Learn how to refinish a table in less than 1 hour! Get a beautiful, restored look with this step-by-step guide. Restore it, don’t strip it!

Refinishing a table is a great way to breathe new life into an old or worn-out piece of furniture. It allows you to update the look and style of the table while also restoring its functionality. With the right tools and techniques, you can transform an old table into a stunning piece of furniture that will be enjoyed for years to come.

A Vintage Wood Table

I found This Favorite Second-Hand Table while out “Thrifting with the Gals” last summer. Its size was just perfect for our long, narrow front porch.

And the character—well, it’s just adorable! This vintage wood table is an old wallpaper table. A vintage wallpaper table is a unique and decorative piece of furniture that can be found in antique stores, vintage shops, or online marketplaces specializing in retro and vintage furniture.

Vintage Wooden Table with Chairs at second-hand shop outdoors.

Vintage wallpaper tables are great for outdoor dining tables, workbenches, craft benches, buffet tables, display tables, flea market tables, picnic tables, etc. And they fold up for easy transport and storage, too! Check out these other posts where I have used vintage wallpapers in our home decor:

Shop Vintage Wallpaper Tables

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Wooden Table Before

But after a year of being exposed to the elements on our covered front porch and Vermont’s harsh winter weather, this old wooden wallpaper table desperately needed restoration and refinishing.

A project I was really dreading! Do you know that feeling?

Here is this wallpaper table before the refinishing.

You can see all the markings, wallpaper paste, and how dry the wood had become.

Wallpaper Wooden Table Before

What is the best way to refinish a tabletop in under 1 hour?

If you are like me, you can get extremely impatient when tackling some DIY projects.

I don’t want to take a full day or more to sand a wooden table or furniture piece to get it looking just right. I am totally guilty of wanting instant satisfaction…

*I am not an expert in refinishing furniture. These are my experiences, and I hope you find these methods useful!

Restor-A-Finish | A One-Step Refinisher

So, my go-to for refinishing a wood table affordably and quickly is Restor—A—Finish!

It’s so easy and produces amazing results!

How To Refinish a Table

Restore it, Don’t Strip it!

1. Choose the finish from Restor-A-Finish you want to work with. There are 5 finishes available. Choose the finish that matches the color of your wood and the color you are striving for with your wood table.

Today, I’ll be using Restor-A-Finish Mahogany, a rich brownish-red color. I want it to match the flooring on our covered front porch, which is where this table will reside.

2. Shop the supplies you will need to refinish a table:

Supplies needed to refinish a table

3. Prepare your workspace where you want to refinish a wood table.

I used old bedsheets that I had collected over the years to protect our garage floor surface.

You could also use drop cloths, cardboard, etc…

4. Wipe off any dust or dirt on the wood furniture you want to refinish.

5. Rub any imperfections you would like gone using fine steel wool. I used the steel wool on this wallpaper table to remove the old wallpaper paste that was still lingering on the surface.

Wooden table surface and steel wool

6. Once the surface is cleared off, apply the Restor-A-Finish.

You can use a brush or a rag. I used a rag because it was easier for me to smooth on.

Be sure to read the safety precautions and directions on the back of the can.

Simply pour the Restor-A-Finish onto the rag, not onto the table directly, and apply evenly with the grain.

Restor-A-Finish and stained wood surface contrast.

This table was so dry that it was literally drinking up the solution. I applied it very generously, as I wanted a really dark and rich finish.

I applied about 3 – 4 coats, one right after the other, as it dried that quickly.

7. Let your wood table sit and dry for 30 minutes.

Here is my wooden table refinished with Restor-A-Finish in less than one hour. You can see there are still a few markings.

These markings could have been removed with a good sanding.

But we’re not done yet!

Vintage Wallpaper Table Refinished

8. Now apply Howard’s Feed-N-Wax.

First, read the safety precautions and directions that are on the bottle.

This conditioning oil “feeds” the wood and helps keep it from drying and fading. And boy, is it beautiful! Use a clean rag to spread it onto the table. Once again, I used a generous amount, almost half a bottle, on this table. Refer to this post’s video to see more.

9. Let your refinished wood table dry for 24 hours to ensure that it is completely dry before using it. Ella, our Bernese Mountain Dog, also practices her patience with us.

You may appreciate How to Paint Wicker Furniture Shabby Chic Style like the one Ella is sitting on here.

Bernese Mountain Dog Sitting in Blue Chair

You may also appreciate 16 Easy Spring DIY Ideas You Can Start Today!

Refinished Wood Table

Here she is…

Isn’t the color spectacular? What a difference.

Refinished Wooden Table with Greenery Centerpiece.

Here is the Before and After of our Refinished Wood Table

The stains and markings in the middle of this table did not completely disappear.

But honestly, I feel imperfections like this add to the charm of vintage collections, like this old wallpaper table.

And we were able to refinish this old wooden table in under an hour’s time.

Refinished Wooden Table with Dishes, glassware, and centerpiece.

Now, I can’t wait to decorate this refinished table with the first spring table setting of the year!

I envision a table full of mixed-green and white vintage dishes paired with my favorite green champagne flutes, shown here.

You may also like this A Vintage Haul for The Porch post.

Greenery, glassware and dishes on refinished wooden table.

You may also enjoy the post, Step Up Your Home Decor Style with a Vintage Cobbler Rack.

See you in the spring!

Mountain View with table and tablesettings in the forefront.

A Vintage Affair

If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with your friends who are also vintage enthusiasts.

Do you have a flair for all things vintage, too? I would love to see and feature you in our Reader’s Showcase Series. A place for you to share and be recognized for your talents and passion for all things thrifting, vintage, and antique decor-related inspired by your time here with Dabbling & Decorating. Email me at annck@dabblinganddecorating.com

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How to Refinish a Table in Less Than 1 Hour

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7 Comments

  1. I think Ella is your best decor asset! She is simply charming! I have never heard of a wallpaper table – thank you for introducing me to them. I have been eyeing the Howards Restore-a-finish. I have a houseful of mahogany pieces that I know will benefit. I already use the Feed-n-Wax (with Murphy’s Oil Soap) and truly there is simply nothing like it. Thank you for sharing your steps and instructions, and helping me feel more confident about taking on this project. I have pinned your blue & white table everywhere. I love how you curate your finds, and pull them together to make such amazing and inviting spaces. I get so tired of the ‘blogger blandness’ I see so much of.

    1. Thank you so much Kristine. I appreciate your kindness so much🙏🏻

  2. Love this! And the Poser.

  3. Ann,
    What a great tip and boy does it look great. I’ll share a link on Sunday.