The process of refinishing wooden furniture involves multiple steps and can take a few days to complete.

Each step must be carefully followed with necessary gaps in between. Given below are 9 easy steps to refinish your wooden furniture.

9 Easy Steps To Refinish Wooden Furniture - wooden, furniture tools, furniture, diy

1.Clean The Furniture Thoroughly

You need to clean the furniture thoroughly before initiating the refinishing process. If it is old and dusty you can start off by brushing or vacuuming to get rid of all the dust particles.

Take dish soap or any other mild detergent and mix it with water. Use a sponge and dab the mixture over the furniture. Make sure you don’t soak the wood in order to prevent moisture damage. You can use a cotton ball to clean difficult parts like nooks and corners. Let it dry after cleaning.

2.Use A Good Stripper

There are many different kinds of strippers you can use for your furniture. Paint strippers contain strong chemicals and can easily strip both oil based and water based paints.

Methylene chloride is one of the most commonly used strippers since it strips very fast. However inhalation of its fumes can be quite dangerous so make sure you wear appropriate safety gear.

You can use less toxic strippers for small furniture pieces. Use a stiff brush to spread the stripper evenly over the furniture. It is highly recommended you strip part by part instead of stripping it all at once.

3.Remove The Old Finish

If the old finish scrapes off easily you will know that the stripper has been left long enough. If bubbles appear on the surface of the stripper, it is a good indicator that you should start stripping.

You can start by scraping away the old paint or finish using tools like a putty knife, steel wool or a scrubbing pad. Make sure you remove excess stripper in the scraping process.

4.Repair (if required)

If your furniture has been damaged during the stripping process, you should try to repair it as much as you can. For example gouges can be filled in using wood putty or wood filler. Wood filler can also be used for chipped parts.

5.Perform Sanding

Sanding is a major step in the refinishing process. If you are working with a big piece of furniture, you are better off using an electrically powered sander. This will save you a lot of time and energy as opposed to manual sanding.

In case of most furniture pieces, the best tool to use is a palm sander. Make sure you use appropriate safety gear like mask, gloves and goggles while sanding. You can use a sanding block for the different grooves and curves.

6.Clean Again Before Staining

Sanding will leave a lot of residue and dust which need to be cleaned before any stain is applied. If necessary you can use a vacuum or a duster.

Use a tack cloth or microfiber cloth to wipe the entire furniture piece. Improper cleaning can affect the application of stain and leave streaks or patches.

7.Stain The Furniture

Stain is another major step in refinishing. Oil based stains are the most commonly used ones since they last longer. You can apply the stain using a brush or staining pad.

Make long even strokes in the direction of the wood grain. Apply multiple thin coats until you achieve the desired result.

8.Leave The Furniture To Dry

You must leave the stain to dry for at least 24 hours before you apply the final finishing coat. You can make the stain dry faster by ensuring proper ventilation or by decreasing the humidity level. Placing the furniture outside will also help the stain to dry faster.

9.Apply A Protective Coat Or Finish

Applying a protective coat or finish helps in maintaining the refinished look for a long time. Oil based polyurethane is one of the most commonly used finishes. You can apply it using a brush or opt for other spray based finishes.


If you are doubtful about any step make sure you consult someone experienced or do some more research before starting that step. It is always better to go into the process well prepared instead of risking a big mistake. Always keep essential furniture tools handy so that when you need it, it’s right there for you.