First step is always prep your piece. Clean well with your choice of cleaner, make any necessary, repairs and do a scuff sand all over (sand the piece lightly with 220 grit sandpaper). Then wipe down with a damp rag.
My piece needed a lot of prep. It was in pretty rough shape. After stripping and sanding the top, I found a gorgeous cherry wood! I decided to leave it natural, but if you want to stain a section of your piece, do that now