How to Upgrade Dated Honey Oak Cabinets

2 Materials
3 Hours

We needed to update the outdated kitchen in our cabin. These honey oak cabinets and gold hardware needed to go! We didn’t want to spend a lot to money or time (aka didn’t want to have to replace the cabinets, or remove and paint all of the doors), so we decided to stain them. This was such a cheap and quick way to update the kitchen without breaking the bank!

What we used:

Wood stain

Steel wool

Updated hardware

Step 1: Remove hardware and “scuff”

After taking off the horrible hardware, we scuffed up the doors with steel wool. Again, we didn’t even take the doors off the hinges, which saved so much time and headache!

Step 2: Stain

Next we stained the doors with a darker wood stain. You could also choose to white wash them if you want! This was so much easier than painting because it didn’t need to be perfect, and it only took one coat!

Step 3: Replace hardware

Finally we replaced the gold hardware with some more modern silver pulls. It’s amazing what a difference hardware alone can make!

To finish off our updates in the kitchen, we painted the trim white, updated the light fixtures, and removed the dated window treatments.

We are SO happy with the results! It just took a little stain to remove that harsh yellow from our dated honey oak cabinets, and its a whole new kitchen!! We found this to be much easier and faster than painting the cabinets. Its amazing what some stain/paint can do for a space!

Suggested materials:

  • Wood stain   (Steel wool)
  • Cabinet Hardware

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

3 of 29 questions
  • Melinda West Melinda West on Sep 27, 2021

    If you didn’t remove the hinges to stain them you had to remove them to replace. Would it have made any difference in removing the doors, staining and then replacing them with your new hardware?

  • Tara Tara on Sep 28, 2021


    Two questions really.

    Did you clean the cabinet surface first and if so, what did you use?

    What grade of steel wool did you use to "scuff" the finish?

    Thanks for sharing your project. It looks great!

  • Danene Ann Baucom Danene Ann Baucom on Oct 01, 2021

    How much "scuffing" did you do? Or is that a personal preference?


Join the conversation

2 of 53 comments
  • Pat Costa Pat Costa on Oct 02, 2021


  • J J on Oct 02, 2021

    Nice job! Everyone has their own preference ( light/dark paint/stain ). As long as you like it that’s all that matters.