diy table and & chair makeover for under $50

My husband and I moved to our current home about a year ago. We did a pretty extensive renovation and it left very little budget for furnishings. Our dining room table was a black, square table from Ikea that my dad bought me for one of my first apartments when I was 19 years old. That table served me well in all the places I drug it to, but it didn't exactly fit into my "rustic eclectic" (is that a thing? I am making it a thing.) motif in the home I share with my hubs. One year later, we still don't have much wiggle room in our budget, but change was necessary. We cook dinner almost every night and eating on the couch is not an option with our little lab pup. What's a gal to do? DIY it on the cheap, of course! 


My sweet friend, Kayla of A Paper Arrow, posted a table and chair set for sale on Facebook. I instantly got heart eyes because I had been on the prowl for a round table. She kindly sold it to me for $20. Best $20 I ever spent, probably. I loved the vintage details and couldn't wait to get started on my new dining room table! 

Here's a breakdown of how I achieved my perfectly shabby diy table & chair makeover for under $50. (Admittedly, I had a few of the tools on hand already, but none of them are terribly expensive and if you don't own them, you probably know someone that does.)

- Sander (you can sand it by hand, of course but I LOVE my sander)
ps. I use a Ryobi sander, but this is a cheaper alternative with good reviews.

- 150 grit and 220 grit sandpaper

- Rustoleum Chalked Chalk Paint in Linen White
Really, any chalk paint will do, but since this is a surface we will use on a regular basis I wanted to use a durable paint. some people swear by Annie Sloan, but I was on a budget and upon further research, learned that the AS paint + wax does not hold up well on furniture that is used frequently.
Pro tip: get your paint mixed with one of the mixing machines at your local home improvement store. they'll do it for you if you ask real nice.

- Rustoleum Chalked Matte Top Coat
This is VERY important. I used the spray version of this because it is so much easier. I prefer to use this on my chalk paint projects rather than wax. Wax has to be reapplied every few months and it does not protect pieces that are used frequently. Way too high maintenance for me. This top coat works SO WELL. It was cloudy when I applied this and started to rain about 4 minutes after the last coat. I was so nervous my project was ruined, but it totally repelled the water! Amazing!

- 1.5 - 3 inch chip paint brush
I use the cheap ones that you can get at Harbor Freight. I stock up any time I go. Any brush strokes that show up get buffed out with the sander.  

- Electric Staple Gun
The electric stable gun makes life so much easier. Highly, highly recommend. 

- Durable fabric to reupholster with
I got mine on clearance for $7/yd at Joann Fabric. Four chairs takes a little less than 2 yards.

- Fabric scissors 
DO NOT use dull scissors on fabric. It will make you crazy.

Other helpful supplies:
- Drop cloth for painting
- Rag for paint drips
- Spray paint nozzle for easy spray painting



First, I cleaned and sanded the table. I used the 150 grit sandpaper, so that the paint would have a rougher surface to cling to. 

Then, I applied my first layer of chalk paint. I did 2-3 coats on this project before I started distressing it. I let each layer dry fully before adding another one.

After 2-3 coats, I used the 220 grit sand paper to distress the table. I found it easier to use the sander for this, but many people prefer to do this part by hand. 

I lightly painted the legs and sides of the table so that they got the distressed look without sanding because .. lazy. 

After everything dried, I did two layers of the matte top coat. Once dry, We bolted the legs back on and VOILA! a dining room table.



I cleaned the chairs and decided against painting them. I love the contrast of the worn brown with the white table. It seems to flow with my other furniture well. 

My husband helped me unscrew the seats of the chairs from the chair frame. Once they were free, I used a screw driver and pliers to take out all 3854754345 million staples out to get the fabric covers off. To my surprise, the upholstery was actually a redo and the original covers were still underneath. They were a pretty mustard yellow and if I could have saved them, I so would have!

Once I had all the upholstery off, I used the old covers as a template to cut my new fabric. 

Then, I attached the new fabric to the chairs with the staple gun. Start on the sides and save the corners for last. Fold them up nice and finish them with staples. My hubs did this part for me because he's pretty amazing.


I am delighted with the way our dining room table and chairs turned out. It looks perfect in our space! The set is the perfect amount of rustic & funky for my taste. This project cost me about $45 and took me one day to complete. The hard work was worth it for the savings. We have already enjoyed so many meals at this table. It is definitely the heart of our home and I'm looking forward to many more memories around it!