How to Match Wood Stain: Head to the Paint Store

This is the easiest, most accurate way to match wood stain for your project.

matching stains

How to Match Wood Stain

I’ve refinished a number of furniture pieces and wood trim when matching an existing stain was important. I’ve had far better luck getting stains matched by the staff at the paint store than I’ve had trying to mix colors off the shelf myself. Just bring in a sample piece to be matched. Keep in mind that stain can look different on different pieces of wood. So if you’re doing trim, for example, don’t just bring in the piece that’s easiest to remove; choose a sample piece that has the color and tone you want. You’ll also need to bring in an unfinished test board of the same species and with the same grain characteristics as those of the pieces you’re trying to match.

Plus: Did you know you can stain wood with coffee grounds? Here’s how.

matching stains

These are the five go-to wood finishes every woodworking should have on hand:
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Brad Holden, an associate editor at The Family Handyman, has been building cabinets and furniture for 30 years. In that time, he has absorbed so many slivers and ingested so much sawdust that he's practically made of wood.