How to Re-Do a Stain Color

Remember that post I did about dark to light? We took our older, mahogany-colored coffee table, painted the bottom white, added 1x4s and stained them gray, and voila! We had us a whole new table.

The only problem was that, as much as I liked the lighter look, the gray stain just wasn’t working in our room. Our floor, our stair railing, our (new) kitchen table, and our (new) fireplace were all stained darker brown, and I felt like the gray just didn’t flow. We also had a custom-built side table that we had stained gray, too, that bothered me as well.


I kept putting off the task of figuring out how to re-stain the tables, because, honestly, I thought it would be a big task. Not only did our table tops have two coats of stain, but they also had a coat of polyurethane. Think two coats of nail polish plus a clear top coat. 🙂 But I was WRONG! It was so easy! Let me walk you through how I did it.

I used our electric sander with a sanding disc… I learned that the lower the number of the disc, the tougher the grit and the harder it sands. Since I wanted to strip the stain off completely, I needed a lower number. I used 60 grit in this case, and it made the job very easy.

I sanded the small table first, and it literally took about 2-3 minutes to take the stain off. I couldn’t believe it.

It was left with a gray tint, but all of the actual stain was removed!

The table, of course, took longer. I decided to time how long it took to strip all the stain off.

Some of the gray spots were tough to get off, but I didn’t worry about it too much and left some of them there.
This was the time it took for the coffee table- less than 20 minutes! Like all the sawdust?? You should’ve seen my clothes. 😉

Next came adding the darker stain. Again, I started with the smaller table to see if it looked okay. I used two paper towels bunched up together that I dipped into the stain and spread all over the wood. I like this way of applying the stain better, because I feel like I have more control over the stain, and there’s a lot less drippage than with using a brush. BEGINNER’S TIP: Always (!!!!) use gloves when applying stain!! If you ever get stain on your skin, Goo Gone is a great way to take it off. Just apply Goo Gone on a paper towel and scrub your skin with it. Don’t worry, it won’t harm your skin, but it will take that sticky stain off!

I really love how it turned out!

Here is the stain on the coffee table:

Hopefully this will help inspire you to not be afraid to sand something down and re-stain, if you’re not liking the color! I feel like wood stain colors go in and out of style every 20 years or so. On the plus side, if you have some sturdy furniture, you can always keep it “in style” with a sander and whatever stain color is cool at the time! 🙂

Be sure to check back for the final products of these two tables. I am going to be doing a second coat of stain, polyurethane the tops, and re-paint the bottoms!

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