Kitchen Table & Chairs Refresh

6 Materials
5 Days

Have you ever had a piece of furniture that you loved the shape and design of but the color or stain has become old, tired or isn’t quite matching your decor? Rather than get rid of it, why not switch it up? Keep reading to see how we refinished and refreshed a kitchen table and chairs.

Gathering materials

Before you begin, gather your materials.

You’ll need:

• orbital sander

• 220 grit sand pads

• stain (color of your choice)

• chalk paint (color of your choice)

• paint brush

• polyurethane

• chalk wax

• lint free cloths

• screw driver

• pencil/pen

• sandwich ziplock baggie

Preparing the furniture

The first thing we did was wipe down the furniture with warm water and a rag. Then using the screw driver, detach the seats from the chairs. You will want to number the chairs and seats as they are often times specific to the chair and you’ll want the same seat back on the chair. Using the pen/pencil, we mark underneath the seat and the inside edge of the chair as those places won’t be seen (or painted over) once they are put back together.

Sanding & Staining

The next step is to sand down the seat tops, the table top and top of any leaves for the table. We use an orbital sander with 220 grit sandpaper. This removes the old poly and stain taking it to bare wood and smooths out any rough or damaged spots.

Wipe down the freshly sanded surfaces to remove all dust and sanding particles. Then you are ready to stain.

One of our favorite stain colors (and a favorite among our clients) is: Jacobean by Minwax. We use a lint free rag to apply the stain going with the grain of the wood. For this set we decided to put two coats of stain on for a richer, deeper, darker color. If you apply two coats, make sure the first coat is completely dry before applying the second coat. We usually let it set/dry over night between coats.


After the stain has dried completely it’s time for poly. We like Varathane triple thick water based polyurethane. We use a lint free rag to apply going with the grain of the wood. For table tops and kitchen chairs I usually apply 2-3 coats of poly. It depends on how porous the wood is and how much of the poly it soaks up. Because it’s a table people will be eating at and possibly spilling liquids, I like the peace of mind and insurance an extra coat or two of poly gives. You may decide on less for your project. Polyurethane usually dries within an hour or two allowing you to apply several coats on the same day.

***painters tip*** make sure you are staining and polying in a well ventilated area. Open a window or the garage door.

Painting the chairs

I really enjoy working with chalk paint. I like the durability, the look and the feel of it.

For this set we used Valspar brand and the color is “her dainties” which is an antique white. Depending on how thick or thin you paint will determine how many coats you’ll apply for coverage. It also depends on the look you are going for. We applied 2 coats of paint because we would be distressing the furniture.

We also painted the legs and base of the table. With table legs, spindles and chair legs you want to make sure to look back once you’ve painted and look for and drips or running paint. Smooth any drip spots or runs out before they dry.

Sand distressing

Our favorite way to distress furniture is in the sand distressing method. Taking a small piece of sand paper you’ll rub off spots of paint allowing the darker underneath color to peek through. We look for dents, depressions in the wood, scars and spots that will lend character to the distressing. After distressing we seal/wax the chalk paint.

Reattach the seats to the chairs, making sure you match up the numbers on the chairs to the seats.

Sealant was for chalk paint will have a curing time. Generally that time frame is 2-4 weeks, depending on the brand. During the curing time you don’t want to use a wet cloth to wipe down anything that has been waxed. Once the wax is cured- you can then use a wet cloth to wipe down your piece of finger prints or food spill onto your furniture.

Very last, your table and chairs are ready to move back into their place in your home and be styled or set for company and visitors.

Because we refinish quite a bit of furniture this project didn’t cost us a lot as we already had wax, poly and stain on hand. We only had to buy a quart can of paint.

To see more projects that my husband and I do and to see how we decorate our space, visit our Instagram page @beaus_and_belles. We’d love to see you!

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Joleen | The Refining Home
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
  3 questions
  • MRS R MRS R on May 02, 2020

    Where is the finished project for the blanket?

  • Deb Deb on May 02, 2020

    I think I'd like to refinish my kitchen set in white and grey, but I'm not sold on the disstessing idea ? Will it still look good and should I still folliw the same steps just leave out the part with the sanding to take off paint ?

    Thanks Deb

  • Lisa Thomas Sweeney Lisa Thomas Sweeney on May 03, 2020

    Your insight and results for this dining room table and chairs is awesome!

Join the conversation
6 of 20 comments
  • Jacx Jacx on May 02, 2020

    Now you just need to update that stripe of wallpaper! It's dating the room! Even if you painted over it a lighter color than the wall, it would be an improvement. Your chairs and table are grand! You could paint the chair rail as well. That orange-y color doesn't work well, any more.

    • See 2 previous
    • Barbara davis Barbara davis on May 04, 2020

      Just me but I think the wall goes well with the style of the furniture. Great job!

  • Tonya Tonya on May 11, 2020

    I love when ya take on a project and it comes out amazing! Then ya share it to inspire ppl like myself😊tfs!