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.
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.