Updating (and childproofing) our secondhand dining table with faux marble contact paper

It’s been in every dining room photo since my One Room Challenge but I never got around to properly introducing it; our updated dining room table! I updated it in May with some faux marble contact paper and I’m only getting around to writing about it now. Story of my life these days, but it was the best update I could have made to that table.

One of the many things the previous tenants left for us was their dining room table. They knew we had next to nothing since emigrating from Dublin and since they’d be buying a dining table for their new house, they decided to really kindly leave their old one.

I was irrationally excited about it as it’s a really solid table [we bought a table last October, but it ended up being very weak and flimsy]. Our dining room is also a really big room so it needs a big table to anchor it and make it feel less like you’re floating around in the middle of the ocean. While I loved the shape and size of the table, I knew I’d want to eventually update it. But exactly how was my next daunting question.

The table is for the most part solid wood, but in a deceptive way. In a few spots [as you can see on the left in the photo above] it’s some sort of MDF just beneath a thin surface of real wood. There was also no finish so the raw, untreated wood had a lot of stains it wasn’t willing to part with; nail polish, coffee and food in general. None of which could be cleaned off.

I first thought about staining the table with a wood stain, but to be honest, I didn’t like the wood pattern on the top and the already dark knots would have ended up looking even darker. My next immediate thought was to cover it in contact paper, but I was hesitant. I mean, that’s a lot of table to cover. And the edges were so fiddly.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I finally made a decision; I was trying to once again clean a smushed blueberry from a few days previous [yay, untreated wood that absorbs everything] when a massive splinter of wood from the edge broke off into the palm of my hand. And I mean it was huge [#ThatsWhatSheSaid]; it was about 5 inches long, razor sharp and decided it would much rather hang out in my hand. What if it had broken off when Cora was around? What if it happened when I wasn’t there to see it? The mind goes to fantastic places once you become a parent, so that afternoon during Cora’s nap I took out the rolls of contact paper and got to work.

It was time consuming but easy to cover the table. I took the leaves apart and applied the contact paper one section at a time. I used the same technique I used a few years ago to cover our then coffee table – you can see the full step-by-step tutorial here! [p.s. I was about 2 weeks pregnant with Cora in those photos, but didn’t know it 💕]. I also lightly sanded the legs and applied two coats of white paint [I used some leftover Behr’s eggshell paint for baseboards and doors as it was wipe-able and held up really well throughout the dining room].

I will be the first to admit it is not a perfect update. When you stand at the end of the table you can see the wood pattern in the reflection, but only if you’re really concentrating. The end leaves of the table are much wider than the width of the contact paper so there’s a random 2-inch strip of contact paper at either end. But for us right now, this table is perfect. It fits the three of us for dinner plus the hot mess of garbage that gets dumped on it. It’s very sturdy. But above all else, it is a dream to clean. No matter what you spill or drop on it, it wipes off immediately. And when you have a toddler that is an angel one minute and the 11th member of Suicide Squad the next, that’s a deal breaker. Function > form.

For anyone curious, I ordered my contact paper directly from the manufacturer. They said it’s available in Lowe’s here in Canada [but I couldn’t find it on their shop online], and back in Dublin I bought this exact same contact paper in B&Q.

Painting a leather chair with Fusion Mineral Paint

This is quickly becoming my new favourite update in our apartment and I will admit, it is taking a lot of restraint for me to not paint all of the things now.

After seeing our dining room hutch update, Fusion Mineral Paint got in contact with me and offered to let them know if I had any upcoming projects in mind and they would send me some paint. I was delighted by their offer, and I of course had some projects in mind! [I never don’t have five projects in mind]. I had thrifted an incredible tufted leather armchair a few months previously so when I finally decided on updating it, Fusion Mineral Paint kindly sent me some of their Coal Black paint [and a few other colours – projects coming soon!].

Yes, that’s right. Paint. I painted a leather chair.

I was at our local Salvation Army in May when I saw among the sea of secondhand furniture, the top of a worn tufted green leather chair. I went straight for it, sat in it, sent a picture to Robert for approval [sometimes when I’m nervous about a piece I need another pair of eyes. Luckily, he replied in capital letters to buy it], and headed straight to the cashier to buy it.

As I told the cashier I’d like to buy the green leather chair at the back, I heard “I was so close to buying that very chair yesterday!”, by an older gentleman behind me in the queue. We chatted about our favourite secondhand finds and as I was asking the cashier about the Salvation Army’s furniture delivery service, the man offered to drop it home with me now. The cynical Dubliner in me seized because who makes offers like that other than people who drug you and then you wake up in a bath full of ice? But my new inner Ottawan knew it wasn’t weird and he was making a genuinely nice offer. Plus, he was going to be driving in our direction, so I didn’t feel too bad.

10 minutes later we were lifting my new chair out of the back of his Jeep and onto the front lawn. It turns out, one of his daughters lived not too far from us a few years ago so he was able to tell me a few things about the area. I could dedicate four blog posts to the incredibly kind encounters we’ve had since moving here. Canadians are making my cold dead heart start to grow in the Grinchiest way possible.

I painted a test patch of paint on the back of the chair and left it for a few days. I came back to it and it was perfect; it was smooth and in no way tacky as Fusion Mineral Paint’s Classic Collection has a soft and almost chalky finish. During Cora’s next nap, I got to work. I took the seat cushion off the chair, cleaned it all over and painted Coal Black over the entire chair. I started with the tufted creases then moved onto the less difficult areas. I waited about 6 hours between coats and painted thin layers each time, two coats in total. I then left the chair cure for a full [agonizing] day before putting the seat cushion back and testing the chair out.

You definitely don’t notice you’re sitting in a painted chair and the finish is so smooth, you can hardly see the brush strokes.

I’ll come back and write an updated post in 6 months time to give an honest review of how our painted chair has held up. So far, even though it’s just been a week, it’s been perfect. Nothing has peeled and we haven’t been delicate with it [especially considering I love sitting with one leg over the arm at any given time. I’m classy like that].

But for now I would say if you’re considering updating a piece of leather furniture in your home, Fusion Mineral Paint is the absolute perfect option. As strange as it sounds to paint a leather chair, the results are worth it.

DISCLOSURE – while this post is not sponsored, I did receive this paint free of charge from Fusion Mineral Paint in exchange for a blog post. I only work with brands that I like and of course, think you will too. Thank you for supporting the companies that support The Interior DIYer.

Shop this look!

IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp
IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp
$59.99
Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Coal Black’
Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Coal Black’
CIL Classic Burgundy
CIL Classic Burgundy
IKEA Begavning Glass Dome
IKEA Begavning Glass Dome
$14.99
Anthropologie Mimira Candle
Anthropologie Mimira Candle
$24
April & The Bear Letter Board
April & The Bear Letter Board
€60
IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp
IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp
$59.99
Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Coal Black’
Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Coal Black’
CIL Classic Burgundy
CIL Classic Burgundy
IKEA Begavning Glass Dome
IKEA Begavning Glass Dome
$14.99
Anthropologie Mimira Candle
Anthropologie Mimira Candle
$24
April & The Bear Letter Board
April & The Bear Letter Board
€60
IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp
IKEA Ranarp Floor Lamp
$59.99
Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Coal Black’
Fusion Mineral Paint ‘Coal Black’
CIL Classic Burgundy
CIL Classic Burgundy
IKEA Begavning Glass Dome
IKEA Begavning Glass Dome
$14.99
Anthropologie Mimira Candle
Anthropologie Mimira Candle
$24
April & The Bear Letter Board
April & The Bear Letter Board
€60

One Room Challenge Spring 2018 – Week Six!

This is it. I’m full of a strange mix of relief and excitement. The final week of the One Room Challenge is here and I am SO EXCITED to finally share our dining room! It’s finished and ready and I honestly love it.

For anyone who found me here today thanks to the One Room Challenge, hi! I’m Alex. My husband and I, our daughter and our two cats emigrated to Ottawa [Canada] from Dublin [Ireland] six months ago. Six months ago we had nothing. I mean sleeping on the floor and all sharing the same bottle of water kind of nothing. I’ve been slowly making our rented apartment a home, so when the Spring 2018 One Room Challenge came around it was the perfect excuse opportunity for me to make our dining room, the room we spend the most time in, a bit more homely.

I’ll be including a full source list at the end of this post in case there’s anything you see and would like to know where it’s from! I’ll either link to where I bought it or to where I blogged about it. And if you’d like to know more, feel free to ask!


I was eager to try and source as many things as I could for our dining room secondhand. Because when you’re starting from nothing, everything is hella expensive. I turned to secondhand websites like Kijiji and real life thrift stores like Value Village and The Salvation Army to fill our dining room.

I updated furniture and fittings with paint, contact paper and lazy patches of Sharpie markers when no one was looking.

Our dining room gets a lot of light during the day and as I spend most days working with a toddler close by, we spend most of our day in the dining room [as the kitchen and Cora’s bedroom are both next to it]. I wanted this space to be somewhere bright and inviting. I do love dark design and I’ll always love dark spaces, but I don’t think going dark would have worked in such a bright space. I did add some darkness with my most favourite burgundy paint, but I added it in a dark part of the room.

It took me a long time to choose the right colour for the dining room walls. It was something that needed to work with burgundy [that was non-negotiable], but it also needed to work with and compliment the kitchen cabinetry which can be seen from the dining room as well as the hardwood floors throughout. It was a tough task, but I found the perfect nearly-greige paint ‘Kitten White’ by CIL Paints. I can’t stress how perfect it is IRL.

This little vignette has turned out to be my favourite spot in our dining room. And it was one of the last places I focused on. It was one of those uggggh what will I do with this corner? corners, but with some artistic help from Cora one afternoon, I put this little group together and I love it so much.

I can’t write this post without mentioning our Victorian style mirror. We managed to successfully hang it this weekend thanks to two 200lbs hooks [overkill by about 350lbs, but they help me sleep soundly at night so long story short, do whatever makes you sleep better]. I tightened the wires at the back a few times before getting our mirror at just the right height. At 4 feet tall and 5 feet wide, there wasn’t much wiggle room with where we could hang it, so I’m thanking the construction gods that there were two studs along the main wall perfectly centered for our mirror. Anyone who sees it in real life is blown away by how big it is. I don’t know how, but it comes across as smallish in photos. This thing is huge. Like, the size of a human person. I’m just so happy we have it looming over our every meal now.

I’m not going to lie, my first One Room Challenge was tough. It didn’t help that I picked the biggest room in our apartment and that I chose to partake even though our belongings didn’t arrive from Ireland until Y E S T E R D A Y, so yeah, it was stressful. But, it worked out. Yes, I had to compromise with a lot of things [not being able to put a swag on the chandelier and center it over the table, not having enough time (or energy) to paint the rest of the hallway and you can see that in some pictures, etc], but it worked out. And the moment it was finished I was so happy with it. It felt comfortable and it felt like us. It was tough but what project isn’t? I’m a very firm believer in creating a space you love to live in for the sake of your mental health. And I for one am tore up from the floor up about our dining room.

Thank you to Linda for letting me partake in the One Room Challenge as a guest participant. The support, encouragement and community that I’ve seen and experienced from the ORC is so encouraging. Especially knowing I wasn’t the only one crying into my glass of wine at the end of Week Four when the panic really started to set in. It’s been an amazing experience and I can’t wait for the One Room Challenges to come.

You can see the full list of the One Room Challenge Spring 2018 guest participant room reveals here!

Entire source list for our dining room as it currently is …

Wall colours – ‘Classic Burgundy’ and ‘Kitten White’ by CIL
Victorian mirror – secondhand via Kijiji
Dining hutch – secondhand via Kijiji, updated with Fusion Mineral Paint in ‘Coal Black’
Malm 6-drawer dresser – via IKEA
Tobias dining chairs – originally from IKEA, but bought secondhand via Kijiji
Gold circular side table – secondhand via Kijiji
Bird portrait trays – via iBride
Dining table – secondhand, updated with marble contact paper [tutorial coming soon] French provincial style armchair – secondhand via Kijiji
All floral artwork – secondhand via Value Village
Candle sconces – both secondhand via Value Village
Burgundy curtains – discontinued IKEA
Skogsklover roller blinds – via IKEA
Black high chair – secondhand via Kijiji
90’s chandelier – secondhand via Kijiji
Black and white abstract artwork – painted by Cora!
Baby Schylling piano – from Target, but bought secondhand via Kijiji
Cloches – given to me by my excellent blogger friend Pat
Wall clocks, x2 – via EQ3
Glasses in dining hutch – either thrifted or discontinued IKEA
Gold lucky wishbone objet – via Chapters !ndigo
Tassles – via Home Focus
White posey vase – via EQ3
Brass candle holder – via Article

Shop this look!

CIL Kitten White
CIL Kitten White
Lowe’s Marble Contact Paper
Lowe’s Marble Contact Paper
CIL Classic Burgundy
CIL Classic Burgundy
EQ3 Posey Vase
EQ3 Posey Vase
$12.99
IKEA Tobias Chair
IKEA Tobias Chair
$99
iBride Isild Tray
iBride Isild Tray
€52
Indigo Lucky Charms Wishbone
Indigo Lucky Charms Wishbone
$12
EQ3 Watch Wall Clock
EQ3 Watch Wall Clock
$29.99
iBride Rosita Tray
iBride Rosita Tray
€52
IKEA Malm Black Dresser
IKEA Malm Black Dresser
$199
CIL Kitten White
CIL Kitten White
Lowe’s Marble Contact Paper
Lowe’s Marble Contact Paper
CIL Classic Burgundy
CIL Classic Burgundy
EQ3 Posey Vase
EQ3 Posey Vase
$12.99
IKEA Tobias Chair
IKEA Tobias Chair
$99
iBride Isild Tray
iBride Isild Tray
€52
Indigo Lucky Charms Wishbone
Indigo Lucky Charms Wishbone
$12
EQ3 Watch Wall Clock
EQ3 Watch Wall Clock
$29.99
iBride Rosita Tray
iBride Rosita Tray
€52
IKEA Malm Black Dresser
IKEA Malm Black Dresser
$199

Week OneWeek TwoWeek ThreeWeek FourWeek FiveWeek Six!