DIY kitchen table facelift

I recently went to a garage sale this summer and came across this old outdated dining table. I was drawn to it by its lines, and body detail. It was made of solid wood and the more investigating I did I found out it was made by Ethan Allen furniture company. They are a furniture company that has been around since 1932. Their furniture is built with excellent solid construction and they have quality in their furniture behind their name.

I stood there for a moment and thought “What could I could do with this? Should I get it or take a pass?” It came with a leaf as well so it could be a round table or made into an oval table. I ended up bargaining with the lady and picked it up for $150-.


Here is the table as I had bought it. It had a super high gloss mahogany finish.

I decided I wanted to do a facelift on this table. She had such nice detail but needed to be updated to the current times and I had to bring her back to life. I wanted to bring in a “farmhouse” table feel so this is how I made it happen.

Make sure temperatures are warm enough for this process. I like doing these projects in 50 degrees at least or warmer for best results.

Materials needed:

Stripper- Klean strip stripper

metal container to pour stripper in

throw away paint brush- you can get one super cheap at a hardware store or paint store

heavy-duty gloves

putty knife


General Finishes milk paint color of your choice (we used antique white)

General Finishes water based top coat. Pick your sheen. I choose flat.

paint brush for painting with paint

old rag

tool that is sharp to use to antique. I used an old screwdriver to get in the grooves and cracks.

The kitchen table is the “gathering” area of the home. I want my table to be a comfortable & cozy place to sit and spend time with the family. Good conversations and meals are served here daily.

Steps to a happier “face” of this table

  1. First I read the instructions of the stripper can and poured it in the metal can. I then spread the stripper on the top of the table with the throw away paint brush. I waited about 15 minutes to let it settle on the top. After the time had expired I then took my putty knife and started to carefully peel away at the top coat of this table. This particular top coat was a major pain to get off. THE WORST and most stubborn I’ve ever dealt with. Good job Ethan Allen, your top coat rocks and passes the test! I then went ahead and repeated step 1 a couple more times. When most of the top coat was up I then took a rag and cleaned the top up.


This is what it will start to look like when the stripper is going to work and you are taking the putty knife and lifting up the topcoat.

       2. Plug in your hand electric sander. Sand the entire table top and give it a good sand all around.

Once you start to sand a couple more times, the pure beauty of the table will start to show. This particular wood species made me really happy to find what was under this topcoat and heavy stain. The natural wood of this table top was amazing.

3. Once the top is sanded and in tip-top shape you will have to sand the sides/edges with sandpaper in hand (no electric sander for this one). I use the more abrasive paper at first and then go in with a finer paper. You could just use an abrasive paper and skip the finer one if you like a more rustic feel.

table top is complete & awaits top coat.

4. Time to paint the base. I picked an antique white paint color. It took a good 3-4 coats to go over this dark mahogany finish. No need to prep with milk paint. You just paint right over it, making sure it is clean before you start applying. After the 3-4 coats of paint we let it dry. I then took sandpaper and distressed it a bit. I used an old screwdriver to get into the ridges and harder to get to spots. After the distressing was satisfied we used the water based top coat and applied 2 coats, waiting the drying time in-between.

5. We also used 3 top coats on the table top to seal the bare wood but still get that natural wood effect without it looking like we applied anything. That’s why we picked the “flat” finish. It will look like a darker color when you apply the top coat but no worries it will dry and the color will fade and it will look just like it did before you put anything on it.

Now the table is ready to assemble and to enjoy some good meals & great conversation.

    distressed base. You can add as much or as little distressing as you wish.

DIY like these are a lot of work but I love to see the end result. I’m so satisfied at how this turned out. All the sweat and hard work was worth it and for sure paid off!!!

4 thoughts on “DIY kitchen table facelift

  1. I am SO GLAD you posted this! My once beautiful table has lost its luster and this is just what I was looking for to bring new life to it! Can’t wait to try it – thanks for the detailed instructions too! 🙂

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