I have a 1980's built in honey oak ent center.

Should I paint or stain? Floors are red tone Brazilian Cherry, walls are very light grey. It is in the entry way, and faces the great room.
q i have a 1980 s built in honey oak ent center
q i have a 1980 s built in honey oak ent center
  10 answers
  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Jan 08, 2018
    If you are happy with the style of the piece and just want to upscale the colour, I’d be tempted to sand to bare wood then restain. I think it would look stunning in black cherry or espresso

  • Bridget Negroni Bridget Negroni on Jan 09, 2018
    Spray paint it flat black switch hardware to brushed nickle if any

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 09, 2018
    Get some paint chips and see what color looks best next to your flooring and other furniture. Go with works for you.

  • S cook S cook on Jan 09, 2018
    Oak is my favorite wood. It looks so elegant and timeless. I would stain it a different color. That way you keep the personality of the wood but have a different color. Stain comes in such a variety of colors and it is easy to change when you get tired of it. Painting would hide the natural charm of the wood and is a real pain to strip when you want a new color.

  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Jan 09, 2018
    Look at using gel stain - easy to use and you can instantly update a dated wood piece such as this and replace the knobs.

  • Ginny Ginny on Jan 09, 2018
    I wouldn't touch it except to change out hardware. It's lovely wood.

  • Maynard Maynard on Jan 10, 2018
    I'm a retired carpenter/cabinetmaker, so my first question is why you want to change it? The second pic shows the floor and I see many colors in the boards, some almost as light as the cabinet. Darkening it will certainly make it more dramatic, but since its in an entrance hall, how important is the drama? Varying colors of wood in a home add to the visual interest, the eye stops to take it in rather than sweeping over it telling the brain, " more of same."
    Having said all that, if you really want a change, I must tell you Its going to be a lot of work, because its not a bunch of flat smooth surfaces. Painting it will be easier than re-staining. But paint will hide the beautiful oak grain. If you paint, no need to sand, get a product called liquid sandpaper. Apply according to instructions. This eliminates the need to sand as it chemically preps the varnish to take paint. Next, paint, and buy a good angled edge brush, 2" wide, The angled tip will allow you to get into corners without leaving gobs of paint there, to run and drip. You might even consider an antiquing kit.
    If you want to change the color of the stain but retain the look of stained wood, get a gallon of environmentally safe stripper, and a cheap 2" brush. Now for a pro tip; have a roll of Saran type plastic wrap handy. Apply the stripper to a surface, then immediately cover it with the plastic. This prevents evaporation, and the stripper works much longer than if left out in the air. Do just enough at a time so that the worked area is manageable. Do one side at a time, don't rush. Prep is everything in a refinish job. When you've covered one side, go on to the next side, taking your time to be careful, because the stripper works much slower than the old fashioned caustic stripper. But its much easier on the wood, and won't burn you if it gets on bare skin. So after a couple hours you should have covered all the surfaces with stripper and plastic. Starting with the first side, move a corner of the plastic and using a putty knife, try to draw it down and see if the goop comes with the putty knife, leaving relatively clean wood. If so, remove the plastic and using the putty knife, scrape away the old varnish. Use a 3", flexible knife. Ask for one at the store when you buy the stripper. Do this on all the surfaces, following the same routine on each surface, all the way around. This all applies to the top as well, including the plastic wrap. Its OK to overlap the plastic wrap. After you've removed all the old varnish, wash the cabinet with a rag and cool water to remove any stripper residue. Let it dry until next day.
    Next day, inspect the cabinet for small areas the stripper did not get 100% of the varnish, and lightly circle it with a pencil. Now its time to sand. This is a hand operation with 100 grit sandpaper, wrapped around a 6" piece of 2x4. Cut the sandpaper to width matching the 2x4.If you don't have work scissors, fold it both ways and putting the fold on the edge of the top, tear down. Now wrap the 2x4, with the ends of the paper in your palm and the smooth side down. Sand the wood lightly to remove grain lift, caused by the water from washing it. Spend a bit more time in the areas you pencil marked. Eventually you'll have done all the flat surfaces, and only the trim curves will be left. do those with a piece af sandpaper wrapped around 1 finger. Eventually you'll be finished with the trim as well. Now wipe it down with a tack rag, which is a lint free cloth wetted with mineral spirits or paint thinner. This will remove the sanding dust. Drag the rag, flat, on each surface, one end to the other with no back and forth motion. Just one flat pull. When that has dried, you're ready to apply the new stain color. For stain I like a foam brush, no bristle lines in the stain. Apply in the direction of the grain. Don't apply too much, as it will run vertically and accumulate in the corners. Do one panel at a time, and again, take your time. When you've finished applying the new stain, walk away. Come back in a few hours to decide if the color is good. If you want darker, add another layer of stain, again, sparingly. this time it can't soak in so it must evaporate. If you're satisfied with the new color after one application of stain, great. Walk away. Tomorrow you will apply the first of 2 coats of Varnish. You must decide how much gloss you want before you buy the varnish. I recommend either semi-gloss or high gloss. Flat looks unfinished. Again, buy a gallon. Use a high quality 2" angle tip brush to apply the varnish. Light coats or it will drool on a vertical surface and look horrible. If you have time, do a second coat about 4 hours later, applied directly over the first coat. Again I can't stress this enough, lightly! we're looking for two light coats. If you can't do the second coat within the 4 hr timeframe, wait till the next day and rub the varnish with 4 ought ( 0000 ) steel wool, available where you bought the varnish and stripper. This is a quick buffing to scuff the sheen on the surface so it will be a better bonding surface for the second coat. If you can do it within the 4 hour window, there is a chemical thing that happens as the solvents in the liquid semi-dissolve the top molecules of the previous layer and the bond is more monolithic. However, one way or the other, once the second coat dries for 24 hours, its cured and you're finished.

    Remember to protect the floor around the base of the cabinet. Tape down plastic, put a drop cloth of some sort over the plastic, possibly an old sheet, so if liquid of either the stripper, the stain, or the varnish falls to the floor it is absorbed by the fabric, and not sitting on the plastic, waiting for you to step in it and track it all over the house. Have rags handy, and the various solvents needed for cleanup. Water for the stripper and its brush, paint thinner for the stain and varnish.

    Forget gel stain. Its meant to be a one coat application of varnish that has stain already in it. My experience with it is that it is streaky and uneven looking upon application, and there's no way to make it better.

    I have given you the proper steps to produce a professionally (re-)finished product. My question at this point is; do you really want to tackle this, it will take the better part of a week, several hours a day.
    After reading this, maybe you'll have a better appreciation for the process as to what is really involved, and maybe you'll begin to like the honey oak! Or you could paint it.
    If you need anything more in the way of info or explanation, text me, I don't go to the net every day so I need to know its necessary because you've posted here, or just text the question. 847 989 8755
    Maynard Dubow

    • Stephanie Johnston Stephanie Johnston on Jan 10, 2018
      Thank you for the explanation. The reason I'm thinking about thus is the yellowing. However, you make a great point in regards to the extent and outcome of this project.

  • Darla Darla on Jan 10, 2018
    I think they are great the way they are; it would be a shame to paint such nice wood. You could change the hardware.

  • Patty Dell'Anno Patty Dell'Anno on Jan 10, 2018
    If you really don't like it, I would paint it. You don't mention the color of your furniture. If you have country furnishings you could go black, dark grey, navy blue, cranberry.

  • Sandi Massengale Sandi Massengale on Jan 15, 2018
    How about cherry stain AND a dark blue stain?