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  • Lydia Elder

Table & Bench Upcycle

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

The Layton has an amazing kitchen/diner layout, with space for not only a large table and potentially up to ten chairs in the dining area, but also a six-seater table in the kitchen itself. What to do with this space was a source of contention between me and my husband. I was desperate for a proper dining table (we are hosting Christmas this year for the first time ever!), however he wanted to use the space as a playroom/kids lounge. For the time being he has won the battle, mainly due to the fact that we can’t afford my dream dining set (the HALMSTAD table from Barker & Stonehouse and Fusion Wooden Chairs in Grey Velvet if anyone wants to get me a Christmas present 😉 ).

The dilemma we had was what to put in the kitchen that wouldn’t be so large that it left no room for dancing round the stove, but large enough that we could have family dinners together. We decided that a table-bench set would be best for squeezing lots of little bums on if we have friends over for toddler tea-time, however everything I liked was EX-PEN-SIVE! As this is a bit of a stop-gap solution, I didn’t want to spend too much on it, and that’s when I found the gorgeous Annika Dining Table and Bench Set, in Silk Grey and Natural Pine from Noa & Nani. It was the smallest set we had been able to find so we knew it would definitely fit (we had bought off-plan and so weren’t able to go in and measure exactly). While this table and bench set is stunning as is, I really wanted it to match our Dark Ask worktops, and so I decided that Project Wood Stain would commence. Here is a step-by-step account of my entirely amateur but somehow perfect side-cycle!


 It is a bit cheeky of me calling this an upcycle, as the piece of furniture was brand new. It felt really wrong to sand perfectly varnished, new wood, however you can’t just varnish or paint onto an already finished surface, it won’t take. I started off super confident with a few strips of sandpaper, my husband had given me some half-hearted instructions about starting off with the largest grains then moving on to smallest…or maybe it was the other way round…you can tell my impatient cockiness was in full force! Spoiler: I did not get far. After about two minutes of using all my strength I was absolutely exhausted and there was a tiny scrubbed patch of wood. I told my husband the sandpaper must be defective and borrowed a Bosch PSM Corded 100W Multi sander PSM100 from my father-in-law. This machine was perfect for sanding down the tops and sides of the table and benches. I mean, my husband helped a bit, but I was basically being lazy and would have been fully capable of doing it all myself using this machine.

Colour Choice

It took me a while to chose what varnish to use as in my head I wanted a Dark Ash to perfectly match our kitchen worktops. Some google and a trip to B&Q revealed that this doesn’t exist, so the closest I could find was the Ronseal Diamond Hard Walnut Satin Interior Varnish from B&Q (£10). I was concerned about it as the example looked more reddy-brown than the grey-brown I was after. The colour in the tin looked exactly what I wanted, almost grey-black, however it dries to the colour of the example slide and the picture on the tin.



I used a standard paintbrush and set to work! Painting was really fun, the varnish spreads quite a lot so a little goes a long way. I used one and a half 0.25L tins for this project. One thing to note when painting is that if you are doing sides/edges,  make sure the varnish is not too thick by the edges or it will drip over and you’ll have drip marks. I did a first coat, waited an hour, did a second coat, waited another hour, then did a third and final coat. The instructions on the tin say to then lightly sand and do a final coat to make it super smooth, however I didn’t do this (lazy).

I was so incredibly happy with the result of my varnishing, the colour perfectly matches our Stokke Steps highchair legs (that has sadly been discontinued in this colour!) and looks so much better than the lighter Pine. What do you all think? Let me know in the comments section and please share any of your own wood varnishing stories with me!


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