Finishes for Vintage Credenza?

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Q: I know there's an ongoing debate on painting vs. staining. We picked up this credenza back in January. The weather finally warmed up enough for me to take it outside on the balcony and sand it down. With that discovery, I noticed that it was made of solid wood, but then veneered:

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The original stain felt kind of 80's old and what my grandma would have — it was liveable but I wanted to refresh it. So when I sanded it down, I actually fell in love with the piece even more. We're hoping to flip the doors so that it's smooth, and no stars etched in.

We're thinking of staining it dark — like walnut or jacobean (both of which are dark colors), or even DIYing the stain and doing vinegar with steel wool. We won't do light colors because that's just not our style. The bar that we built in the dining room is white with a dark top, so we wanted to still tie that in.

What would YOU do?

Sent by Erin

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Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and children in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.