Dining Table Do-Overs

Clever and creative ways to repurpose a dining table.

A dining table can serve as much more than a place for a meal.

“Dining tables are underrated,” says Kristen Yonson, a metro Atlanta homeowner. “Using a dining table for a desk, a console table, a foyer table, conference room table or craft table are ‘out of the box’ ideas.”

DIY Home Office Desk with Wall Organizer System and Vintage Style Books

DIY Home Office Desk with Wall Organizer System and Vintage Style Books

The DIY dining table makeover now gives stylist and painter Jo Torrijos a functional and chic desk.

Photo by: Jo Torrijos

Jo Torrijos

Here are four ways, from a quick move to a major makeover, to reuse and upcycle a dining table in your home.

Get to work with a new desk

Organized Home Office Desk with Calendar, Chalkboard and Corkboard

Organized Home Office Desk with Calendar, Chalkboard and Corkboard

Since the dining table with an extended leaf was about the same height as a desk, stylist and painter Jo Torrijos decided to use it as a desk in her Atlanta Craftsman bungalow.

Photo by: Jo Torrijos

Jo Torrijos

An extended leaf table may be great for a holiday party, but then you’re left with the challenge of storing the leaves in a closet or elsewhere throughout the year. 

Stylist and painter Jo Torrijos bought this 104-inch table for $100 at a thrift shop, although she’s seen extended leaf tables in various conditions as cheap as $20-$50 at other stores.

Wood Dining Table with Removable Leaves

Wood Dining Table with Removable Leaves

Stylist and painter Jo Torrijos bought this 104-inch table for $100 at a thrift shop, although she’s seen extended leaf tables in various conditions as cheap as $20-$50 at other stores.

Photo by: Jo Torrijos

Jo Torrijos

Since the table was about the same height as a desk (about 30 inches), she decided to use it as a desk in her Atlanta Craftsman bungalow. Then she put the leaf to use by turning it into a cute wall organizer system. 

She rummaged through a bargain bin and found corkboards and chalkboards for $3 to $5 each. The leaf can be hung on the wall or leaned against the wall, especially if you think the desk may need to serve again as a dining table for a party.

“If you’re in a studio or small apartment and want to be able to have a desk but entertain, sometimes you can have it be a dual function (piece),” Torrijos says.

The table was in good shape, except for a couple of deep scratches. She first tried to paint it solid white, but decided it would look better with a whitewash appearance. 

Sporadically with different brushes, she added in layers of dark gray and a taupy mid-tone gray. Then she mixed two parts paint and one part water for a whitewash on top. The final step in that process was mixing chalk paint into wax for a white wax that she brushed onto the table to mute the colors.

Painted Dining Room Table Update

Painted Dining Room Table Update

Stylist Jo Torrijos brushed layers of darker gray and a taupe mid-tone gray onto her upcycled dining table, which she turned into a desk.

Photo by: Jo Torrijos

Jo Torrijos

The painting project took a couple of hours and she just cleaned the legs and coated them with furniture oil.

Painting a Dining Table

Painting a Dining Table

The table had a couple of deep scratches. Stylist Jo Torrijos first tried to paint it solid white, but decided it would look better with a whitewash appearance. Sporadically with different brushes, she added in layer of darker gray and a mid-tone gray. Then she mixed two parts paint and one part water for a whitewash.

Photo by: Jo Torrijos

Jo Torrijos

The use of the leaf came to her as she looked at wall organizer systems in home decor catalogs and stores, but she wanted to save money and customize hers.

“It’s really just painting a flat surface,” Torrijos says. “(It took) finding good deals on the wall organizer pieces. Then you can customize it to your craft room, office or a kids’ desk.”

She attached the corkboards and chalkboards with velcro strips and used sticky putty for a ruler with clips that holds notes. That part of the project took less than 10 minutes. 

Cute DIY Office Wall Organizer System with Calendar and Chalkboard

Cute DIY Office Wall Organizer System with Calendar and Chalkboard

Stylist and painter Jo Torrijos rummaged through a bargain bin at a store and found corkboards and chalkboards for $3 to $5 each. She leaned the repainted leaf against the wall, since she may want to use the desk again as a dining table for a party.

Photo by: Jo Torrijos

Jo Torrijos

When Yuni Min’s parents gave her their kitchen table, she refinished it and moved the memories to the office in her metro Atlanta home. The table had white legs that she liked, but she wanted to transform the pine top, which had scratches.

White and Wood Dining Room Table with Six Chairs

White and Wood Dining Room Table with Six Chairs

A kitchen table with a pine top and white legs was sturdy but needed more style. DIY blogger Yuni Min liked the white legs, but she wanted to transform the pine top, which had scratches.

Photo by: Yuni Min

Yuni Min

Min, a DIY blogger, used dark graphite chalk paint on the top, to contrast with the white legs. She painted the tabletop three times and then covered it with three coats of polyurethane in a satin finish, to give it a smooth, durable finish.

Dining Room Table Repurposed as a Desk for a Home Office

Dining Room Table Repurposed as a Desk for a Home Office

Yuni Min, a DIY blogger, used dark graphite chalk paint on the top, to contrast with the white legs. She painted the tabletop three times and then covered it in three coats of polyurethane in a satin finish, to give it a smooth, durable finish. She used the dining table as a desk in her home office.

Photo by: Yuni Min

Yuni Min

Bring it into the living room

In an open floor plan, sometimes there is no specific spot for an entry table. Yonson, who works in online advertising and is co-founder of SwatchPop.com, used her dining table as a statement piece and a divider between the open foyer and living room. 

Decorated Wood Console Table in Neutral Tones

Decorated Wood Console Table in Neutral Tones

Kristen Yonson, who works in online advertising and is co-founder of SwatchPop.com, used her dining table as a divider between the open foyer and living room.

Photo by: Kristen Yonson

Kristen Yonson

“It was large enough to help define the space and offers significant size for displaying items as a focal point,” she says. “Since you are essentially walking into this home and the first thing you see is the television, we wanted to divide the space by having a large and beautiful focal point, which is the large demijohn with fanned out flowers.”

Then she kept the coffee table books neutral so that some of the more organic pieces, like the tortoise shells and greenery would stand out.

Because sofa sizes are lower, a dining table can fit behind or beside them and hold lamps and objects.

Console Table with Clear Lamps in Sunlit Living Room

Console Table with Clear Lamps in Sunlit Living Room

DIY blogger Karen Cooper used a dining table she purchased years ago at a home decor outlet shop as a console table in her Atlanta living room.

Photo by: Karen Cooper

Karen Cooper

The dining table that DIY blogger Karen Cooper purchased years ago at a home decor outlet shop has served all kinds of functions.

“It was my first dining room table in my first apartment when I moved to Atlanta,” she says. “Since then, it's been my desk, a table in our family room in our previous house (for games), a dining table on our back porch, and now a console table in our living room. Talk about nine lives.”

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