You may (or may not) have noticed from our school posts lately that it seems like the furniture is ever changing.  I’m in the process of revamping that whole area.  The walls are all getting changed around because we no longer need a giant palm tree, but a big map to talk about places we read about in Five in a Row books makes more sense.  And All About Reading has us using lots of letter tile magnets, so a magnetic chalkboard to fill a good portion of the wall gives us space to practice handwriting as well as arrange our letter tiles.  So the walls are a work in progress right now, but the furniture is now done!  There was nothing wrong with our Ikea table and chairs, but they were a little small for both kiddos to be working on something at the same time.  When they were in each other’s space they didn’t work as well together.  I kept my eye open for a good table on Craigslist, but every one I found was either the same size we had, or sold before I got it.  On one of our many Ikea trips during the bathroom remodel, I spied an unfinished wood dining table in the As-Is area…and it was love.  Just a plain table, nothing special, but the perfect size (and price, since it was marked 40% off for being scratched….it was unfinished though, so that didn’t matter to me).


Nice find! We always mosey around the “as-is” area in Ikea too.

Doug chopped the legs down to make it kid height (it took a couple tries…we didn’t want to cut too much off and make it too short).  We settled on a height of around 21.5″.

And, since I knew I would sell the old set together with the chairs, I searched for some new ones.  I figured actual school chairs would be a little sturdier than our others, and slightly bigger since Dexter was outgrowing the old ones.  I had no idea how many heights and options there were, and am glad I didn’t buy online!!  New school chairs were actually a lot pricier than I thought they would be, but constant Craigslist searching helped me find some vintage Virco chairs for $4 each!  Score. They had a few different heights to choose from so I just had Dexter try each out.  I swore I would want 13″ so that they would last a little longer, but when I saw him sit in it, legs swinging, I knew they were way too big.  We went with 12″ instead, and his feet are comfortably on the ground.  I loved the mustard yellow color too.  I cleaned them up and they were looking pretty great (here’s the before and after)….


These chairs bring back some memories!


Haha, umm, these two pictures look the same.

I wasn’t in love with the brown legs though.  That made them look a little too seventies, so I decided to paint them.

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I used some bags and masking tape to cover all of the plastic, and spray painted with a hammered finish black (the texture in the paint helped to hide any blemishes).

Any that might have seeped onto the yellow wiped off easily with mineral oil.


There is something appealing about that nice and rusty brown…


They don’t look dramatically different, but I think it’s just enough of a face lift to look a little bit sharper and less rundown.

Back to that table though.  I couldn’t leave it unfinished without it getting destroyed of course (first day they sat at it, Charlotte colored on it with a dry erase marker that wouldn’t wash off).  I decided to paint the legs with gloss white trim paint, and the top in chalkboard black.  First I did a coat of white on the legs, and sprayed primer on the top…


After a light sanding, I finished off painting the legs and let them dry for a day.  Next I tackled the top, just a few coats of black chalkboard paint.


Looks great!


We may or may not actually use it as a chalkboard, but I figured that finish would hold up well to all of Charlotte’s stray crayon, marker, and glitter.

The old too small rug moved to Dexter’s room (and is getting a lot of love from his cars), so now I’m on the lookout for something that might fit there a little better.

I did buy four chairs for when we have a friend or two visit, or just in case Doug ever changes his mind and decides we can have more kids…so all said and done, the new table and chairs was right around $61 (not bad, considering I wanted the size they sell at Pottery Barn Kids or Land of Nod), and I sold our old table and chairs….so the whole project including paint was only $32 (I only needed to buy chalkboard paint since we had the rest).

What do you think?  Anyone else in love with the vintage school chairs?