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Minwax Stain Colors: A Complete Guide to Choosing Wood Stain Color
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Minwax Stain Colors: A Complete Guide to Choosing Wood Stain Color


In modern interior design, wood looks timeless, weaving its rich, organic notes through the fabric of spaces, bringing harmony and a touch of nature into our urban lives. Suppose you want to change the color of the wooden interior or its details. Wood stains might be something you want to consider.

Stains look like color on the wood while allowing the natural wood grain to show through. Good quality, durability, ease of maintenance, and color are the most crucial factors to consider when choosing a wood stain. Fortunately, Minwax, one of the most popular wood stain brands, checks all those boxes.

We’re thrilled to assist you in enhancing your home decor with stunning wood stain hues and share more about Minwax. Prepare to learn about the brand’s latest color offerings and the most sought-after Minwax stain color chart. Additionally, we’re happy to offer advice and tips on proper application and upkeep. So, please continue reading; we’re sure you’ll find it helpful and inspiring!

What is Minwax?

Are you looking for gorgeous wood stain colors? Minwax is something you can’t go wrong with! It’s a wood-finishing product brand founded by Arthur B. Harrison in 1904. As a leading brand of interior wood stains in the United States, Miniwax is owned by another global leader in coatings — Sherwin-Williams.

Minwax offers different stains, finishes, and care products designed to help you enhance your wood’s natural beauty and grain of the wood. Products of this brand significantly influence the DIY movement. Many enthusiasts, hobbyists, and even artists use Minwax wood stains

And that’s not all! Minwax also provides color inspiration, project ideas, and how-to guides. Some benefits of using Minwax products for DIY wood projects are that they are easy to use and apply, deliver rich, one-coat color, and dry in just two hours. Hence, you can go from start to finish in just one day! Without further ado, let’s explore the newest and also the most popular Minwax stain colors.


What Wood Stain is in Style?

Image credit: minwaxusa

A single stroke of wood stain can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary in interior design and home improvement. It’s not just about preserving the grain or protecting your wooden furnishings; it’s about infusing character, depth, and style into your living spaces. 

The right wood stain can be the brushstroke that turns a blank canvas into a masterpiece. Still, with so many different colors available, what wood stain will be in style in 2024? Recently, Minwax revealed its 2024 Color of the Year — Bay Blue, a soothing mix of blue and green.

Combining relaxing shades of blue and green can create a stronger connection to water and nature, creating a thoroughly engaging color. 

“Bay Blue is at the intersection of contemporary and classic,” revealed Sue Kim, Director of Color Marketing for Minwax, in a press release. “The 2024 Color of the Year is a rich shade that elevates and enhances the natural wood within our homes.”

This color moves away from the green hues that have dominated in recent years and offers the experience of calmness and well-being. It encourages you to reimagine your design choices and create a more intimately personal living space.

What Are the Most Popular Minwax Stain Colors?


One of the most common questions when choosing a Minwax is which colors are the most favorite among people. People often wonder about the most popular Minwax stain colors because these favorites tend to be more versatile, trendy, and appealing to a broader audience. 

We’ve compiled the most popular Minwax stain colors chart to ease up your search. Below, we also share some factors that may influence your choice to better understand what wood stain colors Minwax can offer for your next project. 

Regardless of whether you are interested in a gray stain or whether your interior design matches more with a white wood stain, the Minwax stain colors chart will allow you to find the best option.

Minwax Tinsmith

Image credit: vintagegracedesign

Minwax Tinsmith is a semi-transparent water-based wood stain that gives a light color with warm gray undertones. It is designed to be 5 times thicker than traditional oil-based stains for more accessible application and control. Minwax Tinsmith is great for small projects, unfinished furniture, cabinets, doors, and trim. However, this stain isn’t ideal for floors as it doesn’t offer the same level of protection as a dedicated floor finish.

Minwax Weathered Oak


Image credit: thecoupleacrewood

Minwax Weathered Oak gives the wood light and warm undertones. This oil-based stain works great on plywood surfaces, including oak, poplar, and birch. It’s excellent for enhancing the look of cabinets, furniture, trim, and doors. It enhances the natural grain of the wood and creates a weathered look.  

Minwax Dark Walnut

Image credit: titanmaderaworks

Minwax Dark Walnut brown stain gives the wood a deep brown tone. This oil-based stain can be applied to pine, oak, and plywood surfaces, including doors and wood furniture. It enriches the natural wood grain, giving it a sophisticated and timeless appearance.

Minwax Simply White

Image credit: the_handcrafted_haven

Minwax Simply White is the lightest stain color, It helps achieve a soft white hue on your wood with either a semi-transparent or solid stain. You can apply this gel or water-based stain on various surfaces, including oak, poplar, birch, and plywood. It works great on furniture, doors, or trim.

Minwax True Black

Image credit: diymatthews

If you desire a dark black color for your wood, then Minwax True Black could be your perfect solution. This darkwood stain gives the wood a deep, rich black hue that is timeless and elegant. The oil-based stain looks best on oak, white wood, and birch plywood surfaces.


Minwax Special Walnut

Image credit: dwelloctober

Minwax Special Walnut is similar to Dark Walnut. It gives the wood a lighter brown walnut color. It is an oil-based stain that can be semi-transparent or solid. Using pine wood Miniwax stain colors on pine makes it look not too light or dark. You can use it on oak and birch plywood surfaces like doors, cabinets, and other furniture. It enhances the natural wood grain and creates a versatile and classic look.

Minwax Shipboard


Image credit: minwaxusa

Minwax Shipboard is a semi-transparent water-based wood finish from the gray family. It’s designed to be five times thicker than traditional oil-based stains. This stain is great for small projects, unfinished furniture, cabinets, doors, and trim. That being said, using this stain on floors may not be the best option since it does not provide the same level of protection as a specialized floor finish.

Minwax Jacobean

Image credit: tannabydesign

Minwax Jacobean is a dark brown stain with black undertones. If you’re looking for a versatile stain for your oak, pine, or birch plywood surfaces, look no further! Adding a touch of elegance with a dark brown stain accentuates the wood’s unique patterns. The result is a refined and timeless appearance.


Minwax Ebony

Image credit: jamistichter

Minwax Ebony gives a dark black color to the wood. This oil-based stain can be used on birch plywood, white wood, or oak surfaces, such as furniture, cabinets, doors, trim, molding, and even hardwood floors. One of the most popular Minwax floor stain colors, it brings out the inherent beauty of the wood and creates a luxurious and timeless appearance.

Minwax Provincial

Image credit: wood_werx_co

Minwax Provincial is an oil-based, light brown color stain that can be used on various oak, pine, and birch plywood surfaces, such as doors or trim. It brings out the intricate and unique patterns of the natural wood grain, creating a timeless and adaptable aesthetic.

Minwax Early American

Image credit: trudygardnerstephens

Minwax Early American wood stain gives the wood a lighter, brown color. This oil-based stain is your best bet to enhance the natural wood grain of pine wood. Minwax stain colors on pine create a versatile and classic look and can add a touch of sophistication to any space, especially if you select Early American.

Minwax English Chestnut

Image credit: durasealwoodfinishes

Minwax English Chestnut stain gives the wood a darker brown walnut color with red undertones. It’s a perfect choice for those willing to furnish the space with red oak or different wood. This oil-based stain is an ideal option to bring out the natural beauty of wood and add warmth to its appearance.

Minwax Pickled Oak

Image credit: ultra_shelf

Minwax Pickled Oak is a semi-transparent, oil-based wood stain that gives the wood a warm, light gray color. It enhances the natural wood grain and creates a pickled or bleached look. You can apply it to various oak, poplar, and birch plywood surfaces, including molding and hardwood floors.

Minwax Classic Gray

Image credit: solidpaintingllc

Minwax Classic Gray stain gives the wood a light gray color with cool undertones. It is an oil-based stain that can be used on various birch plywood, oak, and poplar surfaces, such as furniture, trim, doors, molding, and hardwood floors. Gray wood stain enhances the natural wood grain and creates a contemporary and sleek look.

Minwax Golden Oak

Image credit: foreverb.lane

Minwax Golden Oak is an oil-based that gives a warm oak color to the wood. You can apply it to birch plywood, pine, or oak surfaces, such as furniture, cabinets, doors, trim, molding, and hardwood floors. This product enhances the natural wood grain and creates a versatile and authentic look.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Stain Color

Choosing Minwax stain colors for your wood surfaces can be fun and creative. Still, it also requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some things to consider before deciding which color to use:

  • The interior style. Choose a stain color that matches the overall style of your home. Suppose you have a contemporary home with sleek lines and minimalist design. In that case, you might want to opt for a stain color that is neutral, cool, or metallic. On the other hand, if you have a cozy farmhouse with warm tones and natural elements, you might prefer a stain color that is rich, earthy, or rustic.
  • The lighting. Different types of lighting, such as natural sunlight and artificial light, can make the stain color look lighter or darker, warmer or cooler, or more or less saturated. Natural sunlight can remove the yellow or red undertones from a stain color. At the same time, artificial light can make the stain color look more gray or blue. 
  • The color family. This refers to the hue or tint of the stain color, such as brown, gray, red, green, etc. You might choose a stain color from the brown or red family to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. If you want to create a cool and calm atmosphere, you might choose a stain color from the gray or green family.
  • The samples. One of the best ways to choose a stain color is to examine samples in your home. You can buy small cans of stain and apply them to a piece of wood similar to your surface or use stain swatches. Afterward, place these samples in different areas and lighting conditions throughout your home.
  • The type of wood. Different wood species have distinct grain patterns, which can create more contrast and variation in the stain color. Color coverage can also depend on the woodworking project and wood color. All stains look different on different wood species, so you should also consider the type of wood you are staining. 
  • The durability of the stain color. This refers to how well the stain color resists fading, peeling, cracking, and staining over time. The durability depends on several factors, such as the quality of the stain product, the number of coats applied, and the exposure to environmental factors. The more opaque a stain is (such as solid or semi-solid), the more durable it tends to be. However, opaque stains also have a tendency to conceal more of the wood’s natural beauty.

Tips on How to Stain Wood for the Best Result

Image credit: palmettocraft and armstrongclarkco

Minwax stain colors are created for easy use but still require basic knowledge of how to apply them. That’s why we’ve compiled some brief tips on how to stain wood for the best result:

  • Prepare the wood surface. Sand it with progressively finer grits of sandpaper, starting from 120-grit and ending with 220-grit. Sand toward the wood grain and remove the resulting dust with a cloth or a damp rag. This process helps create a smooth and clean surface for applying the stain.
  • Apply wood conditioner. Make sure to use a pre-stain conditioner, especially if your wood is soft or porous. This will help prevent blotchiness and uneven absorption of the stain. Follow the instructions on the product label and let it dry before staining.
  • Apply the stain. Use a rag, a brush, or a sponge, depending on your stain type. Applying the first stain coat, work in small sections and follow the wood grain. Wipe any excess stain with a clean cloth before drying. It’s enough to apply one coat of Minwax stain. However, you can use more coats of stain to achieve a darker color. Make sure you let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. 
  • Apply a wood sealer or a polyurethane top coat. It will help to protect your stained wood from scratches and wear. Choose a product compatible with your stain type and follow the directions on the label.

Tips on How to Care for Stained Wood Surfaces

Stained wood surfaces can add beauty and warmth to your home but require care and maintenance to keep them looking their best. We are sharing some tips on how to care for stained wood surfaces:

  • Use a mild oil soap or a homemade solution of water and vinegar. It will help your stained wood surfaces stay clean and shiny. Also, avoid abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals that can damage the wood or the finish.
  • Remove stains from the wood. To remove the stains, such as those from alcohol, heat, or marker, you can try various methods depending on the type of stain and the type of wood. Some everyday household items that can help are cooking oil, toothpaste, nail polish remover, magic eraser, rubbing alcohol, hand sanitizer, and baking soda.
  • Restore a color from time to time. To restore the color and shine of stained wood, apply a fresh coat of stain or a protective finish such as polyurethane or wax. Before you do that, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to remove any dirt or old finish. Ultimately, the best indicator for reapplication is a visual inspection. If the wood starts to look faded or worn, or the finish appears uneven, it’s time for a fresh coat.

FAQ About Minwax Stain Colors

If you want inspiration for your next project, you might want to check out the FAQ about stains, colors, and some applying tips. Read on to discover more about the world of wood stain colors Minwax has to offer!

Is Minwax a Stain or Paint?

If you’re unfamiliar with woodworking, you might be confused about whether Minwax is paint or stain. Wood stains are different from paints in that they penetrate the wood and enhance its natural color and grain, while paints cover the wood surface and hide its features. 

What Colors Does Minwax Stain Come in? 

Minwax stain comes in various colors to suit any style and preference. According to the web search results, Minwax offers more than 240+ color options for wood stain. Here are some of the color families offered by Minwax:

  • Natural wood tones. These colors enhance the natural beauty and grain of the wood. Natural, Golden Oak, Provincial, Early American, and Colonial Maple are popular picks.
  • Gray tones. These colors create a modern, sophisticated look. Popular options are Classic Gray, Weathered Oak, Driftwood, and Slate.
  • Red tones. These colors add warmth and richness to the wood. Sedona Red, Red Mahogany, Red Chestnut, and Red Oak are popular choices.
  • Brown tones. These colors create a cozy and traditional feel. Some of the preferred options are Espresso, Dark Walnut, Jacobean, and Gunstock.
  • Yellow tones. These colors brighten the wood and give it a sunny vibe. Honey, Ipswich Pine, Puritan Pine, and Golden Pecan are options people often go with.
  • White tones. These colors lighten up the wood and give it a fresh and airy look. Some of the best-known are White Wash Pickling, Simply White, Bleached Blue, and Bay Blue (the 2024 Minwax Color of the Year).

What Colors Does Minwax Offer for Floor Stain?

Some of the Minwax floor stain colors worth considering are Shipboard, Ebony, Pickled Oak, Aged Barrel, Antique Brown, Cherry, Chestnut, Coffee Brown, and many more.

How Long Should I Wait for Minwax Stain to Dry?

The drying time of Minwax stain depends on the type of stain, the environmental conditions, and the number of coats. There are three types of Minwax stains: oil-based, water-based, and gel-based. Each type has a different drying time, as follows:

  • Oil-based Minwax stain. It takes about 12 hours to dry before applying polyurethane. However, waiting 24 to 48 hours is best for optimal results. You can recoat oil-based stain after 2 hours.
  • Water-based Minwax stain. It takes only 3 hours to dry before applying polyurethane. However, you should still wait 24 to 48 hours for the best results. You can recoat water-based stain after 6 hours.
  • Gel-based Minwax stain. It takes up to 24 hours to dry before applying polyurethane. You can recoat gel-based stain after 8 to 10 hours.

Environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity, ventilation, and sunlight also affect the drying time. Warmer, drier, and more ventilated conditions will help the stain dry faster, while cooler, more humid, and less ventilated conditions will make the stain dry slower. 

The number of coats also affects the drying time of Minwax stain. The more coats you apply, the longer it will take for the stain to dry completely. 

Do You Have to Wipe Off Minwax Stain?

Yes, you must wipe off the Minwax stain after applying it to the wood surface. This is because Minwax stain penetrates the pores and grain of the wood to color it, and any excess stain that remains on the surface will prevent the wood from drying correctly and cause a sticky mess. The excess stain should be wiped off with a dry cloth before it dries, following the direction of the wood grain. 

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