Polish Your Furniture to a Sheen: Which Wood Finish Should You Use?

July 05, 2022

Polish Your Furniture to a Sheen: Which Wood Finish Should You Use?

Are you tired of your wood surfaces looking dull and lifeless? Do you want a fast and easy way to bring them back to their natural beauty?

A smooth, even wood finish is the key to beautiful furniture pieces that look brand new.

The type of finish that you choose will depend on the look you want your furniture to have and the type of wood that you are using. Some finishes are more durable than others and will last longer. It is important to choose a finish that will be compatible with the type of wood that you are using and that will provide the level of protection you need.

If you want to see the types of wood finishes and which one may be the best for your furniture, check out this article:


A stain is a type of wood finish used to darken and highlight the natural grain of the wood. It is applied to the surface of the wood with a brush or cloth. There are two main kinds of wood stains that you can use depending on the look you want to achieve:

Oil-based stains are made from natural or synthetic oils that give a deep, rich color to wood. They are usually applied with a brush and may take a while to dry. They also tend to be more durable than water-based stains, but they can be more difficult to work with.
Water-based stains are made from acrylics or vinyl. They come in a wide variety of colors, and they're easy to apply. They dry quicker than oil-based stains, yet they don't last as long.



A varnish is a type of finish made from an oil or resin and a volatile solvent. It’s a sealant that coats wood to protect it from water and other elements. It can also be used to seal knots and other defects, making it a popular choice for flooring and other construction projects. Varnish is available in both clear and tinted varieties, and can be either glossy or matte. Aside from making the surface look shiny and smooth, it is also meant to keep the furniture looking new for a longer period of time.



Polyurethane is a versatile finish that can be used on furniture, floors and other wood surfaces. It can be applied in different ways including spraying, brushing or rolling. Polyurethane is available in both oil-based and water-based formulas. It is known for its durability and resistance to scratching and staining.



Lacquer is a type of wood finish made from a nitrocellulose lacquer base derived from lacquer tree resin. It is a clear coating that is brushed or sprayed on furniture and other wooden objects to provide protection and shine. Lacquer dries quickly to a hard, glossy finish so it can be polished to a high sheen, making it an ideal choice for decorative items. It’s also a popular choice for furniture and other wood items because it is durable and can be applied in a variety of colors.



Shellac is a type of wood finish that is created by coating the wood with a mixture of shellac resin and alcohol. The shellac resin comes from the lac beetle, which lives in India and Thailand. The alcohol is usually ethanol or methanol. Shellac can be used on furniture, floors, walls, and other wood surfaces. It can be applied to almost any type of wood, but it works best on hardwoods like oak, ash, and cherry. It is durable, resistant to water and other solvents, and has a beautiful shine.



Wax is generally used as a sealant or top coat. It is also a commonly used finish for wooden floors and furniture. One of the benefits of wax is that it is durable and provides a high level of protection against moisture. It can be reapplied as needed to keep the wood looking good. Moreover, wax can be spread on easily and doesn’t usually require any special tool or equipment. Waxes also have a tendency to "burn in" and deepen the color of the wood over time.

Different types of wood finishes can be used to protect furniture from wear and tear as well as to enhance the appearance of the wood. A finish for wood can be a clear sealant that allows the natural color and grain of the wood to show through, or it can be a colored stain or paint that covers the wood completely. Whichever finish you choose for your furniture, use one that complements the type of wood and the function of the piece. If you’ve picked your finish, we also have a guide on how you can apply it to the furniture yourself.

There are a few different ways to finish wood, and the right one for your project depends on the type of wood you're using, the look you're going for, and how much work you want to do. If you want sturdy furniture coated in a matching finish, then you should check our collections for wooden pieces with various finish options to suit your style.

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