Furniture Refinishing for Beginners| Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners

Tips, tricks, and what I learned by refinishing an antique coffee table.

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners |

It’s been years since I tackled a furniture refinishing project, but when I spotted an antique coffee table at a thrift store, it had to come home with me!

It has a crack and some pretty bad stains on the top.

The $40 price tag was steep, but I still wanted it.

My husband tried to talk me out of it, but I was determined to get it.

Never go thrift shopping with husbands.  Never, never, never! 🙂

Since I haven’t done any furniture refinishing in a long time, I thought the challenge might be fun.  And since my daughter is putting an offer on a house this week, I knew she’d need a coffee table.

But the real reason I wanted it was …

How to Refinish Furniturefor Beginners |

… the hardware on the drawers.

Yes, I’m a sucker for old hardware.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Those old brass drawer pulls were like a siren song calling my name.

I walked away from it several times, hoping I’d find a real bargain to distract me.  But I kept coming back to it and finally gave in to the little metal sirens. 🙂

So, I got it home and began the task of refinishing it.

For those who are beginners at furniture refinishing, I’ll share how I did it, along with mistakes I made, a few tips, and supplies needed to do the job.

Supplies needed (includes affilidate links):

Citristrip (There are other products out there, but I used this one.)

Chip brush

Refinishing gloves

Plastic scrapers

Mineral spirits

Fine steel wool pads

100, 120, & 180 grit sandpaper

Palm sander

Wood stain (I used this color.)

How to do it:

  1. Remove hardware and clean.
  2. Apply stripping gel with a chip brush and let it sit for 1-24 hours.
  3. Use a plastic scraper to scrape off the finish.
  4. Put mineral spirits on steel wool pad and scrub off any residue.
  5. Use various grits of sandpaper to get a smooth finish.  Start with a rougher grit working up to finer grit.
  6. Apply wood stain and let dry.
  7. Reattach hardware.

Tip #1 – Put a thick coat of stripper on the piece.

Mistake #1 – In hindsight, I think I should have put on a thicker coat.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Mistake #2 – I didn’t have a plastic scraper on hand, so I used a metal one which slightly gouged the wood.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Tip #2 – Use a toothpick to remove the stripping gel from inside the hardware holes.  Don’t leave it.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Here’s the top and sides all stripped.  The stain on the wood still shows, but I knew stripping wouldn’t remove that.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

I knew I would need to use a dark wood stain to cover the stain on the wood, so I used the color ebony.

Furniture Refinishing tips and tricks for beginners |

Tip #3 – Elevate  your piece above the ground over a drop cloth while staining.  That keeps the stain from puddling around the bottom of the legs and lets air flow around it to dry.

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners Tips, & Tricks |

And here’s the finished coffee table.

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

Those little drawer pulls look so much better against the new color.

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

My daughter loved the deep color I gave it, and I can’t wait to see it in her new home!

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

Refinishing an Antique Coffee Table |

To see some of my past furniture projects, click HERE.

Furniture Refinishing for Beginners |Refinishing Supplies, tips & tricks |

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Vaya con Dios,

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  1. Angie…Did you add wax , poly or some other sealant, on top of the stain?

  2. Marlene Stephenson says

    It is a beauty and your daughter is a very lucky person.

  3. It turned out beautifully, Angie! The thing I really like about it is that it still looks very “used” and rustic, but the stain gives it a nicer color. Great job! Thanks for sharing.

  4. very good job on your table I hope your daughter gets her house and if you give the table to her for a house warming I hope she likes it.

  5. Karen Harrison says

    I was in a thrift store today, and as I was looking through the frames/artwork, this man kept saying “Let’s go, lets go” to his wife. When he wandered away I whispered out of the side of my mouth “Never bring your husband when you go thrifting.” She looked at me and said “Ain’t it the truth!”

  6. So so pretty! I love that dark stain, its classy. I found similar draw pulls at our local Restore and used them on a reclaimed wood box for my kitchen table, totally understand the allure! Wonderful makeover!

  7. Hi Angie! Thanks for sharing this method of furniture refinishing. It is really good tips for me. I am going to do so after reading your tutorial 🙂

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