How to Restain a Table

Find out how to restain a table easily and save that piece of furniture from the donate pile.

This last week has been a blur of home decor projects.

And I mean that in a good way.

My hubby and I checked a lot of projects off our list, some big and some small. ( You know, that never-ending home to-do list we all have? )

One of these projects was restaining our living room side table.

It is a really nice, solid table. We got it from here a few years back. They don’t seem to have the side table available anymore but they do have a lot of great options. Love that store!

New wood stained table in living room

Here’s the table with the old stain – this is the only picture I could find. It almost has a yellow undertone to the wood. It just didn’t really go with our decor anymore.

a close up of the old table.

Anyways, the problem was that the stain of this table didn’t go with our house anymore (post-renovation.) Especially with these new red oak hardwood floors.

Since we still liked the table, however, we decided to just stain it a color that would fit in with our decor. Rather than spend the money on a new table.

The process was surprisingly straight forward and easy, and I’m sharing all our tips and tricks with you here!

Here’s what you’re going to need to restain a table …

Materials Needed

How to Restain a Table

Follow these steps for restaining a table. By the way – this sander is a really good purchase for us. We’ve already used it several times and I’m sure we will use it more in the future. You can check the price and read the reviews here.

You will want to wear protective eyeglasses and a mask, if possible. The sander kicks up a lot of dust and debris. We picked up a pair of clear plastic eyewear from our local hardware store for $4.

Step 1: Prepare and Sand your Table

Does your table come apart?

The two wood pieces came off the base of our table so we removed those for sanding and staining in the garage. We found it much easier to work with the wood this way.

If your table can’t be taken apart, then you just want to make sure you move it to a well-ventilated area for sanding and staining. The stain smells really strong and the sanding is messy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Black and Deck Orbital Sander - great DIY tool to have!

Once you’re ready, sand your table evenly using 80 grit paper. After sanding and prior to staining, use a clean dry cloth to wipe the dust and debris from the table.

✔️In case you skipped ahead – this is the Sander we really like. And it’s Amazon’s Choice!

Step 2: Stain Your Table

Our table after it had been sanded down.
our table all sanded down!

After you wiped the sanding dust from your table, you’re ready for staining.

Apply Minwax stain in the direction of the grain with a paintbrush

We applied the stain in the direction of the grain using a paintbrush. We didn’t wipe the stain off. Instead, we let it soak and set in the wood for a full 24 hours.

Keep in mind: The longer you leave the stain on your wood, the deeper and richer the color will be.

Apply stain with a paintbrush in the direction of the grain.

If you remember my last staining project – this simple wall shelf DIY – I painted on the stain and then wiped it clean after it set in a bit. I didn’t want a very dark shelf in my laundry room. This will give you an idea of how different your stain can look when applied for different lengths of time.

Step 3: Apply Clear Coat to Your Table

When 24 hours is passed and your stain is set to your liking, wipe away any excess and apply a clear coat.

Apply minwax clear coat to tabletop.

We used this Minwax Polycrylic Matte Protective Finish in Matte. You can apply this clear finish the same way you apply the stain – evenly and in the direction of the grain.

And they do have other finishes, depending on whether you want a glossy or matte sheen.

You have to wait two hours for the clear coat to dry. After it’s dry – sand your table again using a 240 grit paper.

Now repeat Step 3 another two times. Yes – two more times! This will really ensure your table is protected from those pesky water rings and other spills.

Step 4: Finish!

After that last clear coat is dry and been sanded, dust it clean and re-assemble your table. Or just move it back to your room!

Here’s how our table looks now!

New wood stained table in living room
Our new side table in our living room.

This table fits in so much better with our living room. It’s not that the old table was bad. But you know how you have these things in your house that you notice day after day and they start to drive you crazy?

Every time I walked into the living room – all I could see was yellow wood!

This project was so easy and the finished table is much easier on our eyes. Here’s a closeup of that beautiful, rich stained wood …

A close up of our newly stained wood table.
How to Restain your Table.
Restain your side table rather than buy a new one. Here's how.

I hope this inspires you guys to get creative with what you have. Don’t forget – aside from staining, you can always paint your furniture pieces. Bloggers love Chalk Paint and you can read some reasons why here.

I hope you guys enjoyed this tutorial for how to restain a table! I can’t wait to share with you the other projects we finished this past week. Oh yeah, and as always, message me with any questions! ๐Ÿ™‚

xo Karen