DIY dining room makeover

I did this dining room makeover with no budget. Just a lick of left over paint, a few old furniture pieces around the house and a dream.



Our house turns into a workshop for my husband’s business from time to time. This means that I have to fight my way through obstacles like bubble wrap, half-painted items and loads of newspaper to make it from our bedroom to the front door. It was time for a serious makeover and in the process create a casual dining room that could also double up as extra work space.

I recently got a vintage desk from my cousin. Therefore. I was able to salvage the trestle table I used as a desk before and with a little paint transform it to fit the look and feel I wanted for the surface area. I also got a very quirky chair from my dad that used to belong to my grandmother and was just sitting in his garage (pardon the pun). Something amazing happened while I was painting the legs – but more about this later!

Here’s where it all started … I had a treasure hunt around the house to see what elements I would like to make up a mood board and incorporate them into the make over.


The water colour was the first art my husband and I bought together on honeymoon from the very talented artist and friend Reynel Kruger in Doringbaai on the West Coast of South Africa. I collect color swatches as a hobby (a little bit weird – I know) and Washi taped these up on the wall as I wanted to work in a pale blue color palette.

Lastly I found this distressed frame that we also bought on honeymoon in the Karoo and wanted to create visual interest with little imperfections in the finishes of the furniture with a paint technique.

Backdoor before and after

The backdoor was a very prominent feature of the space and I wanted to add some character to it, so I simply gave it a coat of blackboard paint. This used to be a space my husband thought perfect for hanging up his saw …


Here’s how I did it step by step.


Step 1

First I cleaned the surface of the two panels I was going to paint and then with thin masking tape taped off the edges to help me paint a neat line.

Step 2

I used a sponge roller and applied one coat and waited for it to dry and then did another one so that the surface is covered completely without any unevenness.

Step 3

With a narrow brush I gave the edges a coat because the roller couldn’t get into the corners.

Step 4

To finish it off I hung my husband’s beloved dear horns back on the door and added a twine string with a piece of chalk that can easily hook off for us to write messages with.

Trestle table before and after

As mentioned, I used this trestle table as a desk before. It’s definitely seen better days. I have spilled coffee on it (just barely missing my laptop), and a friend’s darling little boys drew a few Picasso-like master pieces on the top.


Have a look at how I transformed it into a distressed striped table that looks much better than the original.


Step 1

Sand down the surface to get rid off all the muck like my coffee stain and the kids’ art works.

Step 2

Measure out your stripes with a set square and measure again to be sure you have straight lines.

Step 3

Use masking tape and tape the lines out to have straight painted edges.

Step 4

With a sponge roller (my new best friend), give it a loving coat of white paint or whatever color you desire.


Step 5

Wait for the paint to dry and then remove the masking tape. I messed a bit but due to my table needing to have a distressed look it didn’t matter. Beauty is in the imperfections!

Step 6

Now add the second stripe with your roller sponge. I used a duck egg blue since this (as you might know already) is my favorite color. I didn’t tape down the edge with masking tape this time round as I wanted the edges to bleed a bit to add to the look.

Step 7

Now for some elbow grease … Use a rough textured sanding paper (around 60 grit) and sand down the blue stripe to expose the wood lightly. You can add pressure to certain parts with interesting wood detail and go lighter on other ones to keep the color.

I love the final product and think it will be a timeless piece in the house.

To finish off the look I gave the trestle legs one coat of white paint. I was amazed at how many sides these little legs have and it took a while but was well worth the effort!

My Grandmother’s chair

As mentioned I got this chair from my dad and it use to belong to my grandmother. I simply loved the shape of it but wanted to give it an updated look to go with the other pieces in the space.


But before we continue … the most special thing happened when I turned the chair around to start working on the legs! I found the original price and my gran’s initials and surname in her own hardwriting on it! How funny that the golden oldies always use to mark their belongings. It was truly a very special moment! Thank you Ouma Elizabeth Johanna Smit!


… the days when chairs were still 0.60 cents! Hard to imagine.


Step 1

To create the dipped effect, measure out the height of the colour line you want. Roughly one third works well. Sand down the parts you want to paint to rid the chair of any left-over varnish.

Step 2

Tape it up in a straight line with masking tape.

Step 3

Paint the legs in two coats of paint.

Step 4

Stand back and look at the piece carefully and decide what areas would look good painted. I decided to paint the top back bar and seat sections and leave the beautiful crisscross back raw.

I had to use a small brush to paint around the crisscross where it goes into the seat. This can be tricky so I would suggest to rather tape this up also so you don’t mess like I did. Lesson learnt!

Garden bench make over

This dilapidated garden bench was the first furniture piece I ever bought. The sentimental value is huge but I’m afraid it’s taken a beating through the years.

So I saved it from the garden and gave it a little love to become our dining room bench.


Here’s how I transformed it by simply adding a missing piece and giving it a few coats of paint.


Step 1

I nailed in the cross bar section that came loose.

Step 2

One of the cross bars broke so I simple added a new piece of wood to keep the structure sturdy and finish the look.

Step 3

I painted the larger flat sections with my roller sponge as this is the most time efficient way to do it and it was getting late. ( I am probably the worlds most impatient DIY-er!)

Step 4

The nooks and crannies I filled in with a brush. Because the bench was red before I was worried that I might land up with a pink bench but luckily three layers of paint did the trick.


I had to take a picture of me with my first cup of coffee at the finished setting the next morning. Proud moment!


I hope my quick and easy make over will inspire you to look around the house for items that could work in a different setting that you originally planned it for.

This was a very rewarding weekend project for me and now the biggest challenge of course will be to keep it neat and tidy – husband and all!

Happy styling,

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