Jump to content

Menu

Recommended Posts

So, the kitchen table at our house, it's the place where EVERYTHING happens.  School, art, projects, baking with kids, eating, like it's everything.  There's barely a moment when someone isn't sitting there doing something.  I currently have a very cheap table and the top is just plain ole trashed.  Hideous.  I got a tablecloth that I could wipe down and it has gotten just physically worn from all the use in no time.  So, if you life revolves around the kitchen table, how on earth do you keep it looking half decent?  Any suggestions for a surface other than wood? Something indestructible? 

Link to post
Share on other sites

This probably isn't helpful, but the table we currently use in the kitchen was grabbed off a freecycle board when I was at MIT. They were upgrading one of the labs, and this was an old lab table. It has metal legs and an indestructible Formica-like top. I dragged that thing from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to Michigan. Pros: it is strong, sturdy, the legs are removable for transport, and I never worry about burning or staining or scratching the surface. Cons: it is HEAVY and it looks like a utilitarian lab table in my kitchen.

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Following along.  We’ve had multiple kitchen tables, and none have been quite right.  The current one is pretty - but has these annoying grooves that catch crumbs and glitter and anything tiny.  One should not have to vacuum the table before wiping it down!  Gaaaah!

 

  • Haha 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

This probably isn't helpful, but the table we currently use in the kitchen was grabbed off a freecycle board when I was at MIT. They were upgrading one of the labs, and this was an old lab table. It has metal legs and an indestructible Formica-like top. I dragged that thing from Massachusetts to New Hampshire to Michigan. Pros: it is strong, sturdy, the legs are removable for transport, and I never worry about burning or staining or scratching the surface. Cons: it is HEAVY and it looks like a utilitarian lab table in my kitchen.

This is just what I need!

Link to post
Share on other sites

We ended up with two different tables -- one is in the dining room, one is in the breakfast nook.  The table in the breakfast nook is actually a kitchen table that we outgrew many, many years ago. (It seats four.)  This table is used for pretty much everything except eating.  And it's not pretty.  It's a wood table with glue and paint and scratches.  But, it's also covered with fabric, felt, markers, and everything else to the point where you don't even see what the table looks like.  That table is a workhorse and it is loved.

The table in the dining room is not used for anything except eating (except once a year testing when I have to test multiple kids at the same time).

Do you have a space in your house for a second table?  If so, you could keep one table nice and let the kids use the other one and not worry about how nice it looks.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Junie said:

We ended up with two different tables -- one is in the dining room, one is in the breakfast nook.  The table in the breakfast nook is actually a kitchen table that we outgrew many, many years ago. (It seats four.)  This table is used for pretty much everything except eating.  And it's not pretty.  It's a wood table with glue and paint and scratches.  But, it's also covered with fabric, felt, markers, and everything else to the point where you don't even see what the table looks like.  That table is a workhorse and it is loved.

The table in the dining room is not used for anything except eating (except once a year testing when I have to test multiple kids at the same time).

Do you have a space in your house for a second table?  If so, you could keep one table nice and let the kids use the other one and not worry about how nice it looks.

I wish!! We live in 1,070 sq feet. 6 people. 😭

  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a very very old table probably manufactured in the 1960s. Solid wood construction. The top of it isn't wood though. It's more of a very hard laminate glued tightly to the tabletop itself. I've gotten sharpie off of it, nail polish, glue, paint, etc. Even acrylic paint scrapes right off of that tabletop. I don't know if you can get one nowadays, 

I found this site that tells how to put laminate on a tabletop.

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/replace-wood-laminate-covering-kitchen-table-35368.html

I also found this site that has those science lab tables.

https://www.schooloutfitters.com/catalog/product_info/pfam_id/PFAM24478/products_id/PRO11966?sc_cid=Google_DIV-P7601K30N&adtype=pla&kw=&gclid=Cj0KCQiAvbiBBhD-ARIsAGM48byU_JXWDQKIMHEN83J-SwJkx0UnWkVJJ3CeClmnF-K0JNXqyfQnhpwaAu2KEALw_wcB

Also, can you get a piece of glass cut for the surface of your dining table to protect it?

Or I'd start looking in antique and thrift shops for an older table with a laminate top.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

We have a very very old table probably manufactured in the 1960s. Solid wood construction. The top of it isn't wood though. It's more of a very hard laminate glued tightly to the tabletop itself. I've gotten sharpie off of it, nail polish, glue, paint, etc. Even acrylic paint scrapes right off of that tabletop. I don't know if you can get one nowadays, 

I found this site that tells how to put laminate on a tabletop.

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/replace-wood-laminate-covering-kitchen-table-35368.html

I also found this site that has those science lab tables.

https://www.schooloutfitters.com/catalog/product_info/pfam_id/PFAM24478/products_id/PRO11966?sc_cid=Google_DIV-P7601K30N&adtype=pla&kw=&gclid=Cj0KCQiAvbiBBhD-ARIsAGM48byU_JXWDQKIMHEN83J-SwJkx0UnWkVJJ3CeClmnF-K0JNXqyfQnhpwaAu2KEALw_wcB

Also, can you get a piece of glass cut for the surface of your dining table to protect it?

Or I'd start looking in antique and thrift shops for an older table with a laminate top.

I haven't looked yet, but the idea of putting laminate on the table is genius. Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bed Bath and Beyond (and presumably amazon) sell foldable table pads. Actually you could go to Joanns and get felt backed vinyl. But I'm thinking for your purposes the thick foldable could be good. Then throw your dollar tree vinyl cloth on top. 

Ok, I'm not seeing it on BBB but they used to have them. You can still buy them because I googled and found a vendor. But amazon has some other cool things too like a really thick clear vinyl pad, which again would smooth it out and allow you to put on a dollar tree vinyl cloth that you just change out every so often.

Have you tried Craigslist to see if you could get a new table?

Edited by PeterPan
Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a sheet of thick plastic over it thats easy to wipe down.  
https://www.clarkrubber.com.au/collections/table-covers/products/242p-general-purpose-clear-plastic

I have to admit I would much prefer the feeling of just straight timber and it does look scratched up now, but we bought a new table a few years ago and I knew DH would get frustrated if the kids damaged it and I didn’t want to deal with that on an ongoing basis.  The plastic looks tired but underneath is good as new.

unfortunately we have the opposite problem - the bonded leather in the chairs started falling apart at about six years old.  I managed to get two chair covers from Aldi but haven’t found more.  Two out of eight are basically unusable now.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

We have a sheet of thick plastic over it thats easy to wipe down.  
https://www.clarkrubber.com.au/collections/table-covers/products/242p-general-purpose-clear-plastic

I have to admit I would much prefer the feeling of just straight timber and it does look scratched up now, but we bought a new table a few years ago and I knew DH would get frustrated if the kids damaged it and I didn’t want to deal with that on an ongoing basis.  The plastic looks tired but underneath is good as new.

unfortunately we have the opposite problem - the bonded leather in the chairs started falling apart at about six years old.  I managed to get two chair covers from Aldi but haven’t found more.  Two out of eight are basically unusable now.

 

You know it's SUPER easy to reupholster a chair bottom if its just the seat of the chair that's messed up. Just a staple gun, fabric, and a screwdriver is all you need,

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, fairfarmhand said:

You know it's SUPER easy to reupholster a chair bottom if its just the seat of the chair that's messed up. Just a staple gun, fabric, and a screwdriver is all you need,

I have definitely been wondering about that. It’s not just padded seats though it’s basically the whole top of the chair that’s leather including the back rest if that makes sense.  I may have to look at some YouTube videos and see if we can find anything.   
 

I am really truly bad at those kind of jobs though.
 

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

Bed Bath and Beyond (and presumably amazon) sell foldable table pads. Actually you could go to Joanns and get felt backed vinyl. But I'm thinking for your purposes the thick foldable could be good. Then throw your dollar tree vinyl cloth on top. 

Ok, I'm not seeing it on BBB but they used to have them. You can still buy them because I googled and found a vendor. But amazon has some other cool things too like a really thick clear vinyl pad, which again would smooth it out and allow you to put on a dollar tree vinyl cloth that you just change out every so often.

Have you tried Craigslist to see if you could get a new table?

You know, our craigslist list usually stinks. People pretty much want the amount of what they paid for it new.  I hear of places where you can get good used deals, but rarely here. I keep looking though.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My kitchen table has a formica countertop.  My grandmother gave it to me when I got married because she was getting something newer.  This thing is indestructible.  We've even dripped candle wax on it and scraped it off with a metal putty knife. People knock formica as a non-quality surface, but I swear it lasts forever.  We like to kill stuff before we replace it and we haven't killed this yet.  My kids are 20 and 24, the table is older than them. It is fine and the surface is smooth.  I recently learned that you can just order a piece of laminate and laminate stuff yourself very cheaply.  I've never done it, but I've watched a lot of youtube videos and it doesn't look THAT difficult.  My dining room table is a "quality" surface and I'm so afraid of ruining it that we never see it.  It has a felt pad and tablecloth on it at all times. Right now, the tablecloth is plastic because I don't want to spill and water-damage the wood. It's a bit of a waste.  I think with kitchen tables, sturdiness and utility matter the most.

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

You know it's SUPER easy to reupholster a chair bottom if its just the seat of the chair that's messed up. Just a staple gun, fabric, and a screwdriver is all you need,

I did this to my chairs when my kids were little.  They're both early twenties now, and it needs to be redone, but it lasted a LONG time.  I used an upholstery meant for boats.  I figured my kids couldn't kill that.  One kid was in her teens before she could eat without having crumbs in her seat when she got up.  I still don't know how she got crumbs under herself while dining at a table.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
54 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

If you really like your table, a custom cut glass top is a good investment. Nothing to catch crumbs, you can put maps and multiplication tables under it, use dry erase markers to write on it. 

I actually hate the table. It's just a cheap thing from Walmart, but I LOVE that idea. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

This isn’t actually helpful.
 

I have my great-grandmother’s wood table. My parents had refinished it in 1974. Through my ENTIRE 43 years, that thing has mostly just had rotating table cloths on it, from fancy to dollar store plastic.
This summer, I sanded the whole thing, stained it, and then polyurethaned the heck out of the top, based on the job my late fil did on their family dining table that was always pristine.

And then we immediately began getting strange, random chips on it. Sigh.
 

I do agree with the glass top suggestion.  It won’t work for mine because we have sloped corners, but it’d be great for a flat top.

  • Sad 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

This isn’t actually helpful.
 

I have my great-grandmother’s wood table. My parents had refinished it in 1974. Through my ENTIRE 43 years, that thing has mostly just had rotating table cloths on it, from fancy to dollar store plastic.
This summer, I sanded the whole thing, stained it, and then polyurethaned the heck out of the top, based on the job my late fil did on their family dining table that was always pristine.

And then we immediately began getting strange, random chips on it. Sigh.
 

I do agree with the glass top suggestion.  It won’t work for mine because we have sloped corners, but it’d be great for a flat top.

My husband did the same thing with his grandmother's old oak table and chair set from Montgomery Wards. I'm sure he put the poly on too thick. Multiple thin coats would have been better to seal it.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We bought our solid wood table from an Amish family before we had kids - with four matching wood only chairs (because I was convinced we would never need more than four chairs - not sure why because that was a mistake!).  Two kids - one big into art things - table now has paint (acrylic) and a few dents in it. Sometimes it bothers me that it isn't the lovely wood it was when we first got it, but there are memories of good times in that table. Just recently I found thick but flexible plastic mats meant to go under pet bowls (water and food) that would have been perfect for putting where each child worked. These things are pretty big (maybe 12 x 16), so that would have protected much.  We have talked about stripping it and refinishing the top, but I'm not at that point yet. We did try the thick/flexible clear plastic stuff from Hobby Lobby, but I just couldn't stand the feel. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a solid wood table from IKEA. It's definitely worn and doesn't look the best. But I love the sticky, dinged, painted-on table. We've had this thing for ...... I don't know ..... over 20 years!!!!!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

When we were overseas, marble was cheaper than wood (at that time and place). So we had a wooden base made, and a marble top. That thing was indestructible and perfect for homeschooling. Besides, it was pretty. It was very smooth. Paint on the table? Use nail polish remover on it. Markers? Crayons? Glue? Just wipe it off. While I love the look of wood, I have often thought that if I were starting over with kids (I'm not), I'd consider using a countertop material of some type (quartz, marble, etc.) on a wooden or metal base.

I personally don't care for tablecloths except for special meals, especially with kids, though they can be pretty and cheerful. Ours always seemed to get pulled off-center, or were hard to write on, etc. 

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Jaybee said:

 

I personally don't care for tablecloths except for special meals, especially with kids, though they can be pretty and cheerful. Ours always seemed to get pulled off-center, or were hard to write on, etc. 

Same here. And my babies several times often *almost* pulled food filled dishes into the floor by using a tablecloth.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

We have an ikea table and created a wooden cover for it so I can take it off and put on a new top when the old is trashed! Its been a dream and I don't worry about it getting too trashed because replacing wouldn't be too hard and wasn't expensive.

Now chairs were a big deal for us and I bought these metal ones and LOVE them! No more washing cushions or worrying about wooden groves, I can even hose them down if needed ❤️  

Edited by seemesew
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, seemesew said:

We have an ikea table and created a wooden cover for it so I can take it off and put on a new top when the old is trashed! Its been a dream and I don't worry about it getting too trashed because replacing wouldn't be too hard and wasn't expensive.

Now chairs were a big deal for us and I bought these metal ones and LOVE them! No more washing cushions or worrying about wooden groves, I can even hose them down if needed ❤️  

I would LOVE to see this!

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a small house but a large wooden kitchen/homeschool table.  We bought it at a used restaurant supply place, it's what they call a baker's bench - a sturdy frame with one long shelf below a six foot butcher block.  It's easy to clean but when it gets really gross - beeswax and egg dye at Easter are the worst - we lightly sand and oil it.  It's slightly industrial but we used to have a bakery and it works for our aesthetic.  We use stools around it.  We also use it for ping-pong when it's empty.  Bomb-proof.

Edited by Harpymom
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Lightly sand down that top and chalk paint that baby. Add several (thin) layer of polyurethane to seal & protect it. 
 

We did this to two of our tabletops and those tables looked fabulous for years, despite the constant abuse we gave them!  One we have a black top and the other had a super dark navy. We left the rest of the table the wood color it happened to be already. Looked great 👍

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, easypeasy said:

Lightly sand down that top and chalk paint that baby. Add several (thin) layer of polyurethane to seal & protect it. 
 

We did this to two of our tabletops and those tables looked fabulous for years, despite the constant abuse we gave them!  One we have a black top and the other had a super dark navy. We left the rest of the table the wood color it happened to be already. Looked great 👍

I think I might commit to this idea. Thanks.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Elizabeth86 said:

That seems great! Do you fasten it down?

It doesn't need to be since it fits tight around the original table top. Its a great fit! I am not talented in wood work at all and it wasn't too hard.

  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I inherited a table and chairs  from the 1920s, the metal aluminum style, that keeps on going. Consignment-used furniture shops might have some but they are hard to find since they are back in style.

For tablecloths I use heavy duty oilcloth tablecloths, Vermont country store has them and you can also just buy oilcloth fabric and cut to the right size.

 

Edited by history-fan
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Ours was a pretty basic, solid table.  Four strong legs and a thick solid piece of wood on top.  Easily seats 8, 10 in a pinch.  Our kids used it the same way as you.  We did everything there -- homeschool, homework, art-projects, science experiments, Easter egg coloring, bread making, puzzles, games, and every meal.  

We always kept a beige vinyl cloth on it (with felt on the underside) to protect it, and during meals we threw a lace cloth of the same color on top of it (over the vinyl), to make it look sort of pretty.    🙂 

 

 

 

IMG_5362.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/18/2021 at 2:53 PM, Ausmumof3 said:

We have a sheet of thick plastic over it thats easy to wipe down.  
https://www.clarkrubber.com.au/collections/table-covers/products/242p-general-purpose-clear-plastic

We bought a piece of vinyl like Ausmumof3 has, used a sharpie to mark around the bottom of the table, trimmed the edges (we have an oval table), and zig zag stitched heavy elastic around the bottom of it. I tried the vinyl without the elastic and just couldn't keep it in place and had a hard time wiping it down. It was easily removable when needed, but we rarely needed to take it off. Tablecloths were placed on top of it. For many, many years, we had a map of the US under it and part of our dinnertime would be geography lessons. The kids still joke about Dad's questions. Eventually they started questioning him and very rarely stumped him. 

The table we bought over 25 years ago is still in excellent condition. On the other hand, the chairs show their 25 years despite seat cover replacement. Now that all the kids are out, we're eventually going to replace the table and chairs.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/18/2021 at 4:41 PM, Elizabeth86 said:

You know, our craigslist list usually stinks. People pretty much want the amount of what they paid for it new.  I hear of places where you can get good used deals, but rarely here. I keep looking though.

We find everyone has pretty much switched to Facebook. Marketplace is decent, but “Your City” are for sale pages on FB are your best bet. We found a great 10’ oak table with chairs for $500. I love it, but we e had it a few years now and I need to refinish the top. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...