How to Dull a Glossy Finish Furniture

Ever wished that glossy wood furniture didn’t look quite so glossy? You’re not alone—while a high shine has its place, sometimes a more subtle satin or matte finish is preferable. Whether you want to tone down an overly bright accent table or give an entire living room set a quieter look, dulling down that gloss is easier than you might think.

How to Dull a Glossy Finish Furniture

In this post, I’ll share several simple methods for how to dull a glossy finish furniture and restore a more muted appearance without a lot of fuss. We’ll cover everything from basic sanding techniques to chemical finishes so you can find an option that fits your skill level and desired outcome. By the end, you’ll know just how to take the edge off that glare and have furniture that looks comfortably lived-in instead of fresh from the showroom floor.

9 Best Ways on How to Dull a Glossy Finish Furniture

1. Sand the Finish With Steel Wool:

A bit of fine steel wool is an effective way to knock down a glossy finish. Start with 0000 grit and use light pressure, sanding in the direction of the wood grain. Keep at it until you have dulled down that shine as much as desired. While sanding will also smooth out the surface, it’s not a cure-all for deep scratches or gouges.

2. Use Sandpaper Instead:

While steel wool is great for most furniture finishes, sandpaper can be more versatile when working with tough polyurethane coatings. Start with 220-grit paper and see if that does the job; you may have to work your way up to 400-grit for a truly dull finish. Again, always sand with the grain and take your time. Using a sanding block can help you maintain an even surface.

While Steel Wool is Great For Most Furniture Finishes

3. Try Softening With Mineral Spirits:

If the finish is stubborn, apply mineral spirits and see if that softens it enough to allow for sanding. You’ll need to work quickly as the spirits evaporate, so keep a rag handy to wipe down the surface before getting out your steel wool or sandpaper. This is also a good option for small, hard-to-reach areas. If you don’t have mineral spirits on hand, try using rubbing alcohol instead.

4. Use Chemical Strippers:

Chemical strippers can be harsh, so work with caution and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. Choose one that is safe for use on wood furniture and allow it to sit on the surface for the recommended amount of time before removing it with a putty knife. You may have to repeat this process several times until all traces of shine have been removed. Using fine steel wool or sandpaper after this step can help smooth out any remaining rough spots.

5. Reach for Vinegar:

Vinegar is a natural acid that can help dull down glossy finishes without damaging the wood underneath. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle and apply it to the furniture, then wait about 15 minutes before wiping it off with a clean cloth. If needed, you can repeat this process until you get the desired result. Keep in mind that vinegar has a strong smell, so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.

Vinegar is a Natural 
Acid That Can Help

6. Use Tung Oil:

Tung oil is an excellent choice for dulling down polyurethane finishes and restoring a more natural appearance. It’s also easy to apply—just wipe it on with a clean cloth and let it dry. You may need to apply multiple coats for the best results. Keep in mind that tung oil will also slightly darken the wood, so test it out on an inconspicuous area first.

7. Consider Waxing:

Wax is another simple way to take that shine down a notch or two. Use a paste wax and apply it in the direction of the grain, then let it sit and buff it off with a clean cloth. The wax will add a subtle sheen while still keeping things matte. If you want a more glossy look, try using a liquid wax instead. This method works best for small areas or pieces with intricate details.

8. Try a Satin Finish:

For a less drastic change, consider switching out the glossy finish for a satin one. This will still give you some shine, but it won’t be as reflective as a full-on gloss. You can find spray finishes in satin at most hardware stores; just make sure to prep and sand the surface before applying. This is a good option for those who want to keep things simple and don’t want to completely dull down the finish.

9. Hire a Professional:

For truly stubborn finishes or antique pieces, it may be best to hire a professional furniture refinisher. They have the tools and expertise needed to strip and refinish your furniture without damaging the wood or leaving any traces of gloss behind. This option may be more expensive, but it will ensure that your furniture is properly restored and looks its best.

With these 9 methods, you now have a variety of options for how to dull a piece of glossy finish furniture. Whether you prefer the DIY approach or want to leave it to the professionals, there’s a solution for every type of furniture and level of gloss. So go ahead and give it a try—you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference a dull finish can make in the overall look and feel of your furniture.  Happy refinishing! 


Hire a Professional 
Furniture Refinisher

Additional Tips and Tricks to Dull a Glossy Finish Furniture

1. If the furniture piece is small enough to be moved, consider taking it outside for a light sanding. This will help remove some of the glossy finish and give you more control over the level of dullness.

2. Another option is to use steel wool to lightly scrub the surface. This can help scuff up the finish without removing too much of it.

3. For stubborn glossy finishes, you may need to use a chemical stripper. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully and wear protective gear.

4. If you’re working with a wooden piece of furniture, try using vinegar and water solution to help dull the finish. Simply mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle and lightly mist the surface before wiping it down with a clean cloth.

5. For a more natural approach, consider using beeswax or mineral oil to dull the finish. These products can help add a subtle sheen to the surface while also reducing the glossy appearance.

6. If you’re looking for a quick fix, try using a matte finish furniture polish. This can help give your furniture a more muted look without having to put in too much effort.

7. When sanding or scrubbing, be sure to always go with the grain of the wood to avoid any unwanted scratches or damage.

8. If you’re working with a painted piece of furniture, consider using chalk paint or matte finish spray paint for a more subdued look.

9. Don’t forget about the hardware! If your furniture has metal knobs or handles, you can use steel wool or a wire brush to dull the shine.

10. Lastly, be patient and take your time when dulling a glossy finish. It may require multiple attempts and different methods before achieving your desired level of dullness.

Following these additional tips and tricks, you can easily dull a glossy finish on your furniture and give it a more muted and natural look. Remember to always take precautions and test any products or methods on a small, inconspicuous area before applying them to the entire surface. With some patience and experimentation, you’ll have beautifully dulled furniture in no time!

Test Any Products 
Or Methods on a Small

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Glossy Finish Furniture?

A glossy finish furniture is a type of furniture that has a shiny, reflective surface. It is achieved through the use of high-gloss lacquer or varnish. The glossy finish gives furniture a sleek and modern look, making it a popular choice for contemporary interiors.

Why Would Someone Want to Dull a Glossy Finish Furniture?

Some people may find the glossy finish too flashy and prefer a more muted look for their furniture. Additionally, glossy finishes can be prone to scratches and fingerprints, making them difficult to maintain. Dulling the finish can help reduce the appearance of imperfections and make it easier to maintain.

Do I Need to Follow Any Precautions When Dulling a Glossy Finish Furniture?

Yes, it is important to take some precautions when dulling a glossy finish furniture. First, make sure you are working in a well-ventilated area as the chemicals used can be harmful if inhaled. It is also recommended to wear gloves and protective eyewear while working with these substances. Lastly, always follow the instructions of the products you are using and test it on a small, inconspicuous area first before applying it to the entire piece of furniture.

What Products Can I Use to Dull a Glossy Finish Furniture?

There are various products available in the market that can help dull glossy finish furniture. Some common options include sandpaper, steel wool, chemical deglossers, and furniture wax. Each product has its own method of application, so it is important to read the instructions carefully before use.


With the above outlined you can easily understand how to dull a glossy finish furniture. Remember to always take precautionary measures and test the product first before applying it to the entire piece of furniture. Dulling a glossy finish can give your furniture a more subtle and understated look, making it easier to maintain in the long run. So if you want to tone down the shine on your furniture, consider trying out some of these techniques. Happy dulling!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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