Craigslist Dining Table Makeover & Tutorial

It feels like I have been working on my dining room makeover forever, but I am proud to say that I finally have my dining room table makeover done and the room makeover is moving right along. I was torn between doing this in all white or two toned and I am now so glad I chose the two toned look! The rich brown stain looks great contrasted against the white table base. Here are all the steps I took to achieve this look:
For starters I found this table on Craigslist with four chairs and it was in great shape but the light oak stain on top was not working for me. It was dull and had been scuffed in some areas and was in need of a makeover.
So I broke out my electric sander and got to work sanding off the old finish.
You can see the difference here with the original stain on the left and the sanded side on the right.
Here is the table fully sanded with fresh clean wood.
Now it was time to either paint or stain. At first I was going to paint it, but I decided to go for the two toned look I have seen in the home décor magazines that I loved so much. After researching different techniques I decided on oil based stain and spar urethane. The oil based stain holds up against water and moisture a lot better than water based stains, and the spar urethane is specifically made for indoor or outdoor use and holds up against moisture and fading.
So I applied the first coat of the Kona stain with a rag (as seen on left side) and it was spotty. I let it dry over night then applied a second coat with a brush and got a much better coverage, as you can see on the right side. After two coats of stain I let the table fully dry and the began applying my top coat.
See the difference in the rag and the brush application?
Now, I was initially inclined to just apply one top coat and be done with it, but because this was my dining table that was going to get full use with hot and cold dishes and sometimes serves as a work space I knew I needed to apply more than one coat so I did something I had never done before. I used a light grit sanding block and lightly buffed the first top coat, wiped everything down with a damp cloth, then applied another coat of spar urethane, and repeated another time for a total of three top coats.
I let the table cure for about a week to ensure the urethane was fully dry and it looks great! Light bounces off of the finish and the table top is fully protected. It looks gorgeous! After that I wiped down the base of the table and gave it a freshen up with some white paint and now the table has a whole new life! I love how it turned out and am so glad I chose to do the two toned look!

You can find more pictures and the full tutorial on my blog along with the rest of my dining room makeover.
Jennifer @ Decorated Chaos
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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3 of 8 comments
  • ahhh thanks Carole! I appreciate comments like this and love hearing how other people used my tips and tutorials. and yes, the blotchieness will even out once you apply that second coat with a paint brush. remember....long even strokes in the direction of the grain. good luck!

    • Carole Carole on Nov 11, 2014
      @Jennifer @ Decorated Chaos Done the top now and feeling pretty pleased with the result. I will leave it for a week before touching again to sand, undercoat and paint the base. Will add a photo when it is all done. Thanks again for making me feel more confident about tackling this project. It sat in my garage for nearly two years, so it is about time I got my finger out! LOL! I am going to do a white base as I so like the way yours turned out.

  • That is great news Carole! I can't wait to see the final result.