…question from a struggling college student

I want nothing more than to help a struggling college student that cares about her kitchen table look! I received this email yesterday and am sharing it in the hopes that it helps others. I know there’s a lot of confusion about getting this weathered wood look.

“Hello I just watched probably 10 of your videos! I am moving into an apartment in Chicago and have recently picked up a round oak table at an estate sale. It is that awful yellow golden color. I really liked the video you did on the restoration hardware inspired white table. Eventually I want to get the soft comfy chairs to go around the table so my place looks comfy and cozy!

Question:

1. Do I have to use a sander in order to get that yellow color off before painting?

2. How much do I sand before I start painting?

3. And what number sand paper do I use?

If you could help me out in any way possible! Thank you.

Sincerely, a struggling college student haha” (Attached photo)

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As you can see, what College Student (CS) has is your typical, dated, wood pedestal table. It looks like it is in great shape and a round table can work in so many spaces. In fact, DH and I bought a white round table for our first home and I still have it (even thought it is now used for kid’s crafts!) I think it’s always a good bet to buy a round table.

So, like I’ve said in the past, the biggest factor in getting your weathered wood look is that you MUST HAVE A TEXTURED WOOD. You will most likely see this kind of texture in older furniture that is oak. When I say texture, it means rubbing your hand on the surface and feeling ridges and lines. The reason you need these ridges is that this is where the paint will pool and the “non-ridge” part is where the paint will be lighter. This contrast is where you will get that beautiful, weathered look as you see below.

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CS, do you see how your table is shiny? I hate to tell you this, but it’s because it is not textured, it looks like there is a layer of poly over it. Even if you sanded this poly off, you still will not get these ridges and undulations that naturally come in oak. The closest you can come to getting this look would be to paint thinly on your table to try to achieve a contrast. I say this hesitantly because it may be hard for you to get the look that I know you want. But, you can get a pretty distressed look like on my kitchen table by painting this way. Paint thinly and then take your 100 grade sand paper and sand the edges to achieve this. I did not use any wax either so that it could continue to weather.

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I hate to disappoint with this information, but if I may, I do want to encourage you that you can still get a beautiful and dramatic look just by painting a round pedestal table. Here is one that I recently did myself.

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Also, until you can afford those comfy chairs that your referenced, I would also think about painting them. It looks like you have nice, solid wood chairs there and I have painting many similar ones for clients that turned out beautifully.

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I wish you all the best in creating the space you want. I am confident you will because you’ve already selected this set. This is just the beginning, College Girl! 🙂