How to Refinish a Kitchen Table

Give an old kitchen table new life in a weekend with these simple steps for refinishing wood furniture.

Font
  • A
  • A
  • A

E-mail This Page to Your Friends

x

All fields are required.

Separate multiple e-mail addresses with a comma; Maximum 20 email addresses.

Refresh

Sending E-mail

Sending E-mail

Or Do Not E-mail

Success!

A link to %this page% was e-mailed

Learning how to refinish a kitchen table can help you breathe new life into old furniture. Photography by Ross Chapel

Knowing how to refinish a kitchen table is great for taking an old piece of furniture and making it look new. You don't have to have any special equipment and you can do it in a weekend.


Explore These Beautiful, Stylish Kitchen Table Ideas

Choose the color of stain based on the style of the table and the wood tones in the rest of your house. The table doesn't have to be an exact match—most homes have a variety of wood colors, so don't stress if your stain's color is a little off.

If you're refinishing a modern table (Danish or midcentury modern, for example), stay in the light-to-medium tones, from white oak to teak. If your table is a country-style pedestal, and you like that more traditional style, then lean toward warm oak or maple. For larger tables, Queen Anne drop leafs, for example, you can go darker (cherry or mahogany) to enhance the Victorian-style furniture lines.

Or, ignore all of that and paint your wood kitchen table a color—white, black and aqua are great choices, especially when paired with contrasting chairs.

Just know that when you refinish a piece of furniture you decrease its resale value—so only refinish something that you're not hoping to sell for a higher price later. Refinishing and painting are best done on pieces you want to keep and enjoy for years to come.

Materials and Tools:

  • Stain
  • polyurethane
  • 100-, 150- and 220-grit sandpaper
  • stain brushes
  • rags
  • tack cloth
  • orbital or belt sander (optional)
  • router (optional)

Steps:

1. Sand the entire table to remove all stain from edges and legs. If using an orbital or belt sander, be careful not to gouge the surface. Do most of the initial sanding and varnish removal with the 100-grit sandpaper, then step up to 150-grit and do a final pass with 220-grit to smooth out the grain for the new finish.

2. Carefully remove all sanding dust with a tack cloth.

3. Apply stain with a brush, following the wood's natural grain. Apply stain liberally, allow it to soak in for a few minutes, then wipe off excess.

Tip: The longer stain sits before wiping, the darker the final color will be.

4. Apply at least two coats of stain. Depending on the desired color depth and richness, you might want to apply more coats. Lightly sand with 220-grit paper and clean with tack cloth between coats.

Tip: Staining the wood causes the wood fibers to swell as they soak up the stain. The reason for sanding between coats is to knock down the swollen fibers to maintain a smooth surface.

5. After the final coat of stain has thoroughly dried, apply polyurethane according to the manufacturer's instructions. Apply at least four coats, since dining room tables get a lot of use. Allow the final coat of polyurethane to dry for at least 24 hours before using the table.


We Recommend...

How to Clean a Wood Kitchen Table

How to Clean a Wood Kitchen Table

Got half an hour? Make your wood kitchen table spotless and germ-free.

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Desk

How to Build a Simple Kitchen Desk

Combine wall cabinets and a butcher-block countertop to create a desk with storage.

How to Construct a Custom Kitchen Range Hood

How to Construct a Custom Kitchen Range Hood

Give your stock kitchen the high-end treatment with a custom, built-in range hood. Fitted with an exhaust fan that vents...

Advertisement

HGTV Kitchen & Bath Newsletter

See the latest trends in kitchen and bathroom design, with ideas and how-tos for everything from easy weekend updates to planning your dream kitchen or bath.