How to Paint a Kitchen Table: A Complete Guide

Painting a wooden kitchen table is an excellent way to rejuvenate a beloved piece of furniture and give it a fresh, updated look. Whether you have a small coffee table or a large dining room table, painting it can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process to ensure long-lasting results. From the essential preparation steps to the choice of products and the importance of patience, we’ve got you covered.

Step One: Sanding and Surface Preparation

Sanding and Surface Preparation
  • Examine the table’s condition and ensure it is free of debris and rough patches.
  • Consider using an orbital sander with medium grit sanding discs to make the job easier.
  • While you don’t need to remove all the varnish, focus on making the surface smooth to the touch.
  • A medium-grit sanding wedge can remove any unevenness from the roller on the primed surface.
  • Be sure to wear a respirator while sanding to protect your health.

Step Two: Primer Application

  • Start by wiping down the sanded surface to remove any dust.
  • Choose a high-quality bonding and stain-blocking primer. Zinsser’s Cover Stain is recommended for its effectiveness.
  • For horizontal surfaces like tabletops, use the brush-on formula of the primer for durability.
  • Apply two coats of primer to the tabletop, allowing each coat to dry completely.
  • Use the spray version for efficient coverage for other surfaces where the roller can reach easily.
  • Allow the primer to dry for a full day before moving on to the next step.

Step Three: Smoothing the Primed Surface

  • Use a medium grit sanding wedge to smooth out imperfections on the primed surface.
  • Wipe down the surface to ensure it is completely smooth to the touch, providing a perfect canvas for painting.

Step Four: Applying the Paint

  • Choose a high-quality enamel-based paint for your kitchen table. Brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams offer excellent water-based enamel alkyd formulas.
  • Apply the paint in temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal results.
  • Apply two thin coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry for approximately 24 hours.
  • If you opt for dark-colored paint, such as black or navy, you may need to apply three thin coats for even coverage.
  • It’s crucial to exercise patience as the paint requires 3 to 5 days to cure completely. Avoid using the table during this time to prevent damage to your hard work.

Step Five: Protecting Your Hard Work

  • After a few days of curing, it’s time to protect your painted kitchen table.
  • Options for protection include brush-on and wipe-on water-based Varathane and Minwax Polycrylic.
  • For white-painted furniture, consider wax for a soft, hand-rubbed finish that won’t alter the paint’s color.
  • Apply a clear paste wax, such as Briwax, in small amounts and rub it in circles with a clean, soft cotton cloth.
  • Allow the wax to dry for at least an hour, and buff it to a shine. Repeat this process two more times over a day.
  • Multiple layers of wax will help the surface repel liquids and stains, providing added protection.
  • Once you’ve buffed the final coat, your kitchen table is ready. However, taking it easy for the first few days is advisable to allow the paint and wax to solidify fully.

Before and After: Transforming Your Kitchen Table

Transforming Your Kitchen Table

Before undertaking the painting process, your kitchen table may have looked dull, worn, and far from its former glory. However, with the right techniques and materials, you can transform it into a fresh, fabulous piece of furniture. The paint job improves the aesthetics and enhances its durability, making it last for years to come.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use any paint for my kitchen table?

While you can use various paints, choosing high-quality enamel-based colors is recommended for durability. Brands like Benjamin Moore and Sherwin-Williams offer excellent options.

How long should I wait for the paint to cure before using the table?

It’s best to allow the paint to cure for 3 to 5 days to ensure it’s sufficiently hard and resistant to damage.

What should I use to protect the painted surface of my table?

You can use water-based Varathane, Minwax Polycrylic, or clear paste wax to protect the painted surface. The choice depends on your preference and the color of the paint.

Can I paint my kitchen table in a different color other than white?

Absolutely! You can choose any color that suits your decor. Dark-colored paints may require an extra coat for even coverage.


In conclusion, painting your kitchen table is a fantastic way to revive and personalize a cherished piece of furniture. With the right tools, materials, and patience, you can transform your table into a beautiful and durable addition to your home. Follow these steps, and you’ll enjoy your newly painted kitchen table for years.