How to Refinish Wood Vanities

If you plan to remodel your bathroom but don't want to buy new cabinets, consider staining or painting them. Bathroom vanity refinishing is a relatively simple project. When you finish, the vanity will look like it's new. Refinishing a bathroom vanity is like redoing any other piece of furniture. Just make sure you use products designed to retard mildew growth. The products should also be moisture-resistant.

Give your bathroom a new look by refinishing the vanity.
  1. Go over the bathroom vanity with a cleaning product designed for wood. Remove all signs of hairspray, deodorant and other products that may accumulate over time.

  2. Remove drawer pulls and doorknobs with a screwdriver. Put the hardware inside a cabinet for safekeeping while you refinish the vanity.

  3. Place painter's tape on the wall around the vanity.

  4. Use coarse-grit sandpaper to remove old stain and paint from the vanity. Use either a small hand sander, or sand the vanity by hand. If you prefer not to sand as much, use a chemical paint stripper to remove the paint or stain. Apply the paint stripper, let it set the recommended time, and then wipe it off with a soft cloth.

  5. Sand the entire surface with fine-grit paper to make the surface satin smooth.

  6. Remove dust from the vanity, using a shop vacuum. Go over the vanity with a tack cloth to remove any dust that remains.

  7. Apply stain to the vanity with a soft cloth or a brush. Allow it to soak into the wood, and then wipe it off. Repeat if you want a darker stain. Skip this step if you are painting the vanity.

  8. Paint the cabinet with a primer. Allow the primer to dry. Give the vanity two coats of paint, allowing it to dry completely between coats.

  9. Apply a polyurethane finish designed for bathroom use, using a paintbrush. Brush with the grain. Allow the polyurethane to dry.

  10. Sand the surface lightly with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe off the grit with a tack cloth.

  11. Apply another coat of polyurethane. Let it dry before you reattach your cabinet hardware.


  • Use a face mask, protective goggles and gloves when you use sandpaper.
  • Allow plenty of ventilation when you use chemicals of any kind.
  • Read and follow all directions on all refinishing products.

About the Author

Denise Brown is an education professional who wanted to try something different. Two years and more than 500 articles later, she's enjoying her freelance writing experience for online resources such as Work.com and other online information sites. Brown holds a master's degree in history education from Truman State University.