Ikea Hack! – Staining Our Furniture Ikea Black Brown

Our apartment is mostly furnished with ikea furniture.  We have a bunch of things that we bought with wedding money and the rest was stuff that we each had from before we moved in together. We really like the black brown color so most of our stuff has that finish.  However, we also had a chopping block from Ari’s single days that was in the plain unfinished wood color.

This is what it looked like:

After we got married we needed storage for all our wonderful gifts so we got a china cabinet and a small cabinet for me to put my candles on.  The chopping block didn’t look good next to all the black brown so we decided to stain it.  It was so easy to do because it was already unfinished.

Step 1: very light sanding just to make sure the stain sets in (and to remove any stains from before since we have served food from here before)

Step 2: Stain! We used General Finishes Gel Stain in Java.  We only needed a pint for two coats on the whole thing.  It’s important to let the stain dry overnight in between each coat.   Apply using foam brushes.

Step 3: Varnish.  After letting the stain have a couple of days to dry, we finished with Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane.  We did one coat on the whole thing and then a second coat on the top since we are using it at a buffet. Also apply using foam brushes.

Step 4: Done, just make sure to let it dry.


Look at how well it matches the real black brown! You can barely tell the difference!  My only comments for those who are interested in also doing the black brown stain is that it really comes out more like a paint than a stain.  The wood grain from underneath doesn’t show through as much as I would want it to.  Overall I think this is the best that is out there right now.  Ikea used to sell paint to match but they stopped doing that.  Anyone else try to stain their ikea furniture?

Happy Friday!

Hayley