• Hometalker
  • Skokie, IL
Asked on Apr 25, 2019

How to darken a reddish colored wood cabinet?

DeeLKLinda Sikut


Is there any way to darken the reddish color of the cabinet without painting or completely refinishing? I want the grain to show but just want the color to be more brown like my table/chairs. The chair seat covers are black so I thought of painting it black but am afraid to take the plunge! I would love to make it look more like a china cabinet by adding lights, glass shelves, some kind of wood detail...should I paint or wallpaper the inside to make it look brighter? The cabinet is actually 2 cases stacked on top of each other, maybe I should separate them? What would you do? Thanks for any ideas!!!

q how to darken reddish colored wood cabinet
q how to darken reddish colored wood cabinet
6 answers
  • Grace Gleason
    on Apr 25, 2019

    I've seen a number of recommendations for using gel stain over cabinets that are already finished. Check here on Hometalk for instructions. Good luck!

  • Nan W.
    on Apr 25, 2019

    Colleen: I like to live on the edge... I'd paint it black! (I can picture that would be something a designer on HGTV would do!!)

    You could also darken with a product like this:

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    on Apr 25, 2019

    Add glaze to it. You will need to thoroughly clean first.

  • Linda Sikut
    on Apr 25, 2019

    Hi Colleen,

    Here's a video using gel stain to darken a wood dresser. This should help you learn about the process. I think the black would look stunning though. I think painting it black will bring out the artwork on your other wall, as well. I also like your idea of separating the 2 pieces because that would give you extra serving space if you have a lot of food that won't all fit on the table or if you want to have a buffet. When we remodeled our diningroom, I did not have a unit like you have so we used bottom cabinets to create the bottom of a buffet (with a countertop on that) then we used wall cabinets with glass doors for the top. It just took a little thinking outside of the box. I thing that would serve you well in this case. Wishing you the best.

  • LK
    on Apr 30, 2019

    It looks like your table is the same color as the cabinet as well so whatever you do to the cabinet you may want to do to your table top. You could put material or wallpaper inside the cabinet, I did that to mine and it really does look nice… And it’s removable if you decide to change it. You might be able to tie that wallpaper in to material for seat cushions if you wanted to change the black. Another thought would be to put material/wallpaper on the outside front lower panels of the cabinet.

  • Dee
    on Apr 30, 2019

    That cabinet is beautiful. I would either put wallpaper or paint just the inside. If you wanted to slightly darken, sand lightly with 22 or better grit, then use minwax stain just a shade darker than what you have. I really think you should leave it as it is.

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