A diamond in the rough, my latest resale find

I had been toying around with the idea of buying a game table for my family room. For our occasional family game night, and pinochle night with the girls, it has always been a pain to have to lug out the needed card table and folding chairs from the basement, which was never an easy task.

Although a hassle to store, a card table and chairs can be readily setup and moved. At the time that I was thinking about a game table, I really didn’t have the room for one in a permanent location, so I was stuck with the burden of moving and setting up my portable option timeserver we needed two tables to play games on.

The other table that we use for games is the kitchen table, which is a standard 30 inches tall, with seats that are 17 inches off the ground. After doing some research, I liked the idea of chairs higher than my kitchen chairs, not too tall and not too short. I find that barstools, which range from 30”-32” are just too high and difficult to get up and sit on, given my short stature. I decided, then, that I would prefer seating to be what are called “countertop” stools, which can range anywhere from 24-27 inches tall.

According to what I have read, you should always allow about 8-12” of leg room between a seat and the table. That decided, a game table would have to be in the range of 36 inches high. My other requirement would be that it have a round top. I have both round and square top card tables, I have always had a preference for the look of the round top and my kitchen table is round, as well.

So, on occasion, I would look online for game tables and had even stopped at some local establishments that carried them. I was absolutely shocked at the prices. While they were all very stunning, they were also all very large, with round tops in the 52”-56” diameter range. I wanted one on a smaller scale, more in the 42” range, like my kitchen table. That size allows four people to comfortably sit, have room for snacks and drinks, and be able to reach either a game board or discarded cards in the middle of the table, without having to stand up and reach for them, which I would imagine would happen with the humongous tables that I was seeing on the internet.

So, it wasn’t until I moved one of my love-seats out of the family room that I thought that a game table might work. I did some measuring and really didn’t get serious about purchasing one, knowing what a hit it would take on my wallet. I wasn’t that serious about having one, the card table would continue to be my go-to option.

So, not quite sure where it was coming from, but I was out and about one Friday afternoon when something in the back of my mind kept telling me to go to one of the local Salvation Army thrift stores. This particular store is one of my favorites, although not the closet to my home. I went about my business, but that little message kept popping up in my mind, I have never had that happen to me before.

So, later in the evening, I relented, and took the jaunt to the thrift store, the one that just happens to be where I have found many of my special finds. I headed straight to the back of the store where they have the furniture and was intrigued to find a table much in the style that I was envisioning for a game table. The price was right, $79.99, but I wasn’t really sure if it would fit or even look right in front of my patio door where the loveseat once was. I decided that I could just come back the next day, which would give me time to go home, measure what I had to work with there, then come back and measure the table itself to see if it could work.

I continued to shop for other treasures (I collect blue and white Chinese knick knacks) and proceeded to the checkout. While waiting in line, I noticed a sign that stated “Manager’s Special, all furniture, 25% off if you pay and leave it for future pickup, or 33% off if you take it with you, sale until 7:00 p.m.”. Well, it was 6:10, and there was no way that I could drive home, take my measurements, then come back by 7:00. I asked for a tape measure at the counter and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not only 36 inches tall, but was also 42 inches round in diameter. I made the decision to buy it, rationalizing that if it didn’t work out, I could always bring it back and donate back to the center!

I went out to my van and hastily rearranged all the junk I had in the back, then folded the seats down into the floor (yes, I have a fabulous Chrysler Town and Country, so convenient for times like these), not before rushing back to the table to grab the tag off of it so that no one else could purchase it! As stated earlier, the regular price before tax was $79.99. If I bought it and didn’t take it with me that night, it would have been $60.00, but because I did take it home after purchasing it, this manager’s furniture special cost me $53.60 ($56.81 after tax), how could I go wrong?

The table was pretty much fine as it was, but my plan was to stain it to match my tv and stereo stands in the family room. But, first things first. I got my measuring tape out and started figuring out a suitable configuration of the furniture in the family room to see where best the new game table would fit. I decided to move an existing loveseat and there I found the perfect spot!


I went out and purchased a black gel stain, and promptly started working on refinishing my new find. I couldn’t be happier with the results. It took some time to get it completed, what with the sanding, putting three coats of stain, then two coats of polyurethane, but it turned out great. I knew that I wasn’t going to be so lucky in finding any kind of chairs to go with it at a thrift store, so I just went ahead and shopped online till I found what I thought were the perfect chairs and a lamp to provide light over the table.

The only mishap I had during this time was when I was trying to figure out the length of screws that I would need to purchase to attach the top to the base since it didn’t come with any. I screwed one in from the bottom and figured out the length that I would need only to discover that I had screwed a hole right through the top of the table! Luckily this was before I had started any refinishing efforts on the table, so I just filled it in with some wood putty. I did notice later that I wasn’t the only one that had done this, there were three or four other repair holes in the top!


I just love my new game table and cannot wait to have friends and family over to play on it. The new location is just right and the chairs are so comfortable, too. My daughter-in-law came over tonight for a visit and gave her stamp of approval!

I have no idea where the idea kept coming to me to go and visit that Salvation Army store that day, but I am hoping that it comes to me again very soon with another diamond in the rough.


  1. I always marvel at people that are able to find amazing deals like this (awesome table by the way). I usually do not have the patience to search out the deals even though I should, but my wife and kids are much better than I when it comes to that!

    • Thanks, Dad of Divas, for the compliments. I just love thrift shopping, got the bug a few years ago. Every once in awhile I get a real bargain/find.

  2. What a great find and you made it look super sharp. I love it!

    • Thanks, Crystal. I had never heard of black stain before, glad that I found it so that I could match it with my tv and stereo stands. I love it, too! Very happy how it came out.

  3. That’s a pretty cool find. It looks brand new.

    • Thanks very much, Cheryl, it was fun doing it and I am loving the results.

  4. That looks super perfect for your purposes! I like a little higher table height as well. Have fun at game night!

    • It really is perfect, Becki, I have been using it lately for a quiet place to read my newspaper, so comfortable and relaxing and I can spread it out nicely!

  5. What a great find and great deal! There is nothing more fun and rewarding than finding than finding a special treasure. Your refinish job looks amazing and the stools are perfect. I can see many great times around your table.

    • I agree, Lisa Martens, it is very rewarding and fun finding a special treasure and, in this case, making it my own. There will be many great times around the table, that’s for sure!

  6. Tim B - A GEEK DADDY says:

    Wow that game table looks really sharp! nice recycling and rehab job!

  7. Tim B - A GEEK DADDY says:

    wow! that game table looks really sharp. Nice recycling and refurbishing job!

  8. Karen Glatt says:

    Your table is freaking gorgeous! I did not know that you were such an expert at buying tables and redoing them. I think you did a fabulous job!!

  9. Yay! I love thrift store finds, I was searching today for an option to make into a kitchen island I think I found one, now to do the legwork into making it perfect 🙂 Game nights are the best, we love having friends over regularly, just use the dining room table but don’t have nearly enough chairs

  10. What a fabulous find! Love the table and it looks amazing in your house.

    • Thanks very much, Keikilani, I really did find the perfect spot for it in my family room, am loving the looks of it everyday.

  11. The final product is gorgeous! That table was clearly just meant to be yours.

  12. That’s a great find. It looks brand new to me. That is a great table to play games on. We have that is just like that one.

    • Thanks, Michelle T, I was thinking that the shape and height would be perfect for playing games on, too, glad to hear that it is from your experience. Thanks for the compliments, as well.

  13. The table turned out great and the chairs are a great match!

    • I didn’t realize what a great match the chairs were until someone pointed out that the curve in the table legs match the curve in the chairs! I just loved the looks of the chair backs, so I got an extra bonus! Thanks for the kind words, Amy Z.

  14. Wow, what a find! Seems like it was meant to be!
    A new Salvation Army thrift store opened up about six months ago in our area. I’ve been in there several times and have found some great deals.

    • I think that it was meant to be, too, Terra Heck, I could not have planned it anymore perfectly! I just love going to Salvation Army stores, they are always so clean and well organized, even when I don’t happen to find anything to buy, it is just fun looking around. Happy hunting!

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