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Stripping finish and applying new finish?

I moved into my house a year ago and the stairs and upper foyers are finished a light color. We'd like them to be much darker (maybe coffee colored).

Is there an easy way to do this? Since the new finish would be darker, can I just look at this as refinishing (sanding and then applying the new finish)?

Or do I need to strip the old finish off to get to the original wood, then put the new finish on.

My experience level is absolutly none - for all I know, sanding will remove the original finish :)

Any help would be appreciated

A. Spruce
Re: Stripping finish and applying new finish?

Depends on what you're dealing with. You can paint over paint and go with any color you want. Sealed stains are harder to change.

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