How To Make Cherry Wood Furniture Look Modern

It’s a sad day when your furniture starts to look dated. What was once a lively piece is now in need of a makeover. There are some ways you can make them stick out again. For this post, we’ll focus on cherry wood furniture. If you’d like to learn how to make it look modern, let’s go over some ideas!

There are several ways you can modernize your furniture pieces. However, you’ll have to decide what you want to do with it. It can be a painting project or a staining project. In any case, here are some ways you can alter the furniture’s appearance:

  1. Change the hardware.
  2. Paint it to match the room.
  3. Strip the old stain and finish.

So, which one will you choose? Painting the furniture will make it look completely different. Changing the hardware will retain the cherry wood’s appearance. But, it gives it a fresh overall look. If you want to see what’s in store, keep reading.

Luxury beautiful large cherry wood kitchen with green tile back splash and yellow walls, How To Make Cherry Wood Furniture Look Modern

We may include affiliate links and curated AI content to highlight top design styles.

How To Modernize Your Cherry Wood Furniture

Making the furniture look modern means you’ll have to make drastic changes. Whether you paint it or provide it with a new finishing, it will take time to make the change. Sometimes, a hardware change can be good enough. 

Let’s go over the easy options first. So, let’s start with a hardware change! 

Changing the Hardware

Changing the hardware is as simple as it sounds. No, it’s not going to change it drastically. So, if you like that dark red look it has, this idea is something to consider! 

All you have to do is look at the current hardware. Most cherry wood furniture has gold handles, pulls, etc. It looked great for its time. But now, it’s pretty much out of style. 

You’ll want to swap out that gold hardware with something that will complement the cherry red. If you can’t think of any colors, black is always a safe pick. 

[PIN id=”143693044341262884″ description=”hide” size=”small”]

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!


Here’s an example from one blogger. As you can see, they opted to go with black handles instead of gold ones. It’s a small change. However, it looks less dated than before!

What Other Hardware Colors Look Good on Cherry Wood?

Although black is the safe pick, maybe you’ll want to go with something that makes the furniture stand out more. If that’s the case, black handles and pulls aren’t going to cut it. So, why not go for silver instead? 

Luxury cherry kitchen with very beautiful wood

It makes the furniture pop out a little more. Transparent handles could also be an option to consider. Though, it’s not a choice for everyone. It’s a bit more experimental. 

White handles look great with cherry wood furniture too. In any case, it’s up to you to decide what color would look best for your situation. 

Wooden door

Changing the Decor

After changing the hardware, change the decor around the furniture. Swap out old mirrors for modern ones. 

Maybe add some flowers to liven up the area. Do you have lamps sitting at the top? It might be time to update them too!

Paint It To Match the Room

What if we don’t want simple changes? If you don’t like the color of the furniture anymore, it’s time to get a different look. However, throwing out old furniture for new can be costly. 

Plus, who wants to throw out perfectly good furniture? So, it’s time to consider painting it! It’ll make it look like a new piece of furniture!

However, it’s going to involve a lot of work. You’ll need to sand, prime, and paint it. It requires attention to detail. Otherwise, you might end up with something that you don’t like. 

Sanding the Furniture

Start the process by sanding the furniture you plan on modernizing. If it’s your first time, you don’t need to worry about messing up. All you need is 220-grit sandpaper. 

You don’t need to strip the coating it has entirely. The paint needs a base to stick to. So, light sanding should be enough. Once you finish sanding, wipe the furniture down. 

This way, you can get rid of dust and debris. Now we have a good, clean base to work with!

Using Primer

Brushing primer on the surface

Cherry wood doesn’t always start off looking a deep red. It has a stain that lets it look that way. And, if we want to avoid stripping off that stain, we’ll need the help of a stain-blocking primer.

Click here to see this primer on Amazon.

Apply the primer on any side you plan on painting. If you see spots of discoloration coming to the surface, apply more primer to that area. Then, follow the primer’s instructions for drying. The furniture piece is getting closer to a coat of paint.

Sand the primer. Then, wipe off the dust and debris.

Paint the Furniture

Painter painting table on white color

Painting the furniture should be a relatively easy job. A roller and a paintbrush are enough for this task.

Use the roller to paint over large, flat surfaces. For the legs of the furniture, use a paintbrush to cover as much area as you can.

Once you finish painting the furniture, let it dry. All you need to do next is seal the paint.

You can go with several options. Though, some of them will give you different results. So, you’ll have to research how each sealer dries. This way, you don’t end up with results you don’t like.

Furniture wax, polyurethane, and polycrylic are some of the options you should consider.

Strip the Old Stain and Finish

Sometimes, all you need to modernize furniture is to strip the old stains and finishes. 

[PIN id=”380624605987724431″ description=”hide” size=”small”]


Take a look at the natural color of cherry wood. It’s pale! Additionally, it can look different depending on the stains and finishing you use. 

What makes cherry wood furniture look out of style is that deep red color. It’s challenging to make that stain match with modern decor. If you want to bring life to your cherry wood furniture, try to deviate from that deep red. 

For those that can’t decide on a shade, give the natural color of the wood a try! Let’s go over what you need to do to strip the old finishing and stain from the furniture. 

Removing the Stain and Finishing

If you want to avoid sanding it down to the wood, you’ll need the help of a paint and varnish stripper. 

Click here to see this paint and varnish stripper on Amazon.

Citistrip paint and varnish strippers should do well for most finishings. Use a paintbrush to apply it to the furniture. Of course, you’ll need to wait about an hour or so. 

You can move on to the next step when the surface starts to produce a gel when you scrape it. Use a dull-edge putty knife or scraper to remove all the gel. Avoid using sharp tools. This way, you can avoid accidentally scraping the wood along the way. 

Using a Wire Brush or Steel Wool

After using the scraper, run along a wire brush or steel wool on the surface to remove the stain. Go with the grain to avoid leaving scratches. You might need to apply more coats of stripper to reduce the redness. 

Once you’re satisfied, let the furniture dry for at least 24 hours. If you don’t wait long enough, the stain and stripper can clog your sandpaper faster, making your project a bit more complicated. 

Sanding the Furniture

Furniture restoration

You’ll need to sand the surface to remove any stain and stripper remaining on the wood. So, start sanding with 100-grit sandpaper to do that. Afterward, go over the surface with 160-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface. 

Next, you can’t seal off a dirty surface. Therefore, you’ll need to clean it off with a rag and water. Some people prefer using mineral spirits. Either choice works. 

Let it dry and repeat this step to check if the surface is clean enough. 

Sealing the Wood

From here, it’s up to you to decide what stain you will use on the wood. If you choose to stick with the natural color, all you’ll need is a sealer. You can use polyurethane, wax, or polyacrylic.

Keep in mind that some of them can change the look. In general, wax can give it a matte appearance. Polyurethane tends to make it slightly shiny. 

Regardless, you can apply your finishing with a brush. It may change color initially. However, it will dry to a different color. Drying usually takes around 2-3 days.

It all depends on the stains and finishings you use. If you want a detailed step-by-step guide, here’s a YouTube video to help:

In Closing

It stinks having to depart from a furniture piece you love because it’s no longer in style. However, wood furniture is easy to modernize. Cherry wood doesn’t have to be deep red! Still, you can update it easily by changing the hardware and decor instead.

Which idea will you choose to try out? We hope you found the information above helpful!

Before you go, do you have other cherry wood furniture concerns? What if you want colors that go well with its red color? To learn more, check out:

What Colors Go With Cherry Wood Furniture?

Do you want modern home office ideas? We can help there too! For more information, check out:

25 Modern Home Office Ideas

Get our FREE 7 design style cheat sheets
Subscribe for home design tips & inspiration
Get your free gift: Downloadable design style cheat sheets
Thank you for subscribing!
Share with a friend -

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *