Yellow Oak Cabinets Transform!


I bought my log cabin home 7 years ago. The previous owners had a love for oak - I DO NOT! I had never liked them, but it was not in my budget to redo my kitchen. (although, SOMEDAY I promise I'm going to get my granite!)
Prior to this home, I lived in a brick colonial and my taste has always been the cherry, mahogany, queen anne, etc styles. I now have a mixture of woods in my home, but mostly are still those traditional style furnishings. So, when I wanted to redo my cabinets with a mahogany stain, I knew it would fit in ok.
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
This was our kitchen when we first moved in and then right before I started the makeover
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
I did some research and came up with General Finishes Mahogany Gel Stain to use.
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
I took off all of the cabinet doors and taped off all areas.
Make sure you have some sort of numbering system so you know which ones go where when you go to put them back on.
I laid out a huge tarp in my basement and took them all down there. I sanded just a little - no huge amount of sanding, just got the shine off and in the grooves. Then, I used Lysol dual action wipes to clean them all off.
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
I used a rag and wiped the gel stain on and wiped off any excess. I actually used a white tube sock and put my hand inside so that I could get into the grooves well. You might also be able to use a foam brush. I made sure the streaks were off as I went - you don't want any streaks to dry because it will show up! Just feather it out.
It took two coats to get the color I wanted. I didn't want to go to dark. Btw, after the first coat, you might think OH NO, but be patient, that next coat makes all the difference!
I finished them all off with a few coats of General Finishes Satin Poly top coat.
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
I know that trim around the window has to change, and I'm waiting for my dishwasher to DIE so I can upgrade to stainless!
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
yellow oak cabinets transform , diy, home improvement, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
I hope these pictures - although not the best quality - give you a good idea of the transformation!

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To see more: http://www.mmembellishments.com

Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Linda L.
    on May 30, 2016

    Great job! I love the color of the stain. What color stain is that?

  • Lina Altman
    on May 31, 2016

    I'm curious what you did about the ends of the cabinets ex: ends facing each other by your sink. Mine are not wood they look almost like a paper and are not porous to soak up stain.

    • Pam G Blaxton-Dowd
      on Jul 17, 2016

      My "oak" cabinets are really a paper covered thin wood. Where they were worn, I had HD match the color and painted the spots. Then I added new hardware. I don't know what would happen to all that paper if I put full coats of paint on it. 😞

  • Kathy
    on Jul 6, 2016

    now I'm just the opposite I have the dark mahogany cubbards and would like to go lighter any ideas

    • Sue Ryan
      on Jul 15, 2016

      start by sanding them and add a pickled stain (white wash). Paint will eventually peal.

Join the conversation

4 of 115 comments
  • LK
    on Dec 19, 2018

    I used Thomas stainless steel paint on my dishwasher and it came out great! That could be an idea to turn the white dishwasher to steel, and quite easy to do.

    • Reen
      on Jun 14, 2019

      I suggested to a neighbor that thin sheet metal would give him the look they wanted - easy! Looks great + can't tell it was ever different!

  • Deena Lancaster
    on Dec 26, 2018

    Just a suggestion really about the dishwasher. If yours has the thin decorative front panel that can be removed, use a a silver tone “metallic “ contact paper. Or replace the entire panel with a small sheet of “ceiling” punch tin. If you get lucky you might find vintage tin at a flea market, but there are backsplash strips that imitate the punched tin.

    • M&M Embellishments
      on Dec 30, 2018

      Thanks for the response, Deena!! I actually did this project a few years ago, and my son bought me a new dishwasher last year for Christmas!!!! But I appreciate your response!!!


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