Sharing my tips & tricks for how to refinish a table, a fixer upper farmhouse table & create a gorgeous DIY farmhouse table completely for free using the dining room or kitchen table you already have with step by step instructions & pictures!
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How to Refinish a Table – DIY Farmhouse Table
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I love the look of a Restoration Hardware or an original fixer upper farmhouse table but unfortunately, they were way too expensive & hard to find for our budget.
I can not believe how much our dining table looks like a vintage or Restoration Hardware farmhouse table now!
Our Formal Dining Room Table Before
Below is a picture of our dining room table soon after we moved in our farmhouse.
Jason & I bought our former Broyhill Attic Heirlooms dining table soon after we moved into The Town Traditional.
I had always wanted a large farm/ harvest table that would fit a lot of people & still look great.
I found this oak Broyhill Attic Heirlooms dining table & fell in love with it.
It fit perfectly in our old dining room & was delivered in 3 days or less 🙂 just time for our big family Christmas dinner of 20 people.
Then we moved to the Suburban Split & our new Broyhill Attic Heirlooms dining table was way too big for our new dining room.
The dining room was not big enough to keep the leaves in it anymore…. but we knew we wouldn’t be there forever and we loved our table so we kept it.
Then we moved to Lehman Lane & our dining room is long and narrow…only 9′ wide not counting the bump outs for the columns.
The Broyhill Attic Heirlooms dining table fit great lengthwise but was way too wide for our new dining room.
Jason convinced me he could make our dining table look as good as something from Restoration hardware while staying on a budget so we decided to learn how to refinish a table & give it a farmhouse table look!
Supplies & Tools Needed to Refinish a Table & Turn it into a Fixer Upper Farmhouse Table
- A solid wood dining table
- A Table Saw
- An Orbital Sander
- Polyurethane – We used Rust-Oleum Satin Finish
Instructions for How to Refinish a Table – a DIY Farmhouse Table
Step ONE – Cutting the Dining/ Farmhouse Table to Size
Jason first took our farmhouse table apart & took off about 3 1/2 inches on each side for a total of 7 inches off the width of the table.
I know it doesn’t seem like much but it makes a big difference.
That’s 3 1/2 inches of Thanksgiving dinner girth that can now squeeze behind someone seated at the table. 🙂
We decided to narrow it just enough that Jason wouldn’t have to move a lot of the supporting wood on the bottom of the table (legs, side boards, etc) around…essentially we were just cutting off the overhang of the table on the width side from 4 1/2 inches to 1 inch.
He similarly cut the dining table leaves down as well with our table saw.
Step TWO – Sanding Down the Dining Table to Refinish
The farmhouse table had that darker oak finish that had started to wear off over the years.
I’ve come to love the lighter, more natural, time worn look of tables that Restoration Hardware sells & looks like it was meant to belong in a fixer upper farmhouse.
So Jason sanded everything down to the bare wood, getting rid of that dark finish, but still keeping the imperfections that came with the original Broyhill Attic heirlooms dining table…. & that our kids made along the way.
We succeeded in our task of trying to refinish a table & our new DIY farmhouse table came out perfectly.
Step THREE – Sealing the DIY Farmhouse Table
Lastly, I sealed the farmhouse table with Rust – Oleum’s Satin polyurethane finish.
Although we loved the look of our farmhouse table without any finish, with four kids & lots of wine, juice & water not to mention food spills, art projects & mishaps over the years we knew we needed to protect Jason’s hard work.
So we went with a clear finish that didn’t have much shine to it & kept that natural light wood look for our DIY farmhouse table.
Our new DIY Farmhouse Table decorated for Thanksgiving
Farmhouse Table with Chairs & Bench
Another thing that was way too big for our new dining room were our Windsor chairs.
You can only fit so many of those large chairs around the table & we needed to fit as many as possible for large dinner parties.
So we sold the oak Windsor chairs to buy dining chairs with a smaller profile and would fit under the farmhouse table well.
I also wanted to go with a lighter chair color to continue to brighten up the room along with our new farmhouse table.
I picked up 4 smaller white chairs from IKEA.
So with the extra savings I was able to talk Jason into letting me get a long mirror for the room I had been eyeing for months.
I am so glad we decided to refinish our former dining room table because we love the look of our new DIY farmhouse table.
It makes the dining room feel bigger and the natural oak color lightens up the room too.
It really looks like a farmhouse table from Restoration Hardware.
An old farm or harvest table!!!
We added a bench Jason made to go with the white chairs and adds more seating to our new DIY farm table.
I love our new DIY farmhouse table & it was free with just a little elbow grease!!!
And the best part is that it cost us nothing to refinish the table we already owned!!!
Don’t forget to save & pin our DIY Farmhouse Table to your favorite DIY Projects Board on Pinterest!
I hope this inspires you & answers your questions about how to refinish a table to create your own harvest or fixer upper farmhouse table!
Love your blog. I am about to refinish our farmhouse table that we bought second hand and wanted your advice on the finish. Right now it has a thick coat of polyurethane that is shiny and doesn’t look very farmhouse. I want to keep it as natural as possible looking. Did you explore using an oil as a wood protector? From your photos it seems that the satin finish looks natural. Are you happy with it? Any advice is appreciated.
Hi Juliette, Thanks for checking out my blog and our refinished farmhouse table! We are very happy with our finish! We only put on one coat of polyurethane and in retrospect with kids coloring and spilled meals 2 or 3 coats would have done a better job to protect the table. We will probably need to give it a quick sanding and put 2-3 coats on at some point. We’ve mostly stuck with water based finishes for the convenience of them…quick dry time, low smells, etc. The table still looks very natural with 1 coat. Once we put 2-3 coats on we will probably go get the same finish in a matte…we had the satin lying around from using it on our floor. My husband has played with different types of finishes (tung oil, watco oil). He even mail ordered some samples of woca oil which is a very natural matte oil. He keeps coming back to the convenience and availability of the water based finishes. Here is a great article on the various finishes…http://www.oldewoodltd.com/blog/what-to-know-understanding-your-oil-water-and-natural-oil-finish-options/. Hope this helps!
I live in Fairmount section of Philly. I have a 6 ft farm table that I am considering either refinishing or slathering with mineral oil. My biggest issue is putting anything toxic on the surface of a table my kids will be eating from. Did you consider this issue at all when you decided to put the Rust-Oleum poly on it or are your kids grown so it’s not as much of an issue. Thanks for your time.
Hi David! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! So fun to know you are from Philly! Our kids are older so we weren’t too worried about them eating the table or eating from the table:). Here’s a great guide to finishes (http://www.rockler.com/how-to/finishing-comparison-guide/). The downside of some of the finishes that are considered more food safe will be that they are not as durable and will need more frequent maintenance.
We have this exact table and the finish is looking worn. I can’t keep it looking great as I think it has a varnish finish. We have considered sanding it down and refinishing it so we could seal with poly and avoid the hazy varnish look we have going on. How hard was it to sand all of the finish off? What type of sander did you guys use?
We mostly use a random orbit sander for any sanding projects…an older version of this one:
DEWALT D26451 3-Amp 5-Inch Random-Orbit Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
We tried using our belt sander but it got gummed up with the varnish pretty quickly. We just changed out our orbital sanding pads pretty often…coarse pads to start and then a final pass with a finer grit. It took about 30-60 minutes to do the whole table.
The table turned out great so I would say it’s definitely worth the time and effort!
Beautiful! I have the same table and LOVE it!!! Its starting to get a little gunky ontop from kids. Question: How long did it take hm to san the table completely? THANK YOU!!!!
Found the answer above… 30-60 min.
Your husnband did an amazing job!
Thanks so much for stopping by to see how we refinished our farmhouse table Kelly! Good luck if you decide to refinish yours:). Have a great week and take care, Tara
You inspired us to do the same to our Broyhill heirloom table. Unfortunately, we are not having an easy time of it. We are using a Dewalt orbital sander with 60 grit sanding disk and it is barely changing the surface of out table. I would be so appreciative of any advice you could give us! Thank you!
Hi Beth, it’s sounds like you guys are doing the right things! I checked with my husband and he said he might have used a 40 grit sanding disk as well as a 60 and he also said that he used a belt sander for a little bit but the orbital sander was easier to work with, but slower. It definitely took him at least an hour to sand down the table. Hope this helps and good luck with your table! Please, Let me know how it goes!!!
Thank you Tara! We persevered and have sanded the table and the legs! Our local home improvement store recommended an inexpensive product called “Awesome” that helped by removing the gummy tar-like varnish and made progress much easier. Only the apron to go now. Thank you again for the inspiration, and the detailed instructions!
Glad it sounds like the process is moving along much quicker. Would love to see a pic of your table when you are all done!!!
I love your table! Your pictures are beautiful! What a lovely space you’ve created! So happy if you would share this this week at my Making Broken Beautiful Party. It begins on Thursday. Hope you have a great week!
Thanks Terry! I will definitely be by for your party tomorrow, thanks for the invite! Hope you have a great week too, Tara
This is great! My husband just built us a table with a walnut top. However, the boards shrank and now there are cracks between the boards. What do you do about yours? How do you keep them clean? We have 6 kids so it is quite a challenge and we have only had the table a few weeks. He was going to try to fill the gaps with epoxy, but we are not sure it will work.
Thanks so much for stopping by Lindsay! I vacuum my table’s cracks, it’s not pretty but it works:). Your epoxy idea might work too. Being one of 6 and having 4 of my own I think we are doomed to clean up our tables after every meal regardless:). Take care, Tara
I use a toothpick to dislodge, then
Great tip! Thanks for stopping by to check out our farmhouse table Christie!
Tara! What an awesome table — Your husband did a great job — and to think it was a FREE project! 😀 Cynthia
Thank you Cynthia! Nothing is better than free right?!
Your table turned out beautifully! I agree, the lighter look fresh and on trend right now. Thanks for linking up to The Creative Circle 🙂
Thanks Jen! We are really happy with how it turned out!!!
What a beautiful dining room and the perfect table for gathering! Featured at Be Inspired this morning. Thanks for sharing Tara!
Sharon thank you so much for featuring my dining table and for hosting the Be Inspired party every week!!!
Love how you redid your dining table Tara – but the entire dining room is just stunning – I’m in love with every single detail !
I’m so thrilled you were able to share this at my Making Broken Beautiful party, I do hope you will join in again tomorrow :0)
Thank you Terry!
What a gorgeous makeover! I love that natural look of the table.What a great idea to just trip the stain of the table. I love how it works now with the dark walls and with the white chairs. Beautifully done!
Thanks so much Deb! We are really happy with how our dining table turned out!
What an amazing transformation and such a big project to tackle a week before Thanksgiving. I love that you could do this with almost any table base. Brilliant. Also, love Restoration Hardware. Thanks so much for sharing at The Creative Circle.
Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my dining table Kathy!
Wow, what a difference! I’m in love with natural wood look too. So pretty!
We’d love for you to come over and link up to Your Inspired Design, a cooperative link party on 6 blogs. Hope to see you there!
Thank you so much Gloria! I will definitely try and stop by your party!
This is awesome! I love this project, it looks great. Thanks for sharing at the Pretty Preppy Party!
Thank you so much for taking the time to check out my table and for the party Amy!!!
Your table is beautiful! I have been contemplating this project myself on a pine table with a terrible orangey brown stain on it and I want to take it to a walnut brown stain and I will paint the skirt and legs with chalk paint. I have been trying to figure out if I also need to sand the bottom of the table top. Did your husband sand yours?
Thank you so much for visiting Jeri! We did not sand the bottom of our table top because it is hidden by the sides and it was never stained to begin with:). Best of luck with your table! A dark brown stain and chalk paint legs and skirt sound really pretty:). Take care, Tara
Thank you for sharing. We too have a Broyhill Attic Heirloom table in the same finish but a different style. The top got all sticky and we are in the process of refinishing it. I love how yours turned out. I hope ours turns out just as nice.
The top of our Broyhill table got all sticky too Julie! That is part of the reason we decided to sand it down. Thank you so much for stopping by and best of luck with refinishing your table! Take care, Tara
Looks great!! Such a fabulous size for family gatherings! http://www.lovesthefind.com
Thank you so much for stopping by and for your sweet comments about our farmhouse table Ashlyn! Take care, Tara
Hi I’m so happy that I found this! We too have the same sticky dining room set. We can’t wait to sand the table as you did, and hope it will look as awesome! We also have the hutch that I saw in your photos, did you sand it down as well? I couldn’t do without the storage, sanding the hutch seems like a big project.
Thanks so much!
Thanks so much for checking out our farmhouse table Laura!!! How fun that you have the same set. Best wishes for your table makeover!!! We have not sanded the hutch as of yet but hope to in the future. It’s such a pretty piece and provides great storage, as you know :). When we decide to make it over I will be sure to share it on the blog. Please keep me posted with the makeover of your dining set. I would love to hear how it goes. Take care, Tara
What an excellent post-thank you so much! This is exactly what i was looking for and you did a fabulous job-looks very professional.
Thank you so much for stopping by and for your sweet comments about our farmhouse table Mary!