Should I paint or stain my oak kitchen cabinets?

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. Does anyone have tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets?

My oak galley-style kitchen
The eat-in dining area of my home's kitchen, with an oak farmhouse table and oak china cabinet.
250 of 251 answers
  • Debbie Debbie on Jul 16, 2018

    Do you sand kitchen cabinets before gel staining them?

    • See 3 previous
    • Melinda Lockwood Melinda Lockwood on Jun 08, 2023

      If you choose to stain the cabinets, you will need to remove the current finish. This means scrubbing the cabinets and stripping the current finish off before you can stain. Stain has to be able to be absorbed by the wood and so it must be free of finish/dirt/oil/pledge (which will cause other problems as you try to clearcoat the cabinets after staining - any polish that has been used most likely will disrupt the surface tension. You will need to clean with laquer thinner and soap and water before proceeding). Now you will be ready to stain.

      If you choose to paint, you will need to thoroughly clean the cabinets to insure no oils remain and then paint on!

  • 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

    comment photo
    • See 1 previous
    • Terri Terri on Jul 03, 2024

      It doesn't really matter what's in style, it's what you like. You live there and see it everyday. I think you made a wise choice. I prefer the look of painted cabinets over wood. 😉

  • 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.

  • 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.
    • See 1 previous
    • Terrie Houston Terrie Houston on Aug 08, 2022

      I have the same problem and don't want to stain my oak cabinets and have just bought all the new stainless appliances. Do you have a photo you could send of your cabinets - I would be forever grateful. Please send to - thank you SO much

  • 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!
    comment photo
    comment photo
    comment photo
  • 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 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 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.
  • 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.
    • See 1 previous

      White cabinets, IMHO, are always in style! If you are going to do all the trouble and time to paint them, I would always choose white as it will probably go with any color you paint or re-paint, on your walls. I would not want to go to all the trouble of a cabinet re-painting again. My mom and dad's house, which was built in 1951, were white and after many re-paintings she ended up going back to white in the end! I believe you would be happier with white than painting, for example, tops grey and lowers blue as I have seen in many decorating magazines lately. I'm 68 years old now and when we bought a second house, near my very infirm and sick in-laws we chose the house based on the crisp white painted cabinets and that house was built in 1968!

  • 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.
    • Debbie kuiken Debbie kuiken on Feb 01, 2022

      I agree with Bonnie. I, too have solid oak cabinets which we paid a bundle for when we built our house several years ago. I still love them and cannot seem to bring myself to painting over them. I plan on painting and updating walls for a fresh look. New lighter color counter tops also may brighten things up which I intend to explore. I am also getting rid of my dark terra cotta linoleum and replacing with light color premium plank flooring. We shall see. I'm on a tight budget for updating.

  • PIP9599094 PIP9599094 on Aug 08, 2016
    Looks great don;t open Pandora's box by trying to paint without an expert!
    • See 4 previous
    • Tortoogal Tortoogal on Jan 31, 2022

      You're lucky to have beautiful cabinets in good condition that match your other wood. Oak is classic. If you want to improve it, a lemon oil product cleans and enriches the wood. Paint can be beautiful, too, but you don't have a practical option to go back if you don't like your results. I've been helping a friend shop for a home, so I see a lot of cabinets that residents have ruined or quickly looked like yesterday's fleeting fad. Oh, it's too bad, say I with agent agreeing and shaking her head. DIY unfortunate results can be so embarrassing and make it harder to sell the house when the time comes. They don't all look like the ones featured online. If you really want a paint job and one that looks professional, hire a professional, a painter with a reputation of helping clients get the color right and having lots of experience painting cabinets. If making your kitchen all you is the issue, you can learn how on small projects before you try painting the big ticket to replace it. $$$! I've painted walls, so I thought I could paint other things and tried a repaint job on a little cabinet I got free or very cheap at ReStore when they were dumping furniture that didn't sell. It does not look good; it looks like amateur gone bad. I decided it was at least serviceable in the garage and was thankful I didn't have a whole kitchen that looked like that.

  • 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, ; )
    • See 1 previous
    • Sharon Sharon on Apr 06, 2022

      Absolutely...words to the wise...why mess with trying to do what OTHERS are doing? Besides I for one feel yes the white is nice but have you thought about how easily the dirt and residue is gonna show very quickly and then you will be spending more time KEEPING them white by washig ..etc

  • 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.
    • Joan Joan on May 30, 2023

      Stain for sure!! We had our kitchen redone many, many years ago and had stained cupboards installed!! Still looks beautiful today as we re-stain them when necessary…and it’s so easy...and looks much nicer than painted cupboards!! They look wonderful and only require a quick “touch up” if necessary!!

  • 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!
    comment photo
    comment photo
    comment photo
    • See 3 previous
    • Cathryn Holt Cathryn Holt on Aug 11, 2022

      This was a great decision!! Awesome results. I have dark cabinets and floors. I just need your countertops. Gorgeous results!

  • 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.
    • See 2 previous
    • Nora Nora on Feb 04, 2023

      That is my experience too. We had walnut stained cabinets and they were so dark. Painted them a cream color and had that for many years. But the paint chips, and needs touching up on a regular basis. Painted again 2 years ago a burnt cinnamon. Looked good but back to the touching up. I chose the darker color because it didn't show dirt so much. There are some good products that can be used to brighten and freshen the wood.

  • 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.
    comment photo
  • 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.
    • Pjb5289897 Pjb5289897 on Apr 23, 2023

      I would love to see pictures. I have the basic cheap oak cabinets, in fact, I call them tin cabinets. When you tap on them they sound like tin cans they are so cheap. I priced new cabinets but it was between 7000 and 9000 and I do not want to stay here forever

  • 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.
    comment photo
  • 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 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
    • See 2 previous

      Trendy is such a BAD word! We have two houses and the largest one, which is 5,000 square feet, located in an urban area, we had built. We moved to the smaller, yes smaller , at 3,000 square foot house, is in a rural area. We moved into the smaller house full time, as my husband's parents were very elderly, infirm and his dad having Alzheimer's Disease, they needed more caring for. It was right before the COVID pandemic and since I have NO immune system, the move happened at a great time. The house we had built, we made a lot of specific changes, due to our impending aging and physical problems. In all the bathrooms (5), kitchen. kitchenette, and laundry room, we had vinyl flooring installed, all in the same color. No grout to clean, ever! Having many, many, many brand name cabinets installed, in all 5 bathrooms, kitchen, kitchenette, both entrance ways, and laundry room, there were a ton of them. We had them all in a light natural oak coloration and they all matched. If we needed a replacement or an additional cabinet we could purchase them somewhat locally. Being a flat front surface, they were so much easier to clean No knobs either as they had built in openers that you could grasp with your fingers. I didn't care about trends but just about what was easy to clean and what I liked! Daughter-in-law decided to add some cabinet knobs, therefore drilled holes, stained one of the bathroom cabinets a very dark color and removed one section of the vinyl flooring to replace with ceramic tile and that evil grout! Even went as far as to remove two bathroom mirrors (and disposed of older ones) and changed three sets of lights. Yes, all on her own! Never ever will I rent to anyone, especially family again! The front of the house has a 50 foot covered porch with all the colonial style railing. DIL and son wanted to remove all the railing and the pillars. Luckily they said something to my husband first and he puts the stops to it but they did remove all my shrubs and replaced them with perennials that promptly died! We have let them continue to stay there with instructions that they would have to "hit the road" if anything else was changed and we didn't want to leave an empty house just sitting there. Compromise, I guess.

  • 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.
    comment photo
    comment photo
  • 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.

    • See 1 previous
    • Frances Lancaster Frances Lancaster on Feb 11, 2022

      my cabinets are wood . my house was built in the 50's so the wood is REAL. I personally prefer the Teak finish if you don't want paint, but you will have to sand and do the regime that goes with that job. I painted mine i painted mine off whute with a drop of cream. my appliances were/are almond and the paint matched the hood perfectly. I used the original hardware , the black with the H hinges for the doors. gives a touch of cottage and looks good with the new fridge i had to buy in black . so it really looks together. next will be a black or stainless stove. I left the cabinet doors off most my cabinets (32 doors) and used my white and blue dishes which I love. white ironstone and blue willow. left the top shelf for pitchers and one plant with a little yellow thrown cabinet tops are closed in with pretty crown molding , which is all through the counter tops are white and i want to change that. blue with a bit of taupe or khaki/cream woven in. my dining room which goes into the kitchen, is taupe and I use light navy candles etc. Table is wood with light navy chair cushions. everything rather flows.this is a fairly roomy kitchen.

  • 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!

    • See 1 previous
    • Noni Noni on Jun 13, 2024

      I'm about to do the same thing and have already bought the pulls. There are none at all and due to three types of arthritis, I'm finding it quite painful to open the doors. I'm SO over oak cabinets or any wood that is orange-ish. I LOVE real wood but loathe orange. I'm planning to paint using a buttermilk-white or VERY pale tint of aqua and will be just fine with completely washing them down a couple times a year and spot cleaning ad lib.🙃

  • 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.

    • Linda Linda on Nov 23, 2019

      its already sanded down. i liked some of the ideas on Pinterest Thank you

  • 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.


      Yes, someone finally is playing with a full deck of cards! Change the stain color but NO paint. I have a whole 5,000 square foot house that has a multitude of light oak cabinets. As we had the house built, we paid dearly for those brand name oak cabinets. They all match and if we want to add more, which we did in the laundry room, we can buy them somewhat locally and they will still match. The design is a classic one. Change the color of the walls, curtains/drapes/furniture but leave cabinets alone! Accessorize instead or change the color of the stain!

  • 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


    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:

  • 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:

    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.

    • Noni Noni on Jun 13, 2024

      Yep! After a lot of 'shopping online and researching, I'd decided already to use this brand and variety. Now I feel more confident in my choice after your post. Thanks!

  • 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.

    comment photo
    comment photo
    • Yen51561989 Yen51561989 on Jan 30, 2022





  • 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 or 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, 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 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 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
    • See 1 previous
    • Shell Shell on Apr 05, 2015
      @Donna @Donna Good luck with your project!
  • 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!
    comment photo
    comment photo
    • Rita Rita on Aug 07, 2022

      Behr Paint is the best paint! We painted our kitchen cabinets with Behr, it’s been 10 years & they still look great! We used the gloss which made it so easy to get stains off with one wipe. And, if there was a nick, we just painted over it. And, no, there was no color difference at all even after that many years.

  • 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.
    comment photo
    comment photo
  • 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.

    comment photo
    comment photo
    • Rita Rita on Aug 07, 2022

      Nice job! Looks great! Thank you for the idea!

  • 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.

    comment photo
    comment photo
  • 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:

    • 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.

  • 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.

    comment photo
    comment photo
  • 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.