Refinishing the Dining Room Table and Chairs

Yesterday I finished a project that took me quite some time. Furniture is always such a big undertaking! I recently moved into a new place with white kitchen cabinets, and my hand-me-down table and chairs just didn’t match. The base of the table and chairs (as you can see below) are a very dark walnut color with a contrasting light laminate top to the table. I wasn’t ready to shell out $300 to make a new farmhouse table. SO, the avid Pinner I am, I went through Pintrest to find some ideas. I wanted to paint the dark wood an off-white/cream color to go with the cabinets and also open up the space. But I really didn’t want to have to do any sanding. I refinished a dresser and a chest for my bedroom a year ago and it took AGES to finish all the sanding, not something I have the time for right now. (Before pic below. I reupholstered the seats a while ago as well!)


I found a link on Pintrest for painting wood furniture without sanding by using an oil-based primer, Zinsser Cover Stain Primer. Sorry for the state of the can, it’s quite messy to work with, but I figured it’s better to have an idea of what the can looked like. This stuff dries incredibly fast so don’t paint in the sun. It will dry out on the roller and get chunky and then the chunks will come off onto your project. Found that one out the hard way. I will warn you, there is a kind of sandpaper-y finish to it even after you paint over the topcoat. I’ve seen other no-sanding-needed primers like a Rustoleum spray that you might want to look into if you’re worried about the finish. Everything does look great despite the kind of rough finish too it, just adds to the charm and the country-chic feel for me! I just sanded down some of the rougher patches and chunky pieces before doing the second coat of paint. I should have done it before I started on the topcoat, but oh well.


I did a trial run on a picture frame and found that using a paintbrush leaves lots of line marks, so just use a paintbrush to carefully do the edging. The lines you make with the primer will show through the topcoat. Use a roller to do the rest.


I did one coat of the primer for both the table and the chairs. I taped the bottom of the table with painters tape to make sure I didn’t get primer/paint all over. You might as well just throw out the  paint tray and paintbrush once you’re done because the oil-based primer doesn’t come out at all.


It took a while to get all these done. It’s a time consuming process…

But it’s totally worth it!!! Look at how good this looks now! For the topcoat I used an Eggshell interior latex paint, and if I were going to do this over I would use something shinier. I did two coats of the topcoat on everything with some touch-ups after the second coat dried.


Super happy with the turnout! And look who snuck into the shot 🙂

This took roughly 4 days all together, and I’m talking 4 all-day sessions out in the Carolina summer sun. But it was pretty cheap. I bought a gallon of primer and gallon of paint, and now I have a TON of both left over (1/2 gallon primer and a little over 1/2 gallon paint). I did have to stock up on rollers though, simply because I had to break up the work over several days and the drying out. I probably went through at least 8 rollers and several disposable paint trays by the time I was done. I would guestimate the final cost around $80-$90, and if I had known how much paint would be left over I would have bought less!!


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