5 Wood Stain Colors For Beautiful Furniture Finishes

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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To highlight the best characteristics of wood, you can select among a various range of wood stains. They are usually made to resemble the shades of mahogany, walnut, pine, oak, ebony and other wood varieties. As a result, the wood stains may provide your property with interior or exterior wood-sided house or furniture protection. Also, they provide photo-paint result with semi-transparent woody look and they can withstand to elements such as UV exposure or water damage for a longer time. This post will discuss about oil based and water based stains and the best colors of stains for your requirements.

What Is A Wood Stain?

The combination of pigments and dyes makes up the colorant of wood stains which are blended with a solvent. Whether you want a pastel or a bold highlight, the wood coloring has binders that help the tincture adhere to the wood. Usually, wood stain color is put during the final stage of the working process. So, the wood carpenters  must be conscious and careful about whether the wood stain will react well with the particular wood.

Speaking of stains, we know that it is hard to get a smooth finish. Wood coloring is done by applying pigment over it to change the wood color to the one you prefer and showcase the grain type of the wood you want to enhance. Also, the wood grain is enhanced by the staining bringing out the original pattern of the wood grain.

Types Of Wood Stains And Their Uses

1) Varnish Wood Stain

Varnish wood stain is of two type ,original or mixture of color for changing or improving wood color. Varnish wood stains are polyurethane-based, which gives them the strength to withstand water, heat and acid spills. This exact shade would perfectly complement woodwork projects such as a set of bedside tables or derelicts of old wood. Furthermore the chemical reaction will also go on in order to provide the protective coating from the newly formed wood color.

You have to  apply a thick enough coating to create a strong barrier when you paint a wooden surface. The tradition of the wood stain is also eliminated in this type of varnish. Instead of using a two-step process the previous one involved, the application of a wood stain and then a clear or glossy varnish, this varnish has replaced with all-over only-one-step varnish. Also, this wood dye dries fast enough, so you can do the job faster.

On the positive end, this varnish provides you with a traditional, natural appearance and is also unexpected in dirt and moisture. The real deal, every wood stain will stain differently based on the type of wood the stain is applied to and the finishes obtained. If a piece of wood naturally does its dark and coffee brown pattern, then darker pigmentation in the wood stain will make it look into this side. Knowing that varnish wood color stain will cause a yellowish color cast after some time, you should watch out for it.

2) Lacquer Wood Stain

The decidedly super-fast lacquer wood dries within a quarter of an hour after the application. Moreover, a brushed finish to other sorts of stain stains are insignificant and therefore the stains penetrate the wood. Having lacquer wood color stain in your arsenal, you don't have to use it more than once. Lacquer thinner can be used in these kinds of woods to deal with the air bubbles trapped as the wood stain dries.

In some guidelines, temperature control is advised for the room in which these woods are, in order to reduce the probability of air bubbles being trapped on wood. Working with lacquer is challenging because it dries fast. While that may sound a bit tedious, it might be a perfect way of spending weekend time.

During your search for supplies for your particular project, remember to choose a certainty a lacquer wood finishing. It should not be applied on oil-based stains, and the smell is quite strong, which is not very desirable. Take a look at this wood coloring stain in the area where it receives enough sunlight and air. Second purpose, you should buy wood that is well finished and smooth cut. This work is very professional and only highly skilled carpenters can deal with it on a regular basis.

3) Water-Based Stain

Rather than harsh thinners which contain chemicals, water-based stains usually use pure water to dissolve. In addition, they act as a substitute with regard to the environmental effects as they result in safe and clean living conditions for life on our planet. Furthermore, it works nice for wood, which has been cut unfinished, or has been internalized. Generally, this also dries out fast; however, every time, different kinds of wood behave in a different fashion, thus, it is hard to manipulate it.

Now, let's see how it works, and either on a vertical or horizontal surface, break the imposing unit in separate components, and apply the solution sectionally per the component. For interior wood applications it is advisable to create a mordant that will gradually disappear. Nevertheless, the solvent may result in the varnishes turning into light red, brown or sand shades and so the potential finish of your furniture may end up lighter.

An addition to this, water stains are semi-transparent wood stain colors. Further, the non-durability factor comes not as a shock as they can just be washed away without resistance when in contact with the soap and water and cannot handle the impact of the sun UV. These are the best options when you want to achieve a refined finish which is high-end, rich and dark in color tones. Varying toppings makes it the most suitable one you can either use on solid color furniture or you can also use it in your already existing aged furniture. 

4) Gel stain

Gel stains are the bane of anyone who wants to obtain a smooth finish. This is a ferrous sulfate (iron allowed) solution in a thick jelly-like look of the pigments. As a consequence, it performs as a viscosity. Thus, it may be coupled with other paints. Nevertheless, these are not the only reasons why I perceive the sense of the wood with my eyes when I look at it but also I touch its texture with my fingers. Also the non drip paint type suits the vertical walls because their thickness is adequate to cause no dripping or running.

Thus they dry very slowly, and you need to wash the wood as well as other materials carefully. And some creative pens differ from others, they are layered transparency, as you write more. The popular Minwax brand is one of the most recommended stain to use in all pieces of wood. Let the beautiful side of the gel stain emerge but they will not be the wood stains you see in your furniture.

Besides, the woods that absorb well like oak and black walnut, will not get a benefit from the types of finishes that tend to move in one place only. However, its thickness is a hindrance for those with little cutting equipment that can do some uncommon and difficult processes. However, besides preventing seepage from micro egresses they also ensure that the finishes they provide are exceptional. This notably does not need any equipment to diffuse some steam. Consequently, this salt scrub could be smudged on a cloth and circled on your body with the damp cloth.

5) Oil-Based Wood Stain Colors

Among different types, this is the most used color stain for wood. This is their greatest benefit for larger characters, they go deeper into the wood. Oil stains are often preferred due to the fact they rub on and leave a beautiful glossy look. The viability of a good wood oil type finish against all elements it faces remains an obviously. It's the rightest choice because it creates a good and strong shell.

Rather than trying out different oil stains to find out the best oil stains to apply on your floor, you can always grab a few samples for free from the store near you. At the same time, they offer natural shapes of stains for interior woods of your projects. Wood stain brands wanting to accomplish great tones like a classic oil stains result, oil stains are a definite way to go.

Wood Oils always stay on dilute substances according to different ingredients which sometimes differ on different types of wood. As a result you will need to ensure the oil stains ingredients are safe and suitable for the wood you want to protect first before you would begin to use them. Said that, being that the oil stains penetrates into too deep part of the wood, they need binders to stop them from being absorbed into the wood to prevent further damages.

Wood Stain Colors

Wood color stains and tones can be different depending on the furniture they are being applied onto, According on the color experts. The list below gives you the color stain colors of interior and exterior wood.

1) Interior

a) Wood Stain Tint: Black

Among the easiest of ways to bring out a contemporary and trending look is going for a solid black. Black interiors with nudes have always been absolute and endearing. Besides having black kitchen cabinets, black floors equally work well. Black floors look trendy among the design hunters, and the color mask lasts long to built-in protection of a day to day usage.

b) Wood Stain Tint: Blue

The blue color for the stain interior wood is excellent for tinting interior wooden trims, steps and stairs and the cabinets. The blue toning stain is pigmented in ultra-fine and allows to look through them. Blue is aimed to be the color that will define your room as elegant. Blue is a cool undertone hence, it synchronizes with any color including gray and brown.

c) Wood Stain Tint: White

Will white ever go out of style? As far as interiors are concerned, the marble is valuable for making of doors, floors, stairs and different furniture. Furthermore, white will be looking classy and beautiful in almost any DIY project or an old piece of furniture. Its deep-colored richness is sure to give your house an exterior (and show the veins of) good quality. White tones being applied on mahogany, oak, and pine wood can also be wonderful.

2) Exterior

a) Wood Stain Tint: Gray

Nowadays, gray wood stains are getting influential power because of the fact that they make wood look where the effects of rain, snow, and long years of exposure show. Mostly, gray stain that is applied to front and back porches, and front decks. It also does not exactly spoil the old decks but adorns them with a twist of modernity. Gray stains, like spill or stain, are very semi-transparent and will let the natural tone to appear through.

b) Wood Stain Tint: Red

Red stain suits both small and big objects, therefore it is perfect not only for a deck but also for a gazebo or pergolayes - as a matter of fact, this vibrant and bold red color option can be utilized at any time. This possibility not only will be great indoors, but it also looks amazing on any other outdoor wood projects. You can also paint your kids' swing red and have some memorable family moments while at the same time. Also, its transparency is half pure, so this enhances wood grain and gives the red surface a unique look.

How To Properly Stain Wood

Staining is an inherent process. But, after staining, there is no turning point, no vote reversal. Hence, when trying to avoid the negative impacts of stains on you, your furniture is also at a risk of damages. The other one is application methods which also are used. First off, we will give you some of the best secrets of how to stain your own furniture, so that you too can be a proud owner of a repurposed piece of furniture.

With no doubt, you should be doing a test run on a small piece of the furniture and also doing it somewhere you might expect that there is no direct spraying that might have any effect on the furniture.

Here are some tips:


    • Apply conditioner before staining to prevent blotches on the wood.
    • Properly shake the product before use in a well-ventilated and lit area.
    • Apply the paint using a brush or a cloth.
    • Using a thick brush spread a spot of the chosen wood color stain evenly.
    • Remove the extra or dripping wood tint.
    • Once the stained wood is dried completely, apply a finish for better results in the long run.

What To Consider When Buying A Wood Tint

Every stain reacts in a different manner while dealing with different kinds of wood. The next section we will list some of the things you should consider before purchasing stains.

i) Good For The Environment

Most stains used today are low-concentrated organic compounds that make them easier to disperse. Some of the compounds that you use to make a paint and stain also gives out strong vapors. On inhalation they can provoke the same symptoms as during direct inhaling like headaches, dizziness, and nausea. Therefore, it's important that you should wear protective equipment to guard where you are dealing with messes and paints.

ii) What You Want To Stain

There are interior stains and exterior woodwork stains as we talked about it before. Each of the woods also has different features and reacts to staining in their own way. Check out the wooden stain, make sure it is of the coat that goes along with your house. For you, it indeed is essential to possess a tone that isn’t entirely off but not too bland also. Decks should have the same color with kitchen cabinets, but a different one.

iii) Aftercare

Once you choose the desired Wood stain, there will always be aftercare. There are wood dyes to fill indoor stains that are not resistant to UV lights or water. Just as luminous as the just painted rails of the old-wooden house. In some cases a wood stain finish might require higher maintenance than the others do.

Wood stains need you to varnish them so these can remain satiny and last longer. So, the only way to salvage the furniture items is to act promptly, otherwise they decay over time and if the process was deep, the furniture might be destroyed.

Bottom Line

The individual colors of different wood stains are also preferred differently in various situations. Stain can be clear which will make stand out of the wood and show natural element of the wood. Following are many different wood stains that one can choose from – they vary in color and shade as well. Besides, they also are very fast drying. Make sure you have free samples—which you can take with you home—to let you choose from all possible stain color without doubts.

Lastly, always make sure to have your gloves, closed shoes, a mask and an apron or non-soiled clothes on your person before embarking on your outdoor furniture project.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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