before and after

before & after: kate’s chalkboard table

by Grace Bonney

today’s final before & after (stay tuned for “we like it wild” next!) comes from kate leary of mi piace kate design. kate and her partner recently moved to san francisco and have been trying to blend together their two very different design aesthetics. they found this wood table on craigslist for $75 and decided they could upgrade it to fit both of their personal styles.

after sanding and priming the table, they added two coats of custom chalkboard paint and waited 3 days for the paint to cure. after the curing process was done, they were left with a fun, interactive dining table that they “can’t stop using and playing with!” the total cost? just over $100. great work you two!

[have a before & after you’d like to share on d*s? just shoot me an email right here with your images!]


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  • I love how regular boring table became so much fun and yet so classy! Marvelous!

  • I love the look of it but I couldn’t have it myself – the thought of crockery scraping on blackboard sets my teeth on edge!!

  • I agree. Super cute in a photo, but the thought of it getting greasy would make me nervous to use it.

    • it’s probably not ideal, but you can clean the grease spot and paint over it if necessary. i did the same thing on my diy chalkboard when i got sticky cupcake fingers on it ;)


  • i’m with jes, i couldn’t even touch this, unless they’ve come up with semi-gloss chalkboard paint

  • Hmm, it looks really cute in the photos, but it seems like your hands, arms, and possibly the food would get all dusty and gross!

  • I LOVE the table — but even more, I love the two different styles of white chairs under the table!! Looks great.

  • i had a similar idea for a coffee table, but i havent been able to follow through yet.

    also, i really like this table, but the thought of the accidental scrapings of utensils and fingernails makes me cringe. a lot.

  • imagining the noise plates and ceramics would make if they scraped across the table are giving me serious goosebumps! The table looks really cool though.

  • Oh! I have some chalkboard paint, this looks SO fun! Now what surface do I want to write on all the time…….?

  • How much fun would this be for a games night? Keep score on the table? Draw the board (checkers anyone?) ON the table.. endless options..

  • A lot of chalkboard paints have lead in them. so this idea could become pretty dangerous especially with small children.

  • also chalkboard paint doesn’t create that scraping sound that an actual chalkboard does if you are painting on wood or sheetrock.

  • I’ve got an awesome chalkboard table painted in dull chalkboard paint and then accented with polka dots in colors around the edge in high gloss—same on the two long seats that go with it…..(it’s a kid’s art table)——when it gets dusty, gross, greasy pizza fingers on it (we also stir up cupcakes, roll out play dough, etc)…..I just swipe it down with a baby wipe. No lie. It’s back to perfectly new after that and looks fantastic. Cleaning is no problem! Baby wipes are magic…….take off your makeup, kiddos filthy chalkboard table, dust off your dashboard, etc.——-don’t be afraid…just get the chalkboard paint along with baby wipes! Voila.

  • Such a good idea! I’ve been thinking about doing chalkboard paint on a wall, but I think this might be even better!

  • To this day, just looking at a chalkboard makes my spine tingle and tense up with that fingernails on chalkboard feel. This is creative and cute but I cannot imagine enjoying a relaxing evening dinner on this.

    And what do you do about the dust? Doesn’t sound like something I would want sprinkled in my tomato soup.

  • I love it. We have an old table that we do not even use. We end up eating in front of the tv.
    This would be a great way to bring us all back together at the dinner table again.

    Plus, I plan on eating on a clean table first, then we can play after wards… we love tictactoe. After play, wipe clean and it is ready for the next meal!

  • To be honest, chalk dust hasn’t been a problem because the paint has a lot of texture in it, and it holds the chalk really well. We wipe the table down with a damp sponge to remove the chalk when we’re done. We’re not eating in a cloud of chalk dust!

  • The grease staining potential bothers me, so I was thinking about doing the same thing but with a white board. They sell whiteboard sheets at home improvement stores, no?

  • Real chalkboards are slate or porcelain-covered metal. The table is painted wood, so scraping it wouldn’t make the same sound at all.

  • love it, however, probably not going to spend all that effort to make one for my kids… will buy Lolly Chalkmats instead that is already PVC free. I don’t know if chalkboard paint is pvc, bpa free?

  • We make and sell chalkboards, locally and I am going to let you in on a great big money saving secret. SHH! here it is…If you don’t mind a little bit of shine to begin with you can use black outdoor semigloss paint custom mix from wal-mart at $15.95 a gallon…Use outdoor semi-gloss have them mix Y8 or 64 part black only tint and mix…It is the EXACT same formula as chalkboard paint and you save a whole lot of money…After painting and it dries throughly…Rub white chalk all over the paint and then wipe off..This primes the finish and dulls it so it is not shiny……….We sell over 50 chalkboards a week and have never had one complaint about them…..People love them….And we can actually make money selling them wholesale with this savings……

  • I love this, but the best part about it is the story behind the process of acquiring the sander and the other materials to turn this table into the gorgeous centerpiece that it is. Great job Kate!

  • So, I was introduced to chalkboard paint about 5 years ago by my cousin. She painted the inside an old thrift store frame and we use it as a notice board in the family home. We all have to sign and date our name for when we are there. It’s cheesy, but fun. So, when I saw this I knew that I had to do it in my kitchen. I choose white chairs in high lacquer as the contrast as well. It looks amazing! I’m so happy you guys exist as a forum for creative design.

  • A lot of people mentioned being afraid of grease stains on this. I’m wondering, can you use any type of standard surface cleaner (409, etc) or will that ruin the paint? What do you guys use to clean greasy stains?

  • This is absolutely amazing! I just bought a table from Craigslist. My husband hates it, but I thought it was a pretty good price for the condition it was in. Besides, I want something that I won’t freak out over if my children happen to do a little banging. Trust me, with six boys, what isn’t wrong with the table now… will soon be wrong in the near future :0) I knew I wanted to paint my table black, but I didn’t know that I wanted a chalkboard table until I saw your blog. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Hi love ur design I have a coffee table that I have been tring to make into the eye catcher of the spacein my den now after seeing ur idea I am sold . Chalkboard is the the way to go I’m sure :)