Dining Table Re-Do

This table wasn’t actually a dining table when we bought it. It was originally a potting table. But we had been scouring flea markets, garage salts and antique stores for this style of table for months, and this was the only one we had found. Plus, it turned out to fit perfectly into our dining room; its narrowness ended up being an asset.


When we bought our table at Found, we saw that another vendor was selling a bench that went perfectly with the table. Now we just need to find chairs for the other side of the table that aren’t black folding chairs.

The wood of the table was rough and unfinished. The bench was covered in peeling blue-grey paint. Neither of the pieces matched our dining room, which is filled with warm-colored wood and black painted pieces. So we decided to stain it, both to protect the wood and to make the table match the rest of the room.

We wanted the grain of the wood to show through. We wanted to see the dings and scratches, the knots in the wood, the old nails. We wanted to preserve the antique farmhouse feel of the table, only changing the color slightly to better fit into our dining room.


So we sanded the table lightly. Just a little bit, just enough for the stain to go on smoothly.

Then, we used two coats of stain, one each of Minwax Dark Walnut and Red Chestnut Stains. We wanted a light stain with a streaky look, so we didn’t give the stain much time to sink in. I stained the table plank-by-plank, and Dan followed behind with an old t-shirt, wiping it off in the direction of the grain. Even though there wasn’t much stain on the table, we let it dry 4-6 hours between coats.

The legs of the table took the stain much better than the top of the table, so the legs are a few shades darker. See the difference between the legs and top after just one coat?


It isn’t perfect, but that’s why we love it. We were aiming for imperfection, remember?



  1. Elisabeth says

    I love the new table – it’s beautiful! I really like the weathered/farmhouse style when you can see all the character of the wood.

  2. says

    the table turned out great! i’m not a fan of our current table but can’t decide whether to sand/stain it OR just save up and possibly put in a dining nook.

  3. says

    Hi Julie,

    I was so excited to see what you did with the potting table you purchased at FOUND!! Would you mind if I posted a link to your blog on the FOUND blog and facebook page?

    Love your blog!!!

    Debra Moree McKinney
    Co-Owner FOUND in Ithaca

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I’d be honored if you posted the link! And in fact, we just bought chairs to go with the table at Found this past weekend…just need to sand and stain them to match!