How To Refinish A Coffee Table Without Sanding? [Follow My Guide]




Here are some tools and supplies that will make your project easier:

  • All-purpose cleaning spray and a cloth or sandpaper towels.
  • 60-grit, 120-grit, and 360-grit sandpaper
  • An orbit sander or A block sander

If you are talking about a natural wood Refinish Coffee Table with some kind of clear polish surface or lacquer. You can use a polishing product or revitalizer polish like Old wood Refinish Coffee Table. Additional to a similar question- How to Refinish a Coffee Table without Sanding?

How To Refinish A Coffee Table Without Sanding

Refinish Coffee Table Without Sanding

Refinishing a coffee table without sanding is possible with methods like using chemical paint strippers. You will first want to thoroughly clean the surface with a product such as Krud Kutter. Second, spray at least two thin even coats of a good spray primer like Krylon For Plastic, and then paint.

I think that spray paint is your best bet for this since it will adhere better than a surface roll on. Let’s read my whole picture so that you can easily refinish your coffee table.

Why Refinish Without Sanding?

Some homeowners like this system because it is naturally easier and faster than sanding. If you have any area that has been damaged by moisture or pet stains, refinishing without sanding. It can help reduce damage and make these places look like new again. Some table wood finishes last longer when they aren’t subjected to vigorous sanding. 

Necessary Tools For Refinishing Without Sanding

Necessary Tools For Refinishing Without Sanding

Refinishing a piece of wood furniture is basically a makeover without paint. Refinishing involves restoring the wood table to its natural beauty, bringing out the look and feel of real wood and giving furniture new life. 

Here are some tools and supplies that will make your project easier and more effective:

  • All-purpose cleaning spray and a cloth or sandpaper towels.
  • 60-grit, 120-grit, and 360-grit sandpaper
  • An orbit sander or A block sander 
  • Dry tack cloth
  • Stain (or primer and paint)
  • Paint and varnish refinish (stripper)
  • Putty knife
  • Paint Stripper
  • Paint Stripper: You can choose a good paint stripper to refinish thick coats of old paint or stain. This is often a painful and messy process, but a good product can make all the variance. A thin, water-like paint stripper is helpful for pieces that need a little cleaning, but don’t need a heavy thick paint stripping product. You can follow this when fixing a cupped table.
  • A power sander: There are many kind of sanders and they are used for different task. Such as a belt sander can be used to fix a warped picnic table. If your project is bigger than a piece of paper. This project is worth it to have a power sander. It cuts down on time, but also creates a much smoother wood surface than you can achieve by hand power sanding.  If you are thinking Can you restain coffee table without sanding it? A power sander can help you to set the stain properly.
  • Good clothes: Lint-free good clothes are essential for wiping up gel stains, or cleaning off sand dust. You can use lint-free cloth during the process of fix a warped picnic table. Old cotton t-shirts work great for this, since they have a fine texture and won’t leave stroke marks. 
  • Pushpins: Simple push pins are a great way to lift small objects so you can reach the edge of what you are painting or refinishing.  For heavy objects you can use painter’s pyramids, these can hold up to 220lbs.  

How To Refinish A Coffee Table Without Sanding? [Step By Step]

Refinishing a coffee table, if it is a thrift-store find or an old piece of furniture at homes. You can bring it back to life. The easy way to refinish a coffee table without sanding is shown below with step by step points about How do you restore a wood coffee table without sanding it?

Part-1: Sanding Off The Old Finish

How To Refinish A Coffee Table Without Sanding

Step-1: Pick A Easy-To-Clean Area To Work In Or Put Down A Drop Sheet. 

You will be making a mess as you remove the coffee table. Work outside or somewhere like a garage if you can, or put down a drop sheet, tarp, or plastic sheet to catch the dust from sanding and protect the table from spills. 

If you don’t have a great work range or a few kinds of drop sheets to utilize. You’ll  put down 2-3 covering layers of daily paper or indeed make a drop sheet by taping a few plastic trash packs together. You need to follow this when moving a pool table to install carpet.

Step-2: Clean The Wood Surface Of The Table With A Mild Soap And Water Solution.

Blend 2-3 drops of tender soap, such as a mellow fluid dish cleanser, into a container or bowl of water. Splash a clean cloth within the cleanser arrangement and wring out plenty of water until it’s not trickling. Rub down the entire coffee table with the damp tack cloth to clean water off dust and grime.

You could also use a special soap made for cleaning wood furniture, such as Murphy’s oil soap. If you are doing so, take after the enlightening on the bottle for mixing it with water to create a cleaning arrangement. But you can use a pH-neutral cleaner to clean the surface when fixing a marble table top.

Step-3: Remove the finish by sanding the coffee table with a coarse-grit sandpaper.

Attach a sheet of coarse-grit liquid sandpaper, like 40- or 60-grit sandpaper, to a sanding block or electric sander. Start sanding, going with the grain of the wood furniture, until you remove all the original finish and expose all the bare wood furniture. Sanding of the old finish is important during the process of fixing a glass top on a wooden dining table.

If there are any hard-to-reach ranges, such as engraved legs or sides of the coffee table, overlay up a laminate furniture piece of liquid sandpaper into a small square and sand those areas by hand.

Step-4: Wipe Down The Entire Coffee Table With A Clean Cloth To Remove The Wood Furniture Dust.

Use a tack cloth or other clean water, soft cloth to wipe away all the dust from sanding. This will allow you to better see the exposed wooden furniture and continue with sanding and preparing the wood surface for a new original finish.

A tack cloth is a cloth specifically made for cleaning up wood furniture dust. You’ll be able to buy one at a domestic enhancement center, a carpentry supply shop, or online. In case you don’t have one, something like a microfiber cloth or an old cut-up T-shirt will work.

Step-5: Smooth The Bare Wood Furniture Surface By Sanding It Again With Fine-Grit Sandpaper.

Put a sheet of fine-grit liquid sandpaper, like 120- or 240-grit sandpaper, on your sanding block or electric sander. Sand down the entire coffee wood table, going with the grain, until it is completely smooth.

Stop sanding periodically and run a hand over the whole coffee wood table to feel for rough spots. Keep sanding and feeling the wood table until it feels like it has a uniform smoothness.

Step-6: Clean Off The Coffee Table With Mineral Spirits To Get Rid Of Fine Wood Furniture Dust.

Wipe off the lax dust with your tack cloth or other soft cloth. Dampen a rag with mineral paint spirits and wipe down the entire coffee table to clean it and prepare it for finishing.

Wear a face mask when you apply inorganic spirits so you don’t inhale the fumes. If you are working inside, open up any doors and windows you can to air the space.

Part-2: Applying A New Finish

Step-1: Finish The Coffee Table With Wood Furniture Oil If You Like The Natural Look Of The Wood.

Apply a natural wood furniture oil, like tung oil, teak oil, or Danish oil, to a clean cloth. Rub the oil into the coffee table with the cloth, going with the grain, until you have applied oil to all the bare wood furniture. Let the coffee table dry overnight, then apply another coat of oil if you want to bring out the colors of the wood furniture more. A question arrives – How to you refinish a coffee table without stripping it?

To refinish a coffee table without stripping it, clean the surface thoroughly and apply a bonding primer. You can then paint or stain the table to achieve your desired finish.

Step-2: Stain The Coffee Table If You Want A Darker Or Different-Colored Wood Furniture Finish. 

Can I stain a coffee table without sanding? Well, apply a coat of the wood furniture stain of your choice with a 4 in (10 cm) paintbrush using long, smooth strokes and going with the grain. Wipe off any excess stain with a clean cloth, then let the stain dry time for as long as the instructions on the packaging recommend. Can I stain over stain without sanding? Though it is possible to stain over a stain but you may need to sand lightly for a better result. 

If you want the original finish to be darker, you can apply 1-2 additional coats of stain after the first coat dries, wiping off excess stain after each coat of paint. Make sure to let the second coat dry time before you apply a third.

Step-3: Varnish The Coffee Table If You Want A Clear Protective Finish.

Use a 4 in (10 cm) paintbrush to apply a polyurethane or polycrylic wood varnish table of your choice. Go with the grain and use long, straight strokes to apply an even coat all over the coffee dining room table. Let the stain dry for as long as the manufacturer’s instructions recommend, then apply another coat of paint if you want added protection or more shine.

Varnish is a transparent protective original finish for the wood furniture industry. It comes in matte, semi-gloss, and glossy differently, so you can choose whether you want the coffee wood table to look more natural or shiny.

Step-4: Paint The Coffee Table If You Want It To Be A Totally Different Color.

Now here is the answer to your question, how to paint coffee table without sanding or priming?. Apply a layer of primer to the wood using a 4 in (10 cm) paintbrush and let foam brushes dry for 1 hour. Chalk Paint over the primer using a paint of your choice, working with the grain and using long, even strokes. Let the paint dry for 4-8 hours, then add a second coat of paint if you can still see any of the primer through the chalk paint.

You can use either oil-based or latex-based paint for the coffee wood table. Keep in mind that oil-based paints take up to 8 hours to dry, while latex gloves paints only take about 4. Latex gloves paint is easier to clean up after, as you can just rinse out your paintbrush with water. Oil-based paint requires paint thinner to remove. You can also use paint when fixing the wobbly tv tray table.

Provide Detailed Guide 

While refinishing a table is not a complicated DIY project, completing each how to refinish a wood table step is crucial to attaining a high-quality and long-lasting finish. Giving the stripper enough time to work before removing an old coating, properly preparing the table with a thorough sanding, and applying the stain using the appropriate applicator are all crucial to achieving the best results with a wood furniture refinishing project.

Curious About Refinishing Veneer Tables ? Check This Out for Details!

How Long Does It Take To Refinish A Coffee Table Without Sanding? 

Refinishing a coffee table without sanding is a convenient option for those looking to give their wood furniture a fresh look without the hassle of sanding. On average, this sanding process takes around 1 to 2 days to complete. The first step involves thoroughly cleaning the table’s wood surface to remove any dirt, grime, or old oil finish. 

Once clean water, you’ll need to apply a suitable primer to ensure good adhesion for the new oil finish. After allowing the primer to dry time, usually for a few hours, you can apply your chosen paint or oil finish. Drying times may vary depending on the products you use.

Tips To Maintain Your Newly Refinished Coffee Table

Tips To Maintain Your Newly Refinished Coffee Table

Maintaining a newly refinished coffee table is easy with these tips. Regular dusting, using coasters, and avoiding spills can help preserve the original finish. Reapplying a protective coating every few years will keep your table looking fresh and beautiful.

After putting in the effort to refinish your coffee table. It’s essential to maintain its beauty and functionality. To keep it looking pristine, start by dusting it regularly with a soft cloth to prevent dirt and debris from scratching the wood surface. Using coasters for drinks and avoiding placing hot items directly on the table can help prevent heat and moisture damage. 

Can You Refinish Any Type Of Coffee Table Without Sanding?

Refinishing a coffee table without sanding is a viable option for many tables, but it’s essential to consider the table’s current condition and the desired oil finish. This method works best when the existing shiny finish is in good shape, without significant peeling or damage. If the table’s surface is smooth and clean water, you can often skip the sanding step. 

However, it’s crucial to ensure the wood surface is clean water and free from debris or residue before applying a new original finish. Some finishes may adhere better with minimal surface preparation, making this approach suitable for various coffee table types. Always assess the table’s condition and the requirements of your chosen finish to determine whether sanding can be avoided.

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Refinishing Without Sanding

Refinishing wood furniture without sanding can be a convenient alternative, but it’s not without its potential pitfalls. One common mistake to avoid is skipping wood surface preparation. Even though you’re bypassing sanding, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean water and degrease the wood furniture’s surface to ensure the new oil finish adheres properly. 

Common Mistakes To Avoid While Refinishing Without Sanding

Another mistake is using the wrong gel stain product. Always choose paints, primers, or finishes that are compatible with the material and the existing shiny finish on the wood furniture.

Rushing the sanding process is another error to steer clear of. Take your time to apply each coat evenly and allow adequate drying time between coats. Patience ensures a smoother, more durable oil finish. 

How Does The Finished Coffee Table Look Like?

The finished look of a coffee table is a creative canvas where you can express your style and preferences. It largely depends on the refinishing method and materials used. If you opt for a natural wood finish, the table will showcase the wood’s grain and texture, lending a warm and classic appeal to your space. 

On the other hand, applying a coat of paint can transform the table into a colourful centrepiece, matching your room’s decor.

You have the choice between a glossy or matte finish. Which can impart a modern or traditional feel. The final appearance is a reflection of your unique vision and the techniques employed during the refinishing sanding process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Grit Sandpaper For Refinishing A Table?

Begin sanding the entire wood furniture surface with coarse-grit liquid sandpaper (80 grit), then progress to medium-grit sandpaper (150 grit), and then to a fine-grit liquid sandpaper (220 grit) before you stain. When sanding, sand the entire wood table with each grit before moving on to the next grit.

What Is The Best Way To Sand A Coffee Table?

The best way to sand a coffee table is to start with coarse sandpaper to remove old finish or imperfections, then progressively use finer grits to achieve a smooth surface. Finish with a fine-grit sandpaper for a polished look.

What Kind Of Paint Do You Use On A Coffee Table?

You should use either latex or chalk paint on a coffee table for a durable and stylish finish.

What Are The Alternative Methods For Refinishing A Coffee Table Without Sanding?

Alternative methods for refinishing a coffee table without sanding include using chemical paint strippers, liquid deglossers, or applying a bonding primer before painting.

Can I Use Chalk Paint Or Milk Paint To Refinish A Coffee Table Without Sanding?

Yes, you can use chalk paint or milk paint to refinish a coffee table without sanding by first cleaning the surface thoroughly and then applying the paint directly. These paints adhere well to many surfaces without the need for extensive sanding.

Will The Result Be The Same As If I Had Sanded The Coffee Table First?

The result may not be exactly the same as sanding, but using chalk paint or milk paint without sanding can still yield a beautiful, distressed or textured finish with its own unique charm.


At last, I can say that you can refinish your coffee table without sanding, if you read my whole picture about How to Refinish a Coffee Table without Sanding. Your results will most likely look TERRIBLE and will not be very durable or last very long. But this is what will happen when you skip the prep work which is always the most important part of any successful and durable refinish. My honest recommendation would be to take the extra 20–40 minutes and just sand the piece.

By the way, If you have any questions then you can comment in this article. I will solve it as soon as possible. So, carry on with your work. I am here with you. Best of luck.

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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