How To Decide Between Staining and Painting Furniture

ECOS Paints 10/13/2021
How To Decide Between Staining and Painting Furniture

Refurbishing wooden furniture is a fantastic way to save money and create one-of-a-kind pieces for your interior décor. There are dozens of ways to breathe new life into old pieces, but without a doubt, two of the most popular methods include refinishing and repainting old pieces.

But if you’re new to the world of DIY, these two processes may seem similar enough that it can be difficult to choose one. While there is no “correct” answer, our guide will show you how to decide between staining and painting furniture for your DIY project.

What Is the Difference Between Wood Stain and Paint?

There are a lot of similarities between wood stain and paint. For starters, wood stain is technically a type of paint. However, wood stain is designed to absorb into the surface of the wood to highlight its natural grain patterns while changing the color of the wood to several natural wood colors.

Paint, on the other hand, doesn’t penetrate into the surface but covers the top of the wood. While the wood grain is covered, it offers a wider variety of colors beyond natural “wood” colors.

When To Choose Wood Stain

You Want To Restore a Piece

Sometimes, your goal as a DIYer is not to transform a piece into something new but restore it. This is especially common when working with antiques or family heirlooms. Wood stain is ideal because you can choose a stain similar to the original color to make the piece look like it did when it was first made.

You Prefer a Natural Look

There are certain aesthetics that lend themselves well to highlighting wood colors, such as mid-century modern, farmhouse, or Scandinavian. In these cases, even if you wanted to change the color, you likely wouldn’t want to paint a piece a bright or unnatural color. Wood stains can completely transform a piece without losing the sense of the original wood.

When To Choose Paint

Wood Surface Is Damaged

Since wood stains are more transparent, they don’t always cover nicks or cracks in the furniture surface. In these cases, you likely would want something designed to cover the surface and not just tint it. Even if a surface is nicked, it’s not usually as obvious after it has been painted.

You Want To Create a Statement Piece

The beauty of DIY is that you have the freedom to be as creative as you want when you’re recreating a piece. For some, that means choosing bright, vibrant colors or even adding geometric patterns or murals. This is possible to do with stain, but paint gives you a wider variety of choices.

If you want to see exactly what’s possible with furniture paints, look no further than our collection of zero VOC* furniture paints. Otherwise, our wood stains will help you capture the beauty of your wooden furniture. Deciding between staining and painting furniture is tough, but either way, your furniture will look fantastic.

*Zero VOC - Conforms to CDPH 01350 (VOC emissions test taken at 11, 12, & 14 days for classroom & office use).

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