How do I redo kitchen cabinets that are not real wood?


I have white cabinets and I just do not like white in a kitchen, I cook a lot of fried foods and have kids and animals, so they get dirty very easy. I don't have the time to spend deep cleaning my cabinets with bleach every 3 days, and would really like to go to a more natural wood look without spending the money to put in new cabinets. Is there any way that I can make these cabinets look more like real wood?

q how to redo kitchen cabinets that are not real wood

This was after cleaning with bleach.

  6 answers
  • Abigail Ellis Abigail Ellis on Jan 02, 2019

    Hey Brandy! I totally know that struggle of trying to keep white, white. It's never ending!

    Do you know if your cabinets are painted wood or laminate? If they are painted, you could use a combination of paint stripper and sanding to take off the paint and take it down to the original grain.

    From there, you can stain it or leave it as is if you like the color. But do make sure you seal it to protect it from the dreaded kitchen grime!

    Good luck!

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Jan 02, 2019

    Redoing your cabinets will not get rid of your underlying issue of grease on the cabinets. Just wipe down the cabinets with a vinegar/water mix with a squirt of blue Dawn dish soap after you cook when you wipe down the stove from grease splatter. No need to deep clean.

  • Beth Beth on Jan 02, 2019

    If you want to try to camouflage a bit so dirt and/or grease doesn't show as easily, you might try applying an antiquing wax, which gives a beautiful look to cabinets and also is more forgiving than white. Grillo Designs has a great tutorial for this here:

  • Lizbeth Lizbeth on Jan 02, 2019

    It's possible to create a faux wood look on a solid surface.

    However, because the cabinets aren't a truly flat surface I do not think it will work (because of the crevices and molding.) I also think even if each door could somehow be done to your satisfaction, overall the doors would lack a cohesive look due to unavoidable inconsistent markings created by faux method.

    I'd consider painting the cabinets a darker color to hide dirt although as others have said, if grease is a problem it will still be there. It's also possible to get new doors and reface the cabinets. It's expensive but not as expensive as installing new cabinets. However, I don't think that makes sense to do if the cabinet frames/boxes themselves aren't real wood.

  • Debi53 Debi53 on Jan 02, 2019

    I agree with those who say to paint them a dark color. I have an island painted a dark gray and other cabinets that are painted a pale cream. The island never looks dirty and the cream cabinets always seem to look dirty. When I repaint, I am changing the lower cream cabinets to the dark gray. I don't think you will ever be able to paint the cabinets to look like they are real wood. It can be done, but it is not easy. You will probably end up with cabinets that look like they were painted to look like "real" wood. Going with a dark paint color will look elegant and be easier to keep clean.

  • Oliva Oliva on Jan 02, 2019

    Your kitchen sounds as though it would benefit from a much higher powered exhaust fan to reduce the grease deposits.

    If you can afford to replace knobs and pulls, purchase ones with no crevices or other ornamentation which collects dirt.