Simple DIY Table Refinishing

Wood Kitchen Table Refinishing

We love our current table and chairs its wood and about ten years old now.  Everyone in our family is big and heavy except for the children so we knew a strong set was necessary. Surprisingly this table stood up to its workload very well except for the finish.

DIY table refinishing,refinish dining table, table refinishing, refinish dining table


In addition to these wear marks the set had several scratches but no dents of any kind. Unlike the solid farmhouse table this solid table collapses and the best feature is this fold way leaf that allows us to convert the table from sitting four to six people.

DIY table refinishing,refinish dining table, table refinishing,

My mother had seen this kind of folding leaf before but its not common in modern tables. I just could not bring myself to replace it and I am not sure if its veneer or not so I was scared to sand it too much.

For the last two years I camouflaged some of the damage with various chair covers.

DIY table refinishing,refinish dining table, table refinishing,


The covers were both good work arounds but we finally decided to restain the table set darker to match our family room furniture.  This is how it turned out and we are both excited and relieved.  It’s so dark and shiny, my son came to visit and thought it was a new set.

DIY table refinishing,refinish dining table, table refinishing,


We started by doing lots of research on Pinterest for ways to refinish that did not require too much sanding or painting.  Several different blogs recommended using Minwax Polyshades on both wood furniture and cabinets.  They said it required minimum sanding and turned out well.  We took a deep breath and started.  This website from polyshades was the manual we used

How to Refinish Wood or Change Colour.    I highly recommend reading  Polyshades post before purchasing your stain or beginning this project.   Of Faeries and Fauna’s post is not professional advice.  If you decide to refinish your wood table do so knowing the risks.  We were very cautious doing our table knowing full well we may fail and need to replace the set.

We set aside four days to refinish our table set.   The work involved isn’t that strenuous but you do need to be patient and careful.  We didn’t want to rush this project and chance making a mistake and we let each coat dry overnight.

This is the careful steps we took to redo our table set.


Minwax PolyShades in a darker colour than original.  We chose Antique Walnut.

Good quality, clean, tapered natural bristle paintbrush

220 and 2000 grit sandpaper

Paint thinner and rags


Start by removing the seat covers and washing all the wood surfaces. Let dry thoroughly.

Sand all surfaces lightly by hand with 220 grit sandpaper until the shiny surface is gone.

Remove all the dust with a damp cloth and let dry.

First coat of stain.  Apply according to

Before you begin to apply the stain make sure the PolyShades is well stirred, stir it thoroughly to statr and every 10 minutes after to assure that the color remains evenly distributed throughout the polyurethane.

With a natural bristled brush dip the very end ½ inch of the bristles into the stain.

Apply the stain in thin coats.

Apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain in long even strokes.

When you start with a freshly dipped brush first put the brush a few inches from the stained area because it does cause a mark, then blend into the already stained area.

Use the tip of your brush to even out the stain as you work along.  Thin coats are better than thick coats.

Once you walk away thinking its good enough, don’t do any touch ups.

We let the first coat dry overnight before starting the next coat.

Once the first coat was dry we sanded it lightly with 2000 grit sandpaper and wiped the dust off with a slightly damp cloth.

Apply the second coat or even a third coat by the same method.

We left our table sit unused for a couple of weeks.

DIY table refinishing,refinish dining table, table refinishing,

Final Recommendations

This product is really perfect for veneered finishes where you are hesitant to sand.  The final finish looks like the more modern solid stain finishes.  There is minimal amounts of grain showing through.

Personally we are thrilled with our redone table and chairs.  We don’t need to lose the furniture we love, or pay the extra money for a new one.  This project was a perfect win win for us.

If you like this post please pin it.   Thanks bunches.

The easy way to refinish a table and chairs using stain not paint.




DIY table refinishing,refinish dining table, table refinishing,


  1. WOW ! I love DIY work but never make TABLE. I think I can make a simple DIY table.

  2. Great advice, we have a similar old table except ours goes from 6 to 8 seating. It does have a big scratch on it though where a little of the veneer has come away. I wonder if I could fill that somehow and give this a go. I just cover it with a cloth at the moment!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Julie. I saw some woodfiller at Lowes that was prestained to match the stains. I would try mixing some stain with the filler and testing it on a scrap piece of wood and see if it blends in.

  3. Leanna- This is such a helpful tutorial! I know so little about refinishing, repainting, or restaining furniture, and this post is like a beam of light !! I appreciate you recommending doing LOTS of research before taking a project on. And your decision to take 4 days to do it was extremely wise. I sometimes get so excited about doing something like this, that I just go charging into it, not realizing fully what is involved. Yes I AM pinning!!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Kristine. Sometimes its best to be hesitant and just look for options. I am really happy with the results but like you said not leaping in is sometimes the best plan.

  4. This turned out so well! I never really know what to do with some of the veneer furniture that I’ve inherited. I hope to use it in my future (still-in-my-mind) craft room. Thanks for this tutorial and the tips within – I’ll be coming back to reread it when I get on with my furniture projects 🙂

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      I hear you. I was very hesitant to sand my table. Its nice that they came up with a product that let me work around it. Minwax obviously recognized our need. Thank you for commenting.

  5. Love this, what a big and beautiful transformation! Love your new look!!!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      My favorite part is that it has shine again. Thank you for commenting Janine.

  6. Beautiful, Leanna! I agree with your son, it does indeed look like a new set! Wonderful job!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Carolann. I hope the finish stand up to the wear and tear we will put it through.

  7. You did a fabulous job, Leanna!! I bet there will be many a delicious meal shared at your fabulous new table with family and friends!

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      This table set is the center of activity here for sure. Its a very hard working much loved set. Thank you for your feedback Sam, appreciated.

  8. Leanna it turned out really great. Love the new finish and the darker color. And you are so right we don’t need to get rid of our things, just look at them with a fresh eye.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Mary. I just could not bring myself to part with this table. Every dollar has twenty different places it can be useful. Why waste it replacing something that’s working.

  9. Thanks for the information about minwax polyshades. Your table and chairs came out looking great! I like the dark, polished finish.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Hi Mimi. The dark stain matches the other furniture in the room much better than the original colour did. Thanks.

  10. This project came out so nice! I love how it gave new life to the table and chairs

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      Thank you Emily. I am very attached to my table so I am really happy its usable for several more years.

  11. I have never tried the PolyShades before. Your table and chairs look great. And you make it sound so easy.

    1. LeannaForsythe says:

      It was pretty easy Debra. The stain is quite thin so you need to watch for drips and apply a little at a time but I was quite happily surprised with how well it turned out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.