Different Wood Finishes For Home Decor

Do you know why wood loses its luster over time?

Several factors like moisture, light, and daily use can result in the deterioration of wood over time. Wood finishing is the process of replenishing the natural grain and lustrous wooden aesthetic. Finish refers to the protective coating applied to the wood to improve its durability and accentuate its look. With an increased life span, wood finishes transform an otherwise dull wooden artifact into a gleaming addition to your home decor. 

There are essentially two types of wood finishes – surface finish and penetrating finish. The surface finish involves several layers of coating. Penetrating finishes are oil-based and do not leave a hard film atop the surface as they soak inside the wood.

Best finishes for your wood furnishing!

Here are some of the best wood finishes that could transfigure your simple wood furniture into luxurious furnishing. 

Shellac finish 

Easier to apply and quick to dry, this finish uses shellac as a natural wax providing a glossy finish to the wood. It is available in various colors and you can remove it easily using alcohol since it does not do well against moisture or alcohol.

Stain finish

Stain finish improves upon the original color of the wood. Often, the finish is accompanied by additional coatings since it does not protect the wood. Wood stains come in a variety of colors and perform better when they are darker than the original color of the wood. The stains are usually applied with another coating to provide better protection. 

Water-based finish

This finish is thin in consistency and dries easily since the water evaporates quickly. Water-based finishes are natural in appearance and great at adhering to the surface of the wood. They provide a clean finish with less odor than their oil-based finish counterparts. 

Oil-based finish

An oil-based finish enhances the original appearance of the wood. The natural oils present in the wood get replaced by the finish, which accentuates the natural grain. It takes longer for it to dry, and emanates a strong odor compared to a water-based finish. It is effective against an alcohol spill and helps retain the natural aesthetic of the wood.

Wax finish

Wax provides a smooth and consistent finish. Although easy to apply, the protection provided by a wax finish is the bare minimum. Consequently, they need to be re-applied several times. It is usually used in restoring old or antique furniture pieces. You can easily remove a wax finish using alcohol. 


Varnish is one of the most commonly used forms of wood finish. It consists of resin, oil, and a solvent. It is highly durable and acts as a wood sealant. This finish can be colored or transparent and offers protection against UV.


Lacquers are known to create durable and sheeny finishes. The coating is applied through the spray-on method. It reaches deep within the material, nourishes the grain, and heightens the beauty of the wood. The spraying and thin solvent help them dry rather quickly.

Now that you’ve become familiar with the various types of wood finishes, what kind of wood finish do you want? Matte, burnished, durable, or glossy – prioritize the finishing that best suits your type of wood and needs. 

By: RimaaBhushan

Creatives By Rimaa (Founder and Chief Designer)

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