The majesty of buying a new home, the joy of furniture shopping for the first time, the excitement in finding the perfect dining room table, followed by the unsettling panic you experience when you look at the price tag…
Seriously though, my husband and I shopped for dining room tables for three days, non-stop… then, finally, in what felt like the 200th furniture store, we found it… The perfect dining room table. I galloped over to it — like a Derby horse — sat down, outstretched my arms over the cool distressed hardwood, and I could see it all; I could see Thanksgiving dinners for the whole family, I could see my husband having his morning coffee while our metaphorical children ate breakfast… But then, just as fast as the dining-room-table-mirage presented itself, it disappeared… and why did it disappear? Because I looked at the outrageous price tag.
So, we went home, tableless… We then did what any reasonable adult couple would do; we ranted, complained, and whined, like toddlers, to my husband’s parents… and then my father-and-law said the following words; “there’s that old table out above the garage, you could use that”.
You can imagine my excitement— SIKE! —an old broken table and chairs, covered in dinks, cobwebs, and 20+ coats of old paint… and, no, it didn’t end there. To accompany the table there was a sawdust covered china cabinet in the back of the garage (and of course the glass window was busted), and, it didn’t stop there, because there was also a water damaged dresser in the old barn… “All part of the same set!” My husband proclaimed, with childhood enthusiasm… Then someone said, “you could clean it up and paint it!”
In this particular moment, some wives might think to themselves; “Oh, great, in addition to packing and moving into a new house, I’m now expected to clean, sand down, and paint this old, heavy, broken furniture… which is probably filled with cockroaches… and it all has to be done before Thanksgiving, which is a month away”… But, noooooo sir, I didn’t think that. I saw the potential. I was excited for my new project. [For the purpose of this blog, and my self-esteem, we will all agree that I was initially excited.]
I mean, once we dusted off some cobwebs the furniture was actually pretty cool… it was all real hardwood and old-school metal screws; none of that “new age faux, veneer, laminate” bullcrap that we had just spent three days looking at in fancy furniture stores. Plus, it was my husband’s grandmother’s furniture (on his dad’s side), so it also held a lot of family significance.
So, I researched techniques on the internet; some people used sandpaper and oil stain, others used interior paint and Brillo Pads, all the techniques yielded beautiful results… But when the time came to actually start painting I threw all caution to the wind and just… well, I winged it, basically.
Here’s what happened… I was trying to decide on a paint color for the table, BUT in my mind I was still at least a week away from actually painting—I mean, I still had to research techniques and practice on different surfaces, right? … So, my husband and I went to Lowe’s and purchased two paint brushes and two paint samples; teal and cream. When we got home we planned to sample the colors on the table… Well, that night, with those brushes and paint samples, I panted the entire table and started on the chairs… and in the following week, I finished everything.
I used the ole’ “Dry Brush and Paper Towel Technique” … I’m not sure that technique actually exists in the “distressed furniture world”… but, basically, I covered the furniture with a thin layer of teal paint, then rubbed it with a dry paper towel until I liked the way it looked… it was that simple. I then painted the accents cream—note: I used Q-Tips on the really small accents.
My husband took the broken glass out of the china cabinet, and I replaced it with chicken wire that I spray painted cream. We just stapled it in. I then painted the inside of the china cabinet pale yellow, just to change things up.
Simple, fun, and inexpensive. Wanna know how inexpensive? Keep reading!
Original Dining Room Set I Wanted to Buy Included: 1 table, 4 chairs, 1 bench, 1 hutch cabinet.
Price of Original Dining Room Set I Wanted to Buy: $15,000
Family Dining Room Set We Were Given Included: 1 table, 1 table extension, 5 chairs, 1 china cabinet, 1 dresser.
Money Spent to Finish Family Dining Room Set We Were Given: $45.85 [see breakdown below]
1 Teal Paint Sample – $3.48
1 Cream Paint Sample – $3.48
1 Pale Yellow Paint Sample – $3.48
1 Can Cream Spray Paint – $3.98
1 Paint Brush for Teal (2 inch) – $6.98
1 Paint Brush for Cream (1.5 inch) – $5.48
1 Paint Bush for Pale Yellow (2 inch) – $6.98
Chicken Wire – $9.99
Paper Towels – $1.00
Q-Tips – $1.00
TOTAL COST: $45.85
I actually had a lot of fun with this ole’ fixer-upper. It allowed my husband and I to spend a few late nights in the garage watching movies, joking around, and singing along to loud music as I painted. It really was a blessing in disguise.