Create an Activity Table Set for Kids with Mismatched Furniture

Do you love a good matchmaking story? Oh good, me too! In fact, my very favorite kind is when...

children's activity set using mismatched pieces

...two people from completely different worlds fall in love, scorn society's preconceived notions and make it work....just like Poldark (if you haven't seen this Masterpiece Classic yet, you are missing out!!)

Before we get to today's furniture redo, which is a classic love story of opposites uniting, I just want to take a minute to say Welcome to all my new followers! It is so exciting every time I get an email informing me that someone else has chosen to follow diy beautify!

Without you guys, this blog would probably be pretty lame! But because you are enjoying what I have to share, I am inspired to keep creating and to push the boundaries of DIY. My goal is to inspire you and get you excited about bringing beauty to your ordinary!! 

Now, let's get to the makeover, aka opposites attract!

My kids are well past the age where they would enjoy an activity table (and I don't think my teenage boys would be able to sit down at this one)...but when I found this side table at a thrift store, I thought it would work well with two kid-sized chairs I had sitting in my garage. Different colors, different eras, different styles. 

Would the magic happen? Could these pieces from different backgrounds....different sides of the tracks... fall in love?

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As you can obviously see, they were a perfect match! These three unloved, yucky pieces of furniture became a darling little activity set that any child, boy or girl, is sure to love.

I want you to see how these pieces looked when I started.

table and chairs before

Can you see why they were unlucky in love and no one wanted them anymore? They'd been well loved and well used in another life...but they were showing signs of wear and tear (and gum on the seat!)

I could see beyond the ugly, damaged surfaces to the potential of what they could become! I cleaned them up with my favorite degreaser and sanded down any splinters or rough areas with my handy palm sander.

The table was painted with my favorite diy chalk paint recipe in a creamy white (I used Behr's Swan Wing from Home Depot). 

The next step was the top. I taped off about a 2-inch border all the way around. Frog tape is my go-to tool for this because it leaves crisp lines with no bleed through.

tape off border

Next I painted the surface of the table with 2 coats of black chalkboard paint. I chose to use a small high density foam roller for this part of the application.

paint with chalkboard paint

A light sanding and that's it...table done! 

painted table and chairs for child

The chairs were painted with Blackberry House Paint in Spring Rain, This was my first time using this paint, and I was surprised at how little was needed...they only required one coat! Blackberry House Paint is not technically chalk paint; it's a water-based paint with custom pigments and additives (but it grips like a chalk paint).

child's vintage chair

I flew through these chairs so fast I completely forgot to take pictures of the progress...oops!

You can see that I added a white stripe on each chair to tie the three pieces together, as well a little accent of the Spring Rain color along the edge of the table.

And just like that it's like they were always meant to be together....overcoming all odds, obstacles and preconceived notions!

child's activity set with chalkboard painted table

I think that's why I love to do this!

When you restore a piece of furniture, whether by staining or painting, you're bringing back charm that the years have stolen. That's what 'beautify' means!

child's activity table and chairs

This trio is available for purchase for some lucky little girl or boy. I know someone will enjoy hours of fun doodling or creating roads for their cars or a million other kid-friendly activities!

chalkboard top

If you've never picked up a paintbrush and transformed a piece of furniture...maybe it's time to start! I hope I've inspired you to look at discarded furniture with new eyes and see what it might become.  There's a story waiting to be told!

child's activity table and chairs from mismatched pieces

And it just might be a love story!

bringing beauty to the ordinary,


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  1. Cindy, this is brilliant thinking on your part!! I love the colors that you chose!

    1. Thank you Mary K, you are so sweet! I appreciate your lovely comments :)

  2. What a fun play area! It turned out so darling! Thank you for linking up with Friday's Furniture Fix last week! I hope that you'll link up with us again really soon!- Carrie

  3. This is so adorable! I love the color combinations and the chalkboard top.

    1. Heidi, thank you so much for your sweet comments! It seems that everything I paint is either white, gray or some form of aqua :) I can't help what i like, right? I like the versatility of the chalkboard top too.

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  5. I am so happy to find your blog! You have such a happy tone when you write and during these difficult times it's refreshing to read something cheery. Now, the reason I spotted you is because of the chalkboard paint on the little table. I'm painting a child's roll-top desk (minus the roll-top) and wanted to paint the table part with the chalkboard paint and need to know if it will endure a 4yo using it. Your little set is so adorable:) Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for those sweet words Cecilia! I should think it will hold up, chalk type paints are very durable after you give them a couple weeks to cure! Good luck!


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