I finally settled on staining it the same color as our cabinets, which I refinished almost a year ago (and still haven't taken pictures of... reason #4587872468 I'm not cut out to be a "real" blogger, haha!), and then painted the legs and trim with white chalk paint.
It turned out so well! Look at what a difference it made:
I really, really love it! Plus it's given me some (much-needed) motivation to tackle some of the many other projects I have up my sleeve. Hallelujah!
It was a little time-consuming, but pretty easy. Here's how I did it:
First, I stained the top. I know from my experience staining my kitchen cabinets that it is much better to stain and then paint. Staining is messier and if you goof up it's easy to just paint over your mistakes. I used this stain in Antique Walnut, which I had left over from our cabinets. With this particular kind of stain you don't need to completely strip your surface, but it is important to sand it enough to rough it up a bit. I sanded with medium-grit sandpaper first because I really wanted to get through the lacquer, and then used fine-grit to make sure it was nice and smooth.
Thoroughly wipe the entire surface clean of any sawdust, then start staining. I like to use microfiber towels which are cheap at Home Depot, but old socks work really well too, and I used a mixture of both on this project. I think I did about 3 coats of stain, with the last one being mostly touch-up and evening out the color.
Once I was finished staining, I painted the legs and trim with homemade chalk paint. I used Bleached Linen by Behr, and made it with the calcium carbonate recipe found here. It was really easy to make, and so far it has held up really well! (P.S. This is my favorite paint brush, and it worked perfectly for this project.) The next thing I need to do is seal the white paint. I know, I know... I really should have done that already. I ordered some finishing wax from BB Frösch and had an unfortunate incident in which it got left outside in the heat and quite a bit of it leaked out of the jar. I'm still grumpy about that, so I'm doing the rational thing and just pretending it never existed and that leaving white furniture unsealed in a room frequented by a sticky toddler isn't going to end in disaster. Clearly I like the live on the edge!
However, I did seal the table top using another great product by General Finishes: this water-based topcoat, also left over from the cabinet project. It's super easy to apply, and dries so hard. I've been so happy with it! I did 3 or 4 coats, just to be safe, and applied it with some foam paintbrushes like these ones.
The chairs are Ingolf from IKEA. I considered refinishing them, but then made the (wise) decision that my sanity was worth the price of new chairs. Also, I needed chairs for a few other places in the house, so the black ones are still getting used elsewhere which makes me feel even better about that choice.
Well, there you have it! Let's take one more look at the before and after, shall we?
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