Upcycling our dining table - will I ruin it?! How to do it?

(10 Posts)
reastie Sun 27-Jan-13 07:16:21

We have a dining table very similar to this one only it's mahogany and very dark and highly shinily varnished.

It's in our shed at present and we're having our kitchen diner redone soon. Tbh I hate the table as it's so dark and reminds me of a pub table with it's leg design. But, it's a good sturdy piece of furniture so I'm wondering if there's a way we can make it more practical for us.

We want a table which we can just spray and wipe and looks more rustic on the top (farmhouse type of effect). We have a toddler and just want something we don't need to worry about very much and the knocks scratches just sort of add to the effect of the table IYWKIM, which the shiny varnish doesn't do!

Would it work if I painted the table legs a nice light colour and then sanded down the top to take off the varnish? Would I just put wax on the top after sanding or something else? Would this just look incredibly naff or ruin the table? Maybe if I put a lighter varnish (or clear) on the top which isn't so shiny it would look better????

I can't think our table is worth any money, and we were given it by my parents when they moved as they got a lovely huge beautiful victorian table envy (when I say given, we saved it from their house clearance as it was going to be a goner).

FWIW we have antique chairs that I need to reupholster very approximately like this . The kitchen diner will be light, but with the chairs so dark I'd rather the table lightened the room a little.

I've tried googling for pictures of what the wooden top might end out looking like if I just sanded and waxed but can't find any, so if anyone has any idea what this might look like online I'd really appreciate a link thanks

zumo Sun 27-Jan-13 18:56:30

I would geta frensh polisher out for a quote, see what he says, then do it your self.
Try some paint stripper underneath and see if it will bring the varnish off, you wnat the one that is nutralised with meths not water as its stronger.
I would strip it.
Then apply a bit of a wax polish underneath and seehow it looks.
Or wash it all over with hot soapy water to get any pledge spray polish etc off sand it down and paint it witha gloss roller to avoid brush strokes

reastie Sun 27-Jan-13 20:58:45

thanks for the advice zumo, hadn't even considered paint stripper blush

QueenMaeve Thu 31-Jan-13 12:08:02

An electric sander would strip it back to the wood then you can wax it. But you will not get a lighter shade of wood by doing this. The wood will have darkened over the years anyway. The only way you are going to get a country kitchen look is by waxing in certain areas, painting, then distressing lightly the areas you have waxed, for example along the edges and places where wear would naturally occur.
You could also use another colur underneath which would show through when it's distressed.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Thu 31-Jan-13 12:14:00

I second the sander option.
I did a 1950's table recently (not dark though) sanded it and varnished it came up a treat.
I've a dark dresser to do next I'm doing that a cream but I'm scared!!! I intend to sand that then paint distress it and varnish it.
You won't get it lighter without paint

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Thu 31-Jan-13 12:14:47

Don't forget your mask if its likely to be lead paint.
My table was v v v easy

reastie Thu 31-Jan-13 13:25:06

Thanks for feedback. DH has a little handheld sander he uses on the woodwork when decorating, maybe this will be sufficient [hopeful] . I'm thinking I wouldn't mind the table top still being dark, but I want a non perfect finish like a farmhouse table so we don't have to worry about tablecloths/keeping the shiny varnish looking nice. If I painted the legs then hopefully this would lighten the table too. I've used anne sloane chalk paint before on some furniture, I might use that (unless anyone has better suggestions)?

Megglevache Thu 31-Jan-13 13:33:09

I've done this sooooo many times. When dh and I first got together we had no cash for fancy things like tables/chairs/sofas/bed grin

I became an expert and taking on stuff people would throw out and it's amazing how many people will give you their paint from past projects that they've no need for.
If it were me.
I'd sand and prime the legs in a nice accent colour quite pale, then I'd sand back the top and scrub it with a bit of very diluted bleach/water. To make it look sunbleached- I'd then re upholster the chairs to tie in with the colours of the base legs- and use different patterns with the same tonal colours as I don't like stuff that is too matchy!

Since we've moved house my tastes have changed a bit, I've liked old/shabby/worn/mismatched for about 20 years but now I'm obsessed with modern and plastic. Weird.

Good luck Reastie- it'll be hard graft but so nice to get something you love that you've worked your socks off to achieve.

reastie Thu 31-Jan-13 13:48:40

Thanks meggle that's really inspired me grin . I'm a bit nervous about reupholstering the chairs I have to admit though - they are inherited and actually worth quite a bit (the chairs not the table - the table isn't worth anything). They [the chairs] have springs in and I'm nervy of ruining them confused . Think once I've done the table I'll either do an upholstery class or do one as a test to see how I cope. I know this sounds potentially awful looking but I'm wondering if it's possible to upholster them in oil cloth does anyone know? We have a toddler and she will ruin upholstered chairs in minutes! I'm wondering whether to do them in an oil cloth for a few years until she is old enough that I can try material.

Megglevache Thu 31-Jan-13 15:20:32

Yes, I did oil cloth once for a chair= tis totally doable.

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