How to Refinished old Furniture

Refinishing old furniture can be a fun and rewarding DIY project that can breathe new life into an old piece and give it a fresh, updated look. It’s also a great way to save money and reduce waste by repurposing and recycling furniture. In this blog post, we’ll explore the process of refinishing old furniture and offer some tips and tricks for achieving great results.

Step 1: Choose Your Piece of Furniture

The first step in refinishing old furniture is to choose the piece you want to work on. Look for furniture that has good bones but may be worn, damaged, or outdated. Check for any structural issues or damage, such as wobbly legs, loose joints, or broken pieces. If the furniture is too damaged or requires extensive repairs, it may not be suitable for refinishing.

Step 2: Decide on the Finish

Once you’ve chosen your piece of furniture, you’ll need to decide on the type of finish you want to apply. There are several options, including paint, stain, or a combination of both. Paint is a great option if you want to completely transform the look of the piece or cover up any imperfections. Stain is a good choice if you want to enhance the natural beauty of the wood grain and give the piece a more rustic or natural look.

Step 3: Prepare the Surface

Before you can start refinishing, you’ll need to prepare the surface of the furniture. This involves removing any old finish, paint, or stain. You can use a chemical stripper or sandpaper to remove the old finish. If you’re using a chemical stripper, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and wear gloves and eye protection. Sanding can be done by hand or with a power sander. Be sure to wear a dust mask to protect your lungs from any dust or debris.

Step 4: Repair Any Damage

Once you’ve removed the old finish and sanded the surface, it’s time to repair any damage to the furniture. This may include filling in any holes or cracks with wood filler, replacing broken or missing pieces, or tightening any loose joints. Be sure to let the wood filler dry completely before sanding the surface smooth.

Step 5: Sand the Surface

After repairing any damage, sand the surface of the furniture again to smooth out any rough spots or uneven areas. Use a fine-grit sandpaper and work in the direction of the grain. Be sure to remove any dust or debris before moving on to the next step.

Step 6: Apply the Finish

Now it’s time to apply the finish. If you’re painting the furniture, apply a primer first to ensure good adhesion. Then, apply a coat or two of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. If you’re staining the furniture, apply the stain with a brush or rag, working in the direction of the grain. Be sure to wipe off any excess stain with a clean cloth. You may need to apply multiple coats of stain to achieve the desired color and depth.

Step 7: Protect the Finish

Once the finish is dry, you’ll need to protect it to ensure it lasts for years to come. Apply a clear coat of polyurethane or a wax sealer to protect the surface from scratches, stains, and water damage. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying time.

Tips and Tricks

  • Always work in a well-ventilated area and wear protective gear, such as gloves, eye protection, and a dust mask.
  • Test the finish on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to the entire piece.
  • Take your time and work carefully to ensure a smooth, even finish.
  • Don’t rush the drying time between coats. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
  • If you’re using a paint sprayer, be sure to practice on a scrap piece of wood before using it on your furniture.
  • If you’re using a stain, be sure to apply it evenly and wipe off any excess to avoid blotchy or uneven results.
  • If you’re working with a piece of furniture that has intricate details or hard-to-reach areas, consider using a small paintbrush or a foam roller to ensure even coverage.
  • If you’re refinishing a piece of furniture with a veneer, be careful not to sand too much or you may sand through the veneer.
  • If you’re refinishing a piece of furniture with a lot of curves or grooves, consider using a chemical stripper instead of sanding to avoid damaging the intricate details.
  • If you’re not sure what type of finish to use, consider consulting with a professional or doing some research online to find the best option for your project.


Refinishing old furniture can be a fun and rewarding DIY project that can save you money and give you a sense of pride in creating something new from something old. By following these steps and tips, you can achieve great results and enjoy your updated piece of furniture for years to come. Remember to take your time, work carefully, and always wear protective gear. Happy refinishing!