top of page

10 Types Of Finishes For Wooden Furniture... Just The Way You Want It

10 types of wooden furniture finishes... Exactly the way you want it!

Wooden furniture, floors and fixtures require protection to maintain their luster and last a long time. Wood surface treatments, which we can simply refer to as "polish" or "varnish", help preserve their natural luster and extend the life of wooden artifacts. Wood finishes help the wood preserve the beauty of its natural grain and provide protection.

Using a wood finish is also different from painting.

Varnishing hides the original beauty of the wood, while wood finishes enhance the look of the existing wood surface.

Wood finishes come in two types – the first type is applied in layers and leaves a coating. The second type of wood finish penetrates and does not leave a hard film because it is oil-based.

While wood finishes can transform an inanimate wooden object into a vibrant decorative element, they are often difficult to remove; especially those that soak into the grain.


It is usually mainly carnauba. However, these days you can find wax finishes with almost any type of wax. Applying wax is a relatively easy process, but requires maintenance and frequent application over several years.

Appearance: Matte. Polishing is needed for shine.

Ideal for: Flooring and furniture

Color: Matte to satin

Application tools: Cloth or brush or even spray


this type of wood polish creates a greater resistance to water in the wood and thus offers excellent protection. The wood can offer a warm and amber tone. However, it can be difficult to repair its damage.

Appearance: Enhances natural appearance

Ideal for: Cabinets, doors, furniture and floors

Color: satin with medium to high gloss

Application tools: Brush with natural bristles


If you know how to stain wood, you probably also know that wood stains are usually powders that you can mix with water or alcohol. Small particles of dye penetrate deep into the wooden surface, so you do not need to use a binder.

Appearance: Enhanced natural appearance

Ideal for: Suitable for furniture made of dense and shaped wood

Color: Rich and vivid colors

Application tools: Brush


Colors consist of pigment, carrier and binder. The carrier helps embed the pigment into the surface and the binder sticks it. Because they emphasize the grain, stained wood furniture, especially made of oak and ash, looks very attractive.

Appearance: Enhances the natural appearance, especially the grain pattern

Ideal for: Indoor and outdoor furniture

Color: Wide range of colors, mainly blue and green.

Application tools: Brush or chemical staining

French Polish

French polishing is a wood finishing process that usually involves the application of shellac. You can use it to create an extremely glossy finish with a rich depth that highlights the grain pattern. It is durable. However, it is also a labor-intensive process.

Appearance: Very high gloss

Ideal for: Furniture, musical instruments and decorative woodwork

Color: Deep and bright

Application Tools: Fabric

Water-based surface treatment

Water-based paints for wood dry quickly. However, water-soluble wooden surfaces cannot be cleaned with water. Water plays a supporting role in the finishing process. This surface treatment can provide sufficient protection.

Appearance: Natural shine

Ideal for: Decorative furniture and wooden and wooden floors

Color: Milky appearance

Application tools: Synthetic brushes


You can easily apply coatings to wood. You can find furniture lacquering in a wider range of colors and combinations of surface finishes. The finish quality ranges from glossy to high gloss.

Appearance: Shiny and glossy

Ideal for: Wood panelling, walls, doors and furniture

Color: Wide range of colors

Application tools: Brush or roller or spray

B. Factors to consider when choosing a wood finish

Due to the huge variety of wood finishes, it can be difficult to choose the right one. So you will need to consider several different factors when choosing a wood finish. Here is a list of what you should consider.

1. Type of project

The first factor to consider is the type of your project. The type of project will include consideration of the type of wood and its intended appearance. For example, if you're looking for an extremely glossy finish, you might consider using a wood varnish.

2. Exposure to sunlight and moisture

The impact on the environment is also an important factor. While some finishes show environmental shortcomings, others offer better durability. For example, varnishes offer excellent protection against ultraviolet light, heat and even everyday wear and tear. They also have a good waterproof wood treatment, making them suitable for outdoor furniture.

3. Skill level

You can apply the wood finish with a brush, cloth or spray device. You may need to apply multiple coats and add a binder or stain during the process. In other words, if you're a beginner, it's better to use easy-to-apply wood preservatives.

4. Ease of use

Again, using a paint-and-wipe wood preservative is much easier than choosing a complicated process like a French polish. For example, you can use Danish oil to easily add a protective layer to your wooden furniture.

5. Color

Shellacs and varnishes can cause a yellowish or yellow-orange discoloration, especially on dark woods such as mahogany. The color can darken over time, giving your furniture a deep and rich look. However, most water-based wood coatings keep the natural appearance of the wood intact. You can choose the finish depending on the desired color effect.

6. Required tools

Depending on the wood finishing method you choose, you will need a variety of tools, including thick and thin paint remover, sandpaper, sander, quality rag, natural bristle brush and spray equipment. Before choosing a method, make sure you have all the tools and can use them.

7. Durability

A durable wood finish should not only offer protection from sunlight and heat, but also from physical damage such as scratches, chemical abrasion and solvent damage. Different wood finishes offer different levels of durability. For example, wax offers excellent resistance to acids and alkalis, but is susceptible to damage from water, heat and sunlight. The varnish, on the other hand, offers overall good resistance.

8. Security

Wood finishes often contain various organic solvents that can be harmful to your health and the environment. Some of them may even be flammable. Lacquer is one of the most toxic surface treatments. Oil varnishes for wood do not contain solvents. However, none of the surface treatments are harmful after curing.

9. Sustainability

Solvent-based wood varnishes also pose a threat to the environment. Lacquers with thinners can release toxic fumes. Oil-based wood finishes come from renewable sources and are the most sustainable option.

10. Appearance

Lacquers and oils offer the natural look of wood. Varnishes and oils offer a natural-looking wood finish. Varnish, shellac, and lacquer are not easy to apply, but they do offer a deep and rich look. They will also deepen and darken over time. Varnishes are the best choice for high-gloss surfaces.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page