I was going to think about THIS TABLE a bit more before I painted it, but I really could only imagine it one way, so I decided to go with that.  Also, I had a new friend and local blog reader, Kellie, coming over to hang out and help me paint while our boys played together.  It seemed like the perfect time for whitewashing this tabletop.

And, even better, she had never tried MMS Milk Paint before, so I was able to teach her all about it as we worked on my kitchen table.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

When I stripped and sanded the top, I learned that the top wasn’t solid wood, as I thought.  It’s a very thin veneer that is chipped, patched, and worn away in some places.  I don’t mind imperfections, but I felt like whitewashing this tabletop would camouflage these as well as any future scratches and dings that happen over time.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

I mixed MMS Milk Paint in Linen, so it was very thin – about three parts water to one part powdered paint for whitewashing the tabletop.

I then brushed it over the wood (which was stripped and sanded a couple of months ago), really working it into the grain and spreading it thin.  I brushed it out so much that the paint was almost dry to the touch right after application.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

Once it had a little time to dry, I sanded some of the washed paint layer back with 220 grit sandpaper, always working in the direction of the grain.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

…and vacuumed up all the dust to see how it looked.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

While I worked on the top, Kellie, painted the base in Linen, but a thicker mixture of it, so it was opaque.

Now that I’m thinking about it, that might have been a little nerve-wracking!  Painting my table with my brand of paint, which she’s never used before while I’m whitewashing the tabletop.  I assured her she couldn’t do anything that would mess it up!

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

And she didn’t.  She did a great job.  The milk paint chipped a bit too much in some places, so I sanded them back a little and reapplied milk paint in choice spots.  I wanted to retain some of the chipping, so I didn’t go as far as sealing it.

Once I had it where I liked it, I sealed the base with Tough Coat.  That’s the best finish for sealing chippy pieces.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

I also sealed the apron…

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

…and the top.  The tabletop received two coats for added durability.  The whitewashing, sanding, and fiishing brought out the wood, contrasting it with the wash that settled in the grain.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

But, the craziest thing happened when whitewashing this tabletop!  Half of it had this light-colored stripe where the runner originally was, but it was invisible until the finished was applied.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

Furniture refinishing is just like that sometimes.  The other half of the table is fine!  It’s just that half.  So, something obviously played a role that I wasn’t expecting when I started whitewashing this tabletop.  I will most likely strip it down yet again, and whitewash it again.

For now, it looks like a pretty darn good place to put a runner to me!

Aside from the crazy stripe, I love how the finish turned out.  It compliments the Birch Lane chairs perfectly.

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed  whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed

And yes, something will be done about those end chairs!

whitewashing a tabletop | milk paint tutorial | miss mustard seed


  1. Toni

    Paint the end chairs and they will match just fine! 🙂

  2. Brenda

    Love how you redid the table. Linen was a perfect choice and the sweet apron really shows in the lighter color.

    This project was another big step forward in getting that kitchen looking like it belongs to you. And so very nice.

  3. Kim

    Is it the side of the table that is closer to the window that has the runner mark? If so, it is from the light aging the wood. Even though it has only been a short time, it is still possible to have that happen.

  4. Judy

    Marian, it looks wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing the process. I am really enjoying all that you are doing!

  5. Teresa

    Lovely! Whitewashing really re-freshened this table and gave it a more modern farmhouse feel. Its hard finding solid furniture unless its got some age to it. I recently bought some 60’s mid-century Lane end tables made of solid walnut that look as beautiful as the day they were made. You wont find that quality anymore and everything is either pressed or veneer wood.

  6. Kathy in Snohomish

    ADORable as ever, Marian! LOVE the new combo, and thanks for sharing the “oops” with us, too. So nice to know that not all goes perfectly the first time for you, as well. Keeping it real for those of us still contemplating that first MMSMP project. (The paint is here, just working up the nerve! 🙂 And so nice that you could work with a friend, especially while the boys were occupied. I so enjoy hearing your little slices-of-life. They always take me back to when my kids were growing up.

  7. Dona

    I love the white washed top with the painted bottom. The runner is a great save😄

  8. Joan

    Dear Marian! Hi !
    I LOVE LOVE how it turned out, and shows the detail, it’s SO PRETTY!
    You always know what to do <3

  9. Tanya Orr

    I love this! I am so totally using this technique on my big round kitchen table. Whitewashing the top and painting the base. Thanks for sharing the steps and details of the technique, as always 🙂

  10. Marlee

    What if rather than stripping it again you simply plank the top? I love the sweet little detail on the sides of the apron.

  11. p

    Hi Marian

    Did you use a chemical stripper on the table before sanding or just varying gauges of sandpaper?

    I love it!

  12. Addie

    Love it painted. The runner is a perfect cover-up. I am thinking a runner was used before and it sat in the sun maybe or there could have been some type of “oil” in a former runner????
    Question for you: I have a dresser that has been stained and finished in tung oil. It needs a refresh, as it has been in storage for over a year. Covered in blankets and not temp controlled. Should I use Hemp oil or tough coat? It is a dresser so it doesn’t take a beating like a a table would. Thank you.

  13. mary

    The apron looks like lace to me. Have you thought of mimicking the apron on the edges of the runner in
    white paint?

  14. Betty Gandy

    Love it! Once you get those blue and white fabrics in the room it will look awesome.

  15. Cheryl

    Love what you’ve done with your new abode.

    One question…did the table come with the gingerbread on the sides or did you put that on? Either way it really gives it an added umph.

  16. Carla from Kansas

    Oh those french chairs covered in blue and white would look pretty as the chairs at the head and foot.

  17. JC at the uncommon pearl

    I love the white wash. I was thinking of stripping my kitchen table eventually and possibly white washing. Love this look. What about painting a grainsack runner over the “runner” area? Then you’d have the option of a fabric runner or a painted one.

  18. Norma Rolader

    Oh my love the table as always it looks great

  19. Ashlea

    My kitchen chairs are very similar in color to your end chairs. They were 6 for $100, and are press backs. I have debated what to do with them, so am eager to see what you choose to do to yours as the finish looks very similar. There are so many spindles though, and the detail in the press backs… so that is the reason why I hem and haw. I want to love them. The table turned out beautifully- I love that little scalloped apron detail. So sweet.

  20. Lynne

    Where did you get your rug under the table?

  21. Laura

    That looks REALLY good! I love how the table blends with the birch chairs.
    I can look at a piece of furniture and know it needs…something but I just don’t have the vision to see what could be done nor the attitude for experimentation. When I do it, I want it to be right and DONE.

  22. Lelanie

    When you said in a previous post that you want to paint it white, I thought it would be too much. Now that you have done it, it looks amazing and not too much at all. Looks great!

  23. chris

    The problem with your end chairs is the style. They are Early American & that just doesn’t fit your decor.

  24. Anna

    Hmmm…very interesting about how the whitewashing turned out. But kinda cool in its own way.

    As to the chairs at the end….thinking about painting them blue since you’ll be using varying patterns of blue fabric? It might be a nice touch 🙂

  25. Beth

    I would be careful if you’re going to use a chemical stripper. I did that to a particle board tabletop last year, and the whole top started to bubble up and de-laminate! Needless to say, the tabletop was ruined, and ended up in the fire pit.

  26. Elizabeth

    Stunning results. You and your new friend are a good team. You are so philosophical about the unexpected stripe down the middle! I would be so upset if that happened to me. I admire Your equanimity. Thanks for all the pics. Keep us posted on the re-do, please.

  27. Cheryl

    I love it Marian!! If it were me, instead of refinishing that stripe down the middle, I would paint it the color of the apron and legs of the table (a big fat stripe down the table). That is just me and my laziness coming through, lol.

  28. At Rivercrest Cottage

    Love the linen paint on the bottom. Hoping to try some of that color soon. Thanks for the honest info on what worked and didn’t work.

  29. Jamie Pate

    Came in after working all day in my herb nursery and saw this. It really made my day to read this article and see the pictures. Wow, I love your blog and get very excited about every new adventure you share with us. Thanks for an enjoyable restful moment.

  30. Carol

    Beautifully done! I have used your pain line many times to white wash table tops! Looks fabulous every time! So thankful for MMS Milk Paint Line and your matt finish tough coat!

  31. Vicki

    Hi Marian. Love the whitewash. Too bad about that center stripe. I had a similar surprise when I whitewashed a dresser a few weeks ago.
    But before you paint those end chairs, I’d suggest reading post from today titled ‘The Best Paint for Chairs & Benches. It won’t give you that chippy look, but they will be durable!

  32. Renea

    Sun aged the table perhaps. I once covered a new hardwood cherry floor with cardboard so it didn’t get scratched while men were
    working. It was mottled when the cardboard was taken up. It evened out once exposed to the sun. You may try uncovering it or placing in the sun for a week or so.

  33. Barbara Zuleski

    Fantastic, I love the finished project. Also so good to see you have paired it up with nicer smaller chairs. We just knew the big ones that came with the table were just too clunky… as you said you can pull them out for large groups to sit on in the living room durning church meetings and family events…

    Your new home is so coming together, it is warm, cozy and inviting. Thank you for all your postings, how twos and design advice.

  34. Donna Soule

    Love your style & the table. Quick question – you say she is a local blog reader… what is that? Thank you!

    • Marian Parsons

      She’s someone who reads my blog and lives local to me. 🙂

  35. April

    Oh my goodness! I just bought that exact table & chairs off craigslist! I plan on painting the base of the table and keep the top wood. I didn’t realize it was a thin veneer either, but I got lucky & the top is in good shape. I am thinking of painting the chairs…..I’m going to see how it all looks in my dining room first because we have an open concept layout.
    As usual, I love everything you are doing to your home & it’s inspiring me to do some moving around & exchanging things in my home.

  36. Cindy Redman

    Oh wow! It looks amaziing! The table apron is wonderful, and painted it just pops.


  37. Cait

    I love this table! The style of it is so beautiful.
    I was talking about the table stripe with a few of my painting colleagues – it’s possible that if there was any detergent used washing the table runner that it combined with the sun likely bleached the table along that spot. More-so closer to the window because the heat and sun would be stronger there. Painting a wide grain sack stripe down the centre of the table could be a charming fix! Or strip it down again and refinish it again. Either way it’s a beautiful table!

  38. Lisa

    I have thought way too hard about your chairs…….have you thought about maybe painting them white and making slipcovers for the tops to cover up the spindles? With a monogram in blue on the backs? Thanks for sharing your ideas with all of us

  39. searchaadhar

    Nice article and we got lot of new techniques as well as knowledge about this so thanks for this

  40. abcya

    Yes, the article I was looking for. Your article gives me another approach on the subject. I hope to read more articles from you.

  41. Kathy

    I have a theory about that strip and the sealer. I bet the runner has a natural oil in it. Just a smidgen. And for the time you’ve been using the table top stripped and ready for finish and using the runner – it ever so slightly got natural fiber oil on it – and it repels the sealer.

    That’s my theory!

  42. bloxorz

    I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any helpful hints for newbie blog writers? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  43. Alka

    Glad to see your post, and hope things improve so we get some more posts to read!

  44. driversin

    This is really great work. Thank you for sharing such a good and useful information here in the blog for all

  45. candy crush soda

    These are great experiences. You made me write a lot better thanks


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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…


Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for winter


Articles by Date


our sponsors

Bliss and Tell Branding Company