Kitchen Cabinet Makeover for Less Than $100

3 Materials
7 Days

Do you have those lovely (sarcasm intended) 90s orange-y wood cabinets in your kitchen? A little paint and gel stain can transform them, all for less than $100!

This is the before of our kitchen: orange-y cabinets with no hardware. We were not in love with this kitchen situation when we moved in. I said from the beginning that I would paint the cabinets; however, I was slightly intimidated by that project. Little did I know, all it takes is time, and (a whole lot of) patience! This project was way easier than I could’ve imagined.

After thoroughly cleaning the cabinets with deglosser (don’t skip that step!), I used a small foam roller brush and a quality paint brush to paint these cabinets. I brushed on paint with the brush, and lightly rolled the foam roller to eliminate brush marks. Thin coats are key! The first coat is extremely ugly (see picture). Don’t let that deter you—press on! These cabinets ended up taking 5 coats. I lightly sanded in between each coat to achieve a super smooth texture.

Five coats later, and my cabinets have a very smooth finish. The paint I used has a top coat built in, making it super durable! The white on the top cabinets really brightens up the space.

Gel stain on the right, original on the left

I decided to gel stain the lower cabinets instead of paint. I love the look of wood cabinets, and decided two tone cabinets was the way to go for my design. I had never used gel stain before, and can’t believe how easy it was to do! You could easily gel stain your cabinets in a weekend (a day, even!). You brush it on with a chip brush, let it sit for a minute, then gently wipe off the excess with a shop towel. Easy peasy! See the picture for a side-by-side comparison: the gel stain really tones down the orange, giving me that rich brown wood look I was craving! I’m thinking the possibilities are endless with gel stain (I’m starting to eye my orange-y stair banister for a future project!).

And voila! This project is by no means over, but we are well on our way to an updated kitchen. I’m very happy with this progress, especially with the fact that it cost me less than $100 so far! What do you think?

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Frequently asked questions
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  • Jer34381188 Jer34381188 on May 04, 2022

    How long did you wait to paint between each coat?

  • Sheila Sheila on May 04, 2022

    We have real

    Walnut cupboards I love the color repeat best the stripper and let ook beautiful color so through or paint them

  • Bette Bette on May 04, 2022

    Do you have any plan to update the ceiling light fixture too.?

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