How to Make Finished Wood a Darker Color

Cabinets, furniture, railings and banisters often feature finished wood. What happens if you get tired of the shade of the finished wood in your home? Fortunately, you can easily make finished wood a darker color without all of the hard work involved in completely refinishing the wood.

Darken the color on any type of finished wood by following a few simple steps.
  1. Remove any hardware from the finished wood piece with a screwdriver. If the piece you want to make darker borders anything you don't want stained, mask off the area with painter's or masking tape.

  2. Lightly sand the finished wood with a medium-grade sandpaper. You needn't sand the finish off. The aim is simply to rough up the surface enough for stain to adhere. Brush away the dust with a clean paintbrush or rag.

  3. Apply a coat of wood stain that is one shade darker than the finished wood. Use a paintbrush to apply the stain, and follow the direction of the wood grain. Wait a couple of minutes and wipe away any excess stain with a clean rag. For a darker shade, apply another coat of stain. Allow the stain to dry for 10 to 12 hours.

  4. Apply a clear coat of polyurethane finish with a paintbrush. Allow the finish to dry for 10 to 12 hours. If the wood piece or area is prone to nicks and scratches, apply a second coat of polyurethane and allow it to dry for another 10 to 12 hours.

  5. Re-attach any hardware with a screwdriver. Gently remove any painter's tape.

  6. Tip

    Wash and dry your finished wood with mild soap and water, or a cleaning product designed for use on wood.