decorating, furnishing, furniture, secondhand stories

Perfectly Imperfect: Our $29 Dining Room Table



I’ve been looking for a dining room table for a couple of months now but have always bulked at prices. This is our first dining room in many years and, knowing that we’ll frequently entertain in the Dream House, I want a rectangular table to will seat six. I fell in love with a couple of tables from West Elm but I couldn’t justify spending upwards of $600 on a table right now. So imagine my delight when I came across a rustic old table for $29 at the antique mall!

When my aunt sent us a housewarming card with a $20 bill and a $10 bill stuffed inside, she was probably thinking I’d get something small. A plant maybe. Or some groceries even. I’m sure she had no idea that I would be able to outfit our dining room with thirty bucks! Frankly, neither did I. The day that I received the card, I stuffed the cash into my pocket and headed directly to the antique mall with visions of a new end table or nightstand in my head.


There’s one particular room in this antique mall where we have scored a number of affordable treasures. I don’t know who rents the room from the antique mall, but the prices are incredible in there. Of course, some of the stuff is a bit shabby but they’re always priced accordingly. On our first visit to the mall we scored a fantastic Prairie style plant stand for under $5 in this room. But nothing can beat the $29 dining table I bought yesterday. OK, so it’s not technically a dining room table. But it IS a long table that will fit perfectly in the dining room.


I got some gruff from a Facebook follower when I posted about the table right after I bought it. It’s an ugly plywood table! the follower cried. But actually that’s what I like about it! My $29 table is weathered, cheap, industrial, farmhouse-y … and I love it for that. I like that it’s not a precious table. It’s the kind of table that we can really use. Perfect for writing blog posts or, come summertime, snapping beans and canning veggies. It’s where we can stretch out to play games or work on craft projects without worrying about destroying an expensive tabletop. I like the scratches on the top and the big bolts that attach the legs to the frame. 


Speaking of those legs, they would NOT come off the table. The rusty old bolts that secure the legs to the frame are probably never coming off. Believe me, I tried. Oh did I try! Just as I tried to carry the big, heavy table with the legs still on through the side door at the Dream House. On. My. Own. I spent about thirty minutes in subzero weather, my fingers numb and my nose running, trying to finagle the table through the narrow door and into a narrow hallway. I removed the screen door. I cursed and sniffled and swore some more, but I couldn’t get more than two table legs through the door. At one point, I was stuck with half the table in the house, the other half outside … and my body wedged between the doorjamb and the table.


I was just about to give up. “I’ll never get this thing in the house by myself,” I said to myself, the steam from my heavy breathing in the arctic air creating a cloud around my face.


If life was cartoon, this is when a light bulb would have popped up over my head. And then a thought bubble with an image of the front door would have filled the space. I picked up the table, all He-Man like in my strength and determination, and carried it through the front door within thirty seconds. I heaved a sigh of relief and vowed never to admit to my frantic effort to get the table in through the side door. So, you know, ssshh … keep that to  yourself.


For now I’m using some vintage folding chairs at the table. But I’m thinking I’ll offset the rustic nature of the table with modern chairs. I’m learning toward upholstered chairs, perhaps something like these Driftwood Greyson Chairs from World Market, to soften up the space. Considering the low price of the table, I have a little room to splurge on seating. But of course I’d much rather find something cheap and used! I’m also thinking of small wing backs for the two ends of the table. The dining room is large enough to accommodate it and it would be  nice to have the extra comfortable seating for long dinners.

— J. Blandings

Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings

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  • Reply Kate (@KaterinaBeth) 03/02/2014 at 7:43 am

    It looks great! I wish Chicago had an antique mall like that. The only places I have are expensive (Salvage One) or Goodwill which is so hit and miss.

  • Reply jolene 03/03/2014 at 12:50 pm

    Love that last picture. The candle holders are perfect. The room has a very Shaker look to it with the bare walls.

  • Leave a Reply to jolene Cancel Reply

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