DIY: Painting a Kitchen Table


Paint can turn a new, raw-wood table or an older, previously painted table into a centerpiece for your kitchen. Painting the table enables you to choose a look that matches your present décor, or recreating the look of an old, worn table surface. DIYing the job is possible for any table owner with the skill to hold a paintbrush and a sander. It's the best way to get the look you want at a large cost savings over having the table painted professionally.

Things You'll Need

  • Drop cloth
  • Furniture cleaner
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Hand-held power sander
  • 80-grit sanding pad
  • Sandpaper, various grits
  • Primer
  • Paint brush
  • Paint roller
  • Roller pan
  • Water-based acrylic paint
  • Satin polyurethane finish
  • Place a drop cloth beneath the table to protect the floor from paint spills.

  • Clean the table thoroughly with a cleaner formulated for the materials making up the table surface. Use a sponge for general cleaning, tackling tough-to-clean areas with a stiff-bristled scrub brush.

  • Remove any existing paint or finish on the table by sanding the flat surfaces of the table with a handheld power sander with a coarse, 80-grit sanding pad attached. Run the sander across the surface in small circles until you reach the bare surface beneath the paint or finish. Remove paint or finish from rounded areas of the table using 80-grit sandpaper.

  • Change the sandpaper to 220-grit and go over the surface again to smooth out any imperfections in the table's surface. Leave the surface slightly roughened, however, to aid in primer adhesion. Wipe the surface with a tack cloth to remove the residue left from the sanding process.

  • Apply a layer of primer over the sanded surface. Use a roller to get a smooth layer of primer over the flat surfaces of the table, and a paintbrush to apply primer to rounded or hard-to-access areas. Allow the primer to dry completely before continuing. Drying times vary according to primer manufacturer, so wait the length of time instructed by the manufacturer.

  • Go over the primed surface with 220-grit sandpaper to remove any signs of brush or roller strokes. Sand down the primer imperfections until you have a completely smooth surface ready for painting. Wipe the surface clear with tack cloth to remove sanding residue.

  • Paint the surface of the table with water-based acrylic paint, applying the paint with rollers and paintbrushes. Use two or three layers of paint to achieve a solid coat that conceals the primer and won't wear through easily. Allow the paint to dry for about 24 hours between each coat, and lightly sand each coat with 320-grit sandpaper to keep the surface smooth.

  • Apply two coats of satin polyurethane over the paint to protect it from normal wear and tear and to ease maintenance. Allow the polyurethane time to dry between coats, following the manufacturer's suggested drying times. After the last coat dries, the table is ready for use.

Tips & Warnings

  • Paint in a well ventilated area to prevent sustained inhalation of paint fumes.

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  • Photo Credit restaurant chinois image by Com Evolution from
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