Every single week I get at least one inquiry about lacquering a dining table and my answer is always the same - Don’t do it!
Of fine, hear me out first and then make a decision.
Here is my beautiful vintage faux bamboo dining table with greek key details. I chose to get it redone in Benjamin Moore White Dove. I adore it. It brings me a lot of joy but it is impractical as it can get.
Utensils Can Ruin It
A lacquered surface such as a dining table comes in contact with knives, forks, metal serving pieces. Imagine dropping a fork on the table. Yikes! You will chip or at least dent the finish immediately. Let me show you the small chip we got on our table. It likely happened due to a tipped water glass.
Foods That Stain
Dining table comes in contact with all kinds of foods, also comes in contact with spices that can stain the lacquer (if left uncleaned for hours) Spices like turmeric, saffron or even things like tomato paste, if left on the surface for hours can stain/damage the finish permanently.
Dining tables are gathering places for many families. It is where children do crafts, using scissors, crayons etc. All those things are very unfriendly towards lacquer.
Unfinished plate bottoms dragged on the table, hot pots, unruly guest…I can go on. Lacquer is the most impractical finish for a heavy usage surface like dining table and you should think twice before investing the money in it.
I would recommend lacquered chairs, credenzas or a china cabinet for the dining room, all day, every day to fulfill your lacquered furniture dreams. Here's an eclectic dining room that has multiple lacquered items but the table is stained.
Image via House to Home Design
Get a table that is stained so wear and tear will add character and not be an eyesore. l love burl wood tables in various finishes for dining tables for busy households. You will never see the minor wear and the wood adds interest.
Why I am not practicing what I preach?
Eric and I hardly ever eat at our dining table. He loves to eat on the couch and I am a snacker in the evening. We have a mostly childfree life. Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays as well as family visits are the only times we eat at the table. The chips and dings don’t bother me, but, I own a furniture refinishing business so painting and fixing is done at cost. Not the case if you are a paying customer.
Having said that, if you have a low usage lifestyle like ours and if you plan to use your table in a formal space that’s used very infrequently, I would definitely recommend a beautiful lacquered finish for your dining table. It’s simply the prettiest finish, I think. Of course I am biased.
And please no to glass top or table pads. It's a dated concept. Why would you spend all that money on modernizing it and then cover it with something that dates it?