent shades of gray. Nice set.
  • Lainey Howell Lainey Howell on Mar 14, 2016
    The Windsor chairs can be mad to look old/new with a Dark Charcoal matte finish with a little distressing and some gold highlights. Refinish the table top and finish the supports the same as the chairs.
  • Sue Klinedinst Sue Klinedinst on Mar 15, 2016
    I like the oak. Try a tablecloth the color you were thinking of painting before messing up (I mean painting) a beautiful table.
    • Yvonne Yvonne on Jan 11, 2018

      I agree Sue, would never paint oak furniture or good wood. But that is just me. I have bought some pieces and had a hard job getting old paint off beautiful Oak furniture pieces. They are all now restored and so beautiful and collectors pieces. Very sort after in our part of the World

  • Sally Ross Sally Ross on Mar 15, 2016
    I took my Oak hutch and chalk painted it, I was so happy with the results I painted my bathroom vanity's and kitchen cabinets
  • Kimberly Kimberly on Mar 15, 2016
    I did mine. I have the same set. I painted everything white but the top and sides of table I did black. I put grey/white/black accent chair cushions on the chairs too. The people that owned the set before looked at it and couldn't believe it was the same set and wished they thought of that.
  • Duv310660 Duv310660 on Mar 16, 2016
    Painting the chairs is a lot of work - try a similar style chair if you don't believe me! I'd recommend either renting a sprayer or limit your painting to the flat seats (and do the table top & sides to match)
  • Patricia Patricia on Mar 17, 2016
    I think painting the table will work well with traditional decor as long as it is done in a neutral color. I painted my sister's table and chairs (I'll include a photo), and as duval.26 mentioned, painting the chairs is a lot of work! But if you're not in a hurry then take your time and it will get done. Otherwise, paint the base of the table and leave the chairs unpainted and maybe add some coordinating chair cushions.
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    • Patricia Patricia on Mar 17, 2016
      @Jeanie McCoy Keel My sister's table is a vintage S. Bent & Bros. Good luck with your project!