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Orange Dining Table and Chairs

Imagine orange velour.  Not bright, cheery, fun orange… I mean stained, dirty, aged orange velour.  That is exactly what I had scored with this dining set.

Stanley Dining Table & Chairs:

In fact, even the table finish had a bit of an orange hue that developed with its age.

Stanley Dining Table & Chairs:

And it gets better – if you look closely, you can see the dated diamond pattern in the table top.Stanley Dining Table & Chairs:

The look on my spouse’s face clearly questioned what (perhaps if) I was thinking.

What I was thinking is that this was a solid wood dining set with two captain chairs and I was getting it for a ridiculously low price as an estate sale leftover.  I needed furniture to practice on so low cost was key. What’s the worst that could happen?

First up – what to do about the caning.

Stanley Dining Table & Chairs:

  Most of the caning was in perfect shape, except for a small hole in one chair back.  After researching, I had no desire to to repair the caning – not necessarily because it looked difficult (it does) rather because I decided I didn’t love the look of caned chair backs.  Besides, they leave those little annoying patterns on your back if you sit in them for a while…

 No question I would be recovering the seats, so I also decided to pad and upholster the cane.  After painting the chairs, of course.

Paint & Stain

Since farmhouse tables seem to be the trend, I went with painting the chairs and table base a creamy white.  I’m not a fan of the distressed look, so after cleaning with TSP substitute, sanding and priming, I painted with a solid white.

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Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo, but my first attempt at upholstering the chairs with the gorgeous cream linen (bought on sale) looked very nice.  In fact, too nice – it made the chairs look way too formal for the farmhouse style I was going for.  So, I went back to the fabric store and picked a different fabric.  After batting and upholstering the chair backs and cushions, here is how they came out on the second try.

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 I really wanted to have the stained wood table-top look, however, remember the criss-cross diamond pattern? Yuck. While I had never used a gel-stain (which is effectively a tinted polyurethane that sits on top of the existing finish) this seemed like a good time to try it. Using a large, wide brush, I applied several layers of deep brown in one direction across the width of the table.  This darkened enough to hide the criss-cross while making a texture that resembled the depth of wood grain.

On this project, I learned a few things along the way about how much space it takes to comfortably refinish a table and all of those chairs (answer: more than I have in my home/garage).  I also became pretty proficient with a pneumatic stapler by the end of the project.  Overall it was a great learning experience and confidence-builder for me and this dining set will get a new life now that it has been updated.

Before                       After
Stanley Dining Table & Chairs:

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