Before and After: DIY Dining Table Makeover

Hey guys! We are so excited to have our guest, Tara here with us today to share how she got her dream dining table for under $60! We are inspired to say the least. So without further ado…
I am so excited to be blogging here at Pretty Providence today! Jessica and Sarah definitely help my family stay frugal! My name is Tara Creel and I am a wife to my best friend, mother to three boys, an author and hobby collector. You can find me blogging with my sister over at Sister Mommies. One of the hobbies I’ve collected lately is refinishing furniture. It is a really great way to save A TON of money.

My husband and I have wanted a dining room set for a few years now, but we haven’t found one that we love the price of as much as how it looks. Tables can run up to $1600 and chairs can be $280 each. Yikes! Definitely not in our budget. I have the answer for you to get the furniture you want for a price you can live with.

(Inspiration table: This table costs $3300 for table and chairs!)
We were lucky enough to get a table for free from my husband’s parents, and we got started right away on making it our dream table.


(Free table. Ignore our swamp cooler…another money saving miracle)

The first thing you need to do is take the seats off of the chairs (if they are upholstered). Even if you aren’t re-upholstering, you will need them removed for the painting part.

Since we were re-upholstering our chairs, I did that while the seats were removed. (I have to apologize, but my three-year-old erased my pictures of this part of the process, so I’ll have to explain it the best I can.)

I took the cushion and placed it on my material. I cut out a square that was about two inches bigger than the cushion itself so that it would fold over onto the bottom side of the seat. Then I just placed the seat in the middle of the square, folded the material over, and used a staple gun to secure the fabric onto the cushion. I didn’t even remove the old fabric first! It was so easy!

Make sure to get a sturdy fabric that won’t tear and will wipe easily. You can also get a clear vinyl to upholster on top of your choice of fabric, but I wanted as few steps as possible with this project. It is such a good idea, though!

We scored big time on our fabric, because that part of the project can get pricey. If you have the time, wait for coupons and sales to match up. We did that and we got $80 worth of fabric for $22! We went to JoAnns when they had a 25% off of your total purchase coupon and when the upholstery fabrics were 60% off. I got 3.5 yards of fabric because I want to make curtain valances or cover a couple of pillows to match our chairs. You could probably get by with 2 yards of fabric for just the chairs.

Okay, onto the table and chairs. My friend refinished her dining room table a few weeks before we did ours, and gave me all her tips. She is amazing and her table looks fantastic. She saved me a lot of time by introducing me to this product:

Liquid Sander and Deglosser

This was the only thing I used on the chairs and table legs before I painted. You just rub it on with a lint-free rag and wait ten minutes for it to dry. Because we were painting and not staining the chairs and legs, this worked like a charm. Here’s where you have two choices. You can either buy spray primer and spray paint, or you can get the primer and paint in one and brush it on.

I did the latter, but I’ve used both methods and they both work great. I used two coats just to make sure I had perfect coverage and it only took one quart to cover all of my chairs and my table legs. (Only $13!)

We wanted the top of our table to be a different color and so this is where most of the elbow grease comes in. You have to sand and sand and sand and sand to get the table to the point where you can stain it. I used a power sander and some sand paper that I already had on hand, but even if you have to buy sand paper, it’s not too pricey. Ask your neighbors if they have a powersander you can borrow (that’s what we did). We used Miniwax stain (Kona shade) and I did three coats to make sure it was dark enough. Stain is great because you can make it as light or as dark as you want. The stain only cost us $7 and we barely put a dent in it so we can use it on future projects.

This next step is very important…you want to seal the table so it doesn’t get scratched up from all the use it’s going to get. I used Miniwax PolyEurathane spray paint (2 cans). It was so easy! I just sprayed one coat everywhere I painted or stained, waited for it to dry, sanded out the little bumps, and then sprayed one more coat. It’s protected and shiny. Love it! (These are more pricey, $7.50 a can, but totally worth it)

We are so happy with our table and I know you guys can do it too!

Cost Breakdown:

Table: Free (but you can get one for cheap at your local GoodWill)

Fabric: $22 (didn’t use it all, could be less than that!)

Paint supplies: ($35 give or take a few cents :) )

That means we spent less than $60 on our new dining room table that I think looks just as good as one we could’ve spent over $3000 for. What a good deal!

Like this DIY? Check out this designer couches re-do another one of our guests did! *Do you have a cheap furniture makeover you have done (or have wanted to do) that you want to show off here at Pretty Providence? We’d love to share your re-do! Send us an e-mail of how you did it with some pics to!

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    Kirstie and Michael

    That table turned out so beautiful!

    La Vita Bella

    TARA!!!! It looks fabulous! And this is so funny, because we just got a different table and chairs and I wanted to do the exact same thing to it. White chairs and white bottom of the table and a dark top! Thanks for the tips, yours turned out beautiful! Did you spray the poly on the chairs too?