Dark Walnut Stained Entry Table, The Easy Cheater Method

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Furniture Makeovers, Tutorials

Learn how to use a Dark Walnut Stain on a gorgeous Entry Table, and get the easy Cheater Method!

I have a very severe form of ADDD.  Attention Deficit Decorating Disorder.  We have plenty of the real ADD/ADHD in my home.  This is a real disorder.  I just finally gave it a medical name.  I picked a room to FINISH (hello where are my stairs now????  Coming later).  My Entry and Living Room area.  And I am getting it DONE.   Here is some of the proof, with plenty of posts to follow.  Meet my Dark Walnut Stained Entry Table.

The table has sat in our entry area, greeting everyone that graced our home for 10 years.  When she first moved in, she greeted everyone with a cheery “Hello”.  The last few years, she has gone from a quiet “hi” to a grumble.  It was time for a makeover.

Stripper. I used Zinnser magic strip. It is always back ordered on Amazon.  No one around me sells it.  If you can find it your area, consider yourself lucky. This product puts all the other clean strippers (clean strippers????) to shame.  (pun intended). 

Now for the How To, The GTC Way.  After the existing paint was free and clear, I gave the table a thorough sanding.  For a very smooth finish, do your last sand with the highest grit sandpaper you can find.  Then use a tack cloth to get every last piece of dust removed.   Then I used a product called “Wood Conditioner”.  You can purchase it at the stain department.  It is quick and easy to apply and will help the wood accept the stain.  Even with all these tips, sometimes there are areas that don’t accept the stain as well.  They have issues.  I have a cheater, workaround solution for this.

Wait until the Dark Walnut Stain is completely dry.  Here is where you can use the cheater method.  Use a very SMALL amount of Modern Masters colorant that is similar to the stain you used.  I used Coffee Bean.  Very lightly brush it onto the areas where the stain did not take.  I like to take it a little further and darken some of the edges where over time, it would naturally be darker.  This is a great trick with stains. Sometimes you will get patches where the stain will not be absorbed as evenly in wood.  By the way, my career as a hand model was total fail.  I could never understand why.

After all my hard work, I didn’t want anything to mar the gorgeous finish my table was now sporting.  I used CeCe Caldwell’s Endurance.  This stuff is amazing.  It is a clear coat, non-yellowing Polyurethane that can be easily wiped on with a rag, staining rag, or applied with a brush.  It is almost zero VOC.  I am sensitive to chemical smells, and there is practically no smell.  I applied three coats.  When the last coat is dry.  Use the non inked side of a grocery bag to burnish it and completely smooth the finish.  Super easy, free trick that the sand paper company doesn’ t want you to know about.

Now the table is back in her glory. What a difference the Dark Walnut Stain made on my Entry Table!  And no one will know that you used a little bit of a cheater method with it!   She even has a different mirror to show off her new grown up look.

My table is greeting people at these lovely parties:

Prodigal Pieces

House on the Way



  1. Jayne

    Just beautiful!!!

  2. Heidi @ Decor & More

    Awesome tips, Karen, and the table is GORGEOUS! Thanks for sharing your brilliance!
    xo Heidi

  3. elaine simmons

    That is wonderful! Did you know you can get an even stain by using a wood conditioner? It evens out the darkness and lightness before you stain.

  4. cassie

    oh now that is stunning! love the shape and love its new look!

  5. Brady D

    Thanks for the tips, the table is beautiful. Is the grain on the left drawer (and other places) actually wavy all on its own, or is that an effect you did by hand with the modern masters?

    • GTC

      Hi Brady, the grain on the left drawer and sides where it is wavy is part of the natural wood grain. The table wasn’t really meant to be stained with grain showing, so the wood was a bit inferior. I really like the variation in grade though, and the imperfections just added to the overall character. Thank you so much for the sweet compliment!

  6. Catherine

    What a difference—that is one beautiful console!

  7. Sayuri @Vinatge Breeze

    Wow! I LOVE your table!!! Beautiful!!!
    Thank you for sharing your great tips, burnishing with a grocery bag!?
    Interesting, I’m sure I’ll try that method.

    Have a great week!!

  8. Jodie

    What a gorgeous table! I love the new product tips too- might have to give them a try! Amazing job : )

  9. Jeannie

    Hi Karen, great job as usual.

  10. Jan

    It’s gorgeous. Thanks so much for using a dark wood stain. I think it truly brings out the beauty in the wood. A softly glowing dark finished piece of wood furniture against a light wall – perfection!

  11. brooke

    This is beautiful!! and I really really want to try out that stripper!!
    Thank you for linking up to my furniture and paint party!!


  12. Nancy @ Artsy Chicks Rule

    Gorgeous!!! And oh my gosh….I have ADDD too!! Thanks for the medical term! 😉
    BTW, does picking a room to finish work? I should really try that. lol


  13. Abby

    So pretty! The wood look is lovely, and the stain color is gorgeous!

  14. Pamela

    Love it Karen!

  15. Angela

    Could u please tell us the missing pieces to this beautiful job?
    What Stain colors and brand (hey brands matter right?)
    Wood conditioner brand too?
    Seriously no sanding between top coat and what sandpaper grits did u use through the process. Please:)
    I like the subtle beautiful variation in the tones.
    Thank you!!
    Dying to get my table makeover done!!
    Been searching for the look I want n I love yours!

    • GTC

      Hi Angela, I used Minwax Wood Conditioner, followed by Minwax Dark Walnut Stain. I don’t know if brand matters a whole lot, unless you are really getting into very high end pieces. I did sand the stained finish when totally dry, after 24 hours with a 320 grit sand paper, very lightly, then used a tack cloth to remove the dust. I applied several coats of CeCe Caldwell’s Endurance and sanded very lightly between coats (I was trying to achieve perfection, this isn’t always necessary). For the final coat, when it dried, I lightly buffed it with a piece of non inked side brown paper (like a grocery bag). This is a great trick for smoothing out a finish without scratching it. You can see more on this DIY video I did of how to use it. https://redouxinteriors.com/2013/10/cece-caldwells-mesa-sunset-and-how-to-use-endurance-video/ Thank you so much for the really sweet comments!

  16. Hannah

    This is great!! I always avoid stripping and/or staining like the plague. Great solution! 🙂

  17. keya

    Oh my, I don’t know how I missed this one, but it’s got me now. I LOVE it. perfection.

    • GTC

      Oh thank you so much Keya! I so love that entry table. If I do say so myself 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DIY Paint Sold Here!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This