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.
In fact, even the table finish had a bit of an orange hue that developed with its age.
And it gets better – if you look closely, you can see the dated diamond pattern in the table top.
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.
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.
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.
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.