DIY: How To Refinish Any Piece of Furniture the Lazy-DIY Way

Turning auction finds into a useable Coffee Bar!

I love refinishing pieces that need new life in them or that I can use around my home, but to be honest, I’m lazy about it.  I hate sanding, I hate prep work.  When I want to do something, I just want to get down and do the actual thing.. NOT spend 5 hours on sanding every last piece of paint or finish off.  Keep reading for my 5 easy steps on how you can get your project done with minimal stress and work…





This is a fairly recent obsession.. brought on ironically, by my son breaking a few bones (see this post on why) and being much more housebound as a result.

Repurposing/refinishing furniture is always something that has intrigued me but also intimidated me as it seemed like so much work.  However, I found a post on how to use Annie Sloan chalk paint and determined to give it a try.  It also helped that I found some great furniture deals at a local auction and on craigslist.  Annie Sloan paint can be somewhat difficult to find due to her focus on selling through small businesses, but I recently found a distributor on Amazon that sells is, you can find colors and current prices on that here.

I did a test project with 2 wooden bar stools that I found for $5 and loved how the chalk paint worked.  The colors I used were Giverny Blue and Cream.  I did a very minimal sanding, painted on 2 coats of each color and then applied a clear finishing wax.  Here’s a before and after:


I then moved onto a kid’s rocking chair for my daughter Emily.  Again, just two coats of a Cream chalk paint and then a clear wax finish.  Here’s the before and after.


I also found a cute little wooden storage bench that I couldn’t resist finishing for my little daughter, who now uses it to hold all her treasures.  Here’s a before and after:


Why I love Chalk Paint

What I loved the most about the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint was how LITTLE prep you had to do.  No sanding to speak of, and the paint goes on so well!  I’m definitely more of a lazy DIYer as I hate the prep work and the stress of getting every last tiny bit of that paint/finish off before refinishing something, so this was perfect for me.

The BIG Project

After I got these test projects out of the way, I started on my REAL project: a Coffee & Tea Bar

I’ve wanted a Coffee/Tea Bar for a long time.  I just love the idea of having all the caffeine stuff in one set place that you can stumble to in the morning.  Especially for me.  I have three kids, four and under.  It doesn’t always mean a lot of sleep, so I need the caffeine for sure!

I found a table,  a set of wooden crates and a bunch of unused General Finishes Gel Stains at some local auctions. I was especially happy at that last find because that’s one of the top brands of Gel Stains that you can get. (And after trying other brands, just due yourself a favor and get the General Finishes. Way easier to use in every respect!)



For the crates and the legs of the table I used Annie Sloan Burgundy Chalk Paint. I used two coats on the table and one plus a little on the crates.  For the top of the table I used the General Finishes Georgian Cherry Gel Stain (which you can find on Amazon here).  For a top coat I tried mini-wax (look up the name), but I kept having problems with air bubbles so I went to a spray can poly finish (look up name) and that worked perfectly.  I did three coats total on everything and am really pleased with the result.

5 Steps to Refinishing the Lazy Way

So here are five easy steps to refinishing furniture the lazy way.  For this post, I’ll be using a Coffee Bar I made as an example:

Step One:

Gather your materials.  For this project I needed the following:


-3 wooden crates

-Paint Brush

-Foam Brush

Annie Sloan Burgundy Chalk Paint

-General Finishes Georgian Cherry Gel Stain

-MiniWax Water Based Polycrylic Clear Satin Protective Finish

-Tack Cloth

-Sand paper

-Mineral Spirits for Clean-up

Step Two:

Give the table a light sanding.  When I say light, I mean I did a one pass over it. Literally.  The beauty of certain brands of chalk paint and gel stain is that you can stain and paint right over stuff with no problem. This is after my light sanding:

Step Three:

Stain everything you want to stain and paint everything you want to paint.  Obviously that will depend on the project, but for mine I stained the top of the table and painted everything else with the Annie Sloan Burgundy Chalk Paint.

A note on stain,  I tried a Miniwax gel stain originally but I ran into problems with it probably due to me doing something wrong, so I then switched to General Finishes and it was a breeze compared to the other brand.  I think the Miniwax can work fine, but if you’re a straight up beginner or just want ease-of-use and high quality, I’d 100% recommend General Finishes.

Step Four:

Do Second Coats of the Paint & Stain.  I did two coats of the General Finishes Stain, and 2 coats of the Chalk Paint on the Table and Crates.

Step Five:

Finish.  Again I went for ease of use and used a MiniWax Water Based Polycrylic Clear Satin Finish.  I did three coats total.  The kind I used had you wait 30 minutes in-between each coat, and then 24 hours after the last coat to let it really set in.  It was ridiculously easy and the 30 minutes meant that I could do all the coats in one afternoon. The only “difficult” part was making sure there was no lint, dust or specks on the table, but even that wasn’t that hard.  The instructions on the can are very easy to follow and it was a breeze to work with.

And here’s the finished product!

Where to Get the Supplies:

Also, if you’re like me and hate making multiple trips to the store,  you can find the supplies on Amazon at the links below:

General Finishes Gel Stain

Tack Cloth

Sand Paper

MiniWax Polycrylic Spray

Foam Brushes

Mineral Spirits

Paint Brushes

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

And that’s it! I hope you have fun refinishing your next project and let me know how it goes in the comment section!

Leave a Reply

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