DIY Outdoor Buffet Table

There is another side to being a DIYer that may not get the attention or respect that other aspects of this pastime enjoy.  What is that, you may ask?  It’s taking found items or seemingly old and worn out objects about the house and repurposing them.  Keeping bulk out of landfills by finding ways to salvage various items is something we should all consider before consigning that old chair or table to the dump.

Karla Holley of recently discovered the value of this idea when it came to an old table that had been in her family for a long time. The tall and narrow table had been built by her grandfather to hold the tools of his trade.  He had been a butcher and put together the table out of 2 x 4s, a quarter-round trimmed plywood board top, and a pressboard bottom shelf.

Karla associated fond memories of her granddad,  of seeing the table at his home and was delighted, when her grandparents’ home sold, to be allowed to claim the table as her own.

The table wasn’t in the best of shape; the legs had holes and uneven areas, the top was stained and discolored..  An auction house had turned it down as unsalable and no one else in the family seemed to know what to do with it.  Karla however, with her experience of living on a tight budget and her practical imagination, could see the potential that old disrespected table had as a buffet table for her patio.

She went to her local Lowe’s store and obtained paint samples, trying several out on the table sides and legs.  She finally decided on a shade called Safe Harbor by Olympic. It was a self-priming paint, but Karla ended up using a primer coat anyway, due to the fact that the holes and uneven spots needed to be filled prior to the final coat of paint and she wanted the best possible adhesion. She removed the old pressboard bottom shelf completely, then concentrated on refinishing the plywood top.

For this phase of the project she chose Minwax Wood Finish in English Chestnut. Once the finish cured, she then sealed it with Helmsman Indoor-Outdoor Spar Urethane.  Because the table would be sitting outside of the house on the patio year-round, the spar urethane was an excellent choice  and also gave the tabletop a great shine. She placed the table against the exterior wall of the house on the patio nearest the outdoor grill.

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Having refinished the table, Karla was not yet done! She had an old framed mirror in her basement she’d picked up for all of $5.00  she decided to transform into a chalkboard!

To accomplish this end she used a product called INSL-X SXA110099-04 Waterborne Bonding Primer to paint the surface of the mirror.  It provides, as the name implies, a bonding surface for finishing paint treatments. It dries very quickly so she had to be just as fast in applying it. Karla chose chalkboard paint by Benjamin Moore to finish the mirror conversion. She painted the frame of the mirror in the Safe Harbor paint to match the table. She placed the finished chalkboard on top of the table.

All that was left were finishing touches. She added a towel bar to the front of the table and hooks to the sides of the table to hang grilling tools from. She also placed a small wicker trunk (with lid) underneath the table as extra storage to hold additional grilling implements. The look was completed with a set of pretty towels and some decorative elements.


Jamie Sandford - Owner and Lead Editor at RenoCompareJamie Sandford is the Chief Editor at RenoCompare (find out more). Jamie has been involved in construction for over 30 years. Straight out of college, Jamie worked with construction crews for the television, film and theatre industries for over 12 years. In his thirties, he turned his attention to DIY decorating and construction, working on many house renovations and remodels. During this time he started to specialize in home flooring and in 2013 he launched the Home Flooring Pros website. Two years later he launched RenoCompare.

“I’ve seen interior design, remodeling, and construction from both sides of the street, contractors on one side and homeowners on the other. My aim is to close the gap between the professionals and the consumers and make it easier for both sides to work smoothly and effectively side by side. At RenoCompare we want to save you time and money by giving you the information you need as simply and as quickly as possible!”

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