How to Paint a Cheap Kitchen Table to Look Brand New

Transforming an inexpensive old table with chips and flaking finish is easier than you might think. With an afternoon and some attention to detail, a dreary eyesore can become a bright and cheerful centerpiece for your kitchen or dining room!

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Things You'll Need

  • Sand paper: medium-grit and fine-grit

  • Dust mask

  • Liquid deglosser

  • Aluminum foil

  • Primer (look for one intended to cover laminate furniture)

  • Latex paint (Semi-gloss or glossy finish will be easiest to clean. Table shown here has glossy paint.)

  • Foam roller

  • 2-inch paint brush

  • Rags

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 1: Sand, Sand and Sand Some More

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Start with medium-grit sandpaper and go over the entire surface of your table, being careful to remove any flaking or chipping pieces. Wear your dust mask to protect yourself from particles and other allergens that may be released from sanding.


If table was painted any time from the early to mid-20th century, you should double check for lead paint before sanding.

(Image: Sanded cheap table comparison)

Step 2: Clean the Table to Remove Excess Debris

Wipe down the table with deglosser to remove all dust and debris from the sanding.

Step 3: Apply the First Coat of Primer

With foam roller, apply a first coat of primer. Follow the instructions on the primer label for specific dry time and re-coat time. For easier clean up, line the paint tray with aluminum foil.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)


Do not go back and forth over the paint too many times or you will begin to pull paint back off the surface.

Step 4: Apply a Second Coat of Primer

Carefully apply a second coat of primer to the table.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)


For dark stained furniture, it may be necessary to use a shellac-based primer to prevent bleed through.

Step 5: Sand

With fine-grain sand paper, go over the table and wipe down any dust or debris.

Step 6: Apply the First Coat of Latex Paint

With a foam roller, apply the first coat of latex paint. Be careful to watch for drips or brush marks. Follow the directions on the label for dry and re-coat time.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 7: Sand

With fine grain sand paper, go over the table and wipe down any dust or debris.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)


To store the roller and paintbrush between coats, wrap each one in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 8: Apply a Second Coat of Latex Paint

Apply a second coat of latex paint; depending upon the color, a third coat may be necessary. Look for irregularity in color or signs that the primer is still visible to determine whether a third coat is needed.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)
(Image: Charlotte Smith)


Allow paint to cure for a few days before heavy use.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Never underestimate the power of paint. This inexpensive thrifted table went from scratched and faded to shiny and colorful with proper painting techniques and attention to detail.