How to Fix Chrome on a Rusty Table

Carole Ellis

If properly cared for, a kitchen table can last forever. However, no matter how gentle you are on your furniture, moisture can wreak havoc on chrome aspects such as trim but particularly on table legs. Fortunately, this is an easy fix--even if you have let the issue go and the chrome exterior has rusted clear through.

  1. Wipe down the table legs and trim to remove all dirt and grime. You do not want to start scrubbing away on the chrome with steel wool in an area that is really just a little dirty. Use two drops of the mild detergent on a damp cleaning rag to remove all the dirt on the chrome.

  2. Use the steel wool to scrape off any rust. In most cases, the rust will be sitting on top of the chrome rather than actually having eaten into the chrome. The steel wool should remove it fairly easily. Dampen the steel wool and use light pressure and circular motions to remove the rust. Keep an eye out for areas where the rust has eaten through the entire chrome layer. You will be able to spot these because when the rust is gone, the surface beneath will be a dull gray color.

  3. Wipe down the chrome again. This time just use a plain damp cloth. This will remove all the rust and dirt that the steel wool knocked loose. Then dry off the chrome with a dry cloth.

  4. If any of the legs are damaged, remove the legs from the table with the screwdriver and take them outside to be patched with the bumper paint. If you need to restore the side trim, then you will need to use chrome paint that can be brushed on. This should also be available at an automotive store. You will not need to disassemble the table to take care of the chrome.

  5. Lay the dry table legs on top of the newspaper. The bumper paint is designed to look just like chrome. Usually it is used to fix scrapes and scratches on bumpers. However, it works for rusty tables as well. Spray paint the leg with the silver bumper paint. In most cases, you can just spray paint the damaged portion. However, if it does not blend perfectly, then repaint the whole leg. Apply two coats, allowing time for drying (15 minutes) in between.

  6. If you are restoring trim, then use the brush to paint the side trim. Use thin coats and apply multiple layers until you get the look you want. Immediately wipe off any chrome paint that gets on the surface of the table or you will have shiny streaks on the tabletop as well.

  7. Reattach the legs to the table. Now you will have perfectly beautiful chrome table legs once again.


This strategy will work for nearly all chrome furniture. If you have furniture that cannot be spray painted, you can use chrome paint and a brush. Be very careful to apply thin, even layers with the brush.


Always spray paint in an area with plenty of ventilation.