Thursday, October 25, 2012

Painting the Dining Room Table

I've been pining to paint our dining room table for years. Fortunately my husband is on-board with the idea. The big debate now is what colour to paint it and whether to keep the top as natural wood or paint it as well.  Oh, and whether to paint the chairs or not?  

Our dining room furniture was bought by my grandparents in the 1920s. They were missionaries in China and when they returned to live in Canada, they purchased this dining room set second-hand from another missionary family. The set, which likely dates from the early 1900s, includes a table, a sideboard, and a china cabinet. The chairs (with the exception of the armchair) have all fallen apart so we use black IKEA chairs instead.

The dining room set is made of oak that has been stained a dark mahogany as was fashionable in the Edwardian period.   I always have a tablecloth or runner on the table as the surface is not in the best shape in a few places.  Plus I love buying table linens at thrift stores and entertain myself by using different table linens every few days. 

I've been combing the internet for inspiration as to what colour to paint the table. Let me show you what I have found.

I could paint the table black and refinish the top and leave it wood-toned.

Or do the table and chairs white with a natural wood tabletop.

Miss Mustard Seed

Or I could paint the entire table white and keep the chairs black.  

Stories of a House
While I like both the black and white options, the colour I'm seriously considering is gray.  You can see in the photo of our dining room that the lower cabinets in our kitchen are gray and I was thinking I would use the same paint on the table.  What do you think?  Too matchy with the kitchen? Or a brilliant plan to tie everything together and create a visually calm room. 

The next three pictures were the best photos I could find with gray dining room tables.  


If I went with gray then the black chairs would need to change.  I was considering painting our IKEA chairs a yellow colour like in the photo below.  The advantage of the yellow is that the chairs would look good with the gray table and kitchen cabinets and with the pale green walls and dark green tiled floor.  Also the dining room is open to the family room which has a sofa that has green, gold, and brown in it and a gold framed etching over the fireplace.  I thought that painting the chairs yellow would tie the dining room and the family room together.  The biggest disadvantage is that the yellow chairs wouldn't go with all my tablecloths (although they do match a surprising number of them - I've been taking note).

I like the woven seagrass chairs with the gray as well (like in the photo below).  I can't see replacing all the chairs, but maybe we could get four to go around the table on most days and when we have a crowd we could bring out the black IKEA chairs. Our table has two leafs and can extend to sit at least ten people, which happens on occasion when everyone is home and we have company.

Or I could just go wild and paint our table turquoise.  Mind you it wouldn't relate to anything else in the room, but I sure would love the table painted in one of my favourite colours.

Thoughts?  What would you do?  I'd love to hear what you think.

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  1. You're killing me here, Grace. Seriously.

    IF I were to paint that bad boy (which I would have a super hard time doing, especially with the age & sentiment...) I would paint he legs black & keep the top wood tone. This wouldn't be such a huge, huge change.

    Alas, it's all about personal preference and style, and really, it is JUST wood. Such pretty wood though...:)

  2. I have to agree with pretty much everything Cheyenne said!

    But at least paint can always be stripped off again. The table can be re-stained, and can even have some sort of patina added to it if desired.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  3. I don't know! I can't wait to see what you do, though. I'm in table painting purgatory myself.

    Good luck.


  4. What about keeping the top stained and paint the legs gray? I think using the same color that's in your kitchen is brilliant. I love the pop of turquoise too but I'm not sure I would have the nerve to do that. :o) Can't wait to see what you come up with!

  5. I like the idea of painting your table gray and continuing to use the black chairs. I would use either a darker or lighter gray than your lower cabinets..go down or up 2 or 3 blocks of color on the color chip of the cabinet's gray. Same color...just a little lighter or darker. Also consider changing the sheen...higher gloss than the cabinet lowers or less gloss. That too will make a nice subtle difference. As for the sideboard---are you thinking of painting that too? It would look stunning in white. Nice contrast to the table/chairs if you go white.

    I faced the same dilemma with our kitchen table and chairs! And then we moved and the buyers bought them from us! So I never had to make the decision. ;-)

    Either way you go, I'm certain you'll love the table painted! It'll look brand new and the nice curves will show up better.

    Hope to see your redo soon! I'll sign up to your blog now awaiting the finished project :-)

  6. Oh...I just re-read your post and saw you talked about other colors in the room and the adjoining room. See that square vase on your table in the pic? That's a great color to use considering your wall color and other accents you talk about...if you decide to go bolder. If you like the vase's color, just take it to the paint store and have them match it :-)

    At the end of the day, it's just paint! You can always paint over it again. Much easier than painting a whole room, right? And probably a lot more fun too!

  7. It sounds like you have given it a lot of thought and I like your examples. I like the idea of the stained top and painted bottom, either black or a shade of the grey as suggested. The inspiration chairs would be great, but the black ones work. Turquoise would be fun too though.

  8. The place where everybody in the house gathers for good food and conversation is the dining area. Everyone convenes and enjoys pleasantries exchanged over food and beverage. The function of the room is of course, obviously in line with the functions of the furniture in it. As the dining room is used for eating, its flagship furniture that garners the most attention and usage is the dining room table.

    Dining Room Tables

  9. I would paint it turquoise, and keep the chairs black.