Updating / Painting (And Distressing) Kitchen Table and Chairs

Updated on September 07, 2011
L.M. asks from Spring, TX
6 answers

Hi Ladies,

Has anyone updated their kitchen table by painting and distressing it? When my husband and I got married and combined our homes, his kitchen table was more practical for us as a family. It is a wood, rectangle table that has 4 chairs and then a long bench along one of the longer ends of it. It is very fuctional and practical for all of us. He does not like the table since it was something he had during his previous marriage and because it is "so old and ugly". Though the fact that it was owned by him and his ex does not bother me one bit, I do agree 100% that it is quite ugly. It has the nice wood top and seats of chairs are also normal med/dark wood color but the legs of the table, chairs and backs of chairs are hunter green. BLAH! :) Anyway, I am thinking about painting it to give it a fresh look that will hopfully please the both of us. I love the whole distressed/vintage style as this is what most decorative pieces are like in our house. So, here are my thoughts (there are 4 of them)...please give me your thoughts/opinions but most of all, if you have done this before...any advice you have to share with me one you experience?

1. Leave table top and seats of chairs and top of bench their normal dark caramel wood color. Paint table legs, bench legs and chair legs and backs black and distress them.

2. Paint table and chairs and bench completely black (including top of table and tops of chairs) and distress them all...

3. Paint table and chairs completely black (tops included) and distress... then, paint the bench a completely different color and distress it... a fun color to go with my decor...

4. Paint Chairs a bold color (maybe red) and then distress the table...maybe black distressed or a lighter color...not sure.

Anyway, tell me what you think...we need an update! Something cute, fun and more life!

p.s. How do you clean it once you paint it? Can I still use my usual disinfectant? Like 409? or is warm water and soap best?

Thanks ladies, have a great day!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all very much for your advice/information. I am starting my project this weekend. After doing much research and looking around, I have decided that I am actually going to be sanding and re-staining the top of my table (a dark walnut color) It is going to be a more distressed type of look as I will be wiping the stain with a paper towel after it is applied. My bench will also be stained. I will be painting the chairs a cherry red. Wish I could post pics on here to show you all the outcome. Thanks again and wish me luck! I am so excited to get going on my project! :)

More Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

Suggestion: take a picture of your furniture and then print it out on plain paper. Using pencils, markers or crayons, color the picture to simulate your idea. Then compare the pics and see which you think is going to look best.
Instead of paint, consider using a colored wood stain. They come in all sorts of funkly colors now. You would just sand off the green and then stain it with a fun color - maybe even red. The stain would look more natural and be colorful without being too bright and contrasting with the natural wood finish.
Have fun!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I paint and distress a lot of furniture.

A lot of people do #1, where they leave the tops them same and just paint the legs/spindles. That look usually looks best if the black is not distressed, b/c the other wood is usually left undistressed. But that feels so overdone to me.

If it were me, I would paint and distress everything the same color. I have a hard time changing a color, so if I were to paint chairs/bench a different color and I don't like it in a year, I wouldn't likely change it back but just deal with not liking it. Maybe you are more ambitious than me!

OR< I would do the chairs or bench a different color, like a dove gray or white. Would look pretty with beautiful with a black table.

You can add in a fun new color by painting a large canvas and hang it next to the table, get a colorful table runner for the table or a large red vase/jug.

Keep in mind, black gets dusty looking quickly, so even if you distress it, you still want to seal it.

I compiled a bunch of black, white and gray painted furniture on my blog when I was making these decisions, maybe one idea will pop put at you:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I have a painted kitchen set (not distressed) and I don't know if it was done wrong but it has chips in the paint on the chairs from moving. Doesn't look good. Based on this, I would use a stain. BUT...I am certainly no expert and maybe there is a way to paint so that it doesn't chip at the slightest bump!



answers from Beaumont on

My personal opinion is, you probably already know how much work all that really is, by the time you give it a quick sanding, prime, paint, distress,etc. So probably the option of painting it all black, then distressing , and doing your bench a fun color.As far as cleaning it, I have found that warm water and soap or what works best for me, although it matters more depending on if and how you seal it.In which case you would want to go by recommended directions of the sealer, glaze whatever . Good luck!:)



answers from Austin on

In cabinets (my field) they will paint the dark color first (2 coats) then the light color. Let it dry for the total curing time and then sand your edge and corners down to the dark color. You can let a L. or alot show through based on your taste. It is really attractive. Look at magazines and the web for ideas. I guess what I just described to you would be antiqueing not distressing which implies dents, etc. Have fun, it sounds like an interesting project.

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