Picture of a farmhouse tablescape with cotton blossoms and milk bottles

Refurbish and Renew- How I gave new life to a junky table and chairs (and saved myself some $$$) Part 2- Chalk paint is AMAZING!!

I’m back with Part 2 and the final reveal of my recent refinishing project. If you haven’t already checked out Part 1 do that now then come back here for the grand finale!

Last time we left off with a stripped, sanded, and stained table top and chairs but the pedestal base and chair frames still needed some love. Here is a picture to remind you of the progress so far.

Picture of refinished table top after staining
Viola! Stained table top perfection!

Now, this is where glorious chalk paint comes in to play.  This was my first time using chalk paint and let me tell you it is a game changer! You can paint over virtually any finish without stipping off the poly and sometimes light sanding isn’t even required (although I recommend at least a quick hand sanding to prep the surface and of course fill in any gouges/imperfections unless that is the look you are going for). I have heard adding a coat of shellac may help with adherence but in this case the wood was already varnished so I can’t confirm that is necessary. There are a bunch of chalk paint products available due to its increased popularity. Annie Sloan, Behr Chalk Paint, and Rustoleum Chalk Paint are a few I researched and ultimately decided to try Behr. It is a newer product in the Behr paint line but was readily available (at Home Depot), was affordable ($20/quart), and came in many colors (it is custom tinted like Behr interior paints). For this project, I chose a traditional Farmhouse White but I’m excited to try out more vibrant colors for future pieces.

Behr Farmhouse White chalk paint
Behr Farmhouse White – credit Behr.com

Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of pictures of the painting process but it really wasn’t all that exciting if you know what I mean. That being said, there are a few things you need to do to prep your work area and furniture. Lay down a painting drop cloth or newspaper to protect your work surface. I choose to paint on top of another table so that I wasn’t hunched over. Also, tape off any area you want to keep the paint from touching. For the table top, this was the underside of the table because I was painting that band that runs under the table top (technically called the apron). For the chairs, I was painting all except for the seat, so I needed to tape around the chair seat where the frame connected. Chalk paint also works well with a special natural bristle brush that is a bit fatter and rounder than a typical paintbrush. Investing in a couple different sizes is a good idea and you will also need a nice big one for the finishing wax (more on that later).  As always Amazon is a great place to buy something like this.  Chalk paint cleans up with soap and water so you can easily reuse brushes for future projects. Once you have your work area prepped and tools handy, it is time to get painting! Apply the chalk paint like any other painting project: stir well before starting, don’t glop it on- apply with nice even strokes, watch for runs and major streaks as you go, and wait at least an hour between coats. *Tip – don’t waste time washing your brush after each coat or changing out brushes. Cover the brush head with a plastic ziplock bag and it will not dry out!* I needed 3 coats but the chairs and pedestal were dark to start with so lighter wood may only require 2 coats. Here are what my starting pieces looked like.

Wooden chairs stained and prepped for chalk paint
Chairs ready for magical chalk paint!
Dark stained table pedestal ready for chalk paint application
A fine looking pedestal that just needs a little chalk paint TLC

I found that chalk paint is very forgiving because of its extremely matte finish. It also feels velvety and “chalky” (yeah, yeah, I know it isn’t called chalk paint for nothing!) due to the Plaster of Paris mixed into the paint. Not going to lie, the painting was tedious and took a few days to complete (along with the help of my husband- thanks babe!) but way easier than stripping and sanding all those nooks and crannies for sure! Check out my almost finished product!

keyhole back chairs painted with farmhouse white chalk paint
Painted chairs! Getting closer to the finish line!

Ok, so I am not quite finished. The muse table I found on Pinterest – check it out here – had a distressed look so it was time to grab some sandpaper and get to work making this table set one of a kind. Distressing wood is very easy and you really can’t mess it up unless you go overboard. I found that sanding out the areas that would naturally wear over time made for the best look. Medium grit sandpaper or a sanding block work just fine. Glide the sandpaper or block over the piece and let it take off the finish where it hits. You can also add a little more elbow grease to corners and edges for an even more worn look. After you reach the desired level of distressing, wipe down the piece with a damp cloth because yes, there is still one last step…waxing! Waxing is not required but I highly recommend it to protect the finish. It also adds this nice glow to the painted finish that really makes it look and feel beautiful. There are a few different types of waxes to choose from that create different finished looks- clear, whitewashed, and antiqued. If you want to see wax examples check out this link to the Behr site. I went with Behr clear wax because that was the paint product I used and I didn’t want to change the final look of my painted furniture. I found the Behr wax to be very firm and super easy to apply. I simply swirled my waxing brush (see above for my note about brushes) in the product and brushed it on the painted wood. After it dries you lightly buff with a clean terry-type cloth and voila! you have a nice smooth and beautiful protected finish. I applied 2 coats (waiting about an hour between coats) and the coverage seemed ample. Would this protect a painted table top? hmmm, not sure but for a table pedestal and chair backs/legs, it seemed sufficient. They do recommend reapplying the wax every year or so depending on the use. On a side note – I have since tried another brand of wax for another project and was not as impressed. It was very liquidy like paint so I found it much more difficult to apply. The resulting finish was fine, just a bit more work in my opinion.

So are you ready for the big reveal? Tada!!!

Farmhouse style round pedestal table with white chalk paint finish
The finished product!! From trash to treasure!
Farmhouse style table and chairs with distressed chalk paint finish
Light distressing gives it some character
Round table with farmhouse decor
A little farmhouse decor and it is perfect!

I am so excited to share my finished product! I am really impressed with how it turned out and actually (mostly) enjoyed working on this piece. I think what I am most pleased with is the fact that I took something that was really beaten up and in need of some love and gave it new life again. All in all, I probably spent about $200 on this project plus my time. I know time equates to money but the sweat equity is enough to make me consider rehabbing a piece like this again to use for my business. On average I spend anywhere from $500-$1000 on a dining set for my staging business and a lot of the time I find the quality is a bit subpar. Taking the time to refinish something not only gets the creative juices flowing but allows me to have original pieces in my inventory that are one of a kind. I hope you have enjoyed my journey. Feel free to leave comments and questions as I love sharing my knowledge and experiences with others. Check back soon for more exciting posts and projects!


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