Our family has a long history with this coffee table. Today I am excited to share how to refinish a table while maintaining its character.
This table has been through a lot in our family. It’s been the resting place for five pairs of feet, that have grown from tiny baby to feet all the way to, in one case, a men’s size 13. It’s been the dining table for thousands of meals as well as a game table, a coffee table, and a pub table, and a work table. But there was one thing wrong with this table. I don’t like that it is so dark and I have wanted to change it for years. I finally decided it was time and I can’t wait to share how to refinish a table farmhouse style.
Refinish a Table Farmhouse Style
Why am I sharing how to refinish a table farmhouse style? I love painted furniture and I didn’t want to sand the table to refinish it. I was too afraid I would lose the chips and scratches that represent our boys’ childhood. Milk paint would allow the chips to stay chippy.
Does that last sentence make any sense?
In case you didn’t remember what the coffee table looked like before, here it is. It’s a very dark brown and kind of didn’t look great in our family room.
But herein lies the problem. The table has history in our family. The coffee table legs have chew marks from when our dogs Speffy and Sport were puppies. The top edge of the table, closest to the couch, has years of scuff marks from the kids soccer and baseball cleats.
I didn’t want to refinish our table if it meant I would lose the character of our table. So I decided to sand the table lightly and paint it with milk paint. I was pretty sure I could maintain the scuff and bite marks. And the end result would look perfectly farmhouse in our home.
I do want to leave a message here for my youngest son Michael. “I promise I kept all of the character and memories of this table. It also looks so much better and your mom is super happy. I hope you will forgive me for refinishing the table”.
You can guess who didn’t want me to refinish the table. Hmmm.
If you look at how our coffee table used to look like below, you can see the puppy chew marks on the legs of the table!
How to Refinish a Table DIY
What You Need to Paint a Table with Milk Paint
- Old Fashioned Milk Paint – Oyster (I used two packages for the table.)
- Paint brush
- Medium grain sand paper
- Paint tape
- Polycrylic sealer
Prepare the Table
A light sanding was all it took to get this table ready for some milk paint. It is important that you sand every surface. Pay special attention to areas covered with lots of paint or any type of varnish. You really need to sand these areas well. (A smooth surface does not like milk paint and it might peel off in huge chunks if it isn’t sanded.)
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Once the piece is sanded, wipe it off with a slightly damp cloth to remove all of the dust.
Next, mix the Milk Paint, per the instructions, and begin painting every surface.
Continue to paint all of the surfaces. it is likely your piece of furniture will take more than one coat. I painted three layers of paint on this table because it just wouldn’t cover the dark wood!
This is how my coffee table looked after two layers.
I love that you can still see all of the cleat marks on the top edge of the table.
There were a few places on the table where I didn’t sand it enough. To fix it, i painted more milk paint in the chippy areas and then covered it with a poly acrylic finish. On the flip side, if the furniture doesn’t look chippy enough you can sand the areas where natural wear and tear may have occurred.
Here is how the finished table turned out. The poly acrylic finish coat also sealed the chippy surfaces so the chips wouldn’t fall off!
Here is a closer look at the table. I love it!
Frequently Asked Questions
Milk paint automatically produces a bubbly paint texture, which is a perfect “chippy” distressed look. It creates is the perfect vintage look for DIY furniture and wood projects.
No. Milk paint comes in powder form and will bubble and create a chippy look when it dries. You also need to sand your wood piece to remove any varnish when using milk paint. Chalk Paint has a heavy smooth finish and you will have to sand it if you want any chippy look.
I love the top of the table and it’s the perfect amount of paint and the dark wood showing through. Plus, you can still see the soccer and baseball cleat marks on the top left side!
What do you think? Did I do the right thing? I hope Michael thinks so!
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