Painting a Pedestal

The pedestal table is one of the most versatile pieces of furniture you can own.  Its design allows you to gather several chairs around the circumference and not have to worry about legs of chairs (or people) hitting a table leg.  They’re most convenient for breakfast nooks and smaller dining spaces, or as game tables in a family room or craft tables in a creative space.


white breakfast nook pedestal table


white pedestal in family room

Simple wood pedestal tables can be found in many places from furniture stores to second hand on Craigslist or in thrift stores.  Painting an old wood table will freshen the look, and it’s a DIY project anyone can tackle.

how to paint a table

What you’ll need to paint your own wood kitchen table: orbital sander, medium grit sanding discs,
foam roller, high quality angled paintbrush, medium grade sanding wedge, respirator, bonding/stain
blocking primer, enamel based paint, cotton rags, clear paste wax.

1.  Sand off any debris with an orbital sander, use medium grit discs.  You don’t need to get rid of all the varnish because the primer (next step) will cling to the surface, varnish or not.  You simply want it to be smooth.



2.  Choose a bonding primer that also blocks wood stains.  Roll it onto the surface, applying two coats to the top for added durability.

primer roll


Allow the primer to fully dry for a full day. Use a medium grit sanding wedge to knock down
any unevenness from the roller on the primed surface.


sand top


3.  Paint your pedestal table surface with a high quality water based enamel paint, both Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams have water based enamel alkyd formulas that will give you a hard finish similar to oil based paints.

4.  Wait at least 3 days for the paint to cure, then protect it with a water based polyurethane or with a furniture wax.  Waxes will give you a soft hand rubbed finish and are a better option for white paint since wax as a protectant won’t amber over time.

5. Apply a small amount and rub in circles with a clean soft cotton cloth for a thin even coating and
allow it to dry for at least an hour. Buff (wipe repeatedly with clean cotton cloth in circles) to a shine,
then repeat this step two more times over the course of a day. Make sure to buff it completely so
your wax isn’t sticky, and you get a nice matte finish.

Here’s the tabletop up close before and after the makeover, from dirty and spotty to fresh and

table before and after

Of course you needn’t choose white – the same steps apply to a table in any color, so get creative!


blue painted pedestal bhg


If you follow these steps, you’ll achieve a durable finish on your pedestal table that will last for years to come!



4 Responses to “ Painting a Pedestal ”

  1. I think this table in two tone looks….amazing….I have an old oak table from my grandmother’s bar room/restaurant in my dining room…with several different chairs, which are all old and wonderful. I have been updating my little porch out front and after that is complete, well, I think a new color on the table and chairs! Love what you do…wish I had more time…and energy! Keep it coming!

  2. Thanks for these super helpful and detailed instructions. What’s the name of the white paint you used? I love it.

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