Here is a piece that I did a while back. It's a dining room set - table and chairs. I purchased the whole package for $20 on Craigslist. (Craigslist is just like thrift stores and garage sales - you have to sift through a whole lot of junk before you stumble upon real treasure.) This table is a real beauty. I am a sucker for antique-style furniture. And when I saw the curves and the detailing on the legs, I knew I had to have it. Not to mention the adorable tiny drawer! It has so much character! Even though we already had a perfectly good dining room set, I knew I had to get this table and fix it up.
$20 is pretty amazing for all of that, but boy was it in rough shape. The pictures don't do it justice. It was depressing. Crayon scribbles everywhere. Large, deep gashes randomly throughout the surface. Even chunks missing here and there. It had definitely been through battle and nearing the end of its life. And that's when I enter. Stage right. Sander in hand.
Warning: Please check for lead paint before you attempt to do this step. Inhaling dusty paint chips is bad enough without adding poisonous lead. Also, wear a face mask and goggles. Place a drop cloth under your piece before continuing.
This is after I sanded the first layer off. I just tried to sand it down so that the chipped layer of paint was fairly even and smooth. This definitely took some time because I was dumb and too lazy to buy an electric sander, so I did the entire thing by hand. What a poor decision.
This is the surface up close after the initial sanding. You can see one of the major gashes really well here. There were very deep cuts and chunks missing throughout the surface. So I had to sand the whole table top down pretty deep in order to have a smooth, even surface. This is exactly where the electric sander would have come in handy.
After it was sanded down, I took a damp cloth and wiped all of the paint dust off of the surfaces. You can also use a tack cloth to clean. You want to make sure the surface is clean so that the paint adheres well. You also want to wait for the furniture to be completely dry before applying paint.
Then start painting! I applied 4 or 5 coats, letting it completely dry in between each application. This may take a few days to complete. I also painted the chairs black, applying 4 to 5 coats. (I love the contemporary look of dining chairs not matching the dining table exactly.) Make sure you don't become overzealous and glop on too much paint at one time. You will have major drip-age and the end result will look messy. Apply multiple thin coats.
Finally, apply a couple coats of polyurethane or any other protective sealant. Please be warned that if you are painting your furniture white you need specific types of polyurethane or another sealant made for white paint. I made the mistake of putting regular polyurethane on the table, and within a day the whole thing was tinted yellow! It was so frustrating. I had to sand the whole thing down again (and those detailed, spiral legs are NOT easy to sand) and repaint. If you are using white paint, please learn from my mistake!
Again, the end result. The original plan was to reupholster the chairs with a chic, modern fabric that ties in the white and black. But we'll see if that actually happens any time soon. I am very happy with my $20 dining room set. It has character and charm. And I can say that I gave it new life. Now it has a happy home and many more years of use.
What do you think?
Have you ever given new life to an old piece of furniture?