How to Make Furniture Look Like Wood

A refinished dresser to that has made the furniture look like wood again!

efinishing furniture has to be one of those things that people either love or hate. I'm certainly not sitting here pretending I love it by any means. What I will sit here and tell you is that the price of refinishing pre-loved pieces is something I can get behind. Generally, it's a heck of a lot less expensive than buying something brand new. You need to be on the prowl on FBM to score that epic deal - something free is ideal, but let's be honest, we'll take a dresser for $30. Evidently, $30 is how much I scored what I thought was a fully wood dresser. Spoiler alert: This dresser wasn't fully wood. It had a nice layer of veneer that someone sanded right through. Oh, and the wood grain beneath the veneer went in the opposite direction. Needless to say, I needed to figure out how to make this piece of furniture look like wood and not like it was damaged goods. Challenge accepted.

A dresser that has been refinished to look like wood again! Stained a beautiful colour.

What’s Up with the Commitment to the Not 100% Wood Furniture

Yeah, that’s a fair question. We almost pulled chute and bought a dresser for $600. I couldn’t do it. This piece is for the nursery. The girl’s rooms are small. By the time this little babe is 2 or 3, she’ll get a big girl bed and the dresser will be a goner. There won’t be any space for it, and her closet is gigantic so she doesn’t need one (except when she’s itty bitty so I have a place to change her diapers). So for 2/3 years, we are sucking it up and figuring out how to make this furniture look like wood. To be fair, I almost painted it. Which would have been a shame considering it was already painted white (state we received it in is below). Which was previously blue, black, and some kind of stain. Thank goodness I was whispered the solution to my problem!
Original dresser before refinishing furniture to make it look like wood. It was a white french-style dresser

Retique it For A Faux Wood Finish 

Okay, the solution I was given to making my furniture look like wood was to try Retique it (DISCOUNT CODE BELOW!). I was SO apprehensive about using this Retique it product myself. Although the dresser was only $30, the Retique it came to like $150 Canadian. Was I seriously pouring more into a paint product than I was into the furniture?! Yes, yes I was. And oh was I fully committed. Especially after the wood was so close to being so good after stripping and sanding – minus the damage shown below.

damaged wood dresser top

I got the French Oak Finish Kit – which I didn’t end up French Oak-ing it I just used Barnwood – regardless, it came with everything you needed: 

  • Primer (bless my husband, he sanded and striped so much when we were trying to stain the piece, but with this, you only need to rough up the surface)  
  • Stain 
  • A gel stain (for the French oak finish)
  • A top coat
  • A wood-graining tool
  • A paint brush 


It was so simple to use, and it made my sad top piece look like a full-on wood finish with no silly damage. 

how to make furniture look like wood - adding the grains and stain
how to make furniture look like wood - adding the grains and stain

Retique it for the Win

If you’re hoping to have a stained-like finish on a non-wood piece of furniture, Retique it is likely a great solution for you too. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to use and how well it turned out. I went down a deep rabbit hole and realized that people were using this on glass and other materials. It was making all the furniture look like wood. I’m still amazed to this day. 
My friends at Retique it are giving you 10% off using code: SignedBySamantha to make your purchase. 
I think it’s worth a shot and getting the exact look you want! Good luck!!! 
A dresser that has been refinished to look like wood again! Stained a beautiful colour.