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October 24, 2012

Our “New” Vintage Formica Kitchen Table

By RetroRuth

I am happy to announce that our long search to find a vintage dinette table for our kitchen is almost over. Tom and I have been looking for a classic looking chrome-edged Formica-topped table for a few years now.  Even though we see these tables literally everywhere, it has been hard to find just the right one because we were looking for a certain set of requirements.  The first, and most important, requirement was that it had to be big. I mean, really big.  Our eat-in area in our kitchen is quite large, and so we were looking for a table that at least had one leaf that we could leave in all of the time. And, this is where things got kind of sticky, the leaf had to be the same color as the rest of the Formica table top.  You would not believe how hard that is to find.  A lot of those little tables didn’t have the leaves in them very often, and sometimes the leaves were never even used. Because of this, the tabletop faded while the leaf stayed all shiny and new. So, when you put the leaf in, it doesn’t match the rest of the table. Which wasn’t going to work for us, because we needed to leave the leaf in all the time. We must have looked at literally hundreds of tables over the last few years that were the right size and pattern for our kitchen, but the leaf and the table just didn’t match.

So, you can imagine how stunned I was when I walked into my local Habitat for Humanity Restore and saw not one, but TWO dinette tables that had two leaves with them and the leaves matched almost perfectly.


It was pretty amazing. Tom wasn’t as excited as I was, mostly because I think he was holding out for a pink table, but when I told him the tables were only $40 each he decided that gray and peach stripes were good enough for us, at least for now.


So, here is our “new” vintage kitchen table! As you can see, the leaf doesn’t match perfectly, but it matches well enough that you only really notice that it doesn’t when some idiot like me points it out. And the extra bonus is that there is another leaf to this table as well, so we can expand it again if we are having a large dinner party. Huzzah!

What about you guys? Do you have the perfect vintage dinette table? Tell us all about it!

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13 Responses to Our “New” Vintage Formica Kitchen Table

  1. Sherree Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    Love it! It looks great.
    I wish we had a Restore in our area 🙁
    I would make it my 2nd home!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Andrea Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Great find! I am guessing the rest of the table faded a little over the years, but the leaf wasn’t in at the time so it didn’t. I would have never noticed if you hadn’t pointed it out, though!

    • Andrea Reply

      October 24, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Wow, I should read more closely – you totally said that in your post, LOL. I need more coffee, I think!

  3. Silvercat Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Nice! Every time I see one, I’m too far from home and it won’t fit in my car. Or I don’t have money. I would have taken all of those green chairs though.

  4. Sablemable Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuth! What a find! And unless the gray/peach sticks out like a sore thumb, I think it looks good in the photo. If I was going with one of these dinette sets, I’d want one with a leaf or two.

  5. Susan Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I got my table the same way in a habitat store about 15 years ago! It is rectangular and only one leaf but sat my family of 6. I don’t think mine is in as good a condition as yours. I have never been able to get the chrome to look shiny/new.

  6. deb Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    YAY for you guys…I want to see more pics of your kitchen!

  7. Tasha Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Congrats on the find!! That’s awesome!

    Our dinette table has a leaf but it has indeed stayed a bit brighter and shinier than the table, but it’s okay since we rarely use it. Our eat-in kitchen area is quite small anyway, so it works out fine for us. When we need the leaf we just use a table cloth. It’s usually for a fancier purpose anyhow like a party, which is a rare enough occurrence that it has me breaking out the vintage linens with no qualms, lol. It’s our chairs that I don’t love. They are a great shape and perfect for the table, but were recovered at some point (perhaps 60s or 70s) in a less than thrilling vinyl, with several rips. I keep saying I want to recover them but keep managing never to undertake that task. I’d love blue or silver starburst-y vinyl to go with our gray/black/white formica table top. I should just see if someone local specializes in marine vinyl and have them do the job instead of just thinking about it!

  8. Laura Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Very cool! I inherited a chrome and gray (crackle ice pattern) kitchen set from my great aunt and uncle that has (don’t get jealous) two leaves. One of them I keep in because we need the space. I’ve had the set for about a year and a half. When I first got it, the leaves looked a little yellowed, I think because they were kept in a damp basement. Since I put the leaf in the table, it’s lightened in color to match pretty closely to the rest of the table. Perhaps sun exposure has helped. Anyway, you might get the same effect with yours. Just give it some time.

  9. Sara In AZ Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Wow! What a bargain and I really love your new table!!! Great find! 🙂

  10. Amanda Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I too love vintage diner tables. If you’re ever in Atlanta, get some breakfast at Java Jive. Not only do they serve a tasty breakfast, the diner is filled with vintage formica diner tables and vintage appliances.

    My first kitchen table was the one in this photo (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v149/iheartmyTHO/Home%20Sweet%20Split%20Level%20Home/DSCN7405.jpg)

    It’s technically a new table and was custom made for me. I can’t remember the name of the company, but you basically choose a table size, the formica print, and what type of vinyl you want for the chairs, and they will make it. The formica is a pink and black boomerang print. And the chairs are hot pink glitter vinyl. When I first got the table and chairs, I lived in a small apartment, so the size was perfect. But in my MCM split-level ranch, you can see the table is just a bit too small for the space. I still have the table and chairs, but I now use them as my sewing table.

    A few months after living in our house, I stumbled upon the perfect vintage kitchen table (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v149/iheartmyTHO/Northcrest%20Tour%20of%20Homes%202010/eatinkitchen.jpg)at Kudzu Antiques in Decatur. Unfortunately it didn’t come with a leaf, but it does appear that there was one once upon a time. The chairs are from IKEA.

  11. Mary Cessna Reply

    October 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Wow! Awesome find! We live in a little cabin on the edge of the Cherokee National Forest. When we were thinking about a dining table, DH and I both wanted a vintage or retro looking table. He was driving by a local thrift/antique store and a yellow dining table was sitting outside on display. He picked it up for $10.00! No leaves or chairs, but the price was just right! I have never seen the pattern before, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better for our little home!

  12. ginny Reply

    January 19, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I have a vintage pink formica table, 2 leafs and 4 pink upholstered chairs. Legs of chairs and table are white wrought iron. table and chairs are in mint condition, not a scratch or mark on tabletop. chair seats and back have been reupholstered, wrought iron not rusted but needs panting. I knew owner and his was her dining table 50 years ago. looking for appraisal or interest n this.

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