Dining Table Do-Over


Kyle and I finally got around to watching a movie I’d been begging to see but missed my chance when it was in theaters. The movie was Krampus starring Adam Scott, Toni Collette, and David Koechner, and I thought it was FANTASTIC! I even suggested that it become a Christmas Eve tradition for our future family. Forget A Christmas Story or It’s a Wonderful Life– those movies are so overdone. Krampus is where it’s at. Kyle didn’t like the idea.

So what does Krampus have to do with a dining table makeover? Nothing and everything. Allow me to explain:

Toni Collette plays the matriarch of the family in charge of ensuring that Christmas Eve dinner goes just as planned. Her house is perfectly decorated for the season and dinner is a spread right out a Good House Keeping magazine. At one point, a dinner guest glances around Collette’s home and mumbles the following “rude” remark under her breath: “Ugh, it looks like Martha Stewart threw up in here.”

I’m sorry, but is that supposed to be an insult? I would love if someone felt the urge to utter that in my home. It’s like, “Yes, thank you. My house is perfect.”

Fast forward 70 or so minutes later, the movie is over, Kyle has watched all but moments of it while mostly on his phone, and I am both entertained and fixated on my future “spewed in Martha Stewart’s vomit” house (too much?).

What’s a girl to do?

Replace our current dining table was my answer.

The Before

I’m not sure I can say this is a true “before and after” project as our previous dining table was by no means refurbished. In fact, a few pictures were snapped and posted on the OfferUp app, and within two hours someone came and took it off our hands for a fair price. Still, I think it helps to see what our dining area looked like before.


The table was a high-top style with four chairs. It was really bulky for only a four-person table, and I always felt the space could improve.

The REAL Before (I guess?)

With the old dining table gone, I went in search of a worthy replacement. I found a round wood table on OfferUp for $30; the color was meh, but a little paint would do the trick. Perhaps most appealing was that the table came with a leaf insert that could extend it to a six-person table which is more ideal for entertaining. When we went to pick it up, the previous owner had already broken it down for easy transport so we loaded the pieces into the car and headed home. The entire ride I stared back at the pieces from the passenger seat with a blank face.

“What’s wrong? You don’t like it?” Kyle asked, a little annoyed because he doesn’t particularly enjoy picking up all the random furniture that we do.

“No it’s not that…” I trailed off. Without taking my sights off the table, I could feel Kyle’s dramatic eye roll. After a few silent minutes I continued, “I don’t think I like the top of the table, but I think we can work with the legs.”


Building a New Table Top

Once Kyle came around to the idea of putting in a little extra work, we made plans for a simple rectangle table top. We went for the farm-house table look that is so popular right now. It looks amazing AND it’s incredibly simple. We bought wood slats at Home Depot, cut them down to size, and laid them out.

diningtable (1 of 12)

Kyle then connected the pieces by drilling pocket holes using a Kreg jig (Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System) and fastening the slats with screws.

Once the pieces were connected, we positioned the legs so that there was enough room to seat two on each side and one at each head of the table. A random google search suggested allowing 25 inches of table space per guest.

diningtable (2 of 12)

With the measurements set, I took the legs home to paint and left Kyle to sand the table top.

Painting the Legs

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Daaaaaamn, look at them legs. 😉

I mixed Deco Art Americana Chalky Finish Paint, 8-Ounce, Relic and Deco Art Americana Chalky Finish Paint, 8-Ounce, Legacy to get a light navy-ish color.

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I kind of really liked the brushed look pictured above, but I decided to go on with another layer- a choice I am happy with.

diningtable (7 of 12)

Once it was dry, I finished the legs and frame off with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, Natural 78500, 1-Pound.


Chairs are expensive. This annoys me greatly.

I love the metal bistro chairs that are really popular right now, and despite desperately searching for a secondhand set of four, I came up empty-handed. I decided to bite the bullet and just buy four, brand new (eek!). I found exactly what I was looking for on Amazon- Tabouret Bistro Steel Side Chairs (Set of 2).

While this made the overall project a little more expensive than I had hoped, I absolutely love the chairs! They are easy to put together, very sturdy, and the exact color I was hoping for. Still, to keep the project somewhat economic, I did resolve to refurbish two second-hand chairs for each table head.

I found this pair- $30 for both!

I actually thought what the previous owners had done with them was really cute already, but since I had already painted the table legs, I wanted the chairs to match. Also, the fabric on the seats was decent but not what I was looking for.

Removing the cushions from the chairs was as easy as unscrewing some screws.

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Taking off the fabric was even easier- just five minutes of plucking away at staples. Unfortunately, removing the green fabric only revealed a second layer of a striped orange atrocity.

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With bare chairs and naked cushions, I went to work on the transformation. I painted the chairs with the same color mixture as the table legs, and the cushions were recovered with new fabric.


The After

The table top was stained with a mixture of Minwax’s Wood Stain colors: Classic Grey (Minwax 22761 Wood Finish Wood Stain Classic Gray, 1/2-Pint) and English Chestnut (Minwax 22330 1/2 Pint Wood Finish Interior Wood Stain, English Chestnut.) I wish I could tell you the exact measurements I used of each stain, but to be honest I just played mad scientist and splashed drops of each into a container. It was then protected with multiple layers of polyurethane to give it that shiny look.





I am so so so happy with how everything turned out! And aside from the brand new metal bistro chairs, everything was pretty cost effective! I’m not sure if it elicits a “it looks like Martha Stewart threw up in here” comment, but I’d like to think she’d spit up a little.

What do you think? Would you ever tackle a project like this?


**Gatsby Makes Three is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.



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