Upcycling A Dining Room Table

I often get asked where my dining room table & chairs are from & the answer is that they were a bargain Gumtree find which after a bit of TLC turned from ugly duckling to a beautiful swan.

Anybody that knows me or has been following this blog for a while will know that I’m a sucker for a bargain, especially if I can work some magic on it to completely transform the look which then gives such an amazing feeling of satisfaction as well as a bit of a conversation piece.

My first port of call was sourcing a 6ft table & chairs set from Gumtree. I sometimes use Facebook buy/sell groups or even Ebay but often find that these are slightly more expensive. 

These ‘farmhouse’ style sets come up quite often now the trends have turned against the ugly orange pine look, which means that finding one needn’t be hard but I’d always hold out for the cheapest you can get as some people sell them for £250+ compared to others £50+ (for exactly the same thing!).

You can get different shaped legs as well as different style chairs.

After you’ve got your hands on one, it’s time for the fun part which is the upcycling!

For mine, I used Annie Sloan ‘old white’ on the table legs. I normally always use Annie Sloan chalk paint on my upcycling due to it’s ease of use (no sanding, priming, undercoating!) however I decided to tie in the dining room & kitchen by painting the chairs in the same colour as the kitchen units, Farrow & Ball ‘Stony Ground’.

For the main table, I simply flipped the table over & painted the legs & underside, leaving the table top in it’s original state. If you’re thinking of painting the top of your table, be prepared that this will mark/stain very easily so either go for the ‘shabby chic’ look or you’ll be painting it every few weeks. For this reason I decided to sand the top of the table then waxed the whole thing with Annie Sloan wax (give the top a few coats for protection).

Sanding it was relatively easy however if you’ve got layer upon layer of varnish on it from years of use/multiple owners (the joys of ‘preloved’!) then it may take a bit of elbow grease. I used my Ryobi palm sander.

For the chairs, I first started by giving them a quick light sand which then prepares the wood ready for the paint to stick. I then gave them a coat of good quality acrylic primer & undercoat, it’s really important to not go for a cheap one as you’ll find the orange grinning through.

I then went on to painting them (this required 2 coats) of Farrow & Ball acrylic eggshell. This is the most hardwearing of paints (see my paint finishes explained blog post for more info here) so perfect to use on regular use furniture without the risk of it rubbing off or scratching too much. The overall look I wanted wasn’t ‘perfect’ so a few imperfections over time just adds to the character. 

Et voila!



It’s amazing what you can do with a few hours, a lick of paint & a bit of TLC. This table if bought new would retail for £500+ yet I’ve got the same look for under £100 as well as a bit of character & a story to tell. Taking an old unloved bit of furniture is a great way of saving money & stopping our every rising landfill issues.




  1. Tricia
    June 9, 2017 / 1:14 pm

    I love your table runner! :o) Do you mind me asking if it was made or bought?

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      June 9, 2017 / 5:54 pm

      It was from M&S! x

    • Mrs C S Bawn
      February 18, 2021 / 1:39 pm

      Please can you tell me if you sanded and painted the underside of the table. I’m currently in to minds as it’s very time consuming. The table I’m upcyling is a round, extending table so I’m taking it all apart and sanding.
      Kind Regards

  2. Kathleen connolly
    April 14, 2018 / 6:07 pm

    I’m giving this a go this weekend with the exact same table! Wish me luck, hope it comes out as good as yours x

  3. Jamie
    May 22, 2018 / 10:55 am

    Hi, Where is the gorgeous vase from?!
    I have a similar DIY job with my table and I need a large vase 🙂

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      May 22, 2018 / 12:21 pm

      It’s neptune! x

  4. Jackie Spankie
    June 24, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    Hi 🙂 love your table and chairs!! I just got one from facebay for free and about to embark on my own adventure with them and quite excited. Fingers crossed it looks as good as yours. My question is, did you pain the legs before sanding the table top? I was thinking of doing it the opposite way but wonder if your way is better? Thank you xx

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      June 25, 2018 / 8:13 am

      I’d say sand the top first so you won’t risk damaging your freshly painted legs or getting dust on it x

  5. Rosie
    July 13, 2018 / 8:45 am

    This looks amazing – I’m planning a project like this soon, and this post has made me so excited for it! Need to hunt out the perfect bargain table first though! Please could you tell me more about the flower arrangement – are these real flowers? If they’re faux, where from? I’d love to create a beautiful centrepiece like this X

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      July 13, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      Thanks so much! They are neptune – you can find details in my home tour friday dining room post x

  6. Kim
    July 31, 2018 / 1:08 pm


    Thanks for this post. I’m currently trying to restore our dining set which my friend gave us. When sanding the table legs and chairs, I assume I just need to get a rough surface and don’t have to get all the varnish off? I was planning to paint them using the eggshell because I want it to be durable but I realise it needs more prep than the chalk paint. But the table and chairs are very varnished and orange and I’m knackered already from just sanding two of the table legs!


    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      August 5, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      Yes thats right lovely, just so it gives something for the paint to hold on to. I wouldn’t recommned chalk paint for places which are going to be touched/sat on/rubbed in any way as it’ll last 5 minutes…go for acrylic eggshell x

  7. Sarah
    October 10, 2018 / 11:52 am

    Hi, I am embarking on this very same project. After painting the chairs did you apply any laquer / varnish etc? Thanks in advance.

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      October 15, 2018 / 10:56 am

      No I didn’t, the eggshell is durable enough without x

  8. Amanda
    December 18, 2018 / 9:14 am

    Hi this is exactly what I’m lookin to do but also the table top. How can I make it hard wearing .

  9. Lisa
    February 4, 2019 / 9:40 pm

    Is the Annie Sloan wax for the top of the table clear? I want to upcycle my wooden table similar to yours but would like the table top to be a darker shade than it currently is. What would you recommend? Is currently a light wood colour.
    Thank you

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      February 6, 2019 / 12:43 pm

      Yes it’s completely see through so shouldn’t change the colour – I’d stain it or use a tinted wax if you want it darker x

  10. Lucy
    June 7, 2019 / 10:16 am

    Hello, we’ve done exactly the same upcycling project and have used a few coats of Annie Sloan wax on the table top for protection, but now we have a few dark ring marks where my husband has not used a placemat! Do you know how we can remove these? Is it a simple sanding or do we have to strip/rewax? Thanks!

    • Charlotte Amor Valentine
      June 21, 2019 / 10:40 am

      I’d say sand it back & then rewax – you do have to be careful as it’s easy to mark especially with water x

  11. Luke
    August 24, 2019 / 6:17 pm

    Hi, I have painted my chairs using a chalk paint and realised the need for some further protection, would you suggest a varnish or lacquer to make them more hard wearing? Thanks

  12. Julia
    November 10, 2020 / 4:41 pm

    How do you sand down all the nooks & crannies of the legs etc- I was going to use a paint that doesn’t need sanding but I gather you don’t recommend ( I’m hoping to do an identical table & chairs?)

  13. Sylwia
    January 27, 2021 / 12:59 pm

    Hi Charlotte,

    I purchased table and chairs on Facebook market for £50.00 yesterday and now I can’t wait to renovate it myself and it is going to be my first time.

    How much of white old paint I will need to buy in order to paint 4 chairs an a table (2 coats at least)?

  14. valerie hutchinson
    September 15, 2021 / 3:23 pm

    Which colour did you use in the Annie Sloan wax ? It looks great, thanks!