Space Saving Gateleg: Our Apartment Dining Table

When it comes to an apartment dining table, space is a big concern. At the moment we have more space than is “normal” for a New York apartment (because we are paying outrageous rent) but this will not always be the case. We did not want to eat dinner on the couch all the time so we had to find a space saving dining table on a budget.

We focused on collapsible tables, specifically gateleg tables because these typically fold into very compact rectangular “blocks” that can be placed in a corner. We ended up choosing the Ikea Norden Gateleg table due to the lower price although the Crate and Barrel Span Gateleg was a close second.

We chose the Norden Gateleg in “pine” knowing that we planned to paint the table top (eventually). We finally got around to painting the top of the table it and here is the finished result!

First, the before. Sadly I did not take a before picture so the stock image from the Ikea website will have to do.

norden-gateleg-tableThis table can seat 4 people. You can probably seat 6 people at a time if you also use both heads of the table and don’t mind being a little closer to your guests.

behr premium plus ultra fashion gray apartment dining tableAs much as I love Ikea products, some of their furniture is just begging for an upgrade. I am not sure there are many homes this pine color would go perfectly with (as is). For the table top, we chose Behr Premium Plus Ultra paint in Fashion Grey (available from Home Depot) which is a paint plus primer.

Unlike last time when we sanded the tv stand before priming this time we simply cleaned the table top and applied the paint. It was an experiment of sorts and it worked!

Here is what the table looked like after one coat of paint.

Paint Ikea furniture- Norden Gateleg Table Paint Ikea Furniture Behr Premium UltraI will add the paint dried VERY quickly. I was surprised. The lighter areas are the drying areas. We painted the table in “compact” position to make sure we were able to reach all areas of the table top.

After letting the first coat dry overnight, we realized we would need a second coat. Which we applied the next day.

Norden Gateleg Dining table painted


The second coat was also left to dry overnight.

After two coats of paint and two overnight drying periods. Here is what the table looks like now.

norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-14 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-15 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-16 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-17 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-18In this last picture you may notice some of the “drip” marks from that second coat of paint. Sadly I am not a master painter. Practice makes perfect though!

Overall the paint has held up to daily use. Daily use for us means weekend meals, weekday dinners, and a few hours of working on the computer or studying.

Here are a few close-ups of the table top:

norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-7 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-8

A few more drip marks on the right edge of the table in this next picture.



Some more shots of the “full” table with a runner and spring peonies in a vase. I LOVE Peonies.

norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-4 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-6 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-13The chairs are from Flash Furniture on Amazon and can be stacked.

Since it is usually just the two of us (and RJ) we usually only use “half” the table and stack the other two chairs in a corner. Like so:

norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-21norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-19 norden-gateleg-dining-table-painted-20

I think the new table top looks much better. There was some debate over whether or not to paint the whole table but I like this look. So far the paint has help up well (we have been using this for a few months) so I am happy!

Let me know if you have any questions. You can see my other DIY painting Ikea furniture project here: Updated TV Stand.



  1. October 17, 2014 / 10:40 am

    It looks great! Love the table runner too. How sturdy is the table? I was thinking about using one in my sewing room for cutting out large patterns and possibly rotary cutting fabric.

    • October 28, 2014 / 11:44 am

      Hi Casey,

      Sorry I didn’t respond for so long. I took a bit of a blog hiatus!

      We still have the table and in response to your question it is relatively stable. The legs tend to “tilt” a bit for lack of a better word and you will definitely find yourself having to re-tighten the screws to avoid this. I don’t think I would recommend this for rotary cutting fabric though. I think you will need a sturdier table! Hope this helps.

  2. Mona
    July 26, 2015 / 6:21 pm

    This is a wonderful inspiration, as I just bought this table in Birch with the intention of painting it! How is your paint job holding up over the year? And you didn’t sand? Prime? What type of paint did you use? Great work! Thanks for sharing.

    • July 27, 2015 / 12:21 am

      We didn’t sand or prime it although the paint we used was a paint + primer. It held up well considering it got daily use. However, our reasoning for not sanding was because we weren’t sure we would keep the paint color permanently. We wanted something that would be easy to remove if needed and turns out it was easy to remove when we ended up selling the table as part of our move cross country.

      You can read here for a permanent paint job we did on a piece of Ikea furniture: This paint job did really well so I would sand if you need a more permanent finish.

  3. Mona
    July 26, 2015 / 6:22 pm

    And how is the table itself holding up? Thank you!

    • July 27, 2015 / 12:16 am

      Hi Mona,

      The table itself held up great. We are moving cross country in a few days so we actually sold it to someone else who is now using it. We never had any problems with the table and it was great for our apartment.

    February 22, 2017 / 4:11 pm

    Hi There,
    I would recommend painting furniture with either a chalk paint subsequently sealed to guard against marking or more preferably use a Farrow and Ball primer followed by their “Estate” eggshell which I have previously used to paint kitchen unit doors and indoor furniture, to great effect. In order to get the best results with little or no brush marking on larger areas, it is preferable to lay / arrange them horizontally. The paint is touch dry in around 30mins but needs a few hours to reach full hardness. The Farrow and Ball colour range incorporates “New England” type colors which are ideal for use in a modern setting.
    Hope this is helpful.

    • February 25, 2017 / 3:53 pm

      Thanks Allan. We are actually discussing painting our kitchen cabinets and had heard chalk paint then sealed would be best. Will have to check out the Farrow and Ball.

      • Alan Jukes
        February 26, 2017 / 3:54 am

        Hi Liz
        Just one further recommendation is to adequately prepare the surfaces by using a fine grade (100/200) abrasive paper (lightly), to enable the new paint to etch and also wipe down after abrading using white spirits, to remove any surface contamination such as polish or grease residues and any abrading dust.

        I think you’ll be impressed with the F&B if you decide to go that route / are able to obtain it.


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