Asked on Feb 19, 2013

Staining Cabinets

DonnaSandraJeanette S


Ok, so the cabinets in my kitchen are a pretty nice shade, I'm not sure in which classification it would fall, but its a medium brown with a slight reddish undertone. So recently we purchased an island (2nd hand) that looks like blondish pine or something. We were going to stain the island to match the cabinets, but now we want the cabinets even darker. Like a dark chocolate, almost black looking color. Would we be better off buying new cabinets or sanding and staining the ones we have. And then of course staining the island to match. I've posted a few pics to try to help with the visual. I have top and bottom cabinets on 2 walls, and bottom cabinets on the one wall where the sink is...any suggestions?
11 answers
  • If your current cabinets are in good shape clean them well, seal and follow the manufactures directions when staining or painting them carefully. I would not purchase the paint or stain products from the larger box stores, but go directly to the smaller manufacture stores that can give you professional advice on their products and can offer advice on matching both the island as well as the mounted cabinets.

  • Reinventing Space
    on Feb 20, 2013

    I'd leave the main cabinets alone, they are lovely and once you start re-staining etc.. it opens a whole can of worms. Instead, I like your 1st idea to reinvent the island. Stain or paint it in your Ebony or even a fun color like barn red, using a milk paint. Once done, you can spend the effort and cash by adding a tile backsplash and re-accessorize the space with a new inspiration!

  • Shanel B
    on Feb 20, 2013

    Thanks Woodbridge Environmental for the advice. Reinventing Space I like your idea too about using the island as a pop of color in the kitchen. The colors of my great room and kitchen are garnets, olives, golds, you know fall like earth tones. However, when you say staining the cabinets would be a whole can or worms, what do you mean?

  • I think Reinventing Space means is that a few things can crop up when doing a refinish project. 1. issues using the products and getting a quality professional finish, That is why I suggested going to the smaller manufacture store instead of a wanna be guy at the big box store for the products, advice etc. 2. Once you begin the process and as things start to look nice, older things that you were not planning on updating begins to look a bit worn so you end up updating those things. And the result is you end up spending more then you budgeted for overall in the end. It always starts with a coat of paint, then new handles and hinges, then new faucet, then paint on walls, ceilings, lights... you get the picture.

  • Shanel B
    on Feb 20, 2013

    Yes, I understand! When you say a smaller store vs a big box do you mean I should go with maybe Sherwin Williams instead of Lowe's? Or does Sherwin Williams fall in that group too?

  • Exactly right. While lowe's and HD have some good products, The sales people who really mean well, at least most do, really are only being trained on the product sales line and how to sell, not really on how to fix issues. And if there is ever a problem with what they suggested, you may never see that person again. While the company stores, such as SW are factory trained or have access to that part and can offer sound advice on the products that they sell. Not like big box stores when the person might end up selling roofing the next day or lawn equipment then next.

  • Z
    on Feb 20, 2013

    My thought is if you can afford new cabinets, carefully removing your current cabinets to either sell or reuse somewhere else in your home*, then that's what I'd do. In the long run I think you'd be happier and have less of a mess. No matter who you have help you it can be a long process to make two different wood species currently stained different colors to match in the end. RS's idea of painting or staining your island an accent color is a great option too. *If your current cabinets were not built on site you can re-figure them for your laundry room for storage and folding, stack the wall cabinets for a pantry or linen closet. really the possibilities are endless.

  • Reinventing Space
    on Feb 21, 2013

    I think by adding drawer pulls and knobs and popping the island it would be a nice alternative to a staining project.

    q staining cabinets, kitchen cabinets, painting, Painted island and cute drawer pulls Photo BHG
  • Jeanette S
    on Feb 21, 2013

    Any project involving kitchen cabinets--from cleaning and sanding to painting or staining--is going to be a huge job. Be prepared for it to take a lot of time AND patience. If your family situation right now allows for a lot of free time, then go for whatever you want, but if there are kids in school, young kids with lots of needs and activities you might want to just clean your cabinets and live with them. Then brighten up the new addition with some color. You might want to check on putting good rollers on this island. I have them on mine and you cannot imagine the times it has come in handy pushed near where I needed more work space (and my kitchen is not large).

  • Sandra
    on Feb 23, 2013

    I agree with reinventing space. The more generic look these days from builder grade homes is matching island to cabinets which is sort of boring. go with the contrast and use it as a starting point to reinvent your space!

  • Donna
    on Feb 24, 2016

    Shanel I recommend using Java Gel Stain on your cabinets. I have used it on some bathroom vanity cabinets and it works great. Especially if you want a darker shade. There are several tutorials on You Tube that are very helpful, the best one is this link here. This gentleman is very thorough on every step. It is the one I watched and learned from. It is time consuming, but you will love the results. Good Luck!

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