I’ve talked about this in pieces throughout last week’s posts, but here it all is together, along with the final results!  My parents got me this table for my 18th birthday, when I was going into my freshman year of college.  Since I brought it to Charleston a few years ago, I’ve been wanting to stain it a deep espresso brown color.  I figured it’s time to stop talking about it and time to actually do it!

Here’s what the table looked like before:

To get started, I purchased:

150 grit sandpaper

220 grit sandpaper

A quart of Rust-oleum Stain in “Kona”

Two cans of Minwax Polycrylic (water based) in a can

My first steps were to sand the table and chairs with the 150 grit.  Then I got some old socks to apply the stain.  I applied a coat or so on Monday and Tuesday nights.  I’d apply the stain, wait 5-10 minutes, then use a clean sock to wipe off the residue.  This is what I was working with after three or four coats by using that method.

I wanted the table to look more opaque, so I decided to stop wiping off the stain after coats.  I mean, it was taking FOREVER and I felt like it was taking off too much!  It was time to throw out the “directions” and do it my way. 😉

On Wednesday evening, I did a few thin coats (spacing them out about 30 minutes or so), without wiping off the stain afterwards.    

Here it is, immediately after I applied my last coat of stain (still wet!).

I let that dry a full 24 hours.  On Thursday night, it was time to apply the protective layer, the Polycrylic!  (Polycrylic is basically a water-based Polyurethane.  Oil-based polys will amber over time, but water-based will keep your stain true to color.  Yes, I learned this from scouring DIY blogs as I was trying to find the best products to use!)  

The Minwax spray can was super easy to use.  I’ll have you know that I followed the directions this time and  sprayed a thin coat, waited 30 minutes, then lightly sanded it with 220 grit.  After wiping off the dust, I applied another coat.  I did this same method for about three or four coats.  

I chose a satin poly and am very happy with the results!

And the grand finale….

(Well, not so grand.  I will be replacing my sheer panels and giving that sad, sad plant in the corner some TLC!  I’m also searching for some cute cloth napkins and napkin rings …and oh, pictures on the walls!)  

It’s a process, but here she is in her new home.

Just a few tips:

-Whether you’re sanding, staining, or applying poly…. always go in the direction of the wood grain! 

-Buy gloves …lots of gloves!  I would have loved to have had a fresh pair per night because it’s a messy job. I take that back, I would’ve loved to have had any gloves in general!  I kept forgetting to buy them, then I got to the point where I had done almost the whole project with no gloves, so I was determined to finish it that way.  I don’t know, stubborn runs in my family!  

You can always do it the redneck way, like me.

My first night with no gloves or baggies at all ended like this.  So another tip, buy Mineral Spirits for clean up!  As far as I know, it’s the only thing that will take off oil-based products!  (It’s been over a week, one 

at-home manicure and one professional manicure later…I still have stains in my nail beds.)

And lastly…

-Don’t try to rush a project like this.  Get a covered, outdoor area and work on your piece of furniture for a couple hours each day until you finish.  There’s no way to do it all in one day because you’ve got to wait for the coats to dry.  I probably spent about 10 hours staining this table by the week’s end, and that’s not including drying/wait time.  (No fun!)

Hope you like her!  Once more, here’s the before and after.

Happy Tuesday!




  1. August 7, 2012 / 3:05 pm

    I love this post! I just stained our kitchen table this last weekend, too, and also used Kona! Our table started off the same color as yours, and I, too had a heck of a time trying to get it dark. I finally gave in and did the same exact thing! That was definitely the trick! And awesome work on the chairs – mine were more intricate than that so I didn't even attempt it… I'll buy some new ones 🙂

  2. August 7, 2012 / 3:08 pm

    I have that table in the dark finish! I also got it in college and it's been dragged across the country since. We just moved to Charleston, and are searching for a house so I would hate to buy an entire new set. I love the end chairs you added. Where are they from? It kind of "matures" the whole look.

  3. August 7, 2012 / 3:09 pm

    Awesome job! Looks so good!

  4. August 7, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    The table and chairs look great!! What an amazing change!

  5. August 7, 2012 / 3:36 pm

    Looks amazing! Billy recently stained our kitchen table and he HATED the process hahahaha it was awful!! took forever!

  6. August 7, 2012 / 3:56 pm

    you should go to World Market, they have some really cute table decor and I found some awesome cloth napkins there

  7. August 7, 2012 / 5:29 pm

    What a great transformation! Your hard work paid off 🙂

  8. August 7, 2012 / 5:42 pm

    I love it!! Now to talk the boyfriend into him letting me to his….

  9. August 7, 2012 / 9:17 pm

    Wow your table looks amazing!! I have some furniture that I have been meaning to turn into a refinishing/ re-staining project…this gives me a little motivation! P.S. Check out World Market for cute napkin rings and cloth napkins….they have TONS! 🙂

  10. August 7, 2012 / 11:11 pm

    It turned out AWESOME! So proud of you! 🙂

  11. August 8, 2012 / 12:02 am

    This looks great! Knowing me I would've completely forgotten to buy gloves until the very end too… the ziploc bags works for me!

  12. August 8, 2012 / 12:57 am

    wow it looks completely different & totally amazing!!

  13. August 8, 2012 / 1:35 am

    it looks amazing!!! great job 🙂

  14. August 8, 2012 / 3:06 pm

    you did a great job & I agree that the end chairs give it an extra little kick. Love it!

  15. August 8, 2012 / 6:06 pm

    Wow that looks awesome! Nice job!

  16. March 22, 2014 / 6:40 pm

    Where did you get your rattan chairs? LOVE the transformation!

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