When I bought this oak half table at a flea market, I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to save the top but it was sturdy and had great detail on the legs.
After some light sanding, it looked like I could salvage the top. My preference, if possible, is usually to sand and restain the top of tables, bureaus, etc. as it's normally more durable than a painted top. Sometimes, though, I just don't have a choice because of the condition it's in.
So, after sanding, the top of this table was restained with Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut, and sealed with wipe on poly. Is it perfect? No, but aged furniture isn't supposed to be perfect and it should last for a good long time. The base was painted with HM chalk paint in BM Twilight Zone, lightly distressed and waxed.