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I have been thinking about painting my dining room table top for ages.  I never actually went through with it, though.  Partly because of time, but mostly because I was a little nervous about painting it.  Yes, I was actually nervous about it!  I have never had an all-white dining room table and I honestly wasn’t sure if I would like it.  As much as I like painted pieces, I am partial to wood tops.

The thing with this table is that the top is made out of an old barn door and, if you take off the runner, you can definitely see that.  There was a sign posted on it back in the day when it was a door.

And, while I don’t think woods used in a room have to match, the top didn’t really relate to anything else in the room.  So, I had the house to myself for a couple of days (which was glorious) and I finally decided to just go for it.

I used Farmhouse White MMSMP and painted it directly over the oiled finish.  I had applied Hemp Oil to it a few years ago, so I wasn’t concerned about the milk paint chipping.

I applied two coats, one right after the other, because it soaked in and dried quickly.   I then distressed the table, dragging 120 grit paper over each board to bring out the grain and add a sense of wear and age.

I decided to finish it off with Tough Coat.  I am just in love with that finish.

This was a good piece to show that Tough Coat can look a little scary when it’s being applied.  It looks like it might be glossy and a brush-stroke-y mess…

…but it dries and levels out and you’re left with a beautiful matte finish.

The minute it was finished, I wondered why in the world it took me so long to paint it.

I love how “quiet” the table is now and it allows other things in the room to shine.

And the distressing brings out just enough detail, so it doesn’t look flat.

It was a good excuse to set up a little summer table and take pictures of it, which, of course, I enjoyed throughly.


That’s what happens when you leave me in the house alone.  Something will get rearranged or painted, I’ll set up for a dinner party, and take pictures.

I know.  I’m a wild and crazy girl.

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    1. Karen Keller-Eyer

      LOVE it and curious where you found those adorable drinking glasses ?

      • Erika

        Ha! I was wondering the same thing! It looks really pretty!

      • Mechelle

        Me, too. Would love the glasses!

      • brenda

        HOMEGOODS has those glasses 🙂

        • marian

          Yes! That’s where I got them. You can also find them at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. They are really cheap, too. I think $11.99 for 8 glasses or something like that. And they have smaller “juice” glasses, which I also bought.

    2. Marie-Helene Belanger

      I didn’t think the room could look more gorgeous but that beautiful white table top makes all the blues pop even more! Just beautiful!

    3. Chrissy

      I was thinking before I got to your last statement “wonder if her boys talk when gone about what might be different when they get home.”

    4. Marsha Kern

      I love it!

    5. Gay Van Beek

      Marian this looks amazing! Can you tell me about Tough Coat? What it’s made of and does it prevent water damage and chipping? I am looking for a product like this/. Always enjoy your blog posts.

    6. Angela

      That’s not fair Marian, now i want to paint my table. Just beautiful!

    7. Becky

      Marian! It looks great! The shop that I am a vendor at sells MMSMP and I’m going to pick me up some Top Coat today. I have a few pieces to paint/finish. Just finished an awesome primitive cabinet with Ironstone over the original green and now just need to top it off. I LOVE how your table turned out! Good choice! I have an antique post office table that I use as a dining table. Though I love the green legs and metallic top, I’d love to paint it white. Would MMSMP work on a large metal piece? Wish you could fly out to California and help me. *wink*

      Thank you for always inspiring us to make OUR homes gorgeous. You are such an inspiration to me – more than you even know.

    8. Traci

      This room was on the cover of one of my favorite magazines. It is my favorite dining room EVER! Who is the artist that painted the cow?

      • marian

        Cindy Austin. You can find a button to her site on my side bar.

    9. Joanne B.

      I read that you said this table top was made from an old barn door, but it surely looks like wood flooring to me! I have been thinking of doing something to update my glass op table (on a wrought iron base) and have been thinking of some sort of planked top. Now I am wondering if flooring would work too. My husband is too handy for his own good and I will show him your pics to see if he thinks flooring would work for me. I especially like that using flooring strips would not add any height to the table top since my chairs work well with the height the glass is now. Since you do this sort of thing a lot more than I do, I would so appreciate any tips on whether this could work for a table top? Thanks in advance!

      • marian

        Yes, I think you could use flooring.

        Mine was definitely a door. When we bought it, it had a Z brace on the back, so we took it all apart, cut the wood down to size and then built it as a table top.

      • Lisa

        Re the door/floor discussion above, I think that left-over flooring was often used to make doors. When our family bought an 85-year-old cottage last fall, we noticed that all the bedroom doors were made from the same tongue and groove planks as the flooring. I just love them!

    10. Saundria Ash

      Would like you tell me where you got your rug that’s under your table?

      • marian

        It’s form Joss & Main, but you can find it at many home stores like Pier One, World Market and I think Target and Ikea.

    11. Noelle

      Love it! I am planning a strawberry themed first birthday party for my daughter & love the table settings – where did you buy your strawberry baskets? Thanks!

      • marian

        I got them on sale from Anthropologie, but I have seen them at other homes stores.

    12. Lori Carroll

      Wow table looks great painted white….refreshes the room!!
      I have a question on Tough Coat. Can Tough Coat be used with other paint products such as chalk paint?

      Again love the look.

      • marian

        Yes, it’s a water based poly product, so you can use it over stained surfaces, painted, etc. Anywhere you would want to use a topcoat.

        • Lori Carroll

          Thank you Marian for the reply!!

    13. Cindy

      First of all… the house to yourself for two whole days… ahhhhhhhh,…

      …and wow,! …how that brightened the room! The white is totally refracting and bouncing light in the room and makes the tableware just sparkle. Good choice. I would have been scared too because the wood was nice, but this is way better.


    14. Candice Hope

      I also have a question about Tough Coat, can it be used over stain in place of a poly top coat? I am working on a farmouse table top of my own. =)

    15. HeidiCT

      Oh wow I’ve been thinking about doing this to our existing wood table– I have new chairs from restoration hardware and have been searching for the right table. In the meantime would love to do this. But I tried painting our wood bar stools (farmhouse white over existing enamel blue milk paint) and , it was a bit of a fail. Pieces flake off daily, so I’m not really enthused to take on a whole table. But looks fabulous!

    16. Bshane

      You should arrange to be left alone in the house more often. Excellent job painting, styling and photographing the barndoor/table. Brava.

    17. Nancy

      The table looks great. I know you had asked about pop up ads and just thought I would let you know I get them quite a bit on your psge. I have a tablet. I think I am falling in love with topcoat as well.

    18. Dee

      Love the far,house table…..that’s what we do! I really love be the bottle and glasses!

    19. teri

      gorgeous, and someone has given you a Jade plant, which brings good fortune when it is received as a gift ♥

    20. Lynn Merrell

      Love it!!!! I’ve been trying to decide whether to paint the top of mine and now I am!!!! And yes, you are a wild and crazy girl! Lol

    21. Patricia

      Funny thing- I was rereading your evolution of your dining room just yesterday since I am painting dining room chairs. Now, you’ll have to update it again!
      Good job and enjoyed your post.:0)

    22. Kathleen Waelti


    23. Kathryn

      Ok! That does it! I am painting my 100-year-old black walnut dining table! It will look amazing but I haven’t found the courage until now. Thanks, Marian!

    24. Monique

      Hi love the white and blue theme. I also love the China pattern on your plates. Does it have a name? Thank you for your inspiration.

    25. Cathie

      Great post, beautiful photos. Loved everything about it except the ads! Unfortunatley, the pop ups on your blog ar overwhelming and distracting and can’t be eliminated. The reader view doesn’t show your photos 🙁 hope you don’t mind the feedback.

      • marian

        Are you looking at my blog on a tablet or iPad? I’m trying to figure out what “pop-ups” readers are seeing, because I’m not supposed to have any pop-ups on my site and I don’t see any on my laptop or iPhone. I don’t usually read on an iPad, though… Let me know what you’re seeing, so we can hopefully get it fixed.

        • Bea

          I am reading on an iPad. I got a pop-up from Universal theme park in Orlando. Then another pop-up from Blue Plate mayo. Hope that helps. BTW, where did you get the chair pads? Love them!

          • Susan in Chareston

            Marian, I Have the same issues. Also reading on an iPad and the pop-up is between the photos and at the bottom of the page… Very distracting and your site crashes all the time. It will reload 4-5 times before I can get through the post. I’m sorry to say, Sometimes I give up in frustration! I hope this helps…

    26. TRACY

      Looks beautiful, love it! (As I scour my own furniture, looking for something to paint!)

    27. Kay

      I love how your table looks! I want to paint mine, but am wondering how to avoid brush strokes. what sort of paint brush did you use? Really looks so pretty!!

    28. Debbie Delosreyes

      It looks beautiful and I love how the distressing shows each plank. I painted mine with Ironstone last year and love it. My top was an orangy oak so I was glad to see it go.

    29. marylisa noyes

      It looks amazing! Excellent choice

    30. Karene

      LOVE it!!!

      • Karene

        Was also wondering how you clean it after a meal? Just a damp cloth and dry?

        • marian

          I dry dust my painted/finished surfaces and, if there is a spill or some crusted-on food, I’ll scrub it with a damp towel and mild cleaner and then wipe it dry.

    31. Ali

      Hi Marian, I’m in the process of painting two beautiful dressers that will ultimately become bathroom vanities. Could you tell me if Tough Coat works in a wet areas such as the top of my vanities? I’m planning to leave the wood tops unpainted. Thanks for sharing your beauty. Xx Ali

      • marian

        I wouldn’t suggest it for a vanity top where there would be standing water. I would suggest a finish that is made to use in wet environments, like a Spar finish, tung oil, waterlox, outdoor poly, etc.

    32. Melanie

      Beautiful – as always! It’s funny how just painting the table top changes the look of the whole room! I love it!

    33. Fotini Roman

      Absolutely beautiful! I love how it turned out!!

    34. Joi

      Marian…I’m currently painting my bathroom cabinets and was planning on using Minwax Poly to seal them. Is Tough Coat the same, or is it better/easier to use than regular poly?

      • marian

        I personally like it better than the Minwax Polycrylic. It’s a little thinner and self-leveling, so you don’t have brush strokes. I also like the matte finish.

    35. Diane Grant

      I have been a faithful reader of your blogs. I find that the increasing number of ads appearing on your page really hamper the flow of your musings and photographs. I am going to take a break for a while–will check back sometime in the future. Good luck

      • DiB

        Actually the commercials are annoying; I have unsubscribed from your website today..

    36. Michelle

      Love your dining room chair fabric, is it just a cover and if so where did you purchase them?? Thanks!!

      • marian

        It’s a slipcover I made out of antique hemp sheets and grain sacks.

    37. Keli Sine-Shields

      Just beautiful! Do you mind me asking where you picked up the cow picture? I’m in love with cow photos these days.

    38. Pamela

      I’m curious about the chair covers! Did you buy or make them?

    39. Birchi

      A dining table an essential part of furniture item of every home as people stay with food in home and it as a tool of comfort. Your article given an amazing idea to customers to select the best for themselves. so this is a great post for me and others to get the best item. The Dining table gives you a comfort when you are feeding your family so you have to select a best set for your family. in today’s market a carved wooden dining table here in India is in huge demand and people looks it a great asset for their family.

    40. Virginia Youngblood

      Marian, I just love your table! I’ve been redoing an old round pedestal table. The top pretty much fell apart when I took it off. My husband and I glued all the planks back together but it looks very rustic, so I decided to go with the look. How did you keep paint out of the cracks between the planks? Yours look so nice and clean!
      I know you put this project up a few years ago. Hopefully, you will see this comment!


    Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

    I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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