Monday, February 11, 2013

diy: our dining table

Old table

okay y'all. i'm pretty excited to share the story of our dining room table's transformation. mainly because it was my first attempt at a major "diy" project, and i'm quite pleased with the way it turned out (granted--i ended up having to enlist some serious assistance from my husband who wanted to tear the table apart and use it as firewood by the end) but really, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot.

above is the "before" picture of our table. a little history on this piece--it's actually a table that my husband basically snatched off of the streets for pennies when going to grad school in los angeles. funny enough, it's actually an old--very well constructed ethan allen table.

a dining room table was the last thing i wanted to spend money on at the moment, so i decided this was the perfect opportunity to get crafty and do a "diy" project like all newly married wives do at some point...right?

dining table inspiration2

this is one of my inspiration photos. as you can see, i was going after a chic, clean/minimalist look. lucky for me, the table was already a very clean-lined basic design--it just needed a good paint job and some upholstery.

so after talking to some crafty friends and doing some online research--i eagerly headed to home depot (side note--i am a walking disaster in home improvement stores)....

no, but really. eh-he-heeeemmm.

and then, after a few additional trips to home depot later...i was ready to go.

sanded table close up  

step one: sand and prime

two such simple, deceiving words. this was by-far the most painful process. i recommend using a sander, starting with a more aggressive sand paper (like a 60 or 80 grit), and then smoothing it out later with a finer paper (200-300 grit)

Sanded Table

we had to sand the whole top surface, the legs, and all four chairs--because we repainted them all. it took a good long while, and eventually i recruited my sweet husband to come help me after my hands were numb (no, but for real)

below you can see the table just before we painted with just the primer on it. we used a basic spray primer with a white tint, because we were painting it white.

Paiting Rob

step two: paint, paint, and paint some more.

and in between--be patient. wait 24 hours in between each layer of paint, and lightly sand off trouble spots. if you don't wait the right amount of time, it will cause problems with clumping and rough surfaces if the paint isn't fully dry (i read the blogs, but of course--i had to learn this the hard way)

patience is a virtue when diy-ing it.

Painting in chair

the chairs took us a long time, because they were so much trickier to paint. we ended up doing three layers of paint on the table and chairs, and used a high-gloss water based paint.

first coat of paint

a glimpse after its second coat of paint...

this is when we started feeling much happier about our decision to do it ourselves. but then we had to move on to the next step...

step three: reupholstering the seat cushions

Rob helping

it only took us five trips to the fabric store to finally decide on a pattern. husband was pretty much feeling at an all-time low by that final visit. poor guy. such a trooper.

seriously though, see that old fabric? i mean, i know it was a free table--but that old upholstery was extremely questionable.


to sum up this process...

1) start by removing the old fabric (use staple remover) and then  2) measure out the fabric you'll need to cover the cushions. 3) we didn't have to, but you might need to mold new seat cushions out of foam (we were able to just use the old ones because they were in good condition) and lastly 4) wrap fabric around one side at a time, very tightly and use staple gun once fabric is in place--corners can be tricky, so make sure to keep it tight and bunch tightly.

this part was really not all that strenuous, just more time consuming than anything.

but man, after that part was done--we honestly felt so relieved. at that point, we just screwed the seats back on and put some final touches on the chairs and were pretty much convinced we'd never do another diy project again.

 IMG_6218 we have our "after" picture!

isn't she pretty?!


after finishing this lovely, my husband and i have both admitted that we wouldn't be opposed to doing another project. but we'll see if that happens ;)


if you have any questions about this project or want to add any tips/advice please feel free! i've connected with so many wonderful people via this blog, and i hope to meet so many more!


and if you're planning on doing your own diy project soon--i wish you the best of luck! it's an emotional/strenuous journey, but if it turns out in the end--it's a great feeling.

p.s. i know i haven't updated since settling in houston, but now that we're all moved in i'll be sure to post some updates, announce some future travel plans and also do my series on turkey and the united kingdom.


  1. I am actually very impressed with the results, good job guys

  2. Ha ha ha, this just made me laugh so hard Z. I think we were equally as surprised with ourselves!

    Thank you! :)

  3. Great job! I love the fabric you chose for the chairs. My husband and I have done a few furniture DIY projects and every time is a learning experience. :)

  4. Ha ha, yeah we definitely had a few moments of wanting to scream at each other/or the table ha ha but we're super glad we did it! I'm sure you can relate!

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