Painted Kitchen Table Design Ideas

Got an old kitchen table that's just not doing it for you anymore? Don't trash it – paint it. We've got tons of ideas for styles and colors, and a few how-to tips to lead you to the painted kitchen table of your dreams.


Kitchen tables come in a variety of styles, from pedestal to farmhouse. But when you inherit your aunt's Queen Anne drop leaf, complete with glass rings—or maybe you find a Gustavian dining table complete with bad faux finish at a garage sale—try a few painted kitchen table design ideas.

A Kitchen Designed With Real Life in Mind

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This Kitchen Does More Than Cook

Like plenty of families with full throttle lives, Sarah and Steve Hyser needed the kitchen in their 1980 Federal-style home in Atlanta to handle more than just meals—a lot more. With two busy daughters—Molly, 12, and Meg, 8, who are constantly racing off to gymnastics, soccer, or ukulele lessons—and Sarah’s position as PTA president, the room needed to be a multitasking dynamo.

Photo By: Jeff Herr

Reimagining the Space

A to-the-studs gut renovation in 2012 overseen by local design firm TerraCotta Properties delivered exactly that, transforming the once cramped area into a hardworking combination of cook space, mudroom, laundry center, reading nook, dining spot, and office. Now twice its former size (knocking down the wall to the adjoining dining room enlarged it to 260 square feet), the space is clean-lined and storage-smart—and sees action nearly round the clock. “If we’re at home and not sleeping, we’re in the kitchen,” says Sarah. “It’s been a total life changer. I still walk in every day and love it.”

Photo By: Jeff Herr


The built-in three-drawer desk is topped with an IKEA butcher block—it was treated with tung oil to bring out the grain and make the wood water-repellent—and is Sarah’s go-to spot for doing paperwork. With no curtains or blinds on the windows, “there’s great natural light,” she says. The linen-covered corkboard keeps VIP papers front and center.

Photo By: Jeff Herr

Cook and Prep Area

Everything from after-school snacks to feed-a-crowd buffets is dished up at the 7-foot-by-3 1/2-foot island, which houses a sink, a dishwasher, and trash and recycling bins. The dark gray paint color on the island’s base (Deep River by Benjamin Moore) echoes the darker speckles in the 1 1/2-inch-thick granite countertop. Sarah found the linen-covered backless barstools with nailhead trim at Pottery Barn.

Photo By: Jeff Herr

Reading Nook

Two compact wingback chairs, lucky antiques shop finds, are the perfect size for the bay window’s nook. Sarah had the pair reupholstered in a graphic dotted fabric (Strands by Waverly), teamed them with a Ballard Designs table, and created her favorite spot in the house. “This is my happy place,” she says. “I have coffee and use my iPad here.”

Photo By: Jeff Herr

Laundry Area

In the old kitchen, a side-by-side washer and dryer were shoehorned into an afterthought of a closet. With the new, more accessible layout, a stacked unit is incorporated into an entire wall of cabinets and concealed behind perforated metal doors.

Photo By: Jeff Herr

Laundry Area

Sorting happens on the long, low bench. “I just line up the clothes on it,” Sarah says. An adjacent cabinet, with adjustable shelves for cleaning supplies, has a rod for hanging clothes and an outlet for plugging in an iron.

Photo By: Jeff Herr


Even on super-rushed mornings, the family’s routine is less stressful thanks to efficient storage by the back door. Inside the locker-inspired cabinets, which are fronted with air-circulating metal mesh to thwart odors, are hooks for the girls’ coats and backpacks, and catchall bins for sports equipment. Shoes can be grabbed fast from the deep drawers, which also stow toys and leashes for Australian shepherd Huck, who has his own customized drawer with drop-in kibble and water bowls. The wool rug is from IKEA.

Photo By: Jeff Herr

That's right—just paint it! Painting a kitchen table is the perfect way to update it, not just because it's super-affordable, but because you can personalize it to fit your style.

Choosing color in your home can be tricky, and it can take a while to find the right scheme for your table. Pinterest comes in handy for this. Just make a board and pin pictures of tables you see. Or go old-school and create a notebook. We also love browsing paint chips at the local hardware store for fresh, exciting color combos.

Kitchen tables can, by nature, be more casual than dining room tables. So experiment by painting the top one color and the base another—or stain the top and paint the base. One favorite is a dark-stained top (think cherry or light mahogany) and a white base; it's a great look, particularly on pedestal tables.

Also consider painting the table and chairs different colors. We love aqua tables paired with apple green, white or multicolored chairs. If you have fabric in the kitchen—say café curtains on the windows—take a tip from the pros and choose your colors from there. It pulls the room together without leaving you feeling too "matched."

If you love experimenting with paint, tape off a simple pattern. For example, try midcentury modern diamonds or crisp nautical stripes, and alternate between two and four colors. Or freehand the look of mosaic tiles or a Talavera pattern on the table top.

Once you pick your colors, it's time to paint the table. Sand it with a medium grit sandpaper (a small power sander makes quick work of this). Don't worry about removing all the paint because the next step, applying primer, will create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to.

Apply two coats of primer. When it's dry, sand it with a medium-grit block (don't use your power sander here; it's likely to sand right through the primer). Sand and wipe until you don't feel any bumps when you run your hand across the surface.

Then apply two coats of base paint. When that's dry, apply your pattern, if you're doing one. You can seal it with a non-yellowing polyurethane.
Another option is chalk paint, which gives the wood a matte, weathered finished. Our editors can't get enough of this stuff!

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