Furniture Makeovers

Dining Set Makeover Using a One-Step Stain and Seal

Hello Friends,

It’s dining set makeover time! And this post shares how to sand through an old finish and apply a brand new one using a one-step-stain-and-seal. 

Dining Set Makeover Using a One-Step Stain and Seal

I used to be afraid of refinishing wood with stain.

Not sure why, but the whole stripping and staining and sealing-to-a-factory-finish thing was just a total mind boggle.

Then this 1970-something Drexel treasure came along and I knew that I knew….painting this table set would be an absolute crime.

Disclosure: The post is sponsored by Fusion Mineral Paint, but all projects and opinions are 100% my own.

BEFORE: The old finish on a vintage 1970's Drexel table top | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

Dining Set Makeover: Sanding the Table

So, I pulled up my big girl panties, bought a new hand sander (for the flat sections) and made the deep sanding dive.

Ryobi hand sander for refinishing the dining table | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

And this is what I learned:

  • Sanding off sealer and stain is just like everything else.

  • You basically have to read up and watch a few YouTube videos.

  • And then go with your gut.

  • The key is to not be in a rush….

  • And don’t apply too much pressure.

  • In other words, use soft hands.

  • It may take more passes over the piece, which means more time, but if it prevents an oversanded booboo, then it’s time well spent.

For the table, I started with 150-grit Diablo brand sandpaper. Normally, we’d start with around 80 to 100-grit, but this seal seemed kinda thin and brittle to me. I just felt like 80-grit could grind scratches into that fabulous veneer, so I backed the sandpaper grit down to 150.

And ya know what? I was right. The finish all but melted off the table.

DURING: Half old finish (top) and half sanded (bottom) table leaf | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

And since I was super sensitive about the protecting the veneer from scratches and oversanding, I used 320-grit sandpaper to hand buff the dark spots. Yes, I realize that 320 is moving into buffing paper, but trust me, sometimes the wood and the old finish have to be handled gently. 

And this was one of those times.

A gentle buffing easily removed the dark spots and left the veneer ready to receive the stain…without a single scratch.

DURING: After using the electric sander, remaining dark spots are removed by sanding by hand | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

I saved as much original wood grain and factory distressing as I could. Quite frankly, the stripped down table was so breathtaking that I wished it could be left in this natural state.

AFTER SANDING: The vintage Drexel table top after sanding away the old finish | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

Dining Set Makeover: Sanding the Chairs

But then came the chairs.

And let me just say that I used the same technique…soft hands and low pressure….but did step up the grit on the sandpaper.

Why? Mainly because most of the sanding had to be done by hand. This allowed me to feel the pressure and the wood’s response under my hand. So, although it was pretty time consuming, everything was all good in the end.

The key to sanding curvy pieces of wood is to remember that the sander will shape the wood into the shape that you sand. So if a curve is pressed in a flat manner, the curve of the wood will be sanded away. And I had six chairs to retain what seemed like a gazillion identical curves.

It was slow going, but I wrapped the sandpaper around every single curve and sanded with the curve so that no shape was lost.

And yes, just like with the table, it was necessary to keep sanding until the dark spots were removed while working to save the wood grain and distressed look.

Let’s see….six chairs X 4-to-6 hours per chair. Yep, some chairs were easier than others, but getting into so many nooks and crannies just took time.

DURING: Chairs had to be sanded by hand (not using an electric sander). This chair is ready for soft sanding to remove the dark blotches that remain | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

Dining Set Makeover: Applying Stain and Seal

If you follow this blog, you will likely recognize the buffet that goes with this set. It sits in the landing at the bottom of the stairs.

AFTER: The vintage 1970's Drexel buffet is refinished using a paint and stain combo | A separate full blog post explains how | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

And the exact same product and staining technique used on the buffet doors was used on the table and chairs.

The dining set was stained using Fusion's Stain and Finishing Oil - color Cappuccino | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

At first, I started to copy and paste the directions into this post….until I realized….whoa….this is also a really good post to read before sanding and staining. 

AFTER: The vintage Drexel table top sanded and stained | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

There’s a whole lot of good information to add to the information here. And since adding that entire post to this post is just too much to load into one post, please click here to read more about sanding and staining the doors, painting the frame and cleaning the hardware.

AFTER: The solid wood, 1970's Drexel dining set is sanded and stained using a one-step finishing product | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

The finished set now sits in the basement at the end of the long room and will serve as a dining room/office.

AFTER: This dining set makeover features a vintage 1970's Drexel solid wood set and a one-step finishing product | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

AFTER: The dining set makeover features vintage Drexel solid wood and a one step (stain and oil) finishing product | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

To read about how Hooker brand furniture pieces and a discarded desk top come together to form the wall unit AND how the unit was refinished using homemade chalk-type paint, glaze and wax, please click here.

The dining room/office section of the basement makeover features a DIY wall unit and dining set refresh | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

At the opposite end of this 30-foot long room is the TV area. The furniture was finally delivered and the DIY projects to finish the room, including a DIY projection TV screen, are underway. Hope you will stay tuned for these posts.

DURING: The TV area of the basement makeover is in motion | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

In the meantime, if you’d like to share or save this post, please PIN the images below.

This dining set makeover features sanding tips for solid wood and veneer AND how to apply a one-step stain and sealer finishing product | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |


A dining set makeover featuring how to strip solid wood and veneer using sandpaper AND how to apply a new finish in one step | #diningsetmakeover #ad #fusionmineralpaint #stainandfinishingoil |

For More from the Basement Makeover Series

Spring 2019 One Room Challenge

Modern traditional basement bonus room and bathroom (behind the black door) | Check out the amazing refresh during the Spring 2019 One Room Challenge | #basementbonusroom #moderntraditional #orc #oneroomchallenge #bhorc #betterhomesandgardens |

More Furniture Makeovers 

Furniture Makeover Resources

Fusion Retailer Lost and Found Decor

Fusion Mineral Paint TSP-like Cleaner

Fusion Mineral Paint Stain and Finishing Oil All-in-One

#diningsetmakeover #fusionmineralpaint #homesteadhouse #diablo #ryobi #lostandfounddecor


Thanks so much for stopping by…


  • Reply Nancy July 9, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    Suzi this is beyond beautiful! This is like HGTV! Cannot wait for your next “show!”! Congratulations on an exquisite job!

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 9, 2019 at 6:58 pm

      LOL…Nancy! Way to make my day! Thanks girl.

  • Reply oldnewgreenredo July 9, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Big project and I agree with you, not every piece of furniture should be painted. I’m planning on doing a few pieces, myself..and I’ll heed your advice on the sanding! Thanks, Sandi

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 9, 2019 at 8:43 pm

      Hi Sandi and thanks. Good luck with your pieces!

  • Reply Marie July 10, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    You deserve a metal for hand sanding all those chairs! I agree, some furniture needs to be paint free and the finish on this dining set is gorgeous. Your patience and hard work paid off, Susie! Can’t wait to see the tv area now that the furniture has arrived.

    • Reply theChelseaProject August 7, 2019 at 9:26 pm

      Hi Marie and thanks… every time I look at those chairs…I can’t believe I made it through. LOL..

  • Reply denise - salvaged inspirations July 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    Stunning and that stain and all that yummy grain looks amazing! I’ve never tried Fusions All in One Stain – what a time saver. Gorgeous makeover Susie and can’t wait to see what else you do with the gorgeous space! PINNED!

    • Reply theChelseaProject August 7, 2019 at 9:25 pm

      Hi Denise and thanks a million. You’re the best!

  • Reply Nancy July 12, 2019 at 8:21 pm

    Oh Susie! It turned out to be so beautiful! I love the finish on it. The wood grain is breathtaking. The color against that orange is awesome!


    • Reply theChelseaProject August 7, 2019 at 9:24 pm

      Hi Nancy and thanks so much. You’re a doll.

  • Reply JENRON DESIGNS July 28, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Susie, I am so in love with the how this dining set turned out it looks brand new, and absolutely beautiful. I have never used the fusion stain but I really want to give it whirl!

    • Reply theChelseaProject August 7, 2019 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks so much, Jen. I do love the Fusion product line.

  • Reply Katarina - July 29, 2019 at 9:45 pm

    Wonderful finish! The dining set turned out incredible and I love the subtle vintage vibe it brings to space. The fusion stain is a real jackpot. Thank you for sharing this project!

    • Reply theChelseaProject August 7, 2019 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks Katarina.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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