How To Lighten Dark Stained Wood Furniture Easily And Effectively

When we’re working on restoring our furniture at home, most of us encounter some problems when it comes to staining the wood furnishings. So, what’s the first thing you should do to correct this? I’ve experienced this a lot especially since I refurbish and repaint all my furniture by myself.

It took me a couple of tries before I was able to successfully stain my furniture. Many of my friends who are also DIY moms, often ask me how to reduce the color of the wood stain. This is why I decided to come up with article to teach you and others who encounter the same problem on how to lighten dark stained wood furniture.

Gather The Materials

Before you alter the stain of your wooden furniture, just be aware that this task requires time, energy and patience. On the other hand, it saves you money and allows you to reduce your stress. According to medical experts, using your hands creatively can help minimize anxiety and stress.

It can be a fun, relaxing, and challenging task to take on. Dark wooden furniture may represent elegance and masculinity but if you want a fresh and new aura in your interior, a light stain will do just the trick. It can transform any dark furniture to an airy and bright fixture to go with you’re the look that you want.

When you are applying your stain, don’t be surprised if the wood appears to get darker because this is the natural process. If your existing furniture is finished with a top coat such as varnish, lacquer or polyurethane, don’t forget to remove or strip it before you start lightening your furniture.

First, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Paintbrush
  • Screwdriver
  • Drop cloth
  • Cotton cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Eye protection/goggles
  • Mask
  • Light stain
  • Chemical stripper
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Hand block
  • Flat sticks

Follow These Steps

Here are some simple and easy steps you can follow to achieve that look.

  1. Take out all the drawers, doors and hardware from your furniture if there are any. Get a screwdriver to unhinge it then place it on a bench with the door facing up. The only area you need to stain is the door surface and not the entire fixture. Don’t forget to place a drop cloth underneath the bench.
  2. Gear up. Put on your goggles or eye protection, your gloves and a breathing mask to protect you from the chemicals.
  3. Apply the chemical stripper. Dip your paintbrush into the chemical stripper and spread it on the top of the drawers or door then brush it over the sides. Allow some ample time for the chemical to sit in roughly about 10 minutes.
  4. Once the finish becomes soft, use a flat stick to scrape off the existing finish and let the strips fall on the drop cloth. Start scraping from one side until you work your way to the other end. Let it dry for at least an hour before proceeding to the next step.

  5. Sand it. Use a 100-grit sandpaper in a hand block to sand off the surface of your furniture. Create even and consistent strokes. Sanding the surface will remove the existing stain.
  6. Once your sandpaper is filled with the stain, replace it with a new one. Keep sanding until you all the existing stain is removed.

  7. Apply the new stain. Use a clean cotton cloth and dip it into the stain. Use the cloth to wipe the surface of your furniture with the stain. Apply it on all sides of the fixture then wipe off the stain immediately.
  8. The trick is to wipe off the stain while it is still wet. However, you must let the stain dry completely before finishing off with a coat of lacquer. A pecan stain is a good choice for a light color. You can test it first on a spare wood to see how it will look on your furniture.

Bleaching Your Furniture

If you feel that your new stain still appears too dark for your taste, an optional step is to bleach it. You can use a wooden bleach which is one of the best solutions for lightening wood. Here are different types of bleach for you to choose from:

  • Two-part bleach – Use mineral spirits to wash the wood and let it dry for at least two days. Use a paint brush to apply the wood bleach and let it dry for approximately 10 minutes. Then apply the second part of the bleaching formula and let it sit and dry for four hours.
  • Use a mixture of 50% vinegar and 50% water to wash out the wood. This will help set the color. Once it dries, sand the surface to smoothen the furniture. However, take note that there may be a tendency for the bleach to affect and possibly alter the natural color of your furniture.

  • Powdered chlorine bleach – This type of bleach is more appropriate for stains that are dye-based as it will not affect the natural color of the wood. Apply the powder and water mixture directly into the wood and wait for two days until it completely dries. Repeat the process if needed.
  • Oxalic acid – This is a heavy-duty and toxic bleach. It is mostly used in exterior stripping. Apply the mixed powdered acid and water to the wood, let it sit for 15 minutes and rinse with water and ammonia solution. Be careful when using bleaching products because it can be hazardous to your health.

Appreciate Your Finished Product

After you follow all the instructions, you can now kick back, relax and appreciate your masterpiece. If it’s your first time to try lightening wood furniture then you’ll be confident to do this again with your other furniture.

Staining is simple and easy as long as you follow the steps correctly and just have a little bit of patience. Make sure you don’t rush into the project so that you can have a beautiful piece of furniture that looks new.

Did you find this article helpful? Please share it with your friends and if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, feel free to leave us a comment.

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