DIY Project: Rustic Farmhouse Table

This project totally made us want to say “Never Again”.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

Let’s just say refinishing a dining room table and chairs IN the dining room is a tricky thing! (We don’t have a basement or a garage).

Our old pine dining room set was purchased eight years ago from IDOMO in Toronto. At the time it barely fit into our apartment – it had to go up against the wall on one side. When we purchased our townhouse, the set fit into the dining room with just barely enough space to walk around it – when the chairs were pushed in.

Fast forward to this house and our dining room is about half of the 300 square foot addition (which also includes our living room), which means it was time to get a bigger set or DIY something with the old one.

And that brings us to this beautiful hunk of handsome that we scored for free

Our plan was to remove the wood boards from the pallet, build a really large tabletop and reuse the legs from our old table as well as reusing the chairs from the old set.

After removing all the boards and trimming them square, Dean drilled holes in each piece, and attached them together with small dowels. He also glued them together in strategic places.

And what is one to do when there are no clamps large enough to hold the pieces together while the glue dries? Use ratchet straps, of course!

Anyway, once the glue dried and the table top was nice and solid – and heavy – we took it outside and Dean gave it a major sanding with the belt sander.

Smooth as a baby’s bottom. 😀

To assemble the table we used the legs and brackets from the old table and cut some new skirts (side pieces) from new pine.

After the table was assembled, the plan was to stain the top a nice dark walnut and paint the legs and chairs white. But when we filled most of the cracks and holes with stain-able wood filler, we realized that stain-able wood filler isn’t. Stain-able that is.

 Onto Plan B.

  1. We painted the whole table white – with Behr Swiss Coffee and my favourite Purdy paint brush. We used two coats of paint for good solid coverage.
  2. Then we distressed the edges and other places the table would naturally wear – with much sandpaper.
  3. And then we stained over top of the paint to age the paint and bring attention to the distressing – using Minwax Dark Walnut and a foam brush to apply the stain and a damp (almost wet) staining cloth to wipe away the excess. THIS STEP ACTUALLY STAINS THE PAINT LAYER. It also takes quite awhile to dry because of using an oil-based product OVER an acrylic one.
  4. After all is good and dry, we added three coats of wipe- on poly for protection using a staining pad. If you do this, BE CAREFUL…top coats have a “burn in” quality to them. This means you will remove some of the stain if your cloth has too much poly concentrated in one area. Ask me how I know.

 We followed almost the same steps for the chairs, except that we stained the seats. We also only used two coats of poly on the chairs.

How about some more beauty shots?

So, we think it was worth all the hard work. What do you think?

Dean & Shannon

P.S. We’ll be back later to show you the behind-the-scenes of our little photoshoot – if you remember the contest was anonymous so we had to be tricky with our photography. FUN!

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Time to Chat

  1. 1

    Bonnie says

    It’s absolutely gorgeous!!!! Awesome work. Pure brilliance. Wish I could see it in person. I’ll be it’s even prettier!

  2. 7

    Brenda says

    I absolutely adore this. I love how the stain was able to pick up the wood grain and looks a bit gray. The dark seats fit it perfectly too. I now want to find a set to do this to! Fantastic job!

  3. 14

    Regina says

    Uhm. It looks AWESOME. What a fantastic result. I have to say the ratchet straps were a brilliant touch! Love the baby’s bottom sanding but man, does that take work. I know you know. Love it!

  4. 16


    I have a similar project coming up, with a vintage ethan allen set. I’m finishing an apothecary cabinet now that I used a wood pallet to add a wooden top & was looking for ideas on how to use the wood filler to fill the cracks so the top is smooth. I was trying to decide whether to paint & then stain or just stain. Now I think I might paint & stain like you did, because I, too, had trouble with the “stainable” wood filler on previous tasks. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

    • 17

      aka design says

      We would love to know how it turns out! I think it’ll be a real long time before we use wood filler again!!! :)

  5. 18


    Wow! your table looks awesome. Can you share how the tabletop was attached to skirt and legs? I see that the legs and skirt are connected using brackets; was the same technique used for the tabletop? thanks!

  6. 20

    Melinda O'Rourke says

    well done, it’s just beautiful. I’ve just bought an oak dining table and we have our family and friends engrave their names on it with a dremel!! We even have signatures from past loved ones which we have copied on!!

  7. 22


    Hi I found you on Pinterest when searching for antiquing techinizues. I had a quick question- did you use a latex or enamel for your Swiss Coffee paint? (Also, I love that color- I JUST painted my table that color this week!)

      • 24

        Kasey Looy says

        Your table looks awesome! My husband just finished building us something similar and we’re still deciding on a color. I LOVE this look because it almost looks gray, is that right? Also, I know you used a latex paint in the Swiss Coffee but what finish is it? Satin?
        Thanks! Awesome work!

        • 25

          aka design says

          How fun! The Swiss Coffee looks taupe/grey because of the stain over top. And you could use satin for the paint, yes.

  8. 26


    Hi! This is amazing. I just bought a bureau and I’d like to use your tutorial because it’s got great details and I love everything about how this table came out. I did have a question… The Minwax Dark Walnut looks REALLY dark on the paint can. Does it just not get that dark because of the way you painted the table and the various layers? I just don’t want to mess it up, it looks like a lot of work to redo, haha. 😉 This is my first time doing anything like this!

  9. 36

    Erin Hobbs says

    Looks great! What sheens of paint and poly did you use?

    I’ve had so much better results with wipe-on poly than brushed, too. It’s my new go-to.