Whether you’ve inherited an old piece of furniture from a neighbor or relative or you’ve recently stumbled upon a yard sale steal too good to resist, a little TLC can give new life to any outdated or worn-down piece of furniture in your house—and we’re here to tell you how!
Remove hardware—Before you begin, remove all exterior hardware from the piece on which you’ll be working. Also remove all drawers and cabinets, as those should be worked on separately.
Prep—Lay your piece(s) on a workable surface outside or on a paint cloth inside to ensure your furniture stays clean and untouched during the course of this process without getting paint or stain on other surfaces of your home. Give your piece a thorough cleaning with a furniture-safe cleaner to remove any dust, dirt and grime before you start.
Strip old stain—For small projects, apply paint stripper using an aerosol can and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes. You should see the old stain begin to lift off of the wood.
Remove old finish—Remove the old finish using a scraper tool, wiping the edge clean after each use. It may take multiple rounds of spraying and scraping to remove the majority of the old finish.
Clean with mineral spirits—Once dry, clean your piece again using mineral spirits to remove any residual paint stripper. Allow to dry fully.
Sand—Remove any remaining finishing using a palm sander with medium-grit sandpaper (about 150-grit) until you begin to see bare wood. Switch to fine-grit sandpaper (200+ grit) until your entire piece looks uniform.
Wipe down—Using a clean work cloth, wipe down your entire piece to remove any sanding dust.
Apply stain—Use a staining pad to apply stain to your piece with long, even strokes.
Remove excess—Wipe lightly with a clean cloth following the grain to remove any excess stain. You will need to apply multiple coats of stain until you reach the desired color. Be sure to let your piece dry fully in between each coat of stain before deciding to add another coat.
Clear coat—Once you’ve reached the desired color, apply an oil-based clear coat after the stain has completely dried. This adds a layer of sheen and protection to your piece of furniture. Spray two coats with an even motion following the natural lines of your furniture and sanding with a fine-grit sandpaper after the initial coat has dried.
If you’ve decided to paint your piece of furniture as opposed to staining, there is no need to strip and sand the old finish to bare wood—removing the glossy finish will suffice.
Prime—After your pieced is prepped for painting (any glossy finish has been sanded off), apply a coat of primer. This will not only help your paint adhere to your furniture better, it will also help to cover any stains or discoloration present on the wood.
Sand again—Using a fine-grit sandpaper (200+ grit), lightly sand in between each coat of primer. Follow with a tack cloth to remove any dust from sanding.
Apply paint—Paint thin coats over the entire surface of your piece of furniture and lightly sand using fine-grit sandpaper in between every coat. Typically, you’ll want to apply 2 to 3 coats of paint over your entire piece.
Seal—After your last coat of paint has dried for at least 24 hours, use a polyurethane or furniture wax to seal your furniture.
After applying your final clear coat and sealers to your finished piece, we recommend letting your newly refinished piece of furniture sit, untouched, for a day or two before using to avoid damaging your handiwork.
Just like that you’ve retired your old piece of furniture and upgraded for a fresh new look that’s sure to bring life to any room!