Lightening Stained Wood Furniture: A Guide to Achieving a Rustic Natural Wood Finish

If you’re looking to bring new life to a dark-stained piece of wood furniture, you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to make it lighter.

Several techniques can help you achieve the desired natural wood finish, including using a stripper, sanding, household bleach, and white wax.

This article will walk you through the step-by-step process of lightening stained wood and will cover the tools, supplies, and techniques that work best for a European farmhouse coffee table makeover.

Household Bleach

Household bleach can have a profound impact on wood. This simple technique is easy to use and will give you the desired natural wood finish. However, be warned that the bleach will raise the wood grain, so you’ll need to sand it down after it dries. Use 220 grit sandpaper to smooth it out.

White Wax

White wax is a soft topcoat that provides a light natural wood finish. It’s soft in appearance and to the touch and protects the wood from everyday use. After applying the household bleach, the white wax helped bring the coffee table back to the desired light natural wood finish.

The 3 Best Tools

Orbital Sander

The orbital sander is a must-have tool for any DIY project, especially when lightening stained wood. This tool will make the sanding process much easier and faster.

Gator Sanding Block

The gator sanding block is perfect for getting into tight corners and small areas. Its grip is much nicer than folded sandpaper.

Straight Pick (Or Toothpicks)

A straight pick or toothpicks are great tools for cleaning tight spaces and corners. They’re also useful for cleaning out steel wool and sand particles.

The Supplies You’ll Need

  • Stripper (of your choice)
  • Steel wool
  • Mineral spirits
  • Sandpaper
  • Orbital sander
  • Gator sanding block
  • Straight Pick
  • Household bleach
  • Rags
  • Paint brushes (disposable)
  • Danish oil natural finish
  • White wax
  • Tack cloth
  • Brush for applying white wax

The Step-by-Step Process Lightening Stained Wood Furniture

1. Removing the Dark Stain

Start by stripping the furniture with the stripper of your choice. Let it sit for the allotted amount of time, usually 15-20 minutes.

2. Cleaning Up the Stripper

Next, clean up the stripper with steel wool and mineral spirits. For large flat surfaces, use a scrapper to scrape off the majority of the stripper before using the steel wool to avoid gunking it up quickly.

3. Sanding the Piece of Furniture

After cleaning up the stripper, it’s time to sand the furniture. Use 80 grit sandpaper, the orbital sander, and the gator sanding block to make the sanding process easier.

4. Cleaning Up the Wood Particles

After sanding, it’s time to clean up the wood particles. Use a straight pick, rag, and tack cloth to get most of the particles off the furniture.

5. Using Household Bleach

Carefully apply the household bleach to the piece of furniture and move it to an area where the sun can help speed up the lightening process.

6. Sand the wood after it dries.

Once the bleach has dried, use the 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out the raised grain. This will help make the wood look smoother and give it a more natural look. Be sure to sand in the direction of the grain to avoid damaging the wood.

7. Apply Danish Oil Natural Finish.

After sanding, apply a thin Danish Oil Natural Finish coat to the coffee table. This will protect the wood and help to enhance its natural color and grain. Let it dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

8. Apply White Wax.

Once the Danish Oil Natural Finish is dry, use a brush to apply a thin layer of white wax over the entire surface of the coffee table. This will help to lighten the wood further and give it a soft, natural look. Allow the wax to dry completely before wiping away any excess with a clean cloth.

9. Enjoy your beautifully lightened coffee table.

After finishing all the steps, you can enjoy your beautifully lightened coffee table! The rustic, natural wood finish will be a beautiful addition to your home, and you’ll be satisfied knowing that you did it all yourself.

In conclusion, making dark-stained wood lighter is possible using household bleach, sanding, wax, and a few other tools and supplies; you can achieve a beautiful natural wood finish that will enhance the look of any piece of furniture. With a little patience and determination, you too can have a stunning European farmhouse coffee table makeover!