Checkerboard Pattern Table Top

One of my favorite pieces of furniture we own is our dining table.
It was made by some engineering students at Yale University, I don’t know how many years ago, but it was a work table for them. A friend of mine got it from the engineering department at some point and used it in his garage for a few years. He offered it up to me when I started my small business making furniture. I was so happy to have a new work bench but I knew this table had potential for a cool island or something indoors.
Today, my family and I use this piece of furniture for everything…homework, projects, dinner and parties. It is a huge focal point as you walk into our home. It is most always…a mess! Our rental house is pretty dark in our kitchen area so I wanted to brighten it up.
So I painted the top in a checkerboard pattern.
Taking the length measurement and dividing it by how many squares I wanted (5) and the width measurement by number of squares I wanted to section it off at (3). Then mark with a pencil using a ‘T’ square at the measured inches mark. My squares are not actually square – they measure 15 x 16 inches.
(my tabletop is 80 x 45 inches)
 I used frog tape & BIN primer to paint the white squares. I sanded it down prior to painting then sanded it again at the end for a rough, used finish. Finally – I topped the table with wax to seal it.
This work bench turned breakfast table looks great in dark walnut stain and distressed white paint. The shelf underneath holds bins of games, paper and homework materials.
Now that my kids are older, the bar height is perfect.
It is a grey day outside so my pictures aren’t great but the checkerboard top goes perfectly with our decor in the rest of our home.
It also brightens the kitchen area.
The prior dark and shiny top emphasized the mess at the table. Hopefully the satin wax finish and lighter contrast will compliment the darker woods in the kitchen area and camouflage the clutter (crumbs) on the table top a little bit better.
Our last kitchen was light and bright with a black and white painted floor. This new table will help bring in that same look to our rental house.
Hope your week is going great. We could see a little more sun here in Virginia,
but we are good. Isn’t Mazi cute? She needs a little groom but I love that little baby girl dog. She matches all the wood in our kitchen….hmmm.
I don’t decorate with a lot of color but I sure love a dark and white contrast.
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Susan @
March 18, 2013 11:03 pm

Looks great Holly, I too love stain and white! The checkerboard looks awesome on the table, nice job!Susan

March 18, 2013 11:18 pm

I love the look, Holly. If I did that here MyHero would have massive heart failure on the spot!;>) I will just adore yours from afar….great job- xo Diana

chateau chic
March 19, 2013 12:48 am

What a great idea, Holly. I love how your table turned out. Everything you do just adds to the warm and inviting, cozy and welcoming feel of your home.Mary Alice

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting
March 19, 2013 12:56 am

That looks great Holly!!

Shanon at Vintage Sparkle Chic
March 19, 2013 1:28 am

Love it, Holly. I love everything you do. Girl, you know how to work your tools! I'm still dreaming of an island like you make. You have made your new home your style and the table does lighten it up even more. Looks great!!~Shanon

Sally LoveOfHomes
March 19, 2013 2:10 am

I love how it turned out! My kitchen table has a lot of scratches, this might be a good way to fix it…I'm just nervous I wouldn't get the squares to match up! Your dog is so cute!Sally

Dewena Callis
March 19, 2013 2:17 am

Mazi is darling, she looks like she has grown even though still tiny. Your table turned out beautifully! Great job!

debi rosin
March 19, 2013 2:25 am

I like how it turned out, Holly. I d=id the black and white checkerboard in my sun porch. . . I scuffed it up too. I love it. . . it's where the dogs dishes are so I don't have to worry about their messes as much. . . Uh oh, Maizy better not stand still too long, she might get painted. . .

Jennifer Rizzo
March 19, 2013 2:30 am

It looks very cute! I love how the rest of the room looks behind your picture.

Corn in my Coffee-Pot
March 19, 2013 2:48 am

While I'm not a big fan of checkerboard… I could take it or leave it; I'm a huge fan of seeing the potential for something and RUNNING WITH IT! I love the story behind this piece, and I love how it is the center of family activity and togetherness.I also love the 'no fear' factor you had in changing this table top up–so you can enjoy it more. Kudos to you! It's fantastic.

March 19, 2013 4:59 am

It looks great Holly, I love the checkerboard!

Leslie Harris
March 19, 2013 5:36 am

I agree. That white and dark contrast really lit up the kitchen. And the room behind the photo looks like it belongs in a magazine. Very warn and cozy looking!

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March 19, 2013 11:07 am

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March 19, 2013 12:54 pm

The table is looks amazing.

March 19, 2013 3:34 pm

Holly, it's fantastic, I love it. Surprise surprise. So pinning.Bliss

March 19, 2013 4:34 pm

Holly,What a great idea and a fantastic job you did.Cynthia

Christine Vandormolen
March 19, 2013 5:14 pm

you've been busy …. it turned out awesome!

Rebecca Jerdee
March 19, 2013 6:09 pm

Nice job! I like the loose checkerboard edges…

March 19, 2013 7:17 pm

I've been hanging around you long enough now that I am starting to look at anything and everything in my home in a whole new way! Love your distressed checkerboard table, it is so cool to begin with! I have always had a thing for checkerboard anything. My last home I laid a black and white diagonal kitchen floor and it was my most favorite ever! Thanks for sharing your inventive and creative projects…love em'!Hugs,Pendra

March 19, 2013 9:13 pm

that's an awesome table, holly. love the checkerboard design, and the sanding is the perfect finish for it!

Michele Alger
March 20, 2013 5:53 am

I know you love change, just DON'T PAINT THE DOG! lol A bright pink bow would do the trick in creating more contrast between her and the wood ;)Love the table! Love that you realize that if you want to change it later…you can!! It's paint.

Julia Terpstra
March 20, 2013 1:50 pm

What a great little update to your table! I loved hearing the back story behind it. Yale… how impressive!!! That's an ivy league table you've got there; and a real cutie, to boot! I predict that after pinning this post checkerboard is going to be the new chevron! You are a trail blazer, my friend!!! A blogging Lewis and Clark and I think you are FABULOUS!!! xoxo Jules

March 20, 2013 2:19 pm

That's a great look for that table. It reminds me of the checkerboard design you had in the foyer of your last house. I like the look of light and dark contrasts too.

The Bashful Nest
March 20, 2013 7:45 pm

Holly,You are so brave with your projects! The table was great before but after is beautiful! Love your decorating style.xoxo Michelle.

March 21, 2013 2:49 pm

This looks terrific! I love how it brightens up your space.

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March 22, 2013 7:05 pm

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Sandi~A Cottage Muse
March 22, 2013 7:11 pm

I love it, great job!

March 23, 2013 1:14 am

well, i love your style! your paint colors inspired me to change my living room from \”butter cookie\” to \”oyster shell\”. it's got that hint of green that you mention. i love it! thanks for your decorating ideas. sandy , hendersonville, tn

Amy Kinser
March 23, 2013 10:35 pm

Yes, Mazi is adorable!! I would love to have one just like her.Your table looks great. I just have to ask what your husband says when you paint a table like that? My sweet man would probably have a miniature heart attack. He does pretty well with most of my changes but he doesn't really like when I paint furniture. I think he just doesn't understand…lol

March 24, 2013 2:21 pm

Love the table top Holly and Maize!

March 24, 2013 9:03 pm

I would never have thought to do something like that, but I like it!

Debra Oliver
March 26, 2013 3:18 am

LOVE this, what a great idea, it really shakes things up!!

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Christine Freeman
March 29, 2013 3:59 pm

I've only recently found your blog and haven't had time to troll the whole thing yet. I wanted to say hello and tell you how much I love your table, too. I find myself trying to get a glimpse of your fireplace treatment, though! I'll be going thru your pages to see what you did. I also find it conveninet that if I want a job or new car, spammers have contributed. (Like anyone would ever buy from someone with so little sense of propriety!) Anyway, love your touches. And Mazi. I have a fat little kitty patting me on… Read more »

Lynn @The Vintage Nest
April 1, 2013 12:08 pm

Love your table but I really love the history behind it Holly. 🙂

April 11, 2013 10:09 am

Love your table, Holly and the distressed look is perfect.Hugs,Laura

Justin Mills
June 3, 2013 12:05 am

What are the dimensions of your table? Great idea I love the contrast. My wife fell for the country barn style base

Justin Mills
June 3, 2013 12:06 am

Love the contrast. Great idea. My wife fell for this table. I've got an idea in the works to build one myself. Could you tell me the dimensions if your table?