Should I paint or stain my oak kitchen cabinets?

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I was wondering if you could help me with something -- I have an entirely oak kitchen. I know it's the rage now to paint or gel stain cabinets. I've been considering it! The problem is I also have an oak farmhouse table and an oak china hutch. Not sure what to do. Trends come and go -- for all I know white and painted kitchens could be out of style in a year or two.

q should i paint or stain my kitchen cabinets, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, painting cabinets, My oak galley style kitchen
My oak galley-style kitchen
q should i paint or stain my kitchen cabinets, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design, painting, painting cabinets, The eat in dining area of my home s kitchen with an oak farmhouse table and oak china cabinet
The eat-in dining area of my home's kitchen, with an oak farmhouse table and oak china cabinet.
  190 answers
  • Debbie Debbie on Jul 16, 2018

    Do you sand kitchen cabinets before gel staining them?

  • Pat Ruge Pat Ruge on Feb 16, 2018
    "Everyone" who says they did it, said no sanding. However I will say, that the kitchen cabinets will accumulate a great deal of grease and dust. So giving them a good scrub down with a de-greaser such as KrudKutter is a good idea. Personally, I think it's a good idea to watch a couple of videos on youtube using the sprayer. Search "spray paint kitchen cabinets". If you have to fill in holes or have deep scratches you may have to do some light sanding.
  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide Lauren of Mom Home Guide on Jun 08, 2017
    I've actually begun the process of painting the cabinets white! I'm about half way through now, and love how the white cabinets brighten the kitchen. If you check my posts in my profile, you can find photos for my "new" kitchen. Thanks for all of your input and help!icon
  • Doris Jean Miller Doris Jean Miller on Jun 08, 2017
    It says share my thoughts and well since I change my decor as often as other people change their minds I prefer my wood cabinets and change up colors and even style. I went from red coca cola to purple wine country and now im in my Modern stage with Yellow. lol. If you are having trouble with dull finish or just buildup that makes them look dull I don't mind sharing my favorite product made here in Oklahoma called The Victorian House Finish Rejuvenator. Its a really great product for diy on any wood that looks bad especially kitchens but also furniture and antiques and such. A lot of times a good cleaning makes the wood come alive again. Ive used it and sold it at my antique and used furniture store for years. Its online now. www.thevictorianhouseproducts.com
  • Jane Jane on Aug 20, 2016
    We just updated our kitchen to all stainless steel appliances. The cabinets looked pretty plain and we considered staining them a darker color. Instead we bought stainless steel hardware and it made a plain cabinet look like the new designer kitchens. It is a shame to cover up solid wood stain grade cabinets because they cost a lot more than the paint grade cabinets. But if you are going to live there for several more years, do what you feel is your style. If you stain them and don't like the color or look, you can always paint them, but if you paint them it is hard to go back unless you sand everything down again and start from bare wood.
  • Cherie Cherie on Aug 20, 2016
    White painted cabinets will never go out of style! But as Barbara stated, do what makes you happy! I've painted mine several times: cream, white, tan, and now I'm going back to white on top and leave them tan on the bottom ones! The kit that Gaetane is talking about is $$$$ so you may want to check what it would cost first. I've had no problem with mix my own chalk paint!
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Aug 20, 2016
    If you like something,don't worry about style.It's your kitchen. Do what makes you happy. Everyone has a different opinion.Too much confusion.
  • Gaetane Gaetane on Aug 19, 2016
    Yes it is. Pictures really do not do justice. Kit needs to be tinted, the base color, choose from options on side of box, light or dark. Also includes an instructional c.d.. Smell is good ,I have allergies and I was ok. Isis wear a mask when applyingthe deglosser. Hope this helps!
  • Gaetane Gaetane on Aug 19, 2016
    here are some pics , not all done, Bottom cabinets are original colour before I began, and the other pic is of after applying the glaze, forgot to take pic before application of glaze! The darker piece is what I have decided to paint the bottom cabinets. I am going with two different colours, and I love it!!! We will be also changing to coutertop to a darker multicolored arborite. can't wait for it to all be done!!!! btw have enough of the transformation kit will tackle and paint my moveable island I had purchased at Target which is white with wooden chopping block top!
  • Sue Ryan Sue Ryan on Aug 16, 2016
    I would paint them white as long as you do the same with the legs of the table to tie it together. The bottom of the table would work with the kitchen. And the top of the table (leave as is) would blend with the cabinet. I assume you don't want to change the china cabinet.
  • Gaetane Gaetane on Aug 16, 2016
    i have redone mine and still in the process....used a kit by Rust Oleum Transformations...you de gloss and clean them , paint , and if you are happy with color , stop there, i chose to continue with the glaze, which i love, gives it a look of antiques, check it out at Lowes or Home Depot...there are lighter colors (which I chose) or darker ones...you could test the inside of cupboard door before doing the whole thing. Once all done you apply polyurethane finish. and i have decided to do my bottom cupboards in a darker paint in a semi gloss , no glaze on those...that paint is from Sherwin Williams
  • Bonnie Altman Bonnie Altman on Aug 16, 2016
    Some mentioned white kitchens going out of style. Personally I think white kitchens are classic and will never be out of style. There is a lot of information on things like this on the Houzz website too.
  • Sandra Sandra on Aug 15, 2016
    I would stain the hutch and dinning set with a dark brown, walnut. I would paint the cabinets a med. to light gray.
  • Lin1985810 Lin1985810 on Aug 15, 2016
    A great paint project if ever I saw one. It would lift the whole place, go for a neutral in maybe farrow and ball, it would look great, in my humble opinion...
  • C C on Aug 15, 2016
    You can always try a few stencils to brighten up your kitchen. White kitchens have been in Vogue for quite a while now and it is just about time for them to change out. I think I would try a different color stain but I love the idea of white stain on your table legs and the natural top. You might try milk paint if this is the effect you want. Milk paint is very Vogue right now.
  • Cee Cee on Aug 13, 2016
    If you use grain filler on the oak before painting you'll have a smooth professional finish. Try starting with the dining table stain the table top dark walnut and paint the base white to see which you like best
  • CK CK on Aug 13, 2016
    What your kitchen looks like is really a matter of your preference. However if you're planning to sell your home in about 5-7 years, then you should choose what seems to be trending in your area with kitchens. All that being said.....white kitchens became popular in the 1940's when they realized cleanliness had a lot to do with good health :-) So yes, white kitchens have come and gone in popularity but I personally think they'll be around for awhile yet ;-) And...if you're thinking of painting them, they don't have to be white. You can use many other colors. Google or search HT to find other kitchen cabinets painted in various colors. As to the table and hutch in oak....if you like them, they'll make a great statement on their own if the cabinets are a different color. Thank goodness in today's decorating world, we don't have to match all our woods :-) While I see TONS of oak upon oak upon oak in my area, and a lot of people like it (hey it's their house after all) I think too much of a good thing is just that....and in this case I call it "Oak Overload".......Your overall style in your home can help send you down the right path to the look you eventually want in your kitchen. Hoping to see your "after" photos. Best of luck :-)
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Aug 11, 2016
    If you prime the cabinets properly, the grain won't show.
  • Connie Connie on Aug 09, 2016
    If you don't plan on selling soon and you really feel you need a change, I'll be the first to say go for it. If you get a scratch you can always touch it up with the extra paint. Bring home paint chips and try to match your surroundings. You might want to update the back splash also. You can get free interior design service from various locations. Paint stores, The Home Depot. It could really update your space. Watch some of the redecorating shows on HGTV for ideas. Good luck!
  • PIP9599094 PIP9599094 on Aug 09, 2016
    Changing hardware is a nice change too ...:)
  • Bonnie Paul Bonnie Paul on Aug 09, 2016
    I know how you feel I have solid oak cabinets that are out of date but try putting some stylish knobs on the doors.
  • PIP9599094 PIP9599094 on Aug 08, 2016
    Looks great don;t open Pandora's box by trying to paint without an expert!
    • See 3 previous
    • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Aug 10, 2016
      If you research and do proper prep work painted cabinets will stand up. Do use durable high quality paint.
  • Janet Parker Janet Parker on Aug 08, 2016
    If you paint your cabinets, know in advance that, 1- you will still see the oak grain and 2- it is a very temporary update. Paint chips, peel, wipes off and becomes dingy looking after a very short period of time. If you're considering a fad or a temporary stop gap until you can afford to replace or reface the cabinets then, it's fine.
  • C. C. on Aug 08, 2016
    I peinted my with with a bruch on the grain and it looks fabulous
  • Lynn Lynn on Aug 07, 2016
    A white kitchen always looks good, bright, fresh. If this was mine, I would paint the cabinets Alabaster by Sherwin Williams in a semi gloss. Paint the table legs in the same color, only the legs and apron, and give the table top a nice rich coat of Minwax Dark Walnut. The china cabinet would be stained also and painted inside the top doors with the white and also the entire area that is between the top and bottom closed sections. You would be amazed at how much brighter it would look.
  • Sidney Sidney on Aug 07, 2016
    It looks lovely, treasure what u have, ; )
  • Tricia Luke Hartsfield Tricia Luke Hartsfield on Aug 07, 2016
    I would paint them the sam color as the walls.
  • Rhonda S Rhonda S on Aug 07, 2016
    I think it would look great to paint or whitewash the upper cabinets and finish the bottom cabinets to a tone closer to the table and hutch. How wonderful to have those big solid pieces! Don't worry too much about fads. If you like it, you like it. You really only need to worry about trends if you expect to move sooner than you expect to want to refresh. The two tone cabinets are not matchymatchy. I think they would stand the test of time.
    • Lauren of Mom Home Guide Lauren of Mom Home Guide on Aug 07, 2016
      Thanks so much, Rhonda. That's one idea I've been thinking of -- to bring the oak cabinets down a tone or two to match the table and cabinet and to only paint the uppers white. Thanks for your comments! :)
  • Linda Bryant Linda Bryant on Aug 07, 2016
    I love the look of wood and have oak cabinets in a rental but they need some updating; I am concerned that white or any color of painted cabinets will show wear more easily than wood...your thoughts?
  • Danielle Odin Danielle Odin on Aug 07, 2016
    Instead of painting, why not bleach them that way you preserve the beauty of the oak and you don't add to the finish.
  • Nan8294950 Nan8294950 on Aug 07, 2016
    Stain OR paint - can always be redone. White will never go out of style as the light reflectivity and spaciousness it adds is and will reamin - a real estate PLUS.
  • Jackie Jackie on Aug 07, 2016
    We had the same cabinets. LIke you, we had a lighter counter top and floor, so we decided going darker on the cabinets would be the thing to do. We gel stained them walnut and love the outcome!
  • Smm7634893 Smm7634893 on Aug 07, 2016
    I had dark cabinets, painted and it didn't turn out well. Now I am thinking of trying again.
  • Mary Mary on Aug 07, 2016
    I would add crown molding and new counter top. Adding nice pulls on drawers and doors would be nice. If you can afford to change the floor that would make a big difference. Using these new items choose wall color to change up both areas. You could change out all the chairs to Parsons chairs or just the two end chairs with small wing back chairs. I would not paint you furniture. You can brighten up the hutch by adding dishes and accessories you like. I think your space is very nice, maybe add accessories and see if you like the changes. If you are set on a painted kitchen do it. We are just finishing painted oak cabinets white to improve a dark kitchen and mismatched stains. It is hard and takes weeks to do it right so consider having professionals do it if you choose to paint them. I would go online and see what style of kitchen you like and try to bring that into your design. Good luck.
  • Trudy Trudy on Aug 07, 2016
    Not an opinion​, just info. I painted my cabinets white and did all the right things. They had many coats of paint so I stripped them, sanded, wiped down well, primered, and bought expensive paint. They still ended up looking crappy in a few years, chipped around the knobs and they show everything little drip.
  • Moni Batthish Moni Batthish on Aug 07, 2016
    My opinion is first to clean the wood very well from dust and cooking oil, then I strongly recommend staining. So easy to do and will finish in no time. I've done the same with my cabinets 8 years ago and they're still brand new with a monthly cleaning
  • Elaine Elaine on Aug 07, 2016
    First of all, only YOU can decide what to do with your kitchen. What don't you like? What would you like to change or dispose of? I'm always cautious of not following trends and can tell you that white kitchens never, ever date. If the kitchen were mine, I'd leave the furniture alone as you may find just changing the cupboards is enough of an improvement. I'm very partial to creamy white kitchens but also love the subdued "Heritage" type colors such as a muted Williamsburg Blue or subtle green. But that's just me. Follow what others above say about good prep work - cleaning off grease, etc., using a good primer and taking your time applying the paint. If you dislike your hardware, also decide that first as you may need to fill in screw holes and sand before painting. Down the road, if you find your furniture a bit heavy, you could leave the tabletop as is (stained) but paint the legs and skirting. Take into consideration the colors in the adjoining rooms so there is a "flow" in color. Good luck! PS: if you really want to rev up your decor, I'd suggest a much larger light fixture over your table as it looks quite tiny in scale. I've also noticed curtain valances are being removed to let in light and give a room a more updated look but that's a personal choice. Visit Houzz and type in "kitchens"; you'll get tons of ideas!
  • 4426401 4426401 on Aug 07, 2016
    Ok here is my opinion...dont paint the table and hutch, but if you are looking for brighter, add an area rug, light color, and id the walls are not white already, ligthen them, get a new light fixture or celing fan, ditch the heavy draperies and mini blinds and get 2 inch woods or faux woods (Lowes has nice ones) and get a brighter table runner. You can start doing festive now...fall thru Christmas. Then the kitchen cabinets.....paint them girl! But can I just suggest hiring it done? It is a huge and time consuming and messy job that s better left to the pros. I did it myself on the same oak style cabinets some years ago and swore I would never do it again. Sanding, priming, sanding, priming, painting. ugh! And if you go pro, you can have them do the inside of your cabinets too, and...they will do the sanding and they should seal off your kitchen so that the rest of you house doesnt get innondated with sand dust. It will a little but trust me. While you have them there, if you have the old recessed flouresents in your kitchen ceiling have them removed and fill in the box and put can lights in. You will thankk me! lol. Have fun remodeling. You will be glad you did it.
    • Lauren of Mom Home Guide Lauren of Mom Home Guide on Aug 07, 2016
      Thanks! I am still not sure what I am going to do about the cabinets, but I definitely want to ditch the draperies and mini blinds! I'd also like to add color with a table runner.
  • This may not be your style, but we had the same oak cabinets in our condo that had been painted and added painted panels to cover the arched panels.
  • Nancy Nancy on Aug 07, 2016
    Try new hardware on the cabinetry first if you're just looking for an update. If it's still not enough "oomph" for you, then do what YOU like. If you like white, by all means, paint the cabinets white. If you want a darker stain, then do that. Change up your eating area with runners and accessories- much less permanent for what you obviously liked enough to buy as oak!
  • Ann Ann on Aug 07, 2016
    Yes, my husband and I did. It was a lot of work and we took the time to do it right, and it really showed. We took all the doors and drawer fronts off, removed all the hardware, scrubbed them with Krudcutter. Sanded any funky spots (I had some raised grain on some doors). Then we put two coats of really good primer lightly sanding in between each coat. Then we used Benjamin Moore Advance paint, which is really remarkable paint. We put three coats in, first the front, then the backs. You have to wait 16 hours between each coat and then lightly sand between each one with like 220 grit. We waited three days to rehang everything, because that is what was suggested. We put all new hArdware on. It takes about three weeks for full cure of the paint, so treat with kid gloves. But man or man, people thing that we bought them new. We also caulked with paintable caulking where the the raised panels meet the each other. It made a much finer finish.
  • Pat Ruge Pat Ruge on Aug 07, 2016
    If you decide to paint, I highly recommend you purchase an electric sprayer - I bought mine on Amazon for about $60. By using chalk paint, there is little or no sanding, however, I do recommend you scrub them down to remove any dust and or kitchen oils. No brush strokes and once the area is prepped, it all goes very quickly.
  • Shari Allen Shari Allen on Aug 07, 2016
    Do whatever makes you happy. like you said, trends come and go. if you like oak, don't paint them just to stay in style.
  • Penumbra7 Penumbra7 on Aug 07, 2016
    Don't touch that wonderful furniture- white up the room instead.
  • Suz9553630 Suz9553630 on Aug 06, 2016
    I love Transformations by Rustoleum...no grain shows through.
  • Linda Kroeger Tregler Linda Kroeger Tregler on Aug 06, 2016
    I say white never goes out of style, it's a classic. You can always change the backsplash to go with the trends, that would be easier and less expensive.
  • Lizzy L Lizzy L on Aug 06, 2016
    I would paint the cabinets white or light grey, install farmhouse knobs and pulls, and paint the hutch with a fun color on the inside of it. You could also paint the table & chairs and remove the curtain.
  • Debbie doo right Debbie doo right on Aug 06, 2016
    First of all put some hardware on your doors and use a knob pull aligner. If you are going to keep them stained the resand and change the color of the stain. You need hardware to start.
  • Vicki Shaw Vicki Shaw on Aug 06, 2016
    I have the same dilemma. I say leave it. Maybe change accent colour in the room or curtains or lighting. Gives the room a whole new vibe and doesn't cause regret!
  • Tammy Turner Tammy Turner on Aug 06, 2016
    find pictures of kitchens you like, go to open houses to check out different ideas, walk around in the kitchens to see how they make you feel. My cabinets look like the same color as yours, oak with a clear coat or lacquer. If you do choose to refinish identify, what finish is on your cabinets then get the best product for that type of finish. So what if you see something you like better a few years from now, it's just paint.
  • Katy Bowss Katy Bowss on Aug 06, 2016
    I say, do you what makes you happy!! :)
  • Toolpro Toolpro on Aug 06, 2016
    As you said painted will be out in a year or two. Your oak is lovely. I have real wood cabinets from the early 1970's. I have cleaned and polyurethaned them but I will not paint them. I have white appliances too. I have saved lots of money and time by not being trendy....and not just in the kitchen
  • Lisa Lisa on Aug 06, 2016
    White cabinets NEVER go out of style. Painting them white will make your kitchen fresh and bright.
  • Do you like it the way it is? If so, leave it and be happy. As you said, trends come and go. I wouldn't change anything in such a permanent way unless I was unhappy with it or was updating for a sale. On the other hand, if you don't like the finish that you currently have, changing them can make you very happy. However, you might consider just changing some other things as a way of meeting in the middle. (i.e knobs, pulls, lighting fixtures and hardware). You could also just change the countertops. A solid black granite would look very nice with your appliances and it is a classic look that can hold its own for a while. Also consider changing the floor. Granted those are bigger ticket items than a paint job, but it's just to offer some alternatives to the cabinets. It's really up to your budget and your tastes. :-) As far as oak cabinets go, yours appear to be in very good condition and look relatively new. If it were me, and assuming that you like oak cabinets, I would add some crown molding to finish the look and just update some of those other items that I mentioned before. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I have come across many people who love the oak look. But whatever you decide, good luck!
  • Ann Ann on Aug 06, 2016
    Paint them. I did mine, and I absolutely love them.
  • MaryStLouis MaryStLouis on Jan 14, 2015

    If they're already painted, they're unlikely to have wood worthy of being stained, in which case, I would paint it.

  • Rocky26 Rocky26 on Jan 15, 2015
    Try different colors of paint. Stripping and staining requires deep sanding, lots of work and the result may not look very good.
  • Jane Jane on Feb 26, 2018

    My husband painted our old cabinets with paint + primer. Big mistake. If you are going to paint, use a good quality primer first. He put 3 coats of paint on the cabinets and they still looked like they needed another coat.

  • Lonny Reever Lonny Reever on Feb 26, 2018
    Paint will cover up the grain. Your best would be to sand the old finish off and use a semi-transparent stain. If the old finish isn't removed the orangey color will change the stain color and the old clear finish will not allow the stain to penetrate the wood.
  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Feb 26, 2018
    Perhaps you could find a stain for your oak cabinets with a grey tint to it. Once you have stripped them and cleaned them up so they don't have the orange coloring, you should be able to stain them whatever color you want them. I am sure that you should be able to find a stain for your oak cabinets and everything that you would need at a paint store or a home improvement store. The associates in the department should be able to help you with everything you need.
  • Susan krom Susan krom on Feb 26, 2018
    It would be hard to paint them and still see grain, however, if you wanted to paint you could you a furniture glaze sold at most home stores for about 15.00 a quart after you have painted. With really no skill you just brush on lightly and it really makes it look like it has a grain when it dries. The only other way is to sand the cabinets and use your stain. You would also have to seal when complete. I have recently made my tired oak cabinets grey using chalk paint. I love them and it was so cheap and easy and time was easy as . Then I changed the pulls-wow they look so much better and updated!
  • Cindy Hagemann Cindy Hagemann on Mar 05, 2018
    You are talking two different things - paint and stain. If you stain, I recommend using a gel stain, you won't have to sand all they way and it is so easy to use. They make an ebony that is dark that could help with your issue. But if you paint, I find that an oil based paint works best - prime first with an oil based primer then paint.
  • Gk Gk on Nov 23, 2019

    Whether you paint or stain depends on whether you like paint or whether you like stain! Stain would require more work as you have to get down to the bare wood before you can stain and then you have to finish with a poly. Painting, especially if you use chalk paint with a finish of wax or poly, would require less work.

  • Lisa Lisa on Nov 07, 2018

    If you choose to paint the cabinets make sure you take into consideration the amount of light you get in the kitchen as well as the color of the floors. You definitely don't want the cabinet color to compete with the flooring or be so dark if the room gets limited natural light, dark cabinets may make it look darker.

    • Laura Laura on Nov 10, 2018

      oh wow I really didn’t give much thought to my floors. Thank you for your reply. I’ve done so much research I probably will stain them all 24 cabinet doors.. yikes now I know why I haven’t started the process yet. Lol

  • Sherri Sherri on Sep 13, 2018

    It would depend on the look you are going for.... are they real wood? Stain is going to let your grain show through whereas I think the paint would give you a more modern look in black. Good luck.

  • Karen Krysowaty Karen Krysowaty on Aug 26, 2017
    It really depends on your own tastes. I personally prefer stain on oak. There are so many shades of stain that you can Make sure you sand the cabinets completely and wipe down. When you take the doors off remember to mark where they go back
  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown Holly Kinchlea-Brown on Aug 26, 2017
    Depends on whether or not you like the bare wood effect kitchens or you want to brighten the area up by having painted cabinets. I personally think that a good paint job on the cabinets wears a little better than stain.
  • C. D. Scallan C. D. Scallan on Aug 26, 2017
    I think its a matter of preference as well . If you paint , make sure to use paint made specifically for the kitchen as it will wear better and be so much easier to clean .
  • Patsy Carlisle Patsy Carlisle on Aug 26, 2017
    I wouldn’t paint Oak cabinets. The reason you have expensive Oak is to show the grain of the wood.
  • Fiddledd224 Fiddledd224 on Jun 26, 2019

    Take one of the cabinet doors to the paint department of the home improvement store and ask them to select paint/stains and other finishes and application tools that will work for your kitchen. They have the best selection, the most up-to-date materials and most important, the most informative sales staff to get you what you need for a professional job.

  • Seth Seth on Jun 26, 2019

    Kat,

    Are these new unfinished cabinets or are you planning on stripping the existing finish? Do you know what type of wood they are? Are they painted or stained now? If stained, then the wood is "stain grade," meaning the grain is clear enough to look good with a stain. You can either re-stain or paint. If painted, the wood may be "paint grade" and will not accept or look good stained and you will only be able to re-paint them. Once you have that figured out you can decide on the look you want. Check out this article:

    https://peekbrotherspainting.com/painting-contractors/can-i-stain-my-cabinets-a-different-color/


  • K. Rupp K. Rupp on Jun 26, 2019

    So my hubby is a wood guy and loves wood cabinets. He is actually making our kitchen cabinets right now and will be finishing them with Waterlox. Waterlox is amazing and thin so it will need 4/5 coats but the result is so nice. I used Waterlox in this post on a bench I was refinishing:


    https://karupp-did.net/bench-part-2/


    Now if you are thinking about paint:


    Your end product depends on the prep!!!!!! I know many say that doesn't matter with certain paints....but believe me it matters!!!! ALSO...the paints are a huge factor for kitchens and bathrooms. You will want to use something super heavy duty for that kind of traffic! If you are putting the time in to prep them well and paint them well you will want a good paint that will last. Benjamin Moore ADVANCE!! $50 per gallon but it's so worth it!!! That paint is an excellent cabinet paint and you don't need a topcoat. I seriously just wipe it down when it gets dirty. Anyway, hope this helps.

  • Roc13680585 Roc13680585 on May 01, 2017

    Just had our oak cabinets done grey last week so there's more wall painting to be done now that the cabinets are finished, but we had it done professionally. First they wiped them down with a degreaser, sanded lightly, two coats of primer and then 2 coats of Benjamin Morre Insl-x Cabinet Coat Urethane Acrylic Satin paint. I picked White Stone grey and changed the hinges and handles to satin nickel finish. I am very pleased with the look. Here is what it looks like now.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Feb 08, 2018

    I think it depends on the look you want. If you want a wood look, then use gel stain. If you don't or you want a specific color that is pretty light, use paint. If you're not sure, use the best tool that we have right now - the internet. Use either google.com or bing.com to search for each look. When you land on the page, look for the word "Images" on the top, then click. You'll see a lot of ideas that your search engine found for you. When you use google.com, you can also look at the page where the picture is used. Just click on the picture, then click on "Visit" on the right. (I haven't see that feature on bing.com but I could have missed it) If you search something like ' diy painted cabinets ' or ' diy gel stained cabinets ' you should see the difference. (Don't use the ' ) Wishing you the best

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jul 22, 2018
    Were I going to darken, I would stain...it lets the grain of the wood show and it never peels!
  • William William on Jul 22, 2018
    If you want the grain to show through use gel stain.


    For a smooth finish with no grain showing, paint
  • Shell Shell on Jan 18, 2015
    I am a designer who does many projects on a shoestring - that is code for little money, but lots of elbow grease! You may regret asking, but here goes! Having just completed a kitchen re-do that involved painting cabinets, my best advice is "NO"! It is time consuming and to get a professional looking end result, spraying is really required. HOWEVER, I think you can achieve similar (probably better) results by using a color tinted stain - especially since your cabinets are oak, which is a very grainy wood. Stains are available in lots of colors now and if you don't find what you like you can make your own - just be sure to make enough for the entire job so your color is consistent. 1st) remove all doors: NOTE: SAVE ALL HARDWARE FOR EACH IN A SEPARATE ZIP-LOCK BAG AND MARK WHICH DOOR & POSITION IT GOES WITH (you will thank yourself later!) 2nd) wash all doors, drawer fronts, all exposed wood with TSP - this will remove any cooking grease, stains, dirt and give you a good surface to work with 3rd) sand off original finish so that the wood will accept the stain; best done by hand using a sanding block for flat surfaces - the new sponge-y sanding blocks w/the angled edges work well in the grooves. Recommend two passes - the first a coarser grit, the second a finishing grit. 4th) CLEAN DUST WELL! I like to vacuum first, then use a tack cloth. 5th) FINALLY! The fun part - apply the stain. If you are inexperienced at this, look for instructional videos online. And practice! I like to use a combination of applying with a brush and rubbing off with a rag - experiment. 6th) OPTIONAL - add a contrasting glaze effect in the grooves of the design. 7th) For a really professional look go over all with a finishing paste wax - a good idea for a durable kitchen surface. You didn't exactly ask for design help, but looking at your pics, a few things pop into my mind.... I will add a second comment to address those issues
  • Aileen Aileen on Apr 02, 2015
    My brother-in-law just painted their kitchen cupboards, which are very similar to yours. He sanded, used a good primer and I think finished with a kitchen paint for the top coat. He painted them white and they already had brushed nickel hardware. It really updated them and lightened up the kitchen a lot. So, painting can work with good prepwork, good quality materials and sanding between each coat. The staining idea is great too, ditto for the chalk paint - depends what type of look you want. Also, if you're worried about painting them yourself, you can always get the doors professionally sprayed or I think I remember seeing a HGTV show where they refaced instead of replacing the kitchen - if you like the current layout, this might work. I think you have a couple of great options! I'm sure whatever you choose will look great in the end! Good luck!
  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Mar 02, 2017
    I suggest Chalkpaint- it cuts out half of the work, and it comes out great! Good luck and keep us posted!
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 02, 2017
    Do you want to achieve a more even finish? To get that the cabinets will have to be lightly sanded,cleaned primed painted or stained and sealed.
  • William William on Mar 02, 2017
    Remove the doors and hardware. Mark the doors and cabinets with tape where they go. Lightly sand to remove any gloss. Prime with a stain blocking primer like Zinsser 123. Then paint with your color. Seal with at least three coats with a water based polyurethane. Use a small foam roller and foam brush for a smooth finish.
  • Nancy Nancy on Mar 03, 2017
    This is a monumental task for just one person. For two people there is a lot of pain, suffering and exhaustion involved. I hope that you are a DIY'er. Please, listen to the voice of experience, don't just spring this on your hubby. Discuss all the pros and cons.
    1.Remove hardware, doors and drawers. Paint these on a flat surface somewhere.
    2. Sand all the surfaces lightly.
    3. Vacuum dust. It will be everywhere.
    4. Wipe down every surface with tack cloth. Any speck of dust WILL show up.
    5. Use a good quality latex primer. This will prevent any bleed through of maple color.
    Let primer dry throughly.
    6. Sand lightly, tack cloth every surface AGAIN,
    7. Paint first coat. Let dry thoroughly.
    8. Sand lightly, tack cloth AGAIN.
    9. Paint second coat.
    10. Put all the doors, drawers and hardware back on.
    11. Collapse or be prepared to take care of one extremely exhausted husband FOR
    months and put any HONEY DO lists away FOREVER!
    If you do decide to take on this task, Good luck, be patient, take it a step at a time.
    I took on this task twice. Hubby only helped remove the hardware and put the doors back on. He insisted that since I wanted them painted --I should paint them. We both worked but my husband worked very long hours. So guess who did all of the sanding, priming and painting. (ME). Well, we are still married but only by the grace of God and luck. By the way, the kitchen looked fabulous when I finished.
    • Michelle singh Michelle singh on Nov 23, 2019

      Thank u for this I'm gonna try this next week..I need patience I have a lot of cabinets my husband has no interest lol

  • LeAnne S LeAnne S on Sep 08, 2014
    I had the same style cabinets, wood ceiling and floors. I painted the cabinets a light color and love it. It makes all the difference in making the kitchen brighter and fresher. Do it!.
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Sep 09, 2014
    Why not darken the cabinets instead of lightening them. Get a product called Restore and then you don't have to take finish off. It goes right through the finish down to the wood .All antique deals use it to recolor antiques and all. I used it on cabinets to restore them at this house. Then you can use some color to make the kitchen pop . Like red, gold, navy, turquios(sp) any color that is bold not wimpy.
  • Designs by BSB Designs by BSB on Mar 21, 2012
    Be sure you prep and prime the cabinets! Good Luck!!
  • Laura D Laura D on Mar 23, 2012
    I used Bejamin Moore oil based on kitchen cabinets in my old house and it worked great.
  • Peg G Peg G on Mar 23, 2012
    Make sure you get Benjamin Moore's oil based primer. It will help the paint last for long time! I would ask someone about the oak because of the heavy grain- they might be better with a spray? Have done it and have been very happy. I had a large kitchen and painted them country red and they were perfect. Moved to smaller house and painted 1970 dark cabinets white and again used BM primer and oil based paint.
  • Briana I Briana I on Mar 23, 2012
    We did a ton of prep, primed and used Behr Premium " Swiss Coffee" and I think the results speak for themselves!
  • Margaret W Margaret W on Mar 23, 2012
    I painted my oak cabinets 12 years ago with a latex paint in an eggshell finish. Everyone said I was nuts, but they are going strong. Every couple of years I touch up a few wear spots, but not much. The key is getting them super clean first.
  • Jim F Jim F on Mar 23, 2012
    Well im a painter of 20+ yrs. For brushing i prefer bennymoore SATIN IMPERVO (0il ) For Spraying I like Kellymoore DURAPOXY (waterborn epoxy Pretty good stuff !) sherwinn Williams has many good paints. Bear paint has come a long way but i still believe if you want a car you go to a car lot if you want paint go to a paint store they have more products and know how! (Sand, fill ,caulk, prime 2 coats finish) Hope this was helpful!!
  • Lisa P Lisa P on Mar 23, 2012
    I painted my oak cabinets cleaning them first with TSH, then lightly sanded the boxes, and sanded with an orbital sander the doors. I used Sherwin Williams Bond & Seals Primer then 2 coats of a self leveling SW Latex Paint, can't remember the exact details and I moved and don't have the can to look at. I'm sure they could help you in the store.
  • Colleen M Colleen M on Mar 24, 2012
    Careful prep is critical - wash well and prime. Don't skip any of the preparation steps. I primed twice and used a Behr paint. Did this 8 years ago and they still look awesome! I have never regretted it. The only reason I would redo is to change the color.
  • Linda V Linda V on Mar 24, 2012
    We used Valspar Ultra Premium Kitchen and Bath. We spent a lot of time on prep and used 2 coats of stain blocking primer.
  • Dl.5660408 Dl.5660408 on Jan 05, 2018
    You might try a dark wax to deepen the color if you like a darker look. Black pulls and knobs could work and definitely tiling the backsplash. We replaced our countertops with quartz and I love how easy it is to keep clean and it’s naturally anti microbial!
  • Ruth Ann Young Ruth Ann Young on Jan 06, 2018
    Gel stain is available at Ben Moore or any other 'real' paint store can be applied without stripping and sanding. Also called fiberglass stain. Even though prices are a bit higher than your big box stores, the free advice is well worth it.
    A dark espresso color would be lovely. New hardware, backsplash.
    Travertine is lovely, but harder to clean than tile.
  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Feb 17, 2019

    Consider that kitchen cabinets get more wear and tear than any other cabinets and furniture in one's house. Wall paper and contact paper are just that, paper.

    I'm going to gray-wash a stain over mine and keep the wood grain showing through. They'll need to be cleaned and sanded so that the stain can permeate the wood. Then they'll need to be re-coated with a spar varnish or a high grade polyurethane in the same base as the stain. Meaning, if the stain is oil based, then the poly should be oil based; if the stain is water based, then the poly should be.

    This is not a one-day project and I would take off the doors, their hardware and number them - so they can be done laying flat.

  • Carla Carla on Feb 18, 2019

    Mineral paint sticks well after a base coat. Check out eastern shore chic for more info. She uses Dixie Belle paint. I repainted some oak bathroom cabinets without any problems.

  • Diane Slater Diane Slater on Mar 18, 2016
    I would actually clean out the cabinets , tape off and protect the other areas. Then I would give 3-4coats of a good polyurethane spray. In high gloss
  • Dee Dee on Sep 16, 2018

    Painting cabinets are not for the faint at heart. It takes weeks to get them right. Using a paint sprayer will eliminate the brush marks. If you don't have a paint sprayer, use mohair rollers. Rustoleum makes a cabinet transformations kit that your may like.

  • QueenB QueenB on Sep 17, 2018

    Remove doors and hardware and clean all of your surfaces with a liquid deglosser and use lint-free cloths. Make sure you get a deglosser, not a degreaser. Deglosser is sometimes called liquid sandpaper. It will take the shine off the surfaces so that paint can adhere. Start your painting process with Stix primer and follow up with 2 Coats of Advance paint by Benjamin Moore. You need to let these dry at least a full day in between Coats. Be careful about drips. Use good quality paint brushes. Doors will take more than a week because of doing the same process on both sides.

  • Bijous Bijous on Sep 17, 2018

    Hi. One of the first things people want to do is paint cabinets. How about staining them? You can dramatically change the look with a gel stain.

    1. Gel stains now come in a variety of colors.
    2. Also install under the cabinet lighting. There are plug-in types, hardware and even battery with remote control! This will immediately upgrade the room.
    3. Spray paint your knobs and clear coat.

    Puff! for about $150 USD, you've got a new kitchen. Happy DIY'ing!

  • Mcm10673952 Mcm10673952 on Sep 20, 2016
    Old Masters Gel stain. Just clean with TSP, scruff sand lightly, apply with foam brush. Love this product. It can also be custom tinted if you don't like what they offer off the shelf.
  • Kathryn Peltier Kathryn Peltier on Mar 05, 2015
    Check out CabinetCoat by Benjamin Moore. This has a self-leveling agent in it, so will tend to even out the grain (although not completely disguise it, I doubt; is that really a big issue?) You can get it in any BM color and does not need a primer.
  • Mary Mary on Mar 06, 2015
    I used a primer and 2 coats of Ben Moore Satin Impervo on oak cabinets after cleaning with liquid sandpaper. They look great and haven't chipped at all. I love seeing a slight grain under the paint.
  • Dick wold Dick wold on Sep 15, 2017
    Remove the dishes & food stuff from the cabinets. Remove the doors & drawers and all hardware. Then rub all the wood down with steel wool dipped in "paint thinner" & wipe clean with a lint free rag. You can then stain them with the "Varnish Stain". It will get darker with each coat, but is limited in how dark it will get. When we did this for a client that was living in the home, we worked in three stages so they could still use the areas we were not working, as this complete process will take some time. For the backs looking into the living room, you might want to install some book & miscellaneous shelves to hide them. Beware, that when you are done, you may like them so much you will want to keep them. That's what my client did. "Sorry I'm Retired."
  • Melodi Whitaker Melodi Whitaker on Sep 15, 2017
    General Finishes Gel Stains can be applied right over the top of polyurethane, no sanding needed. I used it on a small hall floor and also in my stairs and banisters. I used Java which is a beautiful very dark brown.
  • Dir28958611 Dir28958611 on Aug 15, 2017
    I used Old Masters gel stain to change my cabinets from honey oak to dark walnut...clean with TSP-rinse well then lightly sand with 100 grit. Clean all the dust off. You can use either a rag or paint brush to apply. I bought cheap brushes at the 99cent store. Turned out great- I get so many compliments!

  • Terra Gazelle Terra Gazelle on Oct 20, 2015
    Stain..they can be darkened slightly...but given a richer depth. Maybe get some samples and ret them out..see what you like. There are many different colors of oak stain..I am redoing a 1800s Chifforobe and used a summer oak..its really pretty. And with stain you can start light and if you like put on the number of coats to make it the color you like. Just put it on and wipe off quickly. I have oak cabinets..and will be darkening them slightly with a stain that will allow the grains to show through but darken it away from that orangey look.
  • Charlotte Charlotte on Oct 20, 2015
    General Finishes Gel Stain would be perfect. I have used it on several oak pieces of furniture and I love it. You control how dark or light you want it by wiping off the gel stain.
  • Rynn Rynn on Apr 16, 2018
    Farmhouse Paint is kinda thick, and it is water based so you can thin it out if desired. NOTE: I always do two things before i start. 1- put lotion or Vaseline on my hands for easy cleanup , 2- wet my brush. Wetting the brush makes the paint glide on real smooth-- i guess it is diluting the paint just a bit. I re-wet it during the process as needed. Anyway, this paint goes a long way. Also, I am a fan of using a primer in the kitchen; lets face it, dirty or greasy hands are common. Best wishes on your project! P.S. Farmhouse Paint has a website that can cover anything you want to know.
  • Dee Dee on Sep 16, 2018

    I stained my cabinets and it was a much easier job than painting them.

  • Don Don on Sep 17, 2018

    Painting is much easier, requiring no stripping or sanding of the cabinets. That said, I recently "painted" my old, outdated bathroom cabinets using a kit from Rustoleum and they turned out fantastic. Here are a few photos of what the wood looked like before (oak/brown) and after (Federal Gray). I bought the kit at Home Depot and choose my color (they will tint it to one of many available colors you choose). The kit's are available for either light or dark cabinets in several colors. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Rust-Oleum-Transformations-Light-Color-Cabinet-Kit-9-Piece-258109/202572588

  • Wee12497073 Wee12497073 on Sep 17, 2018

    Staining new...unsealed wood cabinets is easy. A little prep time and at least 3 coats of ... Marine varnish/poly. Very durable. Holds up to moisture, grease, and.... dries very fast. What I needed because I have cats prancing around...and cat hair in the air!

    Now on prestained or painted cabinets... Not so easy. Have to strip the old finish off. Very messy job. But you also have to get the old sealer out of the wood, otherwise the stain won’t sink in. Will just sit on top. You can wipe the stain right off. So sanding is a must....a careful sanding. Most cabinet doors only have a thin layer of wood laminate and you can sand right through it totaling destroying the cabinet door. The base of the cabinets might be solid wood....but be careful any ways.

    My cabinets and doors were all solid wood with an old honey oak finish that had yellowed. And around door handles and draw pulls it was worn away and replaced with a tacky black gummy substance.

    So my main goal was to remove the old varnish...maybe darken the cabinets a bit. But I could never get the old wood sealer out and no stain would sink in. The color was much nicer since the old varnish was removed so I decided to live with it. 3 coats of marine varnish....and they were beautiful. A much richer color than before. And years later, the black gummy stuff around handles and pulls never returned.

    I must add...I tried to refinish them 3 times before I got good results. Most times, within a year the black gummy stuff was back. Worse than ever! Poly varnishes that I used were thick and brush stroked showed.

    I don’t know what I was doing wrong, but I’m guessing the marine varnish was the trick to success. Beautiful finish with no brush strokes. Very thin finish that left the wood remarkably smooth and left you with the natural wood grain ... but of coarse with a lighter honey oak finish.

    I could have painted them in two coats, but I consider it a sin to paint nice wood.

    Believe me...the honey oak colors will come back in style. Many homes are filled with the color. Doors, window frames, floor moldings. But it is also a much loved finish to give your wood.

    and it’s easy to fix a nick or scratch.

    Paint on the other hand will chip. No way around it. Scratches show easily. Very hard to get a nice smooth finish unless you’re a professional painter.

    but, today, painted cabinets are very popular...and they are beautiful...when they’re new. They will not stand up to the wear and tear in a kitchen over time. And each time you repaint them, the finish gets thicker. Just find some old painted items that have been painted multiple times. They’re not pretty. You can’t just keep layering it on and expect pretty.

    I would only paint cabinets if they were in really bad shape. Or ugly to start with. And if you feel you will put in new cabinets down the road a bit.

    And please don’t just remove the doors and have open shelves.

    Pit might be a quick fix and be accepted by a young person with her first kitchen. But she will find those open shelves get dusty and greasy. And where do you put stuff that doesn’t double as a nicnack. Cereal boxes are not pretty....neither are canned goods. And most pots and pans.


    From a seasoned kitchen remodler.


    Susan jerabek


    • See 1 previous
    • Wee12497073 Wee12497073 on Sep 17, 2018

      you Can wipe them down with mineral spirits and try to stain those small areas. Then revarnish them. I’m not sure but I think they recommend mineral spirits to wash them down with before revarnishing. Or try some wood cleaner made for kitchen cabinets.


  • Ana Bacallao Ana Bacallao on Apr 03, 2018
    I have seen great instructions on how to do it but we chickened out and hired a prfessional to do it. Take a look at these tips here in Hometalk:

    https://www.hometalk.com/35495116/tips-for-painting-kitchen-cabinets?r=1
    • Ely2512234 Ely2512234 on Apr 03, 2018
      Thank you...lm on the chicken out wagon at the momenticon scared of messing it up especially as my husband likes the kitchen as is! the post is helpful thank you.
  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY on Apr 03, 2018
    The key to lasting paint on any surface is the prep work. You want to clean it really well and then fully hand sand the entire surface so your paint will stick. After that do two coats of a high quality primer before two coats of your paint. I went ahead and did two coats of poly acrylic over that when my mom and I painted out her kitchen. http://www.grandmashousediy.com/kitchen-cabinets-white/
  • William William on Nov 20, 2018

    How to Paint Cabinets


    Make sure they are clean and dry. Remove the doors and hardware. Mark the doors and cabinets with tape where they go. Lightly sand the doors and cabinets to remove any gloss and roughen the surface for paint with 100 grit sandpaper or a green Scotch Brite pad.. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust after sanding. Prime with a stain blocking primer like KILZ. You can have the primer tinted to the color of the top coat but not necessary. Acrylic, or water base paints are low-fume and clean up easily with water. Alkyd, or oil-base, paints require good ventilation because the paint contains solvents that can irritate your lungs and make you feel sick. Alkyd options require mineral spirits for cleanup, but they provide a hard, durable paint finish. Whichever you use, buy the best-quality paint you can afford for a lasting kitchen cabinet finish. Seal with at least three coats with a water based polyurethane. Use a small foam roller and foam brush for a smooth finish.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 19, 2017
    Lightly sand,clean,prime with Kilz or Zinser primer,allow to dry,paint,allow to dry and seal with a non-yellowing polycrylic.
  • 2dogal 2dogal on Sep 24, 2017
    Rather than using a stain, have you thought of sanding well, painting it with white paint and wiping it off while wet? Try it first on a throw away piece of wood - it has a nice effect.
  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Jan 24, 2018
    I say Yay! I love gel stains, wouldn't use any other. Go to the General Finishes website and browse around. Here are before and after with pics of townhouse kitchen with GF Brown mahogany.
  • Crystal Crystal on Nov 17, 2017
    Depending on what you want. Are you wanting to darken the stain color? If so, easy to do using gel stain, my favorite is a line called General Finish. Again, works best if wanting to darken the color. If you want to paint, use an enamel paint, the surface with dry harder and more durable than typical latex paint and no need to add poly.
  • Kris Stupka Kris Stupka on Nov 18, 2017
    better to use oil base paint it is durable
  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Nov 19, 2017
    It really depends on the look you want and will live with for a while. I prefer the gel stain myself. check out the general finishes website. They also sell chalk and milk paint.
  • Bobbi Lively Bobbi Lively on Dec 27, 2017
    Gel stains are amazing! Yes, you can put it right over the old finish. Depending on how much wood grain you want showing through will determine how many coats to use. It really goes quite quickly. Some gel stains have a poly finish already in them. In a kitchen though I would put an additional coat of poly on top. The easiest and less smelly version is a wipe on poly. Again, the wipe on makes the process sooooo easy. Good luck!
  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on May 16, 2018
    Go with a good satin finish by Sherrwin Williams or Benjamin Moore. Cabinets get a lot of use so you want a quality paint that will hold up and won’t chip. After painting I would put a couple of coats of polyurethane on them for durability and easy cleaning. Prep work is the most important part. Also, use a good brush.
  • Rowgop (Pam) Rowgop (Pam) on May 16, 2018
    https://www.hometalk.com/149674/q-what-is-the-best-paint-to-use-for-kitchen-oak-cabinets
  • Nancy Eaton McEwen Nancy Eaton McEwen on Jun 26, 2017
    Chalk paint is easy and normally only takes one coat.
  • DesertRose DesertRose on Jan 23, 2018
    Have you tried using dark Old English furniture polish on them? It adds tones to wood and there is light to make wood lighter, and dark to make it darker. I use it on my cabinets twice a year. It is good for the wood and adds moisture also. Maybe worth a try? It is not much cost for a bottle and a little dab goes a long way, so it might be worth a try.
  • Eleanor Korf Eleanor Korf on Jan 23, 2018
    If the cabinets are oiled rather than varnished you could clean them then use a slightly darker stain or oil. I recommend trying this on scrap pieces of wood first. If the cabinets are varnished, you can clean them thoroughly and prep them so they will take a varnish (if you don't know how to do this go online for a tutorial, or ask at a store that works with paints and varnishes).

    There is a product that is a stain varnish that is water-based. You might be able to find a stain varnish that could darken your cabinets to your satisfaction. I would go with a lighter color than you think because you can always apply another coat to make it darker. The problem you can run into is when you brush the colored varnish on it can look streaked if not applied evenly, especially so if it is a first coat
    . I would suggest, again, that you practice on scrap pieces of wood.

    I had to match three new drawers with older and darker existing cabinets. It took five thin layers of stain/varnish to get close to the color I needed. Because the last coat make it a little bit too dark I let it dry, then I took very fine sandpaper and lightly sanded the varnish until it looked like it matched. In order to get the shine back enough to match the existing cabinets I finished with a clear water-based varnish. All of that work paid off in the long run because you couldn't tell the old from the new..
  • Elke Hawkins Elke Hawkins on Aug 04, 2015
    Check out the photos of someone who did a beautiful job on lightening up her oak kitchen. Very classic and pretty. http://www.hometalk.com/8818160/kitchen-cabinets-makeover-with-milk-paint
  • Janet Smith Janet Smith on May 10, 2016
    We "bit the bullet" and painted all our cabinets a pretty cream color. Painting the doors and drawer fronts is the time consuming part anyway. You would be surprised at how updated light cabinets look. I'm afraid just doors and drawer fronts will look even more dated: like those horrible white laminate cabinets with the oak trim. If cream is too light, what about a pretty grey? Hope you will post pictures after you finish.
  • Darla Darla on Feb 17, 2015
    You could add some artist's oil paint or colored oil based stain to oil based polyurethane and try it on the inside of the cabinet door to see if you like it. Of course you could use water based stain with water based polyurethane.
  • If you still want the wood look, then what about doing a glaze over the top of them. My mom had oak cabinets and she didn't want to paint them. All she did was clean them good and then add a tinted glaze to it. Now they are darker and look more like walnut wood. They are gorgeous and updated. She did it 5 years ago and they still look pristine.
  • Tex11597626 Tex11597626 on Feb 16, 2019

    Gel stains can be applied over sealed surfaces. If you want to see the wood grain thru the stain, gel stains work great. Follow directions on can. Follow basic rules for refinishing; clean, lightly sand, stain and top coat with clear finish.

  • If you want to restain them, you will have to strip off the old finish first. Citristrip works well. After the old finish is off, sand, stain, and a protective finish.
  • K_a7863698 K_a7863698 on Sep 14, 2018

    Have you considered painting?

    Chalk paint is awesome & no sanding, unless you wanted to lightly sand some edges to give it a more distressed look, but that’s just gentle scuffing with your hand & a piece of sandpaper.

    Just an idea! ☺️

  • Gk Gk on Jun 23, 2018
    A quality acrylic latex in an enamel finish. This paint is formulated specifically for cabinets and trim. It wears well and washes easily. I painted my kitchen cabinets 4 years ago with a Sherwin William gray color and they still look like new and show no wear. You do not have to put poly over an enamel finish paint--some people do but it is not necessary. You will need to prime your cabinets first--and you can get your primer tinted to match your paint color. I have also heard some people rave about Benjamin Moore paint in an enamel finish. I have never tried Benjamin Moore.
  • Lauren of Mom Home Guide Lauren of Mom Home Guide on Aug 10, 2018

    You can use milk paint, which comes in white, gray and other colors. You only need to clean the cabinets and lightly hand sand them first. I painted my oak cabinets with milk paint over a year ago, and they look great. But you would have to sand them too go back to oak. This is my how to: http://momhomeguide.com/my-painted-kitchen-cabinets-a-year-later/

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jul 04, 2018
    Painting oak is doable, if your prep is good. Scrub them down to remove any buildup with a TSP substitute. Then sand the finish. Most people who paint their cabinets say you get best results are with removing the doors for painting. When I painted some dark oak cabinets, I liked them so much without the doors, I left the doors off on the upper cabinets. The lower cabinets, I left on and painted them in place, without removing the doors. It's a little awkward, but, doable. Paint first with a sealer like Kilz. If you are going to go for a color other than white, the paint department can tint the Kilz. Buy a good quality paint. Use a clear sealer to protect them. Consider changing up your hardware, since before painting is the best time to fill any old holes.
  • Rebecca Taylor Rebecca Taylor on Oct 19, 2017
    Unicorn spit gel stain is a good product and comes in many different colors. Here is a link for it. https://www.unicornspit.com/
  • Ken Erickson Ken Erickson on Feb 19, 2019

    The stain probably won't work if there is a varnish or poly coating on the cabinets.

  • Joy Elizabeth Joy Elizabeth on Sep 29, 2018

    General Finishes Gel stain is the easiest way I know to stain without much prep.

    For painting, I would minimally sand to rough up the smooth surface, and use a gripping primer or oil based primer like Kilz. Then follow with latex paint color of choice. A small cabinet and trim roller helps to get a smooth finish.

  • Lyn15291588 Lyn15291588 on Jul 10, 2017
    I've just done this. Looking back I think spray paint would have been the fastest, cheapest and given me a better finish then a paint brush.
  • Just Retired Just Retired on Jul 10, 2017
    The best way is to remove all doors and drawers, wash well with a degreaser and then sand a bit. Now paint them with a quality paint formulated for kitchen cabinets. The easiest way is just paint them. But if you don't at least wash with a degreaser if any grease is on them it will bleed thru the paint. I find that rolling the paint one works better than spraying, unless you have an industrial type spray unit. Then spray for sure.
  • Gk Gk on Aug 15, 2018

    A better choice to paint your kitchen cabinets is an acrylic latex paint in an enamel finish. It is made for kitchen cabinets and is very durable and easy to wash. Very minimal prep is needed for this paint. Take down all doors, remove drawers, and hardware. Sand lightly just to dull the finish--not all the way to the wood. Clean well. Prime with a good primer like Kilz and then paint. Let your paint dry well in between coats--you will probably need 2 coats, maybe 3. Some people say to put poly over this paint but I don't think that's necessary as it is very durable. Behr, Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore are good paint options. Chalk paint is an option but I find it doesn't hold up well on kitchen cabinets that get a lot of daily use. You would also have to seal your cabinets with either a wax (not a good idea in the kitchen) or use a poly finish--which adds to the amount of work you will have to do.

  • Lifestyles Homes Lifestyles Homes on Sep 20, 2018

    You know that kitchen cabinets get airborne grease vapors, drips and dirty around the pulls and when one paints a solid color over previously stained cabinets, 2 things to consider:

    Prep work for paint is more labor intensive than for re-staining because paint telescopes all the flaws hidden by wood grain. Meaning wood putty and sanding in places.

    Paint shows more daily dirt and will need to be more scrubbable because you’ll be cleaning them more frequently. So use a highly quality latex enamel made for doors/trim. I would not choose white for this reason.


    All the old varnish or urethane must be removed either via sanding or stripping. Take off the doors & all the hardware. Number the doors & drawers on the back w/ blue painters tape labels. Draw a diagram for your door number’s location.


    I would stain them a them a translucent gray or a sangria “blue mahogany” stain.

  • Trudy Locke Trudy Locke on Sep 04, 2016
    I painted mine. I primed with STIX and then painted with Benjamin Moore Aura. They have held up extremely well for over five years.
  • 3po3 3po3 on Feb 22, 2012
    Lacquer looks really nice, but of course aesthetics are a personal choice. However, it is harder to do properly than paint. If you have never lacquered before, you might want to practice on some scrap pieces of similar size before you take to these nice oak cabinets.
  • Tradition Wood Works Tradition Wood Works on Feb 22, 2012
    We always use tinted lacquer, mostly because we can spray it, dries much faster and is tougher. Depends on the look you want.
  • Lacquer is going to hold up better but should only be done by a professional and sprayed. We paint cabinets all of the time and it holds up well, especially if we use oil-based paint. There have been alot of postings here lately about the Anne Sloan chaulk paints....I wonder if anyone has used them on a kitchen cabinet project. This might be an option so search back through the posts and contact those who have used them. I'm planning to try them on a bathroom project HandyANDY is doing.
  • Peace Painting Co., Inc. Peace Painting Co., Inc. on Feb 23, 2012
    As long as you have no preference look-wise, re-color with semi-transparent lacquer because it is the most durable (it is harder) and least maintenance (because the finish won't show as much wear as a solid color). In general, the only coatings you should consider are catalyzed; this means they are chemically hardened by using a two part system. I used to do cabinets but default to a cabinet man now because the systems have become so highly developed for great after-market results. Best, Charles
  • Jan Loehr Jan Loehr on Apr 09, 2015
    Behr Paint makes a color called Swiss Coffee which is a slightly creamier white. I have painted lots of furniture pieces this shade and sold them. It does not have a yellow tint at all. Of course you will need primer as a base first then 2 coats of color! Good Luck!
  • Sharbearpaintperson Sharbearpaintperson on Jan 20, 2015
    There are quite a few, good sprayers, on the market. I found wagner, to be a good find for the buck. Make sure that there is a few options, for that sprayer, meaning, to do more than one job. Check the wagner web site, and reviews. The secret, in keeping your sprayer, for many years and many items, is cleaning the whole machine and nozzle, with soap and water, if latex paint, is used. The one great paint, that I have found, for kitchen cabinets, is, PARA OPTIMA, FOR CABINETS AND FURNITURE. A melamine type finish, that feels like silk.
  • Melissa Smith Melissa Smith on Mar 09, 2016
    If you don't want to paint them (if it's nice wood, I suggest not painting it, if it's not nice then paint away!) I would suggest a dark stain to add some contrast and separate the cabinets from the floor. Although Cherrywood is nice, it's definitely a different look that you'll have to match up to (wall color, floor, accents, other furniture, etc.). Going with a darker tone [one of my faves is Kone] will give you the contrast while allowing a much wider variety of colors that will match it. I had the same questions as you and have finally come to a conclusion. My walls are red (for now) and my trim and cabinets are pine with a honey oak stain. I have a large L shaped counter that I wish was an island instead JUST so I could use that as an accent piece OR a main focal point in the kitchen by making it a different color than the rest of the cabinets. Maybe like light turquise or peach milk paint look with some glazing. Ahhhh beautiful! So, I'm jealous of your island. I'm with KatAych, search around on Pinterest and google images for a while and see what speaks to you.
    • Judi Judi on Mar 09, 2016
      @Thank You Melissa Smith it is all high quality oak, the furniture is Thomasville Pecan....... thinking of picking up the the dark mocha that shows in the furniture.
  • Painting your cabinets can be a daunting task so make sure that you take the time to do the prep work as its the most important process in the redesign. Make sure the cabi