Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Call for Input

I have this lovely table. It was $35 at a thrift store just when Patrick and I went to the thrift store looking for a table. It is sturdy, has three leaves that extend it to about 9 feet, and mostly solid wood. Mostly meaning all except the top layer. There is some sort of material on top that I think might be formica, but I have never had formica pointed out to me in person before. The table top just looks like pictures of formica I have seen and it doesn't seem to react like other laminate is supposed to react to attempts to iron it off (it doesn't work).

The paint on the edges of the top. 
Blogger thinks this picture should
go sideways, and I don't know why,
so I can't fix it.
I like this table in a lot of ways, though I must admit it may not be my number one pick of style if given lots of options. The main problem I have with it is that it apparently had a previous life as a craft table, and it shows. There are little bits of paint splattered all over the wooden parts. The formica, or whatever it is, is mostly free of paint, except one of the leaves has a bit of gold metallic paint on it. But now the question is, how do I refinish this table?

I know I can't stain the top and I am pretty sure I can't paint it, though it is true that that gold paint doesn't come off, so something must stick. Also, even though I think real wood is prettier, this coating is perhaps more practical for a dining table; it seems virtually indestructible. The top of the table is in good enough condition that I wouldn't have to do anything to it, but the edges of the table top that are wood are probably the worst looking part of the whole table.

I have many ideas and reasons for and against each. Some of my ideas are as follows:

fantastic brown paint drip all the
way down one leg.
1) Sand the legs and the edge of the table top. Then, try as best as possible to match a stain to the top of the table to use on the whole thing.

2) Sand as above, but then choose a much darker stain. This would make the center of the table a lighter color than the rest of the table, kind of like an inlay, except not really at all, especially since the lighter stuff will be up higher, not even with the darker stuff.

3) Try to match the edges of the top, like in option one, but paint the legs white or some other color.

4) Remove the entire top of the table, including the leaves. Straighten the legs (they are angled out) and add a new, rectangular top. Build new leaves as well. Then, stain or paint the table as I see fit.

I have been pondering this for many months, so I decided to open it for discussion to anyone who wishes to put in their two cents. Let me know which of these ideas you like best, or offer your own.


  1. I don't really know what to do with it but I vote down the fourth option because, owning a similar table, though it isn't necessarily what I would pick, I like the rounded corners for the purpose of not poking my toddler in the eye and I like the, as you put it, virtually indestructible top for the reason that it truly is virtually indestructible. That said, I understand that you want to get rid of the paint marks. I am maybe a little lazy, I guess, but I don't mind the white legs look and I think that would mean less need to sand perfectly in every groove so I might go for painting some part of it. Just my thoughts! And they are probably worth what you are paying for them. :)

  2. Yes, Patrick favors taking off the top, and though I think I would like the overall look better, I am a little nervous about how whatever finish I put on it would hold up. I hadn't thought about the corners until you mentioned it, that is a great point.

  3. I think you should paint the legs and edge of the tabletop. I think I told you about the 1970's antiquing rage. My mom did some of that back then. It was similar to this blog post
    It is just an idea.

  4. That is something to consider. It looks like a way to get details to stand out that is easier than distressing.


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