How do I update my regal oak kitchen?

K. Petersen
by K. Petersen

The choice seems to be between restrain or paint the oak cabinets. It needs to fit in with the rest of the house which has oak trim everywhere. I want it to look updated for possible resale but yet be something I like which is wood. I’m not a fan of dark colours. It is open into the family room which also has lots of oak. I’m not replacing the cabinets but I need to replace flooring, tiles, countertop and paint. Thank you for ideas and help.

Coming from living room into kitchen and eating area.

Looking towards the kitchen which had a side door out to the deck and a big sit-up counter.

Railing is also something I need to consider as it ties into family room.

  9 answers
  • Jenni Ingram Jenni Ingram on Mar 12, 2019

    If you don't want to paint your cabinets, you could restain them to a different wood tone to update them a bit. Here's a post on an easy way to do that:

  • William William on Mar 12, 2019

    If you were to stain and don't like dark colors you would need to sand down to raw wood and stain a lighter tone. Problem with that doors, face frame, and drawer fronts are solid wood. Cabinet cases are usually veneer over some substrate. Could be plywood, particle board, or MDF. You can paint the cabinets any color you choose. Even cabinet manufacturers are on the painted cabinet bandwagon. You can stain over stain with gel stain but you can only go darker and not lighter. For the countertops you can use Rustoleum, Daich, or Giani countertop paint kits. I would remove the wood molding around the laminate counters. For kitchen floors I recommend peel and stick vinyl floor planks. Look like wood, ceramic, or porcelain tile. Waterproof and resilient.

  • Suzette Suzette on Mar 12, 2019

    Hi K, Your cabinets look to be in good condition. Maybe you could just use a wood restore product. I'm not endorsing these products in the link, just giving you an idea to what's out there to restore your cabinets to make them look new:

    Here's a picture of how nice they would look painted white with new hardware and crown molding:

    One fun update would be to your pantry door. Here's a link with lots of nice ideas:

    Hope some of these ideas help!

  • Sal3170064 Sal3170064 on Mar 12, 2019

    Why not go with just painting the centre. That way it will fit in with the rest of the house.

    I think you need some colour in the kitchen. I would choose some plain coloured mosaic tiles for under the cabinets. Maybe change the handles. And add a different colour worktop, to blend with the tiles and flooring.

  • Carolee Carolee on Mar 12, 2019

    I strongly recommend you do the countertops and floors first. You might be surprised at how different your cabinets will look.

  • 17335038 17335038 on Mar 12, 2019

    Although painting kitchen cabinets is getting a lot of talk these days, in my experience, I have seen many folks attempt to 'transform' their kitchens by painting their cabinets, only to be left with a still outdated kitchen and an amateur paint job.

    In my opinion, it is just as often all the other decor elements in a kitchen that date it as much or more than just the cabinets. I agree with Carolee that changing the countertops and floors will enhance the look of the cabinets and boost some new life into the room

    The dated elements that stick out in your kitchen are the balloon valance, faux greenery above the cupboards, and the disused desk. I would recommend to first remove all three. If you are going to replace the countertop, then spend a few dollars and purchase a drawer unit the same height as the small unit next to the fridge, then the new countertop simply goes over the whole base together. Or, eliminate the small unit (put it somewhere else in the home) altogether if it is not functioning well, and purchase efficient drawer units for the entire base space.

    On the topic of removing cabinets, I would also suggest to remove the corner wall cabinet on the left. Curio shelves are very outdated, and because the unit is not joined to others, it is appears heavy and obtrusive. Removing it would create a clear sight line from the table area to the window, would allow light to enter more of the room, resulting in the whole room appearing larger and airier.

    Purchasing a new undermounted sink at the time of the new countertops will instantly modernize the kitchen. Besides giving you inches more of counter space, they are so easy to clean compared with a over mount standard sink.

    I also agree with Suzette that replacing the bland pantry door with a lighter semi glass model would give the corner depth and make it visually interesting. Here are two examples.

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  • 17335038 17335038 on Mar 12, 2019

    Keep in mind that removing tiles from walls invariably results in the sheetrock behind the tiles incurring damage to some degree. Before any new tiles are installed, the damage must be repaired first. This is time consuming, and can be expensive, depending on how extensive the damage is.

    If the tiles on the backsplash are still in good condition, as they are a neutral color, I would dissuade you from having them replaced.

    Put your time and money instead into other decor features.

  • Deb Deb on Mar 16, 2019

    I would go ahead and do all the other work you mentioned first. In a home that has all the wood matching, you may not want to mess with the cabinets. They look in good condition and you may be surprised how nice they look with bright shiney new all around them. Especially if you add colors that warm up the wood. I see a good cleaning and oiling of your cabinets and you might be pleasantly surprised. what is needed is color . Right now all I see is tan and white.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Dec 26, 2020

    Hi! Had you thought of whitewashing the cabinets? It lightens them, but, you can still see the wood grain. Good luck!