My dining room was ordinary and boring and really really tan.
Instead I just bought a plant and redid the cushions. In a fabric I loved. Tan and safe.
But then, my friend Sarah came over.
And she went in the dining room and put her hand on the side board and said, "I think you should paint it black."
How To Paint Your Dining Room Furniture
1. Go to a store and buy these things:
I went to Sherwin Williams. I have a thing for SW Oil Enamel in a Satin Finish. It goes on so beautiful and smooth and easy with just the right sheen. Do NOT get cheap paint. You will hate this project if you do. (1 quart of SW oil enamel is only around $15 and was plenty of paint.) Latex is easier and environmentally friendly and not so smelly, but this is dining room furniture and I did not want it easily scratched, chipped, etc. (If you insist on using latex paint, just make sure it is enamel so you have a super smooth finish.)
2. Concerning the sandpaper...buy medium grade, and buy a sander like the one above...NOT a spongy, soft sander...you don't want to be able to bend it. Using a traditional block sander like the one above will give you a nice edge when distressing. The sponge sanders tend to leave too many scratch marks around the nice little wood peaking through.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: Buy a GOOD paint brush. Spend around $15-$20. This (and the paint) is the key to making your furniture look like it has a professional, store-bought finish.
3. Unscrew the chair pads and put them aside. Unscrew any knobs on sideboards etc. Layout a huge dropcloth under the furniture. I used the sandpaper thingy and sanded only the top of the table and the top and the sides of the sideboard. I sanded them just enough to dull the surface. You don't want "SHINY" anywhere. My furniture was dull and old so I got out of this part easy. When you are finished, make sure to wipe off the surfaces well so there is no sanding dust anywhere. (I've been asked if I primed my furniture. NO! You don't want to prime, paint, then distress, or your white primer will show up when you distress. Like white granny underwear showing!)
4. Open a window for ventilation. I painted the sideboard first, then the chairs and then the table. I put on the first coat, let it dry and then touched up spots I missed the first time because I went so fast and didn't notice I missed some areas on the chair. You can probably get away with just doing one coat if you are careful.
5. After the paint is TOTALLY dry, take your sandpaper thingy and lightly sand the edges to create the distressed look. Do not be nervous about this...it's so easy. Hold your sander so it just touches the edge and rub back and forth...stick with the edges only of every piece, go light at first till you see the wood peeking through. You can do as little or as much as your prefer. Start with a chair till you get the hang of it.
6. Optional But Highly Recommended Step: Because my DR is not a show room by any means, I wanted to take this extra stop to ensure a kid-proof table top. After I completed all the steps above I put a coat of polyurethane on the table top only. Make sure you get POLY urethane...that means it's OIL based, just like your paint. You need just a pint size if you just do the top like I did. Make sure you use the tackcloth you bought and go over the surface very well so you don't get tiny dust particles showing. I didn't sand it...just wiped it clean with the tack cloth. You can use the same brush you used for the black paint, if you wash it out with mineral spirits. I was too lazy to do that...I just bought a second brush and threw them both out when I was finished. Polyurethane is a little tricky..it's sort of sticky and thick to put on. Stir the can gently, use a good brush, and quickly put a nice smooth coat on, not missing any areas. Don't overbrush.
PS. After 6 months, I have not had one scratch or chip! Still good as new.