If you have a piece of wood furniture in your house that you’re not happy with, whether it’s a bed frame, a dresser, or even a TV stand, why not give it a makeover? This is a step-by-step guide on how to refinish wood furniture and give a fresh, new look in five easy steps.
Ryan and I have had our bed frame since we started dating. In fact, it was his bed frame from before we even started dating. It had a really dark, black/brown factory finish that I absolutely hated. It just wasn’t my style. Not to mention, it didn’t match any of the other furniture we had.
When we first moved to San Diego, I knew the bedroom area would be the last on my list to redecorate, but I couldn’t wait for that day to come! When the time came to start sprucing the place up, the bed frame itself was still in great condition so it I couldn’t justify buying a brand new one. So, I decided to strip the factory finish and stain it a nice light oak color.
Here’s how we did it, step-by-step. I created two video tutorials that I’ll link at the bottom. I’ll also link everything we used at the bottom as well.
Step 1: Sanding
The first step for refinishing any wood furniture is to sand it down to strip the factory finish. We rented a belt sander from Home Depot for about $30 (which I recommend doing if you don’t have any power tools). We happened to use a belt sander but I think and orbital sander would work well too. I wouldn’t recommend sanding larger furniture pieces by hand because it will not only take you longer, but it won’t strip all of the original finish off. It’s important that all the original finish is removed before moving to the next step.
We used 60-grit sandpaper to remove the factory finish. The lower the grit number, the more rough your sanding will be. The higher the grit number, you’ll have a smoother finish.
Step 2: Clean
Whenever you’re sanding, it’s important to keep a clean work space. If you plan on painting or using stain, removing all the saw dust from the sanding process will make sure your stain goes on smooth, without any lumps and bumps from any dust. Wipe the furniture down with a wet wash cloth to remove all the dust and any other particles from the furniture. Let it dry before moving to the next step.
Step 3: Stain
At this point of the process you should be ready to stain. I chose a natural oak stain with polyurethane. If you use a stain that contains polyurethane will can likely skip step 5. But, it’s totally up to you. If you don’t use a stain + poly mixture, don’t skip that last step!
For the stain application, you can use a paint brush that is specific for stains or you can use a sponge brush. Both options will work.
We applied one coat and was happy with the color we got. If you want a darker, more rich color, I would apply a second coat after the first coat dries completely.
Step 4: Smooth
Once your stain is completely dry, you’ll want to smooth it out with a high-grit sandpaper, like a 120 grit or higher. This step is completely optional, we actually skipped this step because we were happy with how it turned out after the first sanding. Wipe down the furniture with a damp wash cloth before moving to step 5.
Step 5: Seal
If you use a stain and polyurethane blend, you won’t need to seal it. However, if you use a basic stain, you’ll need to apply a top coat of polyurethane. Apply with a sponge brush or a brush specific for using polyurethane. I just asked the paint department at Home Depot what brushes they recommended for what I was using and it worked great. When in doubt, just ask!
Let the poly seal dry completely and you’re done!
Materials: What You’ll Need
This is everything I used specifically:
- Belt sander (Rented from Home Depot)
- 60-grit sandpaper (first sanding)
- 100-grit sandpaper (final sanding)
- Wash cloth or rag
- Varathane Stain + Poly (Classic Oak Satin)
- 2 inch flat stain brush
How To Refinish A Wood Bed Frame (Video Tutorial)