We had a dog for a long time, so....some of the wood was less than perfect. There were superficial (and some, um, not so superficial) scratches all over the place. The house was also 15 years old and nothing had been refreshed since it was built, so there was wear and tear on the wood and finish on most of the doors and cabinets as well. We really didn't want to replace the cabinets or the doors, so we were hoping to be about to somehow touch them up quickly and cheaply.
I know, it's a total DUH moment. But I thought re-staining them would be a huge pain. The lightening bolt moment was when I realized I could just touch up the scratches and not have to worry about doing the entire piece (or in this case, the entire freaking house).
We had somehow during the course of living there knocked out one of the spindles in the staircase, so we'd purchased stain that was as close to the reddish/orange-ish oak color that we could in order to stain the replacement spindle. One day I was eyeing the stain and eyeing the scratches and thought..."Hmm. I wonder.....well, let's try it...."
And guys, it worked SO WELL.
I didn't get as many pics as I should have, and these were taken with my old busted phone, but you can still see the difference. It didn't completely erase the wear and tear, but it freshened the wood up beautifully and made me wish I'd done it YEARS ago instead of just living with that worn finish and those scratches.
All I did was clean the areas that were worn and/or scratched, and then used a standard liquid stain, dipped a sock in it, and rubbed it lightly into the scratched or worn areas. I did no sanding - I figured that the finish was already gone from these areas, and I figured correctly. I didn't worry about getting stain on the areas that were fine or about getting it perfect - I just rubbed it into the areas that needed retouching, wiped it down, let it dry, and then in a couple of cases, repeated.
And no, we didn't have lime green walls in the old house. This is light mint green, if you can believe it. Crazy what a difference white balance and the type of light makes in the rendering of color!
Again, this wasn't a magic wand. It didn't fill in gouges or make the scratches disappear in all cases (although it did in some!!) - but it really made a HUGE difference and made the wood look new again.
This door was one of the biggest transformations for me - the finish had almost completely worn off on the bottom, but after rubbing it down with stain, it looked completely perfect again.f
But, guys, I was seriously in shock at how well this worked. It took all of 20 minutes to do the entire house, plus another 5 to give a couple areas a second coat, plus another 10 or so to do the topcoat. For well under an hour's time, it made a HUGE difference in the house and made it look 10 years newer. We just went and visited the old house and it's holding up perfectly five months later. The wood still looks new and shiny and clean!
If you have ANY worn wood in your house, I can't recommend doing this enough. SUPER cheap, SUPER easy, and SUPER fast. Get thee to the hardware store to get some stain!