Interior Wood Stain Basics




The dresser stained to Antique Walnut and the top is decorated with vases and books.
Stained Dresser

Don’t be intimidated by stain. It is easier than you may think! Especially when using Behr’s Stain & Poly product. Check out the basic steps for applying Stain & Poly below.

Behr’s Featured Color

Stain: Antique Walnut B6260

A wood stain sample in the color Antique Walnut, a red-tone medium brown.
A product image of Behr's Stain & Poly water based stain.


An image of tools used for a stain project; shop cloths, rags, brush, gloves, sandpaper.
  • Stain: Behr Premium® Water-Based Stain & Poly
  • Nylon/Polyester bristle brush
  • (use appropriate size to piece being stained)
  • Fine Grit Sandpaper or Sanding Block
  • Tack Cloth / Cotton Rags
  • Shop Towels
  • Drop Cloth
  • Stir Stick
  • Gloves

Tip: When staining, make sure you are in a well-ventilated space. Outside is always best, but if you are in your garage, be sure to work closely by an open door. Make sure to stir thoroughly (do not shake) before using product.

Step 1

Two images side by side. First shows a person removing a handle from a drawer, the other, a person sanding a drawer.

Prep Work

Remove handles and draw pulls. Scuff sand the entire surface lightly. Wipe away sand dust with a tack cloth or rag. You can use painters’ tape to block edges of any area you do not want stained.

Step 2

Two images side by side. first one showing someone stir stain in a can, second one is a person applying stain to a dresser.

Apply Stain

With a stir stick, thoroughly stir the stain (do not shake). Use a nylon/polyester bristle brush and apply a thin even coat of Water-Based Stain & Poly. Once dry, lightly sand with fine grit sandpaper. Wipe away sand dust with a tack cloth.

Step 3

Two pictures side by side, first one a person wiping stain with a dry cloth, second showing a stained draw with gloves, sandpaper and a cloth rag.

Apply Second Coat of Stain & Poly

Apply a second coat of Stain & Poly. Allow the surface to dry for at least one hour before reassembling any hardware.

Two dressers side by side, one is stained in Antique White, the other is the original stain color.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind before starting your stain project:

  • If you can’t stain outside, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area.
  • Stir product before and during. DO NOT SHAKE.
  • Allow first coat to dry at least one hour before sanding
  • Allow second coat to dry for at least one hour before re-assembling.
  • Always wear appropriate safety gear
  • Refer to product packaging for more detail

Behr® Interior Wood Stain Products are available at a Home Depot Store near you. Or skip the store and order online at

For more inspiration on Interior Stain & Paint Projects, visit

Colorfully Yours,


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