This was a used table I got for my daughter. It is solid wood and from a distance didn't look bad. Up close it had some damage to the finish and she wanted a darker color.
I used an old sander we had around the house. I was able to sand the top of the table and the top of the stools really well. I didn't do a great job on the legs since it was much more difficult. My daughter and I decided it would be best to paint them. I had sanded them enough that they were at least scuffed up, so I applied primer, then paint. Then I used antiquing glaze. So far everything was water based and clean up was easy. It took a little work to make the antiquing look right. I used 2 foam brushes and a smaller artist brush to get the glaze in the corners, etc.
Next, I applied a few coats of stain. This was really messy and ate through my rubber gloves (they were cheap and thin.) I used foam brushes and rags. (Surely, there is a better way.)
My last step was to apply polyurethane. I bought a good brush for this and some mineral spirits to clean it. I put 2 coats on the legs and 3 on the top of the table and the stools. I had some trouble with runs and drips on the legs (and if you look for them, you can still find some.)
Here is the "after." My daughter is happy with the overall look and I told her the little imperfections give the furniture character. There are actually 2 more stools that didn't make it into the picture. They are done just like these.