Don’t Try to Refinish the Docksta Table! $59 Ikea Docksta Tabletop Option

If I can stop just one person who thinks they can refinish the Docksta Table, then I’ve done my job. Consider this is my PSA to all the cult followers of the budget-friendly take on the iconic mid-century inspired tulip table, who’ve looked at their dinged and dented tabletop and wondered, “Can I fix this?

Don’t Even Try to Refinish the Ikea Docksta Table

Here’s the short answer: no, you cannot. There is no way to refinish the Docksta table as a normal person. I did all the research. I read dozens of DIY blogs. And the overwhelming sentiment was, “I tried this approach requiring an electric sander, 8 layers of paint, and curing the table for months…and it kind of worked.”

I thought that maybe they were wrong. So, I took my sand paper and a can of white glossy spray paint. Well, my friends, after a few hours of elbow grease, the table looked even worse than when I started.

The fact is: you cannot refinish a glossy white particleboard tabletop. So, if your Ikea Docksta table has those dreaded bubbles and scratches. It’s done. It’s time to go in the trash. You cannot save it.

BUT, you can save the table base

Note: if you’ve bought your table recently, you’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. Your Docksta table is likely in great shape! We’ll get to that in a second.


ikea docksta table material - refinish the docksta table


Details on all other dining area items are in this post.

Instead, Buy a $59 Docksta Tabletop

So, if you can’t refinish the table, what can you do? Y’ALL, Ikea sells a $59 tabletop for the Docksta. That’s less than the materials you’d spend trying to refinish it.

And, the best part is: it’s crafted from a new and improved material. I’d heard that Docksta had been reimagined with a far more durable tabletop and it’s even better than I expected. It’s a less glossy finish but still a smooth and clean feel. The tradeoff for less glossy is that the finish doesn’t scratch if so much as a fork touches it and the particleboard doesn’t start bubbling up just because you set down a glass with condensation. Like…it’s a dining table that’s actually meant to stand up to dining! Crazy, right?

One warning: it took me a couple of months to track down the tabletop at an Ikea near me and I missed it the first time because I didn’t reserve it online. So, if you see it, don’t wait on it, just snag it. Their curbside pickup is super easy. Also, no, Ikea does not offer delivery unless the item does happen to be in stock in the store closest to you.

Okay, with this intel out there in the world, I hope I can save someone else from the time, money, and tears that goes into trying to refinish the Docksta table. Buy the tabletop, you’ll never regret it.


ikea docksta table material - refinish the docksta table

ikea docksta table material - refinish the docksta table



  1. Dae Díaz
    May 19, 2021 / 7:33 pm

    Can the new one be refinished? I want to paint mine black. I haven’t bought one yet.

    • May 27, 2021 / 8:23 am

      I actually don’t know! There are lots of black tulip table options out there, so I would just buy it black to begin with.

    • Olivia
      April 6, 2022 / 6:30 pm

      They sell a black one now

  2. Tracy
    February 5, 2022 / 1:21 pm

    This is just what I needed to hear. Thanks!

  3. Ryan
    August 27, 2022 / 12:01 pm

    Use Zinsser primer then marine topside paint. Needs a decent sanding for the primer to adhere. Be patient and sand in between all coats. Ours came out perfect. Dried extremely hard in about a week.

  4. Mandy
    September 29, 2022 / 5:18 pm

    I appreciate the article it made me laugh 😂. I must say I agree it’s better to buy the table top . But I have refinished the same exact table (Ikea docksta ) with great dare I say better results.
    It requires zen, correct supplies equal or comparable to replacement top , focus and lady balls..
    Start by sanding off top layer white coat all the way, if your going for replacing color completely hand sand 80 grit to get everything white followed by lightly going up to 100 then one time over with 250 end in 300/400 last to get out scratches or scarring unrelated to paint . Don’t go to far or stop immediately if you hit the inner materials. Older models it’s card boardish compressed shit. You will know when and if you’ve gone to far. Once white is off the rest of the sanding is to buff out the lines so they don’t show your wild ass failed diy Pinterest sanding .

    If your only wanting to repair; Surface sanding the shiny finish off . Don’t sand off all the white but definitely take it down a few levels . Color match the white to the table . The docksta year and model # should be under the table .
    For both the next steps MUST BE DONE IN A GOOD AREA. No kids knocking shit over, cats cat hair, sun burning down, wind blowing leaves and shit in the yard. No. Somewhere in garage is good or undisturbed by weather or floating shit. Ikea has a clean and dependable look. That’s what we’re going for.
    Followed with foam rolling whatever color your wanting . Sanding with 300/400 grit paper on between coats (sanding back and forth side to side lightly to smooth any lines or unevenness ,300+ grit allows for breaking rules of sanding because it’s such a fine grit it doesn’t leave lines ) and finishing with new foam roller with water based polyurethane. No spray paint . Never ever never never ever. Yes it will look dusty or not bold that’s what the top coat does. Trust me ..make sure no sandings are on table I use a vacuum or blower before final poly coat..
    Top it with 2 Coats water based polyurethane. Dried completely between coats.

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