8 Ways to Refresh the Look of an Existing (Old/Boring/Not You) Dining Table

updated Jul 27, 2023
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You are not stuck with a dining table you don’t like, even if you can’t afford to buy a new one or have to stick with the one you have for some reason. There are things that can be done, of the DIY variety, that can spice up a dining table and add a little delight to your dining room. Peruse this list of makeover options and decide if one might fit your dining style!

1. Paint it a bold hue.

Covering an ugly dining room table with a fresh, modern hue is always a great solution if you can’t stand to look at it anymore. This beautiful teal table by @jills_upyouralley even sports a coordinating piece of art propped against the wall for dramatic effect.

2. Refinish the top.

You’d be surprised what a new finish on an old dining table can do. Yes, a bold, arresting color will definitely shock the senses and be a great makeover for an old table you don’t love anymore. But you don’t have to go so bold; even just a subtle sanding and re-staining in a new, more modern finish like the one shown here by @designed_by_lyn can drastically change the whole look of your dining table.

3. Distract with chairs

If you don’t want to do too much with the table (or can’t because it’s a family heirloom) consider instead making over the chairs. Everything from giving them a new paint job (to perhaps just dipped legs) to even covering them with DIY sewn fabric chair backs or cushions can take the attention of a less-than-desired dining table. You can even opt to distract with a mixed medley of different types of dining chairs, like the ones shown in this coastal-chic Australian home.

4. Forget chairs

Actually, you can totally forget about chairs entirely if you’re trying to make over your existing dining table. No, we’re not suggesting you stand around it to eat; we just mean why not find another type of seating? Replacing your chairs with say, stools or benches, like the one shown in this Brooklyn apartment will put your existing dining table in an entirely different context, making it feel fresh and like new.

5. Add a pretty tablecloth.

One of the easiest and less permanent ways to alter the look of an existing dining table is to simply add a table cloth that fits with the overall aesthetic of the room. You can opt for a natural material that will soothe and calm the whole room, like this pretty linen option from @touching_shop, or DIY a pattern that will shake the space up!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

6. Install an eye-catching light fixture

Just like a serious set of dining chairs can distract from a dining table you don’t love, so too can a bold and arresting light fixture. Check out this funky fixture, seen in a Boston home. If you don’t have the budget to buy one, consider DIYing something that will hang over your dining table and draw the eye upward.

Credit: Josh Olson

7. Set it.

That great dinnerware you store away and hardly ever let see the light of day? Use it to set a table to give the whole dining room a feel of fullness and be the star of the space (instead of a dining table you don’t love). Check out the chic but inviting look of the dining room table in this small Minnesota space.

8. Replace the base

If you don’t like your dining table, examine whether it’s the whole thing you don’t like, or just one part. Because depending on your DIY comfort level and your table’s construction, you may be able to swap out a new base — or heck, maybe even a new top! We love this painted base by @color.with.sadie. Here, she’s given the base of her table a swipe of black chalk paint for a rustic but dramatic vibe.