stain or paint
While figuring out how to finish the top of my table I decided to use some leftover pieces as samples. Each shelf came with small brackets that were supposed to be used to mount the shelf to the wall. I used each one to test what method I would be using, stain or paint. I had some choices at home already that I planned on using somehow. White wash pickling stain which I had used on my barn door, gray stain, and gray paint.
I ended up going with option number three, gray paint which I brushed on and then immediately wiped off. It added just enough coverage to be able to see the color as well as the wood grain underneath. Making samples are the way to go, especially when you can use the same material as your finished piece. I was able to play around with it and know exactly what I needed to do once the time came.