If you’re like me, you love the timeless appeal of cedar furniture, whether it’s indoors or outdoors. There’s something about its natural beauty and resilience that makes it a top choice for many homeowners.

But even cedar needs a little love to stay beautiful, right? That’s why I’ve put together a list of the best finishes for indoor cedar furniture.

Trust me, finding the right finish can make all the difference. Stick around, and let’s explore these fantastic options together.

Our Top Picks

Best Finish for Indoor Cedar Furniture

  1. FurnitureClinic Boiled Linseed Oil for WoodBest Oil for Cedar Wood
  2. Hope’s Pure Tung OilBest Premium Interior Cedar Oil
  3. Varathane 200061H Water-Based PolyurethaneBest Clear Coat Polyurethane
  4. Rust-Oleum 02761 Perma-White MoldBest Bathroom Paint
  5. Watco 242219 Danish Oil FinishBest Beginner-Friendly Oil for Interior Cedar
  6. Krylon K03603000 Exterior Wood StainBest Cedar Finish for Small Projects
  7. Minwax 67000000 Antique Oil Finish NaturalBest Paint for Cedar Wood

7 Best Finish for Indoor Cedar Furniture Reviews

1. Best Overall Finish – FurnitureClinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood

Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood Furniture &...
7,659 Reviews
Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood Furniture &...
  • SUPERIOR QUALITY WOOD TREATMENT: Similar to linseed oil, our Boiled Linseed Oil is a superior quality oil that has been treated with hot air so it dries quicker forming a tough, hard wearing & slightly glossy finish.
  • GOOD HOUSEKEEPING SEAL: This product was evaluated by the Good Housekeeping institute and after rigorous testing by their expert scientists and engineers, has been granted the prestigious Good Housekeeping seal. Evaluation of the product includes reviewing product effectiveness, as well as packaging and marketing claims.
  • USE ON ALL TYPES OF WOOD: Suitable for use on almost all wooden surfaces, terracotta tiles and all porous stone, the oil penetrates and seals the surface providing protection for interior and exterior surfaces, except exterior oak wood.

Let me tell you about my hands-down favorite, the Furniture Clinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood. If you’re a DIY enthusiast or a woodworker like me, you know the importance of a quality finish, especially for precious cedar wood.

What sets this linseed oil apart is its exceptional quality. Treated with hot air for quicker drying, it doesn’t just protect; it nourishes the wood, enhancing its natural beauty. The fact that it proudly wears the Good Housekeeping Seal speaks volumes about its excellence.

I applied this linseed oil on a wooden dining table, and let me tell you, the results were astounding. It didn’t just sit on the surface; it penetrated deep into the wood, creating a protective barrier that was as beautiful as it was durable.

The wood absorbed it like a sponge, and in no time, I had a stunning, glossy finish that subtly darkened the grain and texture.

What impressed me most was its drying time. Unlike traditional linseed oils that can take ages to dry, this one was lightning fast. I could see my project coming to life before my eyes, and that’s something every DIY enthusiast dreams of, right?

This linseed oil isn’t just for cedar; it’s perfect for a variety of applications, including terracotta tiles and porous stones. Its versatility is one of its strongest suits.

So, if you’re on the hunt for the best sealer for cedar wood, your search ends here. This linseed oil isn’t just a finish; it’s a testament to quality and efficiency. Trust me; it’s the interior finish you’ve been looking for.

What I Liked Most

  • Quick drying time due to hot air treatment.
  • Versatile use on various wooden surfaces and porous stone.
  • Attractive glossy finish enhances natural wood beauty.
  • Earned the prestigious Good Housekeeping Seal.
  • Satisfaction guarantee ensures confidence in product quality.

What Could Be Improved

  • Not suitable for exterior oak wood.
  • Slightly higher price point compared to traditional linseed oils.

2. Best Premium Interior Cedar Oil – Hope’s Pure Tung Oil

HOPE'S 100% Pure Tung Oil, Food Safe, Premium Waterproof...
  • Easy to Use - Tung oil is a natural oil recognized by craftsmen to offer the ultimate hand-rubbed finish for all fine woods; just wipe on and allow the oil to cure at room temperature
  • Permeates - Unlike other finishes that form a film on the wood’s surface, tung oil penetrates deep into the wood fibers, cures to a flexible non-oily solid, and becomes part of the wood itself
  • Protects - Resistant to moisture, alcohol, oil, and everyday wear for lasting beauty and protection; lasts many times longer than mineral oil and wax based products

Let me introduce you to my second top pick, Hope’s Pure Tung Oil, a premium choice for indoor cedar furniture. If you’re searching for a finish that not only protects your cedar wood but also imparts a natural, elegant sheen, then this is it.

What makes this Tung oil stand out is its remarkable versatility. With just one coat, it transforms my cedar furniture, giving it a gorgeous shine and feel.

What amazed me was that I didn’t need a second sealant – a testament to its effectiveness. The smaller packaging might raise eyebrows, but let me assure you, a little goes a long way with this powerhouse of a finish.

The reason I adore this Tung oil is its deep penetration. Unlike other finishes that merely create a film on the surface, this oil becomes an integral part of the wood.

It seeps deep into the wood fibers, curing into a flexible, non-oily solid. The result? A finish highly resistant to alcohol, moisture, and daily wear and tear, ensuring enduring beauty and protection.

What’s even better is its suitability for both interior and exterior projects. Whether it’s decking, siding, or indoor furniture like my cherished cedar pieces, this Tung oil does wonders. It’s ideal for new wood, stripped wood, stone, cast iron, and brick – a true all-rounder.

Als,o it’s safe and non-toxic once it dries. That means it’s perfect for kitchen tables, cutting boards, utensils, countertops, butcher blocks, and more.

I love how it enhances the natural allure of my cedar surfaces, making them not only stunning but also safe for everyday use.

What I Liked Most

  • It’s a low-odor formula
  • It’s non-toxic
  • You can use it on multiple surfaces
  • It’s easy to use

What Could Be Improved

  • It takes longer to dry

3. Best Clear Coat Polyurethane – Varathane 200061H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane

Varathane 200061H Water-Based Ultimate Polyurethane, Half...
  • Protects indoor wood surfaces such as furniture, windows, cabinets, trim and more
  • Water based formula dries fast and cleans up with soap and water
  • Dries to the touch in 30 minutes with coverage up to 31.25 sq. ft., recoat after 2 hours

Varathane 200061H is a fantastic choice for both indoor and outdoor cedar furniture. The best thing about it is its sheer convenience. It has rapid drying times and effortless cleanup with just soap and water.

That’s what you get with this water-based wonder. It’s a dream for DIY enthusiasts because it dries in just thirty minutes and allows for recoats in a mere two hours.

Plus, it covers an impressive 32.2 square feet, making it a time-efficient and cost-effective option. Durability is the name of the game here.

It doesn’t just protect; it resists stains and scratches while maintaining a crystal-clear, glossy finish that enhances the natural beauty of cedar surfaces.

And yes, while it might start a bit thin, a couple of coats, applied with a brush slightly moistened with plastic kitchen wrap, usually do the trick. Any initial cloudiness quickly transforms into a beautiful finish that’s hard to beat.

What truly impressed me was its adaptability. You can use it indoors without enduring strong odors or having to move your furniture outside during application. It’s a game-changer for those who prefer working in the comfort of their homes.

Compared with the previous products, it stands tall for its ease of use, quick drying, and remarkable clarity. While it might require a bit of patience with multiple coats, the end result is well worth the effort.

So, if you’re in search of a clear coat solution that effortlessly meets your indoor cedar furniture needs, look no further.

What I Liked Most

  • It’s simple to clean up
  • It resists scratches and stains
  • It’s odorless
  • It’s easy to use even if you are an amateur

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s pricey but worth every penny

4. Best Bathroom Paint – Rust-Oleum 02761 Perma-White Mold Proof Interior Paint

Rust-Oleum 02761 Perma-White Mold Proof Interior Paint offers a compelling alternative to the first product. It excels in combating mold, mildew, and moisture, particularly suitable for high-humidity areas like bathrooms.

This remarkable interior paint distinguishes itself with its outstanding resistance to mold and mildew. It is an excellent choice for bathroom cedar furnitures, ensuring long-lasting protection against these common issues.

Rust-Oleum 02761 Perma-White Mold Proof Interior Paint is fortified with a mold-proof formula, making it a reliable shield against mold, mildew, and moisture. It’s tailor-made for high-humidity areas like showers, ensuring a mold-free environment.

Applying this paint is hassle-free. After application, you only need to exercise patience for one day before using the shower, and for a week, avoid vigorous scrubbing. This care ensures a professional, long-lasting finish that can withstand the test of time.

Offering versatility in design, this paint can be tinted in various colors, including off-white, pastel, and medium tones. You have the freedom to choose the aesthetic that suits your bathroom best.

Even in demanding bathroom conditions, this paint maintains its color and appearance over time. It resists fading and staining, preserving the fresh look of your painted surfaces.

Achieving a solid bond with most cedar surfaces without sanding simplifies the preparation process. You can trust that this paint will stay in place.

Post-painting cleanup is a breeze with this paint. A little water and soap are all you need to tidy up your tools and surfaces.

This paint provides exceptional coverage, reducing the need for multiple coats. It saves you time and ensures even and polished cedar furniture.

For an attractive appearance, Rust-Oleum 02761 Perma-White Mold Proof Interior Paint offers a visually pleasing semi-gloss finish to your bathroom surfaces, adding a touch of elegance.

While sharing the advantages of excellent adhesion, easy cleanup, and versatile color options with the first product, the Rust-Oleum Perma-White paint sets itself apart with its specific focus on moisture resistance.

What I Liked Most

  • Exceptional resistance to mold and mildew
  • Versatile color options, including off-white and pastel tones
  • Easy application and cleanup
  • Semi-gloss finish for an attractive appearance

What Could Be Improved

  • Requires additional drying time compared to standard paints due to mold resistance properties
  • Perception of color may be influenced by bathroom lighting

5. Best Beginner-Friendly Oil for Interior Cedar – Watco 242219 Danish Oil Wood Finish

Rust-Oleum Watco 242219 Danish Oil Wood Finish, Low VOC,...
  • Ideal for use on a variety of indoor wood surfaces including bare, stripped or sanded; not recommended for floors
  • Low VOC, oil-based formula of blended oil & varnish penetrates deeply into wood pores for ultimate protection
  • Dries to the touch in as little as 6 hours and covers up to 85 sq ft

If you need a low VOC, oil-based product for your indoor cedar furniture, look no further than Watco 242219 Danish Oil Wood Finish. I’ve found that this product is perfect for penetrating wood fibers and providing optimal protection.

One of the things I love about this finish is how quickly it dries. In just six hours, I can complete simple DIY projects in a day or less.

It covers up to eighty-five square feet per can, ideal for all my indoor cedar furniture projects. However, it’s not recommended for use on floors.

Even if you’re new to applying finishes, Watco Danish Oil is easy to use. It goes smoothly and won’t peel, crack, or chip over time. The finish it leaves on my surfaces is elegant, with a warm glow that enhances the natural beauty and feel of the cedar wood.

Danish oil’s ability to improve the appearance of even old and weathered wood is one thing that sets Danish oil apart. It also enhances the durability of the wood, making it one of the best interior finishes available. I typically apply it with an old clean T-shirt for easy application.

I want to note that the formula of Watco Danish Oil produces strong fumes, so it’s important to work in a well-ventilated environment.

If I’m applying it indoors, I wear a P-95 respirator to protect myself from inhaling the fumes, as prolonged exposure can harm the lungs.

But with proper precautions, I’ve found Watco 242219 Danish Oil Wood Finish to be an excellent choice for my indoor cedar furniture projects.

What I Liked Most

  • It’s easy to use
  • It works as advertised
  • Amplifies the wood’s natural beauty

What Could Be Improved

  • It’s not appropriate to exterior use

6. Best Cedar Finish for Small Projects – Krylon K03603000 Exterior Wood Stain

Krylon K03603000 Exterior Semi-Transparent Wood Stain,...
  • Premium, durable stain
  • Water repellent and UV fade protection
  • Fast, even coverage

Krylon wood stain has been my go-to wood sealer for interior cedar and other surfaces. Thanks to its long-lasting protection and superb uniform coverage, I’ve found it excellent for cedar and outdoor furniture.

One of the things I love about Krylon wood stain is how quickly it dries. It allows me to finish my projects in record time, leaving a flawless finish that withstands the test of time.

It’s also highly resistant to moisture and UV rays, protecting surfaces from fading even in harsh outdoor conditions.

What sets Krylon wood stain apart is that it’s the first and only spray-on exterior sealant I’ve encountered. The spray application gives me vibrant colors and applies smoothly for a perfect finish.

Unlike traditional paint spray cans, I’ve never had clogging or other typical “paint can” problems. The stain looks great even after four seasons of exposure to the elements.

I’ve found the spray pattern easy to adjust from horizontal to vertical by turning the little tip on the spray nozzle. To prevent the stain from spitting out, I shake it frequently during application.

Depending on the temperature and humidity in my locality, it may take longer to dry, but I’ve found that using a hairdryer can speed up the process.

Overall, Krylon wood stain is simple and offers a great color palette for small projects. It’s been my trusted wood sealer for interior and exterior applications, and I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable and efficient wood finishing solution.

What I Liked Most

  • It comes in different color palettes
  • It’s the only spray-on wood stain for ease of use
  • It’s durable

What Could Be Improved

  • The bottle size is tiny, but it makes up for superb quality and is unmatched.

7. Best Paint for Cedar Wood – Minwax 67000000 Antique Oil Finish Natural

Minwax Antique Oil Finish 67000000, Quart, Natural
650 Reviews
Minwax Antique Oil Finish 67000000, Quart, Natural
  • Minwax Antique Oil Finish may be used over finished and unfinished wood
  • Antique Oil Finish is recommended for interior wood surfaces such as cabinets, tables, paneling, doors and trim
  • Works by penetrating the wood

If you’re looking for an oil finish, this product has been my go-to for maintaining the quality of indoor furniture for decades. It’s one of the best finishes I’ve used on interior wood surfaces, such as doors, paneling, trim, tables, and cabinets.

I’ve also used it on new cedar for interior applications, and it keeps the wood looking gorgeous for many years while resisting stains excellently.

The finish is not high gloss, but it leaves a stunning satin, smooth finish that enhances the natural beauty of the wood. Over the years, with several coats applied, it develops a slightly glossier sheen.

I apply a generous coat of Antique Oil finish to apply this finish while the wood is still wet. Then, I sand the wood with 220 fine-grit sandpaper, either by hand or using a random orbital sander for large surfaces. This step allows the oil finish to penetrate the wood and fill the wood pores.

After sanding, I wipe off excess oil with a soft cloth, careful not to pull the finish out of the wood pores. I let the finish dry for a day before applying the second coat.

I use a soft cloth to apply the second and subsequent coats, wiping off excess stain with a clean rag when the finish becomes tacky.

The drying time between coats may vary, but I’ve found that I can apply two coats daily as long as the finish is dry before applying the next coat. Once I’ve applied all the coats I want, I let the finish dry for two weeks.

After the finish has dried, I rub out every nook and cranny with 0000 steel wool, applying light to moderate pressure in the direction of the grain.

This step changes the sheen level and gives the finish a polished look. It’s important to take your time and be thorough in this process to achieve the desired result.

This painted cedar wood stops looking glossy and becomes satin. The paint will have a buttery feel, far superior to the best expertly sprayed lacquer finish.

What I Liked Most

  • Easy to use
  • Works as marketed
  • Affordable and durable 

What Could Be Improved

  • You can only use it indoor

Best Finish for Indoor Cedar Furniture Comparison Table

Education – Factors to Consider When Buying A Finish for Indoor Cedar

The best finish for indoor cedar furniture should, at the very least, protect the wood from water penetration, staining, and moisture without affecting its appearance.

However, it would help if you also thought about the finish’s base ingredient, how safe it is to use, and whether it has any additional safety features.

Overall, all types of wood finishings are suitable for cedar. However, clear penetrating finishes such as linseed, Tung, and Danish oil best suit indoor cedar furniture.

This finish safeguards the cedar wood from the inside while preserving the beautiful natural color of the cedar. Even so, before buying any finish for indoor cedar, watch for the factors below. 

The Finish Type

A finish can be either a film-foaming finish or a penetrating finish. Both are ideal for indoor cedar furniture. However, penetrating finishes such as tung or linseed oil top the finishes for indoor cedar.

The Stain of the Finish

Some finishes have stains on them. It is entirely up to you and your project. If you don’t want to change the color, go with the clear finish. Clear stains do not interfere with the natural beauty of wood.

The Gloss of the Finish

Several finish options are available, including gloss, semi-gloss, satin, and matte. Which one should you choose? You can choose any sheen for your indoor cedar wood based on your preferences.

Consider the Finishes’ Drying Time

Drying time is one of the most crucial features to consider when buying a finish for indoor cedar. It determines how fast you can complete the project and how quickly you can use your masterpiece.

See if the finish has fast-drying properties, how many coats you need to apply, and how long you should wait between recoats.

The Application Procedure

To apply the finish, you’ll need the synthetic brush. On the other hand, you can use a cloth or foam to apply the finish. Some finishes have multiple application methods.

You can apply the stain with a brush, roller, foam, or clean, dry cloth. Buy a finish, you can use readily available tools to cut down the cost.

How to Finish Cedar Wood Indoors

Cedar gives homeowners durable options for interior and exterior construction projects due to its unmatched natural resistance to rot and decay properties.

Is sealing cedar necessary if you need to take delight in the aroma of varieties such as Incense Cedar and Western red cedar? Let the wood stay unsealed if you use cedar indoors.

If you use cedarwood for outdoor projects, apply a thin coat of finish to protect it from moisture and extreme sunlight.

Here’s the step-by-step guide on how to finish cedar wood indoors.

Step 1: Acclimatize New Cedar

Indoor cedar requires less protection. Even so, place new cedar in the room where you’ll use it for a few days to help it adapt to the new environment before treating it.

Step 2: Sand the wood lightly

Sand the wood lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to eliminate any imperfections. If you’re refinishing treated cedar, sand away the old finish before applying the new. If cedar dust bothers you, wear a respirator and cover your skin.

Step 3: Select a Finishing Product

Take your desired finish. Be sure to test it first by applying it on a scrap piece or a concealed area to see if you like the results.

It is possible to bleach, stain, paint, or wax cedar. For extra moisture protection in a laundry room, kitchen, or bathroom, use finishing products rated for exterior use only. If you decide to stain it, here’s the best way to stain cedar.

Step 4: Use a finishing product

Keenly follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the preferred finish, as different strains have varying application methods. But generally, use the first coat and let it dry before applying the second coat.

Be keen to wipe off excess finish and sand lightly between coats. Transparent lacquers work best with a paint sprayer instead of a brush.

Step 5: Maintain A Cleaning Routine

Dust the wood regularly with a clean, lint-free soft cloth to keep it elegant for years. You can make a custom wood cleaner consisting of one cup of water, a quarter of vinegar, a half cup of mineral oil, and twenty drops of lemon juice.


What Finish Looks Best on Cedar?

Cedar is beautiful wood naturally and takes in most stains well, just like pine. But it depends on your preferences. Nonetheless, Tung oil, Danish oil, and lacquer look elegant on cedar. Tung oil provides a durable, beautiful finish, while Danish oil dries faster and is beginner-friendly. Lacquer or sanding sealer is the most cost-effective and readily available.

Do I need to seal cedar indoors?

Yes. If you opted for western red cedar for your indoor projects, keep its natural beauty by using shellacs or waxes to safeguard it from abrasion and stains. Sealing cedar makes cleaning easier.

How do you protect cedar wood indoors?

In high-moisture sections of your home, use finishes formulated explicitly for exterior use. Use clear finishes to protect cedar from minor abrasions and retain its natural color. Use bleaches, semi-transparent and solid stains, and opaque finishes to alter the wood to compliment your decorative theme.

Is cedar safe indoors?

Yes, cedar is safe indoors, and you cannot seal it. However, sealing cedar used in high moisture areas such as bathrooms and laundry rooms would be best. Use exterior-grade finishes recommended for interior use to protect the wood from moisture.

If you plan to incorporate cedar into your bathroom design, we have a helpful resource: our “Waterproofing Wood for Shower” guide.


You finish indoor cedar to make cleaning and minimizing ageing signs easier. Unfinished interior cedar surfaces can be challenging to clean.

That’s so because these surfaces are and can collect dust and allergens. A finish improves the cedar’s natural resistance to mold and mildew, ensuring it remains beautiful for decades.

We consider FurnitureClinic Boiled Linseed Oil for Wood the best finish for indoor cedar furniture because it’s simple to use, works as marketed, and resists mold and mildew for years.

Leave a Comment