Painting a Kitchen Table

By Kate Riley March 1, 2012

Painting a kitchen table is an easy project! As long as you follow the steps, you’ll have a paint job that lasts for years to come!

Today’s DIY project is about how to paint a kitchen table.  I’ve been painting furniture and cabinets for years, but this time I tackled the painting of a kitchen table. A kitchen table is the one surface that will get the most traffic of any piece of furniture in your home, and since it gets the most abuse it must be extremely durable.

Painting a kitchen table can be done with success when you have three things working together – a primer that blocks stains and also sticks like super glue, an extremely durable paint with a hard finish that can withstand the banging of bowls and plates, and finally, a layer of protectant. Let’s get started.

How to Paint a Kitchen Table:

First, take a look at this pedestal table I found at a thrift store: worn out oak coated with plenty of ick and yuck on the surface. Not pretty.

table before 2

This thrift store find cost me $45, a good deal for this solid wood classically shaped pedestal. My friend needed a table for her breakfast nook so when I found this one, I decided to refinish it for her.

What you’ll need to paint your own wood kitchen table: orbital sander, medium grit sanding discs, foam roller, high quality angled paintbrush, medium grade sanding wedge, respirator, bonding/stain blocking primer, enamel based paint, cotton rags, clear paste wax.

Step One:  You want to sand off any debris and some of the varnish and that’s why an orbital comes in very handy – use medium grit discs. Doing it by hand is possible, but better to let this tool do most of the work for you.

You don’t need to get rid of all the varnish, the primer (next step) will cling to the surface, varnish or not. You simply want it to be smoooooooooth. Use your hand and closed eyes as your guide, if you can run your hand over the surface and it feels smooth to the touch, you’re good.

sand tabletop

Step Two: wipe it all down and start the priming phase. There are several kinds of primers on the market and a lot of them state they work on glossy surfaces.  Not all of them are stain blockers though so carefully read the label.  The one that has always worked best for me is Zinsser – I’ve used it for years – their Cover Stain sticks like super glue and blocks any wood stain from coming through, and also dries in an hour. It’s oil based, and not available in some States, but in my opinion it’s the best.

zinsser cover stain

On most furniture the spray version is just fine, but on high traffic horizontal surfaces like tabletops, coffee tables, or bookshelves, I recommend the roll on/brush on formula – it’s thicker and more durable for that reason.  Roll on two yes two coats for the tabletop (allowing to fully dry in between coats).

For more tips, see also: How To Paint Furniture


Roll on one coat to the remaining surfaces, wherever the roller can easily reach.

priming pedestal table

Follow up with the spray version to quickly fill in the crevices.

spray in crevices

Allow the primer to fully dry for a full day.

Step Three: use the medium grit sanding wedge to knock down any unevenness from the roller on the primed surface.  (The orbital is a little too strong even with a fine grit disc for this phase and doing this by hand doesn’t take long.)

sanding wedge

But be sure to wear one of these while you do it.


Once you’ve wiped down your primed tabletop, again run your hand over it to make sure you have a completely smooth surface.  Now it’s time to paint!  This is where it’s important to buy the right paint. I prefer these enamel paints and I’ve used enamel paints by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams (Pro Classic) for furniture. Both have really fantastic water based enamel alkyd formulas – they will give you a very hard finish like you’d get with oil based paints.

For this table, I’m using the Ben Moore Advance water based enamel alkyd in ‘Swiss Coffee’.  Also a Purdy brush, they’re the best!

ben moore advance formula

Step Four: Time to paint! I prefer to work with paint in temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees, not too hot or too cold, I find it helps with the open time, giving you sufficient time to apply the paint without any drag.  Apply two thin coats, just enough to cover, allowing to dry between coats (usually 24 hours).  If you choose a dark colored paint (say black, navy, or dark gray) you’ll likely need three thin coats of the enamel paint.

Now here’s the hard part – it takes 3 to 5 days for the paint to cure so that it’s sufficiently hard, so after your final coat of paint do what it says and wait wait wait!  This is a tabletop and you need it to be fully cured before you use it to prevent damage to all of your hard work.

Step Five: Protect your hard work. After a few days it’s time to protect it and you have several options.  I like the Brush on and Wipe On water based Varathane, and you can also use Minwax Polycrylic (I mention that method here) but for white painted furniture, I’m really loving waxes.  They will give you a soft hand rubbed finish and won’t change the color of your white paint.

There are various paste waxes on the market, you want one that’s clear, here are three I commonly use but you can also use Fiddes & Sons, Minwax, and Hannant’s as well.  With this table, I used the clear Briwax.

various paste waxes

Apply a small amount and rub in circles with a clean soft cotton cloth for a thin even coating and allow it to dry for at least an hour.  Buff (wipe repeatedly with clean cotton cloth in circles) to a shine, then repeat this step two more times over the course of a day.  Make sure to buff it completely so your wax isn’t sticky, and you get a nice matte finish.

wax on

You want your surface to repel liquids and stains, so a few layers of wax will help do that. After you’ve buffed your final coat, your table is safe for use. Still I advise you to take it easy for the first few days using it, the paint and wax are mostly cured but will be much more solid after another week has passed.

Here’s the tabletop up close before and after the makeover.  From dirty and spotty to fresh and fabulous!

tabletop before and after

So those are the steps on how to paint a kitchen table. Take to get a beautiful result that will last for years to come.

painted white surface of table


Before:  table before 2


It looks so fantastic!  Amazing what paint can do, right?




  1. I love your blog and I had a question. I have a table that is currently painted, but I have a lot of scratches. I want to repaint this spring. What is your suggestion for a table that already has paint? Should I just use the primer and paint again?

    • Depends Kristie, did you paint it? If so, with what kind of paint? If you bought it painted, do you know if it’s veneer or solid wood underneath? These all matter. In general you can paint over a previously painted surface, and if unsure what kind of paint is on the table now, then in an abundance of caution I’d prime it again.

  2. probably a stupid question, but can you still open this now that it is painted? do you worry about that part of it?

    • Hi Missy, you want to refinish/repaint the table with any leaf that goes with it in the table – like I did when I restained this table I included the leaf during the process:
      With paint, it’s probably best to keep a small distance between the sections as you do each step so that they’re not completely stuck together.
      With this table there is no leaf (sad but true – the doner did not include it) so I didn’t have that issue.

  3. Great timing! I just refinished my table.. a vintage 1930’s wooden doll.. I used stain and paint and was planning on using something to protect it this weekend and had been weighing my options. I had thought about poly but I’m a little scared to put it on after all the work I’ve done on this table. The top is stained and the edge/lip is painted (the legs are painted the edge color too). My question is .. is the wax option ok on stain?

    • Hi Rosemarie, yes you can use wax on stain, I prefer the polyurethanes on stained wood, but yes you can use wax too.

  4. So beautiful!! I can hardly believe it’s the same piece of furniture! Do you have to wax the rest of the table or is that just for the tabletop?

  5. Ok.. poly kinda scares me… any suggestions? preferred brand? I do NOT want it to yellow over age… suggestions on how to do it w/out screwing it up?

  6. Lovely! That is the same style as my kitchen table…thank goodness mine is in good shape, but I am not a fan of the honey country oak anymore. I guess styles change as we, um, grow older, huh? I soooo want to paint ours, but the hubs freaked out when I mentioned it about a year ago. Maybe I should just show him how great this one turned out!!

    PS. Still waiting on my paint sprayer guy for my side tables. While I wait, I need to pick up some of that awesome wax you mentioned!

  7. Wow! That is absolutely gorgeous! I have the near duplicate of this table out in my garage that I have been wanting to paint for years, but never knew where to start. Would the same method be advisable for oak cabinets? Thanks for the great tutorial!

    • Hi Meg, I’d use the same method on oak cabinets yes! That enamel paint gives a very nice hard finish, and you could even get away without a protectant on cabinets.

  8. I painted a table following the same steps that you did but have really struggled with the center seam. How did you address that? It looks seamless in your completed photos.

    • Hi Shannah, the primer and paint helped A LOT to fill it but up close you can still see it. The angle of the camera doesn’t quite show it but yes up close you can still see the seam in the table, more subtle with paint on top, but still there.

  9. You must have been reading my mind with this post; I was just thinking today that I need to paint our kitchen table. I do have a question for you… I am pretty sure our table is MDF and it’s black. I bought it at Target years ago for $200. Can I successfully repaint at high traffic piece when it’s MDF underneath? If so, should I sand the black paint off, or prime over it?


    • Allyson, you can paint MDF with the same primer, it’s great, it sticks to all kinds of glossy surfaces like laminate too. Follow the same steps but don’t sand it with an orbital, just scuff it up with a sanding wedge to get rid of any debris, smooth it down with a rag to remove any microscopic residue, then go to the priming step. :)

  10. Fabulous table!! Can you tell me what the upkeep is on the wax? Will it need to be done again? If so – how often? Once a year?

    • HI Tiffany, I think every six months redoing a coat of wax should be enough… :)

  11. Looks great! for some reason I can’t find any kind of wax here in bc, I’ll have to write these down and ask again :)

  12. I love this tutorial. I have an older dining set that needs to be repainted and I totally never thought about sanding it down and what kind of paint I would need. Will be saving this article for future references

  13. Voila’! And you made it look so easy! I added you to our blogroll today, so that I wouldn’t miss your posts.


  14. Beautiful job on the table, Kate! The white really brought it to modern times! So fresh and crisp looking. Those coral tulips are gorgeous. Spring is on its way!

  15. I love, love, love this table. I am dreaming of a white kitchen table. Thanks so much – you inspire me to keep DIYing!

  16. Hi Kate! I need to do this to my Crate and Barrel kitchen table already — it’s only 7 years old!!! DO you think the Wax covering is enough for the daily wear and tear? Thanks!!!

  17. I love the crisp white dining table! It’s what I’ve been dreaming of doing!

    My only question is what was your total cost for supplies, not including the table?

    • Oh great question Christina, I keep forgetting to do that!
      The gallon of primer I had in my stash, but a gallon runs about $30 but you could get away with a quart for around $15. Spray primer is around $5 a can. The enamel paint is pricier, they cost about $20 a quart but they’re worth it. Waxes vary in price from $10 to $25 depending on the brand. Purdy brushes are about $8 to $10 and the rollers are inexpensive, a few dollars at any home improvement store.

  18. I love this idea. The tutorial is awesome. You have one of the best blogs out there and reading your posts always inspires me. ~Megan

  19. Thanks for the temp suggestions and all the tips!!! Have you ever painted while it was raining outside? Will this effect the drying?

    • HI Krista, yes humidity and moisture in the air do affect drying time it will take longer to cure but it can still be done.

  20. GOOD MORNING! I know those of us from Chicago are up before you (oh how I wish we lived out west) but when you do rise and shine you might want to explain that you have to register with apartment therapy to vote for best DIY blog. I rarely register for anything but I did just so I could vote for you (: Your blog is truly inspiring. Love, love, love

  21. Okay, dumb question–to vote for you in the Homies, do you just click on where they have your Web site listed? :/ I obvi haven’t had enough coffee this a.m. to figure that out yet. Thanks! Good luck!

    • Hi Jenni, you have to be registered to the site – ya think I could mention that, huh? :) Once you’re logged in, you can vote, and thank you !!

  22. This turned out beautiful! And perfect timing on the post. My husband and I plan to start sanding and painting our dining table this weekend. We need all the pointers we can get. We are considering the task of refinishing the table our five year anniversary present to each other. Since the traditional gift for five years is wood. I can’t wait to see how ours turns out.

  23. I could kiss you right now. THANK YOU!

    My husband & I bought an old oak table when we were first married & it was rough then…five more years of wear + a toddler means that it is BEGGING for mercy & refinishing.

    Question…is it a similar process to keep the top stained? I need to dig through your archives, but I was thinking to pain the ped. part & then stain the top a dark stain.

  24. Okay I guess I’m blind – I can’t see where you actually vote! I see the list of nominees but I can’t find where to place my vote! Can you email me (before noon CST – I’m leaving the office then)?

  25. Beautiful! As always, thanks for the tips! I always seem to grow impatient and skip the final step… you know, the important one that makes things last. ;) Thanks for the reminder to follow through! :)


  26. hey kate! i was wondering if you have tips for a kitchen table that itsn’t wood.. i’m actually not quite sure what my table is. is it a black pedestal table from the bhg line at walmart. i’ve been wanting to paint it white, but it has a really shiny almost plastic-y kind of surface. have you painted something like that before? also, would it work to use a sprayer with the cans of paint? you know, the kinds you connect to the can? i was just wondering because my parents used one for their cabinets and it looks perfect, unlike some of my painted furniture where i might see a brushstroke or evidence of a roller. just wondering! : )

    • Yes yes Jessica you can absolutely use a sprayer, the trick is getting the consistency of the paint flow just right. Not everyone has a paint sprayer at their disposal so I like to show how to do it by hand with a brush, but yes, if you have a high quality sprayer then go for it! Also, if you have one of those MDF or laminate previously painted top tables froma Walmart or other furniture manufacturer, you can paint it with the same steps, you just don’t need to sand the surface smooth – you can go straight to the priming step – Zinsser’s bonding agents work for glossy surfaces.

    • Hi Anne, I find with the enamel paints the Floetrol really isn’t necessary – its best to use those for the other kinds of latex paints which you can still use, but often the more inexpensive brand latex paints do need that conditioner boost. The enamel paints I mentinoed (Ben Moore Advance and Sherwin Williams Pro Classic) are both such high quality paints that when you apply them properly they don’t need Floetrol.

  27. The table looks great! I’m thinking of doing similar to a pine bureau I got at a thrift store. I want it to be very durable since it’s going in my toddler’s room. Out of curiosity, what’s the name of the Sherwin Williams brand of enamel paint, similar to Ben Moore’s Advance? I’ve got a SW very close by. Thanks and keep up the inspiring and fun work!

  28. Great tutorial.

    You are so lucky to live in an area where you can get a dry day btwn 50-70F more than a few times a year! I only paint on weekends and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been able to paint something in optimal temps :)

  29. Looks so nice and fresh! Thanks for the tutorial, I love seeing what products/methods others use for painting furniture! We’re painting our stairs this weekend and using the Zinnser primer as well. It’s good stuff!

  30. Hi Kate. Did you apply the enamel on the table top with a brush or with the roller?

    • Hi Amanda, I use a very high quality brush for applying the paint and very thin, just enough to barely coat for each round, this keeps brush strokes way down and eliminates that drag you can get if you put it on too thick!
      With a dark color paint (say black, navy or dark gray) you’ll likely need three thin coats of the enamel paint.

      • Hi there, I am ready to get rid of the early american oak orange wood look on my table top. It’s an alder table with a leaf and I’ve already painted the legs of table a few yrs ago in expresso melamine.
        I’m now ready to tackle the table top, but want to try to save the grain of wood as my husband hates the idea of painting wood.
        Do you think with the primer and paint (cabinet paint) in grey that the wood grain would show thru at all? That’s all my husband wants, then has givenn me the green light to go ahead and paint it grey. thanks.

  31. Ahhhh, oooooh, ahhhh! Painting my oak dining table was already on my list of things to do, now I have inspiration! BEAUTIFUL inspiration! You rocked it again girl!

  32. I want to buy a sander. Which one would I need? An obital one, or a finishing one, or both? I want to sand a fence to paint a redwood color and I would like to paint an old table.

    • Hi Joanna, sometimes they’re called orbit sanders – there are a lot on the market, mine’s a Black & Decker and I’ve had it about 3 or 4 years and it’s great. I think they run about $35 to $45 bucks.

  33. Kate, thanks so much for this! The directions and photos are so detailed, clear, and easy to follow. Awesome!

  34. CG, I’m confused. I was specifically told never to use water based paint by the paint department at ace hardware, on woOd furniture. They said water based is not good for it and that I must use oil based. Have you heard this before?

  35. Looks great, Kate! I have an old table in my basement that’s just begging for a similar makeover. I will be sure to use your tutorial! Good luck with the Homies… I voted! : )

  36. Hey CG it seems like my comment wasn’t posted, but if it gets posted twice sorry. So I’m confused because I was tOld at ace hardware never to use water based paint on wood because it’s not good for the wood. They said I should only use oil based. Have you heard this before? Also I noticed your primer was oil based and your paint was water. They also told me at ace not to do that. :0/ I’m stumped. Fill me in oh wise one ;0). Ps. I almost freaked when I couldn’t access your site lol. Addicted much? Haha guess so. Thanks for the post!!

    • Hi Debora, I can understand your confusion. Yes, it’s true most latex paints should not be used directly on raw wood, it’s my experience that raw wood prefers oil based primers and paints – soaks it up better. In this case the primer is oil based so it works well with wood – and yes you can put any oil or latex paint on top of this oil based primer. The reverse is not necessarily a good idea, I wouldn’t use a water based primer underneath an oil based paint. But note the water based primers and paints on the market these days are getting better and better, and some of them have synthetic oils in them which allow them to act like oil based primers and paints. I think someday they’ll get so good that we may not even be using oil based products in the future. but for now I’m sticking with my Zinsser.

  37. Love this! I see so many of these big oak pedestal tables around…makes me want to try giving one a facelift. I noticed you painted against the grain with the primer coat. Does it make a difference if you paint with the grain or not?

  38. I LOVE this! We have table like this that we bought off craigslist. The lady we bought it from repainted it and swore she sealed it but definitey did not. Even with protecting the tables and chairs, by the time we got home some of the paint chipped on, and even after getting it in the house, the paint chips off way too easily. We noticed that she never sanded it down like she said and definitely didn’t seal it. We want to redo it ourselves but are a little unsure. This post will really help us. I have a few questions. Will it be harder to do since she painted over the already the table and never sanded it down. We can see the original seal is still in tact. You used a paint brush to paint with; did that leave brush strokes? Do you have tips for minimizing the appearance for brush strokes? Thank you SO much!!!!

  39. Looks lovely! I have an Aris pedestal table from Pottery Barn & the top needs to be painted. PB tells me the top has a wood veneer on it and should be painted by a professional. Kate, in your professional opinion, do you think I can follow these instructions but maybe use hand sanding instead of the orbital (just to make sure I don’t damage the veneer)?

    • Hi Marie, you can paint over your PB table, but yes, don’t use the orbital, it could damage the veneer – scuff it up with a sanding wedge to remove any debris – that also helps your primer cling better IMHO and follow the same steps!

  40. You always have such handy tips, I need to start making a list. You have SO many things on Pinterest, I think you should have that little “pin” button on your posts that I’m starting to see other people use! :)

  41. Arrggg! I cannot get my vote to count. I must be doing something wrong. I clicked on the link you provided and then on your name on the ballot but what happens is that it takes me back to your blog. Help.

    • Yes Carrie, you can use any latex paint over Zinsser, been doing it for years!

  42. Great advice re the last stage…I just spend hours sanding, priming and painting a TV cabinet. I’m definitely going toa dd the finishing touches to protect it. Great blog.

  43. Looks wonderful!
    Does the Annie Sloan Chalk paint work for a kitchen table? I have used it for other pieces, and was planning on using it for a kitchen table. No priming is such a treat! But, I am wondering if it would hold up as well. I’ll be eager to hear your thoughts on this!

    • Allie I’m a big fan of the AS Chalk Paint, I love it on furniture – I have not used it on a tabletop though, just a console, a dresser, and an end table. They have both held up beautifully but they dont’ get nearly the same wear and tear as a kitchen table. You might be okay with it, I find it to be a pretty durable paint and the ‘no primer’ part is a bonus, but you wont’ get stain blocking capability with it to my knowledge. Worth a try, but this method I mention is the most durable I’m aware of.

  44. Hi Kate,
    Love your blog. Do you have any tips for keeping dust down while painting furniture? I recently refinished a banister and have a few small pieces of dust in the paint. I’m tackling a coffee table and kitchen table soon and want to have perfect finishes on those.

    • Emily if working indoors you will have that issue of sawdust and particles so you’ll have to use plenty of tarps – plastic or canvas work best. I prefer to work outside in a covered well ventilated area, but when I redid my staircase I had tarps everywhere and a small dust vac to help when it got out of control — also there are different paper and plastic runners you can buy in the paint department with an adhesive edge – those help too.

  45. @ Allie, I used Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (Old White) a year ago on my kitchen table and six chairs. I also used 3 coats of her clear soft wax. They have ALL held up beautifully!! I have a 3 year old and an 8 year old…LOTS of spills, crayons and play dough have been on that table top and it still looks as good as the day I finished it! Also, no priming (labor and materials) is a HUGE BONUS with Annie’s paints. You should give it a go…I think you’ll be very happy with the results!!

  46. I made the mistake of telling my daughter to put her freshly baked cookies on my black Pottery Barn table without enough padding underneath. Now it has white circles all over it. Thanks for the tips, I need to repaint – I’m using it to stage a 1900 Victorian that we’re renovating. I’ll be posting pictures of it soon!

    Laurel at SoPo Cottage

  47. Love it and can’t wait to get started on mine. My table is black and like the comment above, not a pottery barn table, but when hot plates were placed on the table it left white circles, uggg. So the wax is good to finish it off, no polyurethane needed?

  48. I’m working on a wood table that I want to paint and use outside (under a patio cover). Would you still recommend the water based enamel or should I go with a exterior paint?

    • Wow Molly great question, I’m not really sure… I haven’t worked with exterior paints lately beyond painting a house so I don’t know the answer to that. These enamel paints are designed for interiors though, so it really depends if the table will get any exposure to sun or moisture.

  49. These kinds of posts are why I fell in love with your blog years ago. You do the best DIY tutorials, especially painting ones, of all kinds! Thanks for getting back to your “roots” and inspiring me to tackle our kitchen table as my next project. :)

  50. Thanks so much for posting this! I’m used to painting on walls, not furniture and when I painted my dining room table last time I wasn’t happy with how it came out. I’m getting ready to paint it again and your tips will come in handy. Thanks so much!


  51. Great tutorial! I’m planning a kitchen table refurbish for this weekend, and though this is different, its an inspiration! thanks.

  52. Thank you so much for the tutorial. Do you think this technique would work for an IKEA laminate table? The table is round and heavy just like the one in the picture above.

    Thank you in advance. =)

    • Yep Raz, it would definitely work for a laminate table, just don’t use the orbital in the beginning.

  53. Sometimes when I see 82 comments I just don’t comment, because well, that’s a lot to read. But I just want to say KUDOS for an outstanding tutorial. I have a table like that in better condition but it’s in a color I don’t like. I love the way yours turned out!

  54. Thank-you, Thank-you, Thank-you for this!!

    You give THE best instructions and your photo’s are awesome! You should really write a book Kate.

  55. This looks beautiful! I’m hoping to re-do our table sometime in the near future! Would you recommend the enamel for kitchen cabinets?! We are getting ready to re-do our kitchen! Also – would you recommend the oil based primer? Someone suggested I use Glidden’s gripper – but that is water based!

    • Hi Whitney I would defitely use enamel paints on your kitchen cabinets, in fact I know Ben Moore recommends their Advance for that purpose. I’ve read really good reviews on Glidden’s Gripper also Sherwin Williams Adhesion Primer – as long as they have that bonding quality, you should be fine, look for language that reads “clings to glossy/laminate/most surfaces” – that’s a good clue you’re working with a primer that’s good for cabinetery. I’ve read some great reviews on Zinsser’s Bullseye Zero too, which is a low VOC primer made by the same company I like.

  56. OMG I love what you did with the table, I have always seen people try to “paint” (and I use that term loosely b/c it usually looks hideous) furniture and just the thought of that makes me cringe BUT you just proved you can do it and it will turn out alright. I just need to follow your steps for sure. Great Job!

  57. I love the little happy face showing on the front of your orbital sander!

  58. It looks perfect! And you used my go to primer, paint (SW)! I do tons of tables, and this was spot on perfect. I love the clean white look. -K

  59. Love this. Especially regarding the wax, I learned I have been putting mine on wrong, yikes! :) Thanks for the tips there.

    I have my Nannie’s dinning room table I need to redo. I already did her buffet in the AS chalk paint, but the table is a very thick heavy lacquer finish in a golden walnut finish. I saw your comment above regarding the AS for a table, and the following comment saying they tried it and it was great..BUT…what are your thoughts on sanding and priming? I know they say I don’t need to, but I want it to really stick and be really durable. Do you have any thoughts on this?

    And I live in Santa Rosa, can you just come over and do it for me?? ha. That’s a joke…sort of. :) Love your blog, somewhat new, but have enjoyed all your helpful tips. xoxo

    • Hey you’re so close Amy! The AS Chalk Paint does not require sanding or priming, and I’ve never used in on a tabletop so I can’t confirm the durability factor on that particular surface, but it hasn’t let me down on those other surfaces I mentioned (dresser, end table, console table) – the sanding may help only because you want a really smooth surface to start with, but if you’ve got one already, you could certainly use the AS Chalk Paint as recommended by another reader…. you’re limited in colors of course, but it seems others have done it successfully.

  60. Very interesting. I wondered if waxes were tough enough to handle the tops of a table. You use varathane, have you ever used the floor version on a table/furniture? Just wondering because I have 1/2 gallon left from refinishing my floor and I’d like to use it, but I’m scared!

  61. It looks great Kate! I have a farmhouse table that was done in a black rustic look. I remember LOVING that finish. Now, not so much! Because of the distressing that was done to it I am not sure I will be able to make it look so fabulous as yours but I sure am going to try! I am considering buying a glass cut to size to put on top of the table top.

  62. I just bought a pedistal table at a resale shop last week. Perfect timing! Mine is destined for our bonus room as a game/craft table so durable finish is also important. Thank you so much for the information.

  63. Ok, well, I’ll give it a whirl and let you know how it turns out. :) Thank you!

    Yes, was surprised when I read your local newspaper feature post…you are so close! We were just in your neck of the woods on Sat…took my in laws to see the Adobe only to find it closed for budget cuts {?!?! boo!} so we walked around downtown. We love Petaluma.

    Thanks again!


  64. Hi Kate,
    I was wondering how you sanded the pedestal. Did you sand at all? I’m trying to refinish my dining table but worried about the legs since it’s a pain to sand them.

  65. ugh. I so wish I had seen this post three days ago! I have almost the same table.. decided to prime it (and apparently Lowes paint people don’t know which primer is best) and use a paint sample on it.. I painted the entire thing since I so loved the color. Then went back and got a high gloss of the same color and painted over the satin finish paint sample paint.. and promptly watched all the paint bubble up and come off. SO.. now I’m stuck with the worst mess possible and am devising a plan to start over. Meh. I so hope mine comes out half as pretty as yours is!

  66. I don’t use place mats and I was wondering if any sealer is ok to use when you use paper plates and hot dishes. I would hate to go through all the work just to have it ruined by a hot steamy paper plate. Thanks

    • I’d be careful with extremely hot dishes on any painted surface Lacey, like you said it’s best to use placemats or something in between to protect your paint.

  67. The table you did pulled apart. Did you pull it apart when you finished it or did you just go over the crack.

  68. Love this makeover! Did you wax the entire table or just the top? Wondering how wax works in those crevices and detailed areas…

    • Just waxed the top Katie, the rest of it doesn’t really need it, that enamel paint is pretty resilient.

  69. Hi! I wanted to buy clear wax. Locally, I can buy clear Trewax, or Sc Johnson wax, or clear Briwax. They vary in price from $9.99, $8.99, and $17 respectively. Is there a reason to use one brand of wax over another when doing furniture projects? Or a reason why one would use anything other than clear wax? Any help would be most appreciated! ; ) Thanks!

    • Hi Stephanie, you can apply a tinted or dark wax if you want an antiqued or aged look to highlight details or crevices on painted wood but I don’t advise it for anything other than stained wood. Yep, those waxes do vary in price, but in my experience I’ve found they’re all pretty much consistent, so go with a more inexpensive version, as long as it’s meant for furniture that’s just fine.


  70. Hey Kate! I love your tutorials. I’m have found a used wood patio set that needs to be refinished. Can I follow these same steps for a table and chairs that will be outside, or is there something more I should do to protect it from the elements?

    Thanks so much!

  71. Did you have any problem using an oil based paint then putting a water based on top of it?

    • Hi Lauren, you can put a latex paint over an oil based primer, but if you try to layer latex paint directly over oil based paint it will peel off – best to use a layer of primer in between.

  72. i just bought a vintage table i’m considering painting white, and i loved this tutorial. my table has two leaves, however, and i’m curious as to whether that will be a problem. i guess i’d paint them separately and with the gap pulled open so that paint doesn’t get in the crack and seal it shut. does that sound right?

    • Sure Erin, like I did when I restained the pedestal table, I worked with the leaf in the table but pulled apart. Just be careful when painting the edges, preventing any drips into the inside. You might want to close it up after each layer of primer and paint to make sure it comes together nicely and gently sand the edges of the leaf to ensure it. Good luck!

  73. Hi Kate, I’ve purchased minwax finishing paste wax in “natural” because it was the only option at my local Home Depot. It looks light orange in the tin. Will it dry clear or should I keep looking for one that is labeled as “clear”?
    Thanks for all your blogs I’m not sure I’d be confident enough to tackle these projects without your great how-tos!

    • Hi Emily, what brand? I think Minwax makes a “natural” colored wax but I suspect it’s for lighter woods like maple. You really do want a clear wax if you’re working with white paint, but it might not matter on dark gray or black.


  74. Fantastic tutorial!! I recently painted our kitchen table, but it is not withstanding the wear and tear. I have little chips knocked out already. This will come in handy when I need to repaint! Thanks!

  75. I have the same table in my kitchen. I originally painted with cece caldwells chalk/clay paint and waxed it with cece caldwell wax. It is very similar to Annie Sloan’s chalk paint. I was not happy with the color, so I lightly sanded the table, primed it with “Glidden Gripper” primer and painted it with 2 coats of Benjamin Moore’s Advance. I started this 3 days ago; the BM Advance took about 24 hours to dry between coats and still remained somewhat tacky. This morning the paint started peeling off in big pieces. (we have not used the table in 3 days). What did I do wrong? Thanks for any advice.

    • Hi Suzie, that’s so tragic! I’m so sorry to read this! I have not used Glidden’s Gripper although I’ve read good things. The final coats of paint are only as durable as the coats underneath, I’m thinking there’s something going wrong with teh original clay/chalk paint plus wax plus primer combo. So so sorry you’re having trouble! You may just have to start over by stripping off all the layers, sanding down to the original surface and using a good bonding primer (I prefer Zinsser) to give you that guaranteed grip.

  76. I love this table so much that I bought one today in hopes of making it look just like yours! I found mine on craigslist for $35. Mine has raised bumps all over the tabletop. How can I fix this? I’ve never painted or sanded furniture before. I guess my question is, if I sanded the bumps out, would I be sanding too much off the top?

    • Hi Amy, it it’s solid wood, you should be just find sanding out the bumps, if it’s a veneer, then you have to be really careful, with an orbital you can do real damage to veneer.

  77. The table you used is the exact table I will paint. Mine has been in my family since I was a toddler. So excited to get started now after seeing a finished product!

  78. I am so glad that I found your blog post! This is my Spring Break project and I can not wait to get started!

  79. This is the exact table that I’ve been planning on refinishing next week – love the tutorial….oh, and I got mine at a bargain rate – free from my neighbor’s trash….along with 6 dining chairs from another neighbor’s trash! Would you refinish the chairs in the same manner?

  80. Hello! this is the exact table that I plan on painting next week during our Spring Break! It looks beautiful. I got my table at a bargain rate….free, from my next-door-neighbor’s trash…absolutely nothing wrong with it. Also have 6 dining chairs – also free, from our other next-door-neighbor’s trash! Just wondering if you would use the same technique on wooden chairs? Thanks!

    • HI Denise, I might spray prime the wooden chairs, but yes you could use the very same technique.

  81. Hey Kate! Your tutorials are fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to share your projects. I am currently using this tutorial as a guide while painting a great resale find. It’s a little cottage style pine coffee table that I scored for $20. I’ve stripped it, sanded it, primed it (Zinsser stain blocker), and have painted the first coat. What I did not do was sand the primer a tad to smooth out the table top. (The gentleman at Sherwin Williams told me that this was not necessary.) And now, I am totally regretting it. It’s not awful, but a little rough. (To the point where I am not happy.) I was wondering if you think I can give it a light sanding over the first coat of paint to help even things out. Any suggestions would be appreciated. :)

    • Hi Jen, you certainly can sand the first coat of paint, but until you get that primer coat smooth, you’ll still see rough spots in the following coats of paint. Best to get the primer as smooth as possible before painting on top of that. Hope this helps and your coffee table finish improves. :)

  82. I started painting my pedestal table this weekend. I’ve sanded, primed, and applied 2 coats of paint. I used a purdy brush on the bottom and a foam roller on the top. This is my first time painting furniture and I was scared of painting the top with a brush. However, now I’m wondering if I should have. My tabletop looks much more dull and matte than the pedestal. It really has no shine or gloss to it at all even though it’s the same paint all over. Do you have any tips, suggestions, or ideas that might help? If you think I should paint a coat with a brush, can you give me some suggestions for avoiding streaks? How long should my strokes be? Any help is much appreciated!!

    • HI Amy, so sorry you ended up with different sheens! I like a foam roller for quick application, but a brush for a sleeker finish. I work the paint back and forth in a rapid motion and with long strokes (18-24″) and first in one vertical direction, then across it in a horizontal direction with long light strokes with the tip of the brush. At this point with your table you can try one more coat on top with the brush to get the same sheen, or you can cover the top with a water based satin gloss Varathane finish – I prefer the rub on formula. You could also really buff out the wax, that tends to bring you more shine too. Hope this helps!

  83. I had sworn off painting oak furniture because of the grain but I think you just gave me the confidence to try it again. This primer and paint you are using looks like it covered the oak grain perfectly smooth! I’m so excited to try this! THANK YOU for sharing so much of your knowledge with us my dear, I’m always inspired by your projects!

  84. Hi Kate, I’m getting ready to paint a kitchen table. Your tutorial has been a great help, but I’m having difficulty deciding what I should do with the leaf. At this point, I imagine we’ll want to keep the table smaller when it is just the four of us, but add the leaf for dinner guest. What would you suggest in regard to painting the leaf? Thanks!

    • Hi Carson, I’d paint it all at the same time, and try to paint the leaf as it’s sitting inside but allowing some spacing between – after each coat is dry push it together and gently sand any edges where necessary so that it’s one smooth surface.

  85. Hi Kate. I’m going to follow your tutorial to the letter this weekend when I attempt to paint my daughters dresser. I noticed that you never mentioned paint conditioner, but from reading your other projects, I know you typically use Floetrol. Did you use it this time around?

    Also, when using Floetrol on projects for which you’ve bought a one gallon can of paint….is there any harm in adding the Floetrol to the whole gallon? I’m wondering if it would be better to add it ONLY to the paint that I plan to use for each 24 hour paint/dry session.

    I think I speak for every reader of your site when I say you are extremely talented and we’re lucky that you’re willing to share your knowledge with us! Thank you!

    • Hi Brian, I don’t use Floetrol with the enamel paints, only with other latex brand paints. I think it’s best to mix it in a separate container instead of directly in the paint, although it certainly won’t hurt your gallen. And thank you for the kind compliments!

  86. Thanks for this great tutorial. I searched all over my area for the water base enamel and could not find it anywhere! I guess it is not in smaller markets yet. Should I just go with an oil base enamel to get that hard finish that I want? What brand do you recommend? Thanks for your help. I asked the employees at my local hard ware stores and they were clueless.

    • Hi Julie, it depends on where you live and what’s available. Many enamel paints are oil based, and they’re fine too, look for paints designed for doors and trim!

  87. just found your site through pinterest. I have now spent the better part of my evening reading through your various projects. I have been wanting to paint my breakfast nook table but have been scared to since it is our main eating table. After reading this, I think I will do it!! I have to compliment you on your ability to really get your directions across so that what you are doing is very understandable. Every project that I have read I’ve left thinking “wow, I could do that”. Lot’s of people are crafty, but not everyone can teach others how to be… you really are quite talented. And after reading through your comments, you seem to be a very nice person as well, I’ve found myself smiling throughout your tutorials. Ever thought about hosting a show on HGTV? You’d be great :-)

  88. I just finished my table project and came across a little problem. I followed all of the steps. I used the Johnson wax and I am not happy with the results. The table has a yellowish tint where the wax stayed in some of the wood grain and the sheen is not consistent . Do you have an idea for a solution? At this point I am ready to sand the surface and paint again avoiding the wax step.

    • Hi Mary, did you try buffing the wax? That removes the waxy look and gives it more of a subtle sheen, try that first. If you’re still unhappy, yes you could sand it down gently to remove it then give the table one final coat of paint. The enamel paints have a harder finish, so let it cure for about a week and see how you like living with it with no wax finish.

  89. Thank you for your response. I did attempt to buff the wax. The sheen is uneven because some of the table is still yellowish as a result of the wax. (I was surprised that even thought I used a clear wax, it still has a yellow tint). I did not start with a completely smooth table. I sanded off the varnish and any flaws, but since it is wood, I did not sand down the wood grain. That might be the issue. I am going to try to remove the wax a car wax removal product and if that does not work, then I am going to sand.

  90. Primed my table last night and as I was doing so, a splinter of wood decided to peel up. Now there is a small indent on the surface of my table. Is it too late to use wood filler to fix it? Can I just put in the wood filler on top of the primer, sand, and then paint over that spot with primer again or will that make the surface uneven? Thanks!

    • Hey Jessica, yes I’d just add that little bit of wood filler to the table even after you primed, just sand it down and make sure it’s completely dry before you paint.

  91. Hey there! You are one Centsational Girl! I am tackling my Goodwill pedestal table this weekend and am going for Black. Would you wax or use the Varathane? It is used a lot so I want a strong finish. Thank you, you’ve inspired thsi “fifty something” to go back to my DIY roots!

  92. Glad I found this on Twitter. What a wonderful site! The instructions on refinishing a kitchen table was very informative and gives me the confidence in redoing some of the furniture in my home. I would rather buy something used and repurpose it than buy brand new furniture that I cannot afford. You have given me the inspiration I need. Thanks for providing this wonderful site and kudos to Centsational Girl!

  93. Amazing! You have a DIY tutorial for all of my to do list projects!! I love that you show the products that you use – that’s so helpful because I don’t have much experience with paint and really use your reviews/tips on all of that!
    My husband and I recently found a *free* table on craigslist and after some research we’ve decided to paint it (and the chairs) black.
    Now, I noticed the “break” in the middle of the table (before picture) so I assume there were some leaves involved at some point?
    Were the leaves not included in your purchase? Did you paint the table “shut”? I don’t see the same crease in the after picture…
    The table we found has 3 leaves and I would love to be able to use them all – do you have any tips on how to best approach the painting of the leaves – and also how not to complete paint the table shut when painting?

  94. You did an amazing job. And when I saw this table, I decided instead of getting ride of the one I had from my father in-law that was really gross. I decided to start my very first painting project! Now can I ask why something like Ben Moore and Scherwin over something like Dutch Boy? I do want to use the best for my table. But was wondering what those two do better? I don’t have much experience with painting, other than walls. Thanks!

    • Hi Jennifer, Dutch Boy is a good brand, it’s the enamel based formulas that I like for furniture with SW and BM. Dutch Boy would work well for walls!

    • Hi Renae, chairs are trickier because of their detail and rounded edges, I’d spray prime but then either spray or brush paint.

  95. Finished my table a few weeks ago with 3 coats of the same brand wax that you used. Is it normal for the wax coating to get scuff marks etc when things are moved around on the table top? Just wondering if I did something wrong or if it’s just something I’m going to have to live with. Is that why applying new coats of wax is needed, to get rid of scuff marks?

    • Hi Jessica, that sometimes happens if the wax isn’t buffed to a harder finish, I’d try to ever so lightly sand them out with super fine sandpaper then give it another coat of wax and BUFF BUFf BUFF (kinda till your arms ache :D) and you should have a more durable top!

  96. Hi Kate!

    I’ve started my table. Sanded, primed, and sanded. But then I had a few spots where, when sanding, the primer came off a bit. Do you recommend priming those spots again? I seriously can’t get over how amazing your table turned out! Hoping mine can look half as good. I have a large table with three leaves, will a quart of paint still cover all of that? Also, how do you get thin layers of paint? I am so afraid of too much paint. Last question, because I can’t seem to see it in your blog, but maybe it was there…what sheen is the best? I was thinking Semi-Gloss, but I know that High-Gloss is even more tough. Thanks a bunch for answering ALL of everyone’s questions! Super wonderful of you!


  97. Hi Kate,
    I’m going to use the Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint – I saw you said you’ve had some experience with this paint as well. Did you use the floetrol paint conditioner to minimize brush strokes or does it go on pretty smooth on its own?

  98. Thanks so much Kate! I’m loving my new table and loving your blog! Lots of really great tutorials and ideas!

  99. I am getting ready to do my dining room table. I have 4 little boys & was wondering if the Satin choice of paint would be best or should I do a semi gloss? Perhaps the wax wouldn’t work with semi gloss??? Just wondering…. Thank you! I love your website & have shared it with many friends.

    • HI Heather, yes you can choose semi gloss for a kitchen table, it wipes down easier, and if you use an enamel paint and let it cure a few weeks, you should be fine!

  100. Hello, Your posts are always so helpful, I recently repainted my cabinets after becoming inspired with your posts. I cleaned with tsp, deglossed, sanded and primed with two coats of zinsser. I then painted with two coats of sw proclassic in semi gloss but my cabinets arent at all glossy. Can I used this wax mentioned above to make the cabinets look glossy? If not, what product(s) will you recommed to get a glossy finish for the cabinets. On a side note, I had ugly oak cabinets to begin with. Thanks so much :)

    • Hi Mehreen, was won’t achieve a glossy finish, but I’d try Minwax or Varathane clear coat (water based) in a gloss sheen.

  101. Hi!
    I have a kitchen table that is thick veneer top. Do you think I could do this to the veneer top??

    • Hi Angela, you can paint any veneer with the right adhesion primer that’s designed for glossy surfaces.

  102. Did you use the roller for the paint? Or did you just use the brush for that?
    Getting ready to take a stab at refinishing a similar looking table this weekend. Except we are paining it a bright orange. – Deb

    • Just a brush for the paint but you could use a foam roller Deb.

  103. Kate, you really inspire me! Because of you, I’m now brave enough to tackle a long time goal to learn to paint/refinish old furniture. I know it sounds silly, but thank you!
    I recently bought a veneer table (ugly ugly, but it fit perfectly in my small eat-in space) that I want to paint. Do you suggest sanding first or going straight to primer? Suggestions on the type of primer & paint?? Thanks again!

    • No need to sand Carey, but I do like to scuff with a sanding wedge first, then go straight to an adhesion primer, Zinsser Cover Stain is my fave.

  104. Great job! I can never envision beautiful things out of old ugly furniture.

    One question: will you ever have to re-wax it?

  105. Ok sorryto bombard you with questions. I realized I should just start over, I got off the paint + primer (seemed crappy even to a first time painter). I primed with kilz latex primer. I picked out an enamel paint at lowes. They took it to add the color and when I got it back, they had switched my enamel can with a kitchen/bath acrylic paint. They promises to me that it was the exact same thing. Now I know that’s not true. But they had no enamel paint with a base that I could use with the color I want. Is acrylic paint a good alternative in terms of durability and such? Are there any good alternatives to enamel? I’m having a hard time finding it anywhere in my town. Thanks!

    • Hi Kalie, you can use regular latex paint but you might need an additive called Floetrol to lengthen the drying time and condition the water based paint for a smoother result. The alternative is to look for an oil based enamel paint, commonly used for doors and trim, I know Glidden has one and it’s sold at Home Depot.

  106. I am about to start the painting process of my kitchen table, but I’m concerned with how the temperature will affect my paint. I live in a very hot and humid climate, and was planning to keep the table outdoors on my patio throughout the whole refinishing process. Should I still attempt to paint this table even with the temperature being between 80-90 degrees every day? What problems could that cause? Thanks!

    • Hi Kara, the problems you may encounter with higher temperatures is that your paint dries too fast, leaving you with frustrating brush strokes. If possible, I’d wait for ideal conditions!

  107. Hi..
    I’ve just finished two coats of the zinsser primer on my oak pedestal table. Now I’m giving it a couple of days before I start painting. I’m planning on using the BM Advance paint you mentioned. I want to do black. The lady at the BM store suggested I use the Pearl finish. Good idea, do you think? She says it’s very durable and would’nt require a protectant. Can you just use the wax on white tables or do you reccomend using it on the black painted table as well?
    Just a couple of questions I hope you can help me with. Thanks.
    Love reading your blog. Always so informative. Your table looks beautiful and I’m hoping mine can look that good.

    • Hi Bea, the satin Advance formula may need a protectant, with black I’d go with a Minwax or Varathane finish – you choose if you want satin or gloss. If you go with a gloss formula in the Advance and let it cure a few weeks, it’s a pretty hard surface, did that with my son’s desk and was very pleased!

  108. Still working on our orange pedestal table. How many coats of Polycrylic would you recommend for a kitchen table? The can suggests 3. And should we paint the Polycrylic on the pedestal base as well? At this point my husband only did one coat on the table top. – Deb

  109. This is perfect! I have a HUGE ugly pedestal table with a veneer top that is just killing me. I have two questions:

    1- the base is actually metal, would I just follow the same steps as above?

    2- i’ll be doing this in Arizona in my backyard. Aside from drying too fast and leaving brush strokes, will the heat and sun quicken the curing time or do anything weird to the various layers?

    Again, so excited I found this on Pinterest, I was about ready to throw it out and head for Ikea :)

  110. Hi Kate! Thank you so much for this post. I have been studying it all week as I have been repainting some new pieces. I was wondering where you buy your waxes from. I checked Home Depot and Lowes and they only have Minwax in natural. I would like clear as you mentioned as I am also painting my furniture white! Thanks!

  111. Thank you for this tutorial… very straightforward and easy to follow. I redid a crappy old drop leaf table I got at a yard sale painted Swiss Coffee. It is used as a mini-gaming spot for my kids for their Xbox & a small monitor, with the leaves down. (1) It just strikes me as BORING, I would like to make it more visually appealing, but not sure how. I tried scuffing it up for a distressed look, but am having a hard time getting the paint off. What about dribbling some liquid stripper here & there? Try a little stain? (2) with the leaves down, the bare wood underside is visible, keep as is or should this be painted too?

  112. Excellent tutorial! Did you wax only the top or the entire table/pedestal? thanks!

  113. Thanks so much for sharing! The detailed instructions make my job so much easier!

  114. Hi Kate. i love your site and your step by step instructions and pics.

    Q for you – have you ever done a “Cerused” Oak finish? i am crushing on everything Gustavian right now! i have a very similar oak pedestal table to the one you painted, and wonder if you have had success refinishing oak with an american country vibe, into a subtle, elegant, grey-toned piece worthy of King Gustav’s court?

    thanks for any info you can share!

    • Hi Laine! That graywash or limed oak finish is all the rage but you’re right, it’s been around for centuries! I would strip oak down to it’s raw state, then give it a subtle gray then whitewash with paint! You can also buy liming products too, but I haven’t tried them yet.

  115. Hi Kate,
    My daughter has finished her first project painting a small nightstand. It has been about a month now. She never put wax on as she was too impatient. Now it seems that the nightstand is “tacky” meaning her small lamp is sticking to it and the drawers are sticking. She did let it dry properly. Help!

  116. Thanks so much for an amazing tutorial! I recently painted a media stand to reuse as a changing table. I sanded, primed, and painted with a couple of coats of latex paint. After a few days, its still SO tacky feeling! Would applying the Briwax help? Or should I give it a few more days (we live in a humid area)? Or do I need to start over and do it your way? :)

    • Hi Lauren, wax always takes away the tackiness from any latex paint, yes give it a try!

  117. Hi Kate. This was an amazing tutorial on how to paint a table and I am currently sitting at my newly painted kitchen table. I do have one question. I finished the table with SC Johnson Wax. What can I use to clean the table without removing or damaging the wax? Thanks!

    • Hi Brie, I use Method cleaners or you can use white vinegar dilluted with water!

  118. Hey, I recently painted a table with chalk paint and put three coats of annie sloan clear wax on. i allowed 24 hours between each coat and 1 week before I used the table. Everything I put on the table leaves a mark :( is there a way to pull the wax off and use a different product to seal it? I’d love any advice you can give me! I love the look of my table, but the marks show so much!
    thank you!

    • Hi Heather, the problem might be not enough buffing. When it is sufficiently buffed there should be no marks – sometimes it takes as much as 20 minutes for each coat (ugh!) but the smoother you get it the better!

  119. Great job on your table.I am reprinting a white table.I lightly sanded,applied primer then two coats of Benjamin Moore Classic semi gloss acrylic paint,allowing two to three hours drying time between coats.Unfortunately I have some dull spots,I am not new to painting and don’t know why this happened.If I use the Briwax on it do you think that will get rid of the dull spots and even it out or should I use the Minwax polyacrylic to seal it? I am really hoping not to have to start from scratch by sanding it all down.
    Would appreciate your advice.

  120. Hi Kate,
    I just found your site and I love your work and your very detailed tutorials! I need all the vital details I can get…which other sites can sometimes leave out of the equation causing me a lot of hassle. I am a novice at painting furniture and need to be aware of a lot of the little details (like how many coats of primer and paint, & how long to wait in between). THANK YOU SO MUCH for this:) Okay, I am very confused by the primer and paint that you used to paint the kitchen table. From what I gather, the primer is oil based, the paint you used is a water based enamel alkyd paint. My husband is adament that I cannot use a water based paint over and oil base primer. Does the BJ Moore Advance paint you used operated like an oil based paint???? Can you please explain to me what primer(s) to use with what paint(s) (plural). I’m dealing with a husband and some men from the paint store who are from the old school…and they tell me I’m headed for trouble painting like this. Can you please give me some clarification on primers and paints. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Kim, yes you can use either latex or enamel or oil based paints over oil based primers, I’ve been doing it for years. If you use water based primer, you should stick with water based latex and enamel paints. Yes the BM paint feels more like an oil based paint, it’s really great to work with for furniture and cabinets. Bottom line, follow the steps I mention, they’re the ones I use time and again: a good bonding primer, my favorite is Cover Stain (oil based) followed up by enamel paints in your color of choice. I find I’m using clear furniture waxes more and more for the protective coat, but you also have the option of Polycrylic or Varathane.

  121. I love your site! Thanks! I am getting ready (tomorrow) to refinish a kitchen table we found that was for sale on the side of the road. I am going to be staining the top of the table and painting the legs and decorative edge white. Do you still recommend the wax on the white paint even though it will not technically be in the high traffic area?

  122. I bought an old oak pedestal table that I planned on painting white. Thankfully I found your site with these awesome instructions! I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ready to paint it, but I’m having a hard time finding Benjamin Moore Advance. I tried my local Ace and they don’t have it. Is there another brand that you would recommend? Thanks!

    • Hi Jil, I like other enamel paints too, I know Glidden has an oil based one but Sherwin Williams also sells ProClassic enamel paint that is water based. Both would work!

  123. Hello, I absolutely love this table and am trying to copy it. It says you sand the table down till smooth. Do you sand everything edges, legs etc or just the top?

    • HI Vanessa, I just sanded the top, not the pedestal. The primer doesn’t require sanding but for the tabletop I did want it as smooth as possible.

  124. I too am following your tips as closely as possible. I have just put on the first coat of paint. After allowing it to dry, do I sand lightly or only after priming? Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!!

  125. This looks amazing! Can’t wait to tackle this with my children for our next homeschool project.

  126. Thank you so much for posting this detailed how to. I just completed my first kitchen table and coffee table and they turned out perfect! I used every item you suggested, and lucky or me Zissner is available for purchase in my state. It was a perfect primer. I went with Behr satin finish paint. I used Swiss Coffee for my kitchen table and sealed it with the SC Johnson Paste Wax. I have received so many compliments, therefore, had to take the time to thank you.

    • Wow that’s so great Madeleine! Thank you for sharing! I was just at my friend’s house the other day, the one I painted the table for, and hers still looks great!

  127. Hi there! I just followed your step by step instructions for our kitchen table and I’m a little disappointed with the turnout. I had LOTS of drag (painted at 68 degrees) and so my tabletop is just a mess of brush strokes. Any way to get those out? I hate spending so much on paint and then having it turn out poorly. :( Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

    • Oh no Heather! You used a good brush and enamel paint? I’m so sorry! You can always sand away those brush strokes, and then wax the top once they’re gone, feel free to send me a picture and I’ll try to walk you through it.

  128. Hi Kate
    I love your blog it is awesome! I am getting so many wonderful ideas from you. Thank you so much! I have just painted a table identical to yours before I found your tutorial. i decided to use Krylon spray paint and primer in one, white in the satin finish.( I would not recommend this product for this type of project) I wanted a smooth finish. I also used 2 or 3 coats of bulls eye water based primer and sanded between coats to get a smooth finish. I ended up using 6 cans of spray paint ( there was also a leaf) I did not expect to use so much. The problem is I could not get the top of the table to have a nice even finish. Some spots are nice, and some are rough and some are powdery, like the paint was drying coming out of the can. I have spray painted in the past on large dressers and armoires and have never experienced this before ( this is one of the reasons I would never use this paint again) My question is with all your experience do you know if I can use Varathane Diamond Finish WATER BASED roll on, not spray, over this Krylon Paint which I am almost certan is not water based? Or would you suggest using the wax on the top, would this even out the finish? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you in advance

    • Hi Lori, I’ve had that happen with spray paint before, you get even color but an uneven finish. If you give the table a coat of Polycrylic that will fix it. You may be able to do it with wax too with several coats.

  129. Hi Kate – I am normally not a DIY kind of person, but your painted kitchen table project was so beautiful, I decided to take it on. I followed your exact instructions on an old oak pedestal table that I got at a thrift store and I just applied the final coat of paint this morning, and so far it looks great! I now will let the paint cure for a week, and then apply the wax coats. Now that I have a lull in the action, I want to turn my attention to the 4 wood chairs that came with the set. I plan to prime them with the same stuff used on the table (Zissners), but not sure how to paint? I would much prefer to use a spray paint since the chairs have a lot of detail and I am not sure how well I’d be able to paint them with a brush. But Benjamin Moore does not sell spray paint anymore, and I want to use the same color for the chairs that I did with the table (Swiss Coffee). I tried a tool call Crown Spray Gun – which did not work out for me. Any other suggestions?

    • Hi Tammy, you can certainly use any kind of spray paint on the chairs if you’ve primed, I’ve done that many times. Pick a color you like and go for it!
      Congrats on the table too, thanks so much for sharing!

  130. I can’t wait to get started. I have a 22 year old small kitchen table that I bought for my very first apt. and want to redo it in white for my daughter’s room. I have one question. It has grooves on the top, and I want to know what you would recommend for those. Should I fill them with caulk, and if so, when in the process should I do this? I always hated them.
    thank you! Laura

    • Hi Laura, you can try wood filler, that may help but be sure to do it first before you prime and allow it to fully dry, sometimes you need to apply a few times and sand in between to get it smooth. No guarantee they’ll be gone completely but certainly minimized. :)

  131. I followed your instructions from the green dresser you did for a nursery. I was able to get all of the products you recommend and had no problem until I got to the poly coat. I let it dry for almost a week before attempting poly today. I cannot find the wax formula here in Virginia so I got the polycrylic and tried to brush it on. It acted like it was caking up or maybe even peeling up the paint underneath. This is my first piece. What am I doing wrong with the poly?

    • Oh no Whitney that’s terrible! Sounds like the Polycrylic is not reacting well to the paint… not sure why, could be temperature related… Try a clear furniture wax instead, you should be able to find some if you hunt around, Johnson’s clear wax, briwax, etc.

  132. Thank you for this awesome tutorial, Kate! I am refinishing a piece of pottery barn furniture that is fairly shiny. I have sanded it by hand with medium grit sandpaper black because I don’t have an orbital sander and would prefer not to spend the money on that right now if I can do it by hand. I haven’t primed it yet (but I am going to). I just wasn’t sure if I sanded it enough. I gave it one good hand sand, but since the piece started out pretty shiny and is still fairly shiny and very smooth and I’m painting it from navy to white, I wasn’t sure if it’d be necessary to buy an orbital sander. I was hoping you could shed some light! :) Thanks so much!

    • Hi Starr, you should be fine, the bonding primer will work on even those shiny surfaces.

  133. I was totally disappointed I followed your instructions to the letter and my table turned out streaked the top is sticky to the touch

    • I’m so sorry Carol! What products did you use? Did you wax the top? It shouldn’t be sticky at all if you did.

  134. Hi Kate, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog every day – your house is decorated beautifully! I was just reading through the comments on this post again after you linked to it in the yearly roundup and don’t see the answer I’m looking for so I was hoping you could help. I painted a coffee table earlier this year following these instructions and I’ve been unhappy with the wax on the top. My husband always has his laptop on the coffee table and the little rubber feet leave marks on my table constantly. They will buff out, but it only stays pretty for the 5 minutes before the laptop ends up back on the table again. I’m thinking I would have been better off on using the polycrylic in my situation, can I just use that over the top now or should I do something to make sure all the wax is off the table first?

    • Hi Richelle, that’s such a great question. I’ve never used Polycrylic directly over wax so truth is, I don’t know! You can test in an inconspicuous spot I suppose. Any chance your hub would be willing to replace the offending feet with clear ones? I see them all the time and craft and home improvement stores!

  135. Well they already are the clear feet, the marks are still noticable! I’ll give the poly a try and let you know. Thanks for answering.

  136. Wow a painted finish that isn’t sticky! Just the tutorial I’ve been looking for! Two questions for you:
    1. I’m trying to paint kitchen cabinets. Would you recommend this menhod?
    2. Do dark paints work just as well?

    • Hi Ashliegh, I like the enamel paints by Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, they are water based but feel pretty close to oil based when dry. Darks work just as well, the paint store will use a different base but they perform beautifully too.

  137. Absolutely amazing work with this table! Makes me want to redo all the furniture in my apartment :)

  138. I would like to do this with my black kitchen table. The question is: do they only have white primer or do you need a dark one? Also I like the shiny look, will that be the case if I use the enamel paint and wax method?

    • Hi Kim, you’ll be fine using a white primer, but you’ll likely need three thin coats of black – I’d go with enamel in semi or high gloss and consider skipping the wax, but the table will need two weeks to cure before it can be used.

  139. Can I use the Briwax to seal/protect painted white kitchen cabinets ? I painted them a very dark color in the past but over time they always start to chip on the doors that are used the most- now I’m painting them a white color and don’t want that to happen again- thanks- I love the painted pedestal table !

  140. hi kate, have followed your blog and its been so helpful in furnishing my new home. I want to paint my pier 1 imports pedestal table (currently in the antique white color that it came in) a bright white, to match my new walls, trim, etc. Do I need to sand it first or can I just do primer and paint if I’m going from an antique white to a bright white?

    • Hi Erin, I’d give it a light sanding just to scuff it up, I find that helps both primer and paint “stick” better, but no need to sand heavily.

  141. Hi Kate,
    I’ve followed your steps to refinish a table that was given to me. I’ve sanded, primed and put two coats of oil base enamel in a light turquoise. I’m in my 3-5 day waiting period before I poly it. First question, I put my paint in a sprayer and sprayed 2 light coats. The finish is “uneven”. I see some spots from the sprayer. Will this go way when I poly it? Secondly, I bought a spray can polyurethane. Will this work instead of the wax or poly acrylic? Thanks so much for your time and wonderful blog.


    • Hi Nicole, poly will certainly help if the paint sheen is uneven, but not if the color is uneven. I used a brush on water based poly on this endtable and it helped make the sheen even, but I used a foam brush.
      I don’t care for the spray polys, they are always spotty when I use them – if you do spray I recommend going over it with those cheapo foam brushes, they work for me but make sure you do it in temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees, if it’s too hot it will dry way too fast and you can end up with bad streaks. Hope this helps!

  142. I published a question almost a month ago and my post still hasn’t appeared on the website… My question is whether a table that has a polyurethane coat over a coat of paint should be stripped before following your instructions or if sanding is enough to take care of it.

    • Hi Elizabeth, generally I’ve found is that even if the piece has varnish or poly on it, you can get away with a light sanding before you prime just as long as your primer is a bonding primer designed for glossy surfaces.

  143. Thanks so much! I used the spray poly :/ and am not happy. It is spotty just like you said and I used a satin finish which just looks kind of dull. Should I go get a high gloss poly and brush on another coat to even it out and give it some gloss?

  144. Ok so I don’t see my last post. Not sure if it sent. Everything that you said the spray poly would do, it did. The finish is spotty and uneven. On top of that I used a satin finish and it just looks dull. I love the finish on the peacock blue redo. Can I get that same finish if I lightly sand and reapply a high gloss poly with a foam brush? Could I use varathane or poly acrylic on top of the polyurethane?

    • Don’t sand, that will make the surface rough and matte, try a high gloss water based poly like Minwax.

  145. Lovely table. My husband painted the railing on our staircase and he keeps having to do touch ups. Should we use wax?

    • Hi Georgina, what color did you paint it? If you painted it a dark color, I’d use a water based polycrylic or Varathane for greater protection, the only caveat is white, and in that case, those products can amber slightly over time, so I suppose you could use wax, but you’ll have to buff it out really well!. Kate

  146. Hi! I’m starting to work on a crazy project…refurbishing an old pool table! The table hs been in our basement for years. We bought it cheap off Craigslist for the kids when they were younger and it’s still in good shape but it’s ugly! We are renovating our basement and I don’t want to put this ugly brown laminate pool table into or newly decorated space. I want to paint it black with silver accents and grey felt (found a Brunswick table that I’m copying). What paint do you recommend? I am priming with the Zinnser Stain Block. Also, it has some metal edges and thick plastic corners (where the ball pockets are). Any ideas for these? The plastic is what I want to paint silver. I might just paint the metal black to match the table. It is kind of a copper color now.

    Any suggestions wold be great!

    P.S. I followed one of your blogs to repaint a bed, dresser and side table for my son’s room. They were my mom’s and an old mahogany color. They are now a cool dark black/brown color and look awesome and updated. Thanks!

    • Hi Kathy, the wood can be primed and so can the laminate, you may want to scuff up the plastic corners in the hoped the primer will adhere but plastic is tricky. There are some spray paints for plastic out there, RustOleum makes a few but not sure if they make them in metallic sheens.

  147. Thanks for this detailed post on painting. And all the pics really helped to understand the process. The table is lovely! :-)

  148. Love the table..going to do ours white also really soon, just wondering once painted and waxed what is a good way to clean the table for every day use..mommy here with an 8 & 3 year old lol so I am sure I will be cleaning it a lot..thanks

    • Once the wax is cured Chrissy (it takes a few days) and if you buff it well it will be just fine for everyday use.

  149. Where did my question go? It sat here for over a week with no response, and now it’s gone!

  150. What a great project for someone who isn’t very crafty. I had amazing results. The only thing I did different was painted my table a light beige and antiqued the scrolled images in the wood under the top of the table.

  151. My daughter and I have followed every step exactly on a similar table. We painted only the top. We chose a fairly deep red. We are to the last step, the final finish. My daughter wants to use the wax finish. Is this the finish you would recommend? Several sites say poly is the hardest finish. We have put poly over paint in the past and had an issue with peeling so we are a little apprehensive about trying it again.

    • Hi Kennedy, the wax finish (if you do two coats and buff really well between coats) is a really good protective finish, the poly is fine for a red paint but it might slightly darken your paint so be prepared for that, you might want to try it in an inconspicuous spot first like on the table leg before you do the top.

  152. Hello! Awesome job explaining the details! I’ve been saying I want to refinish our kitchen table and you just made me realize it can happen! The problem with my table right now is that when we put a hot paper plate on it, the plate sticks to the table and leaves “paper plate residue” for years. Would the wax at the end prevent this from happening?
    This table is about 10 years old so the “paper plate residue” isn’t the only reason why I want to refinish but it’s definitely the main reason.
    Thank you so much!

    • Hi Daisy, if you buff that wax well enough it does provide a really effective protective coat, sometimes it takes a full week or so to cure and I can’t guarantee no sticking with everything but I’ve seen that if done right, it’s a really great protectant.

  153. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I followed your steps except I used a black high gloss oil based enamel for the color on my kitchen table. It is a very high traffic piece of furniture and I don’t know what would be the best sealer/protective coat for it. I only have The Home Depot and an Ace where I live and they have not been very helpful on what to use. Can you help me, please? Thank you so much!

    • Hi Myndee, you might be okay with just the enamel in the high gloss, especially if it’s oil, that dries very hard, but you could also consider a polycrylic on top with a gloss finish. Minwax makes a version and RustOleum does too.

  154. Thanks so much for your tutorial! I have a question though: I have an oak table that is hideous but with paint could be kinda cute. However, the top is oak laminate, not real wood, and the rest of the table is solid wood. Will this method still work? Would chalk paint be a better option (I have to get some paint my piano anyway-thanks for your tutorial on that!)? Some advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Jen, the same products will still work, the Zinsser is designed for glossy or laminate surfaces, just skip the sanding part for the laminate portion of the tabletop.

  155. Kate- I LOVE your site, thanks for all the great inspiration and tutorials! I am hoping you can lend some advice. I just painted my laundry room cabinets white. The original finish was a natural cherry, which was pretty, but just not my desired vibe. So I primed with zinsser cover stain (used 2 coats, which may have been a mistake!). Then after that cured the approach time, I painted with 3 thin coats of Majic Diamond Hard in a satin finish. This is a water based enamel that was recommended to me by my local Benjamin Moore dealer. I wanted BM pro advance, but turns out not every BM dealer carries it. So they talked me into the Majic.

    Overall, I am pretty pleased with how it has turned out, but before I put the doors back on, I am wondering if I should protect the finish somehow, and with what? I do sort of regret the satin finish – wishing there was a bit more sheen. The surface just feels a bit rough, so I wonder if gloss poly would help add sheen and smooth it out a bit. They way they feel now makes me think they will be difficult to wipe clean easily. I have heard though that ploys will yellow over time, so not sure if I should do that? Then I came across your painted kitchen table tut, and its got me wondering if a wax would be a good option for cabinets? If it is durable enough for a kitchen table, would it hold up well on cabinets, and would it add sheen and wipe-ability?

    Hope you have some advice for me!! Thanks for your blog!

    • Hi Jolleen, if it’s sheen you want then you can add a protective coat, the wax won’t give you any more sheen, you’ll need a polycrylic type coating which doesn’t amber as much as polyurethane, but it still can over the years on white paint. If anything I’d grab a small quart of the same color you used but in that semi gloss or gloss sheen and layer one more coat over the top, they tend to be wipeable which is why that sheen is great for bathrooms and laundry rooms and kitchens… hope that helps.

  156. Just painted a cabinet with benjamin moore advanced paint…would applying annie sloan clear wax or johnson wax be needed? Thanks

    • Hi Linda, I don’t use a protective coat on the Advance, but you certainly can if you want!

  157. Hi Kate,

    I’ve been trying to follow your tutorial the best I can, but I don’t live in the US so almost all of the products you mentioned are unavailable here. I started with a pine table which had been varnished. I sanded perfectly, even sanding off all the varnish from the table top, but I missed the part on the primer somehow and ended up with a water based primer (2 coats) but also continued on with 2 coats of acrylic enamel (I couldn’t even get the brand I wanted because I would’ve had to purchase 4 litres minimum to get my colour) before I even realised this. My question is that I have the streaky/patchy gloss problem mentioned by a previous poster – is it a problem with my primer, my enamel, my brush technique, the paint brand or all of the above? In which case, what do I have to do to fix it? The primer didnt even seem to cover the darker knots and grain on the table after 2 coats – it was meant to be a 1 coat…lame. And on top of that, 3 coats of enamel later, there’s still one area that’s slightly grey, but I’m not sure if I’m only seeing it as grey because it has a different gloss effect compared to the area around it. The weather conditions have been pretty much perfect as well.

    Anyway, I was thinking I’d liberally sand with 240 grit and do one thin coat and then wax. I have a mouse sander, but I suppose I should be doing it by hand…I’m just that eager to get rid of the streakiness. As for the brushwork, would you recommend I brush in the same direction or perpendicular direction compared to my previous coats? I’ve been wondering if stroke direction has played a role…I even got a purdy brush, but needed to make a trip across town to find it. It’s better than what I had, but it didn’t make any difference for the streakiness.

    I also have the chairs to do – should I be getting oil based primer for them? They will be navy.

    • Hi Valerie, a stain blocking primer would have prevented that problem, some water based formulas are not stain blocking. I’m so sorry you’re having problems with streaks, it’s a tricky process. My best advice is to use very thin coats and what I do is brush on in one direction, quickly go across in the other direction, and then back again in the original direction with the tip of the brush, almost dusting the top. The paint seems to level better that way, but it’s the longer open time that helps to minimize them. Sometimes water based acrylic paints dry very fast and so you get those brush strokes, frustrating I know. Look for primers that do have those bonding and stain blocking qualities, it should say so on the back of the can.
      Good luck!

  158. Hi. Currently following your wonderful tutorial for my dinning room table and chairs. Did you sand down between your two coats of paint? Thanks so much!

    • No I don’t sand between coats of paint, I just use very thin ones and pay attention for drips.

  159. Hi Kate,

    Awesome blog! I too am getting ready to paint a table plus chairs. I have purchased chalk paint, would you recommend all these steps? Do not wan to take a chance on time & money to end up with poor results. I know chalk paint is self priming, but would do the extra steps for durability & great results. Your thoughts?

    Thanks for your time,


    • Hi Joann, several people have written to me telling me they used the AS chalk paint on their table and it turned out great. I’ve used that brand of paint on other pieces but not a table. You could certainly try it. I do like the stain blocking and adhesion properties of the primer I mentioned.

  160. Hi Kate, Thanks for your very informative and detailed instructions and guidance! It is giving me the confidence to paint our kitchen pedestal table a BM Paper Mache white (to match our IKEA cabinets). After the project is finished, I read somewhere in your Q & A that you can use regular cleaners. Should the wax be reapplied periodically/how often? Thanks for your help!

    • Hi Lisa, it all depends on the wear and tear, but you could add more layers in a year or so.

  161. Hi Kate!
    I am paining my kitchen table (and eventually chairs) and am following your tutorial as closely as possible. I am painting the table and chairs black. I have already primed (using the same Cover Stain primer you recommended….tinted gray). I went to Sherwin Williams this morning to buy your recommended paint in black. Since the Pro Classic doesn’t come in black, he recommended All surface enamel paint (acrylic satin) and that it will be just as durable as the pro classic (which I bought). I was planning on then finishing with a polyacrylic coating (since I’m doing black instead of white, I thought polyacrylic would be better than wax). The man at the store said that I don’t need any “protective coating” over this type of paint, and actually said that the polyacrylic may interact poorly with this paint and cause more chipping?! I have three young children and want to do whatever I can to ensure the most durability for our kitchen table, so I wanted to ask you your opinion as what/if I should do a top finish coat.
    Also, when I get to the chairs I was thinking about using spay paint. Any recommendations as to steps for spray painting? Should I still do a spray coating of primer….then black spray paint, and then follow up with either spray or brush polyacrylic?
    Thank you so much for your time and help! I love reading your blog and truly appreciate all the help and feedback you provide for us DIY attempters! :)

    • Hi Jamie, a good enamel paint can go without a protective finish (I skip it on less regularly used surfaces) but for a kitchen table top I do like an extra layer of protection and prefer the wax. I’ve spray painted a lot of chairs, it’s pretty simple. First wipe them down with a deglosser, then spray prime like the Zinsser shown, then spray paint with several LIGHT coats after the primer is dry. No need for a protective coat over the spray painted chairs, you’ll find the paint when applied in several thin layers over a good bonding primer is sufficient.

  162. Hi Kate!
    Thank you SO SO much for answering my questions! I have my three coats of black on my table now and am just waiting the 3-5 days for curing before doing my protective coat. I have one more follow up question for you regarding the protective coat. I have tried to do some research on the protective coating options (hoping to avoid asking you another question!) but am still pretty confused. I know I want the “most protective” option. I know you said you prefer wax, but do you think that is my best option (also considering I have a black table). Is there any downside to me using polyacrylic instead?
    I totally trust your opinion, so just wanted to ask you which you think I should do in my case….polyacylic or wax (again my biggest objective to gain the most protection).
    Thank you again Katie for your help and insight!

  163. Could I bother you to measure the diameter of your white table? I love it and you make it look so easy. That table really looks solid and heavy oak? Beautiful design. I was hoping to accomplish a lot of projects this summer, but it isn’t turning out that way. Life keeps getting in my is called a DH! I spend my days driving him to DR. visit and to the grocery store, playing “Nursemaid” but such is life. Those projects I wanted to accomplish will get done when I get ’round tuit.” Thanks for sharing all your experiences, knowledge and skills with us. I love your blog!

  164. How I wish I’d read this tutorial first BEFORE trying to paint our dining table (which looks almost like yours) We applied primer with a spray paint gun and it was Great. Then i decided to roll on a semi gloss Behr paint with a regular roller (not foam) and it didn’t cover well At all and left a slight texture feel/look to it. So we waited a while…and then I, not so smartly, decided to use a spray can to go over it……that failed because the spray paint was crap. SO we tried to go over it again with a Foam roller, again same problem as before..and finally bought a paint gun (the other was borrowed) and used behr in it….could never get the settings right and it left it totally bubbled and with a bad high texture look and not semi gloss at all- more of a flat sheen. SO…it’s been sitting in the garage for a week and we’ve been eating off the counter, as we figure out our Next step.
    Mind you the chairs are another horror story =/

  165. So I finished the table this summer and it is absolutely awesome! Took my time to allow drying ++ during the humid summer. I was extremely worried about stains on the off-white table but they really do wipe out without any problem! Had to be careful with my brush stokes on the final coat but it looks really high end-can’t believe I was able to do it just by following your blog! Thanks!

  166. Hi Kate. I am painting my dining table following your instructions to a T only difference is I am painting it in black. I got the Purdy brush like you suggested and am now done with all my coats. Only problem is that there are very obvious brush strokes visible. You dont say anything about sanding after the final coat in your tutorial, so I am I to understand that the Polyurethan ( not doing the wax as I followed what you said and am doing the liquid protective coat instead for the dark color) will get rid of the brush strokes? Or should I be sanding before doing that to get rid of the brush strokes? Help!! Im in the home stretch and dont want to mess up! Thank you for your wonderful site and advice!

    • Hi Reyna, if you plan to topcoat you can take the time to lightly sand the brushstrokes away.

  167. Hi Kate thank you for the speedy response, I actually just went ahead and tested a small spot on the leaf with a 400 sand paper and it went down to the primer.. then I tried another small spot with a 1000 wetordry sand paper and it did the same thing. I read somewhere on here about paint conditioners to eliminate brush strokes? should i sand it and put some of that in the paint and try again? I did use the type of paint and brush you said ( but in black) so Im not sure what I did wrong.. AAAHHHHH!

  168. Hi, I can’t wait to paint my pedestal table like you have instructed. My question is what do you use to clean it after it is in it’s everyday use? I like to use an antibacterial cleaner like fantastik in my kitchen due to all the kiddos but noticed when i used it on just an ordinary repainted (not in any way as you have demonstrated, just a sand and paint over job) dresser, the paint started to peel a little each time i did it. I definitely don’t want that to happen but if I can’t clean it with other than a damp cloth, I may just forget the redo and buy a new table. Some info, please. Thank you !

    • We use the Method products from Target Norma, but I’m not sure what my friend uses for the table I painted for her – I can find out, but I was at her house the other day and the table still looks great.

  169. Dear Kate…I have just read ALL these comments and wanted to thank you for having the patience of Job! This is my very first painting project. Thank you for all these tips!

  170. Just wanted to say thanks for the info. I have done some refinishing in the past but never with laminate. My practice piece was an end table that was a very inexpensive piece that we have had forever. It was dark and worn. I bought a good paint at Lowe’s but it was on the “markdown” table. 2.50 for a quart. I already had the primer at home. It was a warm sunny weekend so I thought now is my chance. It turned out great, I loved the color (pot luck color when it is on markdown). I did apply a spray poly (very stinky) had to let it set for several days. I had it and wanted to experiment. I have used brush on poly before that worked much better. I am anxious to move on to a few more projects, I will be getting some wax and try that instead of poly.

  171. Thanks so much for all your tips. I am finishing my stairway to third floor. I have primed the risers and treads, and I am ready for finishing with paint. My husband thinks flat paint will be sufficient, but I am more inclined to use enamel. Can you help me?

  172. Hi kate! I wanted to let you know I much I love yor blog!! I’ve learned so much with you!! I started my first proyect with a HUGE dresser that I painted white. It’s almost ready, i just need to apply the protectant, but I’m not sure wich one to use, I already have the Varathane water based poly, or should I use wax?? How diferent is the final result with each product?? What would you reccomend??? Do you have to reapply wax after some time?? Thanks so much and I would love your advise

    • Hi Claudia, I recommend clear wax for white paints, and if you give it a few coats in the beginning you shouldn’t have to reapply for at least a year and then every year after that.

  173. Hi! I am in the process of using your instructions for a cool table I found on CL. I am almost ready to paint the top but feel uncomfortable using a brush (I’m worried about brush strokes), can I use a roller or is a paint brush the best bet? If I use a paint brush, should I load the brush pretty thick and make long strokes end to end? What’s the best technique to avoid brush strokes?


    • Foam rollers work well Lacey, you’ll need a few coats though, and don’t worry if the first one looks a little textured, with two or three coats a good leveling paint will fill it in. I use foam rollers more and more for flat surfaces these days then I do brushes.

  174. Hi, I just found your site! I love the repainted table. I have a kitchen table that I would like to refinish or paint to be used outside as a patio table? Would you recommend the same process?

    • Yes Lisa but only if it’s covered, also is there a dramatic change in the elements by season? That could certainly affect the paint job over time.

  175. CG: I am in Canada and desperately searching for a clear wax. I bought Minwax (as mentioned in your post) but have since opened it and consulted with the company by phone who says NOT to use this product on white furniture (it contains oil according to Minwax and will give anything white an amber hue). The only other product I can find is the SC Johnson Paste Wax (as shown in your photo). Have you used this wax successfully on white? I’m a little nervous about ordering it online. Also, it seems way cheaper than anything else you receommended (which I can’t order to Canada anyway). Let me know about the SC J product! Thanks in advance! Jenn

  176. Hi Kate!
    I love your table! I just bought an old drop leaf table & it’s got a laminate top so I was wondering what your advise would be to make sure the paint adheres to the laminate finish?

    • Vicki you can paint laminate just be sure to prime it first, look for a primer that adheres to that surface, it will say so on the label, I like Zinsser’s Cover Stain product for laminate surfaces.

  177. Hi Katie, I just found your blog and it seems to be great! I was wondering, I am in the process of making an artist desk and need a surface that will not stick to fine paper, does the wax cause things (paper) to stick to it after a few hours of laying on the surface? This seems like a considerably better option than having to buy glass to fit on top of a neat desk! Hope this would work! Thanks, Caroline

    • Once you buff the wax Caroline there is a matte finish, after a week or so there shouldn’t be any stick, in fact you should be able to wipe it clean with a cleanser and cloth.

  178. Hi Kate,

    I loved your blog and all your tips.
    I already start my project and just found your blog now.

    My questions are:
    I sand my table just a little and I used a water base primer (Benjamin Moore Multi-Purpose Latex Primer). Do you think this primer will hold the paint?
    Can I use an oil base paint (Sherwin Williams All Surface Enamel Oil Base) on top of this primer?
    What is the best way to apply the paint? Brush or roller?
    Thank You so much!!!

    • Hi Diana, I don’t advise using oil based paint over a latex primer underneath, but you can do the opposite, you can layer latex over an oil based primer. Foam rollers work great for me for even paint distribution, also Purdy brushes

  179. How do you clean your paint brushes after using an oil based paint or primer? I find I have to throw mine away after every use. Even if I soak it in a mineral spirits or something similar.

    • I clean mine with mineral spirits Wendi but I try to avoid using fancy brushes with oil based products, I use disposable foam rollers and brushes instead.

  180. Gorgeous finish! Would these products and process work on bookshelves? I need to paint shelves in my daughter’s playroom, as the original finish is very tacky and scrapes off easily (poor original craftmanship). I need something that will not cause books or heavy boxes to stick after being in one place for weeks/months at a time, that will not scrape off, and that can be cleaned without removing the paint. Thanks!

  181. Hey Katie,

    I have a very similar table that I painted a couple of years ago in swiss coffee, but mine has yellowed terribly, I used poly to seal it. I want to redo it, but where do I start? Do I need to sand and prime again?

    Also what do you clean your table with on a daily basis?


  182. I just purchased an oak kitchen table similar to your painted table. The top is veneer and has a few places that have water damage. Bubbles under the veneer. Have you had any experience with veneer repair? Thanks.

    • Just gluing it down that is all! If it’s chipped often you have to remove the entire thing, or you could get lucky sanding it down, depends on how thin the veneer is.

  183. Hello! I am trying to refinish the eyesore of a kitchen island that came with our house. It’s all wood. I was hoping to stain the the top of the island, but I am fairly certain it is bleeding sap, (which may explain why the finish looked so bad to begin with.) Given the sap issue, I am abandoning the stain, and hoping to salvage it buy painting the whole thing white in the style of this tutorial!

    Two questions:

    1) Do you have any experience with the Zinsser Cover Stain on wood that is bleeding sap? Does it work?

    2) Let’s pretend I follow this tutorial, use the suggested primer and paint (Sherwin Williams in my case), and it turns out fabulous. Do I dare finish it with polycrylic? The reviews seem mixed in terms of whether or not the polycrylic yellows.

    Many thanks!

    • The primer *may* cover the sap but no guarantee, I have never used it for that problem but that Cover Stain is pretty good at covering most things, it even clings to laminate, so it might work. I’m not sure which SW formula is best for kitchen cabinets, I’ve always used Benjamin Moore Advance. A water based poly won’t yellow only an oil based one.

  184. Kate -This is EXACTLY the information I have been looking for. Thank you for these very thorough, detailed and easy to follow instructions. I bought a desk off Craigslist, that was originally purchased from World Market. It has a lovely phony redwood stain on it, and I want to paint it a warm ivory color. With your post, I feel so much more confident in undertaking this project!

  185. Hi Kate,
    Does the primer have to completely cover the surface. I see that the finished product doesn’t show the grain nor is it patchy. Thanks

  186. Hi, I wanted to paint my old kitchen table. I wanted to do black paint rather than white. Should I do this same process with black paint instead? Thank you!

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