Easy Antique Table Restoration
If you are a regular reader, you might have noticed that we have been renovating our house for the past 2 years. I’m not talking about decorating here, hell no! We have been knocking down walls, rewiring, putting up new walls, overhauling the windows, stripping floors, ripping out bathrooms … you name it, we’ve done it!!!!! We are finally able to see the finish line and we are SO happy about this! Can you believe we are finally going to have a washing machine and fridge?!!? I literally can’t wait! I promise I will share images of the kitchen as soon as it’s done, but in the mean time, I wanted to share the super easy antique table restoration we did. Even for the most DIY-shy of you, I swear, this is actually a super easy project and just shows that re-hauling furniture is so much easier than it seems!
We bought this table from a local antiques shop, Brocante in Westgate, Kent. I spied it hidden underneath some other pieces and something about it caught my eye. The shop owner explained it needed a little love, but it was an antique french farmhouse table and he would sell it to us for £300 because as charming as it was, it needed work. We took down the measurements, forgot about it for a couple of weeks and then made that please-tell-us-you-still-have-it call. He did (obvs) and within a couple of hours he had delivered it to us.
The first thing we needed to do to the table was give it a good sand down. We did this in kitchen back when it was an empty shell of a room, we covered the floor with dust sheets, wore face-masks and opened the windows. It will never cease to amaze me how filthy sanding down wood is, the dust gets everywhere, so make sure you prepare the room (and yourself) for a whole heap of dust! Ideally if you can get the furniture into a garage or outside, that would be best, but otherwise, just cover everywhere with dust sheets and shut the doors into the rest of the house. Then, all you have to do is sand that bad boy down! We have an electric hand sander, it only cost about £100 but we have used it so much over the past year, if you do any DIY it’s well worth investing in one, otherwise you can hire one for a few pounds for the week / weekend. We started with a 40 grit sandpaper (which is the roughest) and then we moved up to 80 grit and 120 grit. The rougher sandpaper will take the layers of dirt and paint off the old wood, and the smoother sandpaper will give you a splinter-free finish (always sand with the grain, but you guys know that!). Once we were finished, we left the windows open, let the dust settle overnight and the following day we shook out all the dust sheets and gave the room a good vacuum before the next stage!
Once we had sanded back the table, the stripped pine looked GREAT! However, we could see traces of woodworm in the tabletop (I know this sounds gross, but I promise it’s not that bad and it’s in a lot of old wood, from structural beams and floorboards to old furniture). It’s impossible to know if the woodworm had been treated long ago or if it was still actively eating away at the wood, so as a precaution, we painted the table with woodworm treatment. It’s a super quick and easy process and the treatment can be bought from B&Q, but if you do spy any tracks, it’s well worth painting on some treatment.
The owner of Brocante recommended that we paint the legs white. I wasn’t 100% sure about this as I always get a pang of guilt when it comes to painting old furniture. So we had a scroll through Pinterest and decided that the white legs would lift the look of the table, brighten it up and slightly modernise it, whilst still keeping the antique feel. And if we live to regret it, the paint can always be stripped off. So I put down more dust sheets and painted the legs and frame with two coats of primer & undercoat (one paint, which combines the two, I’ve linked the exact one we use) before waiting for it to dry and applying a durable satin finish white paint. It didn’t really need any masking off, or special treatment, just make sure you don’t let the paint gather on any edges as thats when drips happen. Also, this is a good time to mention, that you want to make sure that the room is as dust free as possible so the dust and grit doesn’t get in the paint and spoil your finish. Also, it’s really important to use good brushes, cheap brushes will loose hairs and there is nothing worse than loosing bristles in your paint as you will see them when the paint dries. Personally, I always use Harris brushes, I’m such a fan, I even have a ‘Brush for life’ which is monogrammed with my initials. Seriously, look closely!
When the paint was dry and we were happy with the finish, it’s time to turn your attention back to the table top. The old wood was in need of a little TLC and thanks to the sanding, the wood had a very ‘bare’ feel to it. We had a few options here; paint (not for this project), varnish (I’m not a fan!), oil or beeswax. Personally, I’m a beeswax girl as I like the way it applies on the wood, the soft nourished feel it gives and the way it wears. As for shade, we went for ‘natural’, which is essentially clear wax, but it will naturally darken the wood. We gave it a good waxing, buffed the excess off and Voila! It’s done! Just a side note here, the table cost £300, the materials were essentially free as we had all the sandpaper, paint, brushes, dust sheets, woodworm treatment and wax from previous DIY projects, but even if we had bought all these things, we still saved a huge amount by doing this ourselves. All the other tables we had seen of this size and look were costing £1,000 and upwards, so I’m super pleased with the saving and I love the fact the changes we have made aren’t too dramatic, as we really wanted to be sympathetic to it’s history, but still give it a modern freshen up so it would fit in well with the room. The wood stains are practically all gone now, the top looks beautifully nourished and the white table legs lift and brighten the table as it is large and heavy, so the white legs break up the darkness of the wood and tone in nicely with the white of the windows and woodwork in the room.
Ta da! So let me know what you think. I would love to hear your thoughts! PS. I know a lot of people are excited about seeing the finished kitchen, and I promise I will reveal it soon, along with some table styling tips!