Easiest furniture redo ever

About eight years ago, I decided I needed to replace my dining room furniture. The china cabinet and table were purchased back in 1982, soon after we were married. We used the table practically every day and it was showing plenty of wear. It didn't take long in my search to discover that china cabinets were a thing of the past. They had been replaced with low buffet - type liquor cabinets. After all, I don't think new brides are interested in using fine china. I used mine to display my teacup collection ( which was all the rage back then) and some pieces from my grandmother. Maybe I could just find a new table in light oak? Nope, everything in style was dark, nothing would match... now what?

 I re-evaluated my china cabinet, which was still in great shape and the style was plain enough and decided to refinish it dark and buy a new table. 
Now the search began for how to do that with the least effort. I had refinished a few pieces before...I remembered the endless sanding, the mess, the strong smell...

Then I found this article at Monica's blog!
She stated that you could successfully refinish a project without all the sanding and smell. Her directions were very easy to follow and plenty of the comments on her post were helpful.

I decided to take it on. In hindsight, here are a few key things to remember:
  1.  I followed her instructions to the "T", no shortcuts. Yes, there are precise waiting periods between coats but they pay off in the end.  
  2. Using a tube sock instead of a brush was so much better! You can use your fingers to get into corners or any ornate details in the wood.  
  3.  Use the product she used General Finishes... no substitutes. There are plenty of wood shades to choose from. I chose the Java shade Monica used. I only bought a quart and when I was finished, there was over half a can left. I did several other pieces before the can was empty. It really stretches! I found it at a local furniture store but I've also since purchased this brand from Amazon.
  4. IMPORTANT: This product is only for stain over stain. I don't believe it would work over paint.

This is the dining room set when it was purchased. Light oak with a very high gloss. I lightly sanded the piece for 15 minutes to remove some gloss as instructed. If you are redoing kitchen cabinets you will need to thoroughly clean them with a degreaser. No need for heavy sanding. This is a very easy product to work with. It's a gel that sits on top and doesn't need to soak into the wood. You do not wipe it off.

   After putting on thin rubber gloves, I used my hubby's old tube socks. They will reach up to your elbows and you'll be glad of that. lol
 Dip into the stain and apply. I referred back to Monica's instruction many, many times to be sure I was following exactly.

 Don't be discouraged at how the first coat looks, It's all going to work out...trust me.

Finished off with the General Finishes poly as suggested...

I used the same hardware because they were plain and not outdated. I gave them two coats of Rustoleum oil rubbed bronze spray paint.
Now, to purchase a table. There were plenty in a dark shade to choose from...

 This is the table I chose! It's a perfect match! You would never believe that they weren't purchased together.

 It's been eight years and it still looks like new. No wearing off, no fading, and the finish is scratch-resistant.
 Again, here's the link:


Here's where I'll be sharing:
 What's for Dinner   Mosaic Monday Busy Monday  Inspire Me Monday  Through my Lens  Pictorial Tuesday Link Up Tasty Tuesday   Bee Inspired  Your whims Wednesday   Wonderful Wednesday Creatively Crafty  Full plate Thursday  Fiesta Friday  Create, Bake, Grow and Gather  Home Matters  Dare to share Sat  Saturday Sparks   Natasha Musing  Wordless Wednesday


  1. Wow! The china cabinet turned out great and the new dining room set...a perfect match! How beautiful! Thanks for the tips!

    1. And thank you for visiting! Have a great week.

  2. Susy, That is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing in such detail. Have a great week. Sylvia D.

  3. I like the new look. Easy peasy is right up my alley. This is definitely something to consider for our kitchen cabinets. Thanks for the post.

    1. It would work great on stained cabinets. In fact, Monica @ the link did her kitchen cabinets in another post.

  4. Suzy - I had to look at that china cabinet several times to assure myself it was the same one. Wow, what a difference!!! It looks so chic in that color. Well done! Thanks for sharing the link and the "how-tos". I am sitting here looking at our china cabinet, and thinking …. I'll bet I am not the only one at Mosaic Monday getting a bit of inspiration!

    1. Try it, you won't be disappointed if you follow the steps!

  5. Absolutely turned out great. Can imagine your satisfaction with it, and really like the tone you chose. Looks brand new.

    1. Thank you! I did several other pieces since then and they turned out great!

  6. Great job, we just finished redoing our bedroom furniture. You can not tell the dining room pieces were not purchased together.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade

    1. thank you, Dawn!let's see some photos of your redo!


Thank you for your comment!