Sand, Stain, and Varnish a Wooden Coffee Table

If most of the stain and varnish on your wooden coffee table's surface has worn off and the piece of furniture no longer complements other pieces of furniture in your home's living room, restore the table's beauty by sanding and staining it. Once finished, add a coat or two of clear varnish to the wood to protect it and provide it with a shiny appearance. 


  • vinyl drop cloth
  • power sander
  • coarse and fine grit sandpaper
  • tack cloth
  • wood stain
  • mixing stick
  • paint tray
  • paintbrushes (various widths)
  • clear varnish

Sand and Stain the Wood

Place a vinyl drop cloth on the floor in a well-ventilated room in your home or outdoors on a porch if you prefer to work outdoors. Secure a piece of coarse sandpaper to an electric sander and move the sander back and forth over the table's surface. Once all of the original varnish and stain has been eliminated from the coffee table, secure a piece of fine grit paper to the sander and briefly sand the wood until it has a uniform appearance and feels smooth. Use a tack cloth to wipe away sanding residue that remains on portions of the wood. 

Open a can of stain and stir its contents for a couple minutes. Pour stain into a paint tray. Use a paintbrush to apply an even layer of stain to the wood. Move the paintbrush in the same direction as the grain of the wood and use a narrow paintbrush to cover wooden trim with stain. Wait for the stain to dry thoroughly. 

Apply One or Two Coats of Varnish

Clean the paint tray with soapy water and rinse out its interior with water. Open a can of clear varnish and stir its contents. Fill the paint tray with varnish. Use a clean paintbrush to apply a coat of varnish over the table's surface, moving the brush in the same direction as the wood's grain. Allow plenty of time for the varnish to dry. Add a second coat of varnish to the wooden surface to ensure that it has been covered sufficiently.

After the second coat of varnish has had plenty of time to dry, move the table back into your home's living room. Care for the freshly-stained and varnished surface by wiping it off with soft cloths as needed to remove dust and cleaning it with a sponge that has been dampened with water and a small amount of mild detergent.

For more tips on refinishing your wood furniture, check out sites like

About Me

Making Your House a Home

I have never been one of those people who is crazy about decorating, but a few years ago I realized that I needed to make my house a home. I started going through all of my belongings and carefully choosing items that meant something to me, and then donating the rest to charity. It was incredible to see the difference that it made in my life, and within a few short months I felt like my home was transforming before my eyes. This blog is all about creating a beautiful space that you will love forever, and knowing how to hang on to that feeling.

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