DIY: Old Mahogany Table into Effervescent Designer Table!

When we moved into the new apartment, I had so many ideas about exciting fabrics. and furniture pieces. But, budget is a huge aspect in our plans. Having worked as an interior designer on a a variety of budgets for many years, having to do it in Norway is just an even more exciting challenge!

Inspired by Bess Truman, wife of President Harry S. Truman, I decided on a round table! Bess had insisted on having a round game table at her home in Key West in order to promote equality among friends and family – no “head of the table” at home! I love that concept and want equality in my home too! (Thank you to our tour guide at The Harry S Truman Little White House tour for the fun fact!)

I found a round table that included an extension piece, and six chairs, on (the Norwegian CraigsList) for 1000nok ($120usd). Which is an incredible bargain here in Norway, where everything is usually 25-50% more expensive than in the US. Rasmus thought I was a little crazy purchasing this very old fashioned looking table with old plaid fabric on the chairs – but I knew what it could be with a little fixing up and refinishing! We picked it up from a the woman we brought it from, and with the help of our awesome friend Magnus, we were able to get the whole set into the car in one go! Within days Rasmus and I were working hard to sand the finish off of it, and after a few mistakes on the chairs while using a very powerful sander we had borrowed from the carpenters – we decide to just go for it, rough them up, and make them look hand chiseled!

We then sponged one layer of a white wash over the chairs and table legs. I then painted the table top “farmers blue” as well as just the back part of the chairs to give it a purposefully designed modern farmhouse look.

The chairs desperately needed a fabric update as well. Usually an interior designer will order more fabric yardage than their client’s piece needs, that way when the upholsterer or curtain maker does their work there is room for mistakes or adjustment (or to ensure the “repeat” lines up correctly) – and many times there is quite a bit of fabric left over! Many sites on Ebay will post these “remnant” fabrics for sale! I have ordered several for our house to use on our pieces. If you know exactly how much fabric you need for re-upholstering then this is a great way to get expensive designer fabrics at a lower cost. For the chairs, I actually preferred the quirky look of having the fabric repeat not lining up the same on all of the chairs especially because it has animals! The zebra fabric I had ordered matched the paint perfectly, and having this quirky fabric dancing around under this whimsical table was just perfect! We are so happy with how it came out!

The ad we found it on, and at our new apt!:

The initial stages:

Sanded down and beginning of paint:


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