How to Refinish Wooden Furniture

furniture refinishing interior design

When you look around your house, do you see dated and water stained wooden furniture? Has it been with you for decades, but the eye-sore is beginning to outweigh the sentimental value? There’s hope. You do not have to live with or toss your old wooden furniture.

Refinishing wooden furniture is easier than you’d expect. Refinishing gives you the opportunity to modernize and personalize your antiques. You can even antique your antiques – fashionably. In this DIY article, we’ll go over the basics of how to refinish your old wooden furniture.

How to Refinish Wooden Furniture

refinish furniture
Before refinishing

Preparing the Wooden Furniture for Refinishing

1. Identify the culprit and make sure it isn’t a valuable antique.

You’ve picked out the old side table, coffee table, cabinet or book shelf that grandma gave you. Great! Before you continue, check stamps, labels, or other signs that may indicate this furniture a valuable antique. If you think it is, put the scraper down! Consult a professional before refinishing an antique.

2. Wash the old furniture.

It may sound surprising, but it’s perfectly acceptable to wash a wooden surface with a little dish soap and water. Rub away as much grime as you can, dry it with a clean cloth, and let it air dry for several hours.

3. Apply paint stripper.

Whether using a paint-on or a spray-on, apply paint stripper evenly over the whole surface. You’ll begin to see the old finish curling off the wood. Begin scraping. You may need to apply stripper and scrape several times to get the majority of the old finish off.

4. Sand smooth.

To remove the rest of the old finish, smooth the surface, and prepare the piece for refinishing, sand the surface evenly with a medium grit sandpaper (150-grit works well). For finer finishes, move to a finer grit (200-grit).

5. Clean the furniture.

Using a clean tack cloth, wipe down the surface until all dust and residue is removed.

Refinishing Your Wooden Furniture

refinishing furniture
After refinishing

1. Plan your refinishing.

This is the fun part. Study your house’s current color palette and feel. Pick your stain. Add accent colors and designs. Decide what style (modern, antique, contemporary, renaissance) you want. Plan the attack.

2. Apply stain.

Stain can be painted on, wiping off excess stain with a rag, and repeated. Today, we also have staining pads to help keep the surface coat even. Between coats, let the piece dry to get the best idea of how the surface will look. Apply stain in strokes that go with the grain. Let dry.

3. Apply clear coat.

We usually apply an oil based clear coat for the final protective layer. For the most professional looking shine, sand between clear coats with a fine grit sandpaper. Apply your final coat and let dry.

Want More Refinishing Tips?

Check out these more advanced techniques.

Other Options for Refinishing Your Furniture

In some cases, you may not want to strip the original finish, or you may want to preserve a particular part of it. You may simply be looking to fill in imperfections, chips and splinters with epoxy. We’ll have more DIY tutorials coming soon. In the meantime, check out this DIY tutorial on antiquing wooden furniture.

If you have questions about refinishing your old wooden furniture or if you’re looking for a consultation, contact us today.

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