Staining Kitchen Cabinets

Check out these easy tips for transforming your kitchen cabinets into beautiful showpieces through the process of staining.


By: Melissa Webster

Staining kitchen cabinets is an easy, inexpensive method for turning a worn, outdated kitchen into something beautiful and warm and modern. With the right stain, a sander and a rag, your kitchen cabinets can be transformed in days.

Kitchen Cabinet Inspirations

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Contemporary Kitchen with Glass Backsplash

Yellow Kitchen Cabinets and Stainless Steel


John Colaneri

Contemporary Kitchen


Debe Robinson

Tuscan Style Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Green Granite

Cream Color Country Style Kitchen

Modern Stainless Steel Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Subway Tile Backsplash

Red Kitchen Cabinets


Kim Alexandriuk

Photo By: Edward Addeo ©Gibbs Smith, Farrow and Ball, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo View original photo.

White Cabinet Kitchen with Stainless Steel Backsplash

Stove Top and Backsplash with Blue Gray Cabinets

Photo By: Eric Rorer View original photo.

Black and White Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen Design

Photo By: Picasa

Retro Yellow and Green Kitchen with White and Brown Cabinets

White Contemporary Style Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen with Antiqued Cabinets

Large Kitchen with Island


Celebrity Communities

Photo By: Courtesy of Denver Parade of Homes; Photo by Jeffrey Aron Photography © Denver Parade of Homes View original photo.

Kitchen with Island Seating

Photo By: Photo Credit: HDR Homes ©Denver Parade of Homes View original photo.

Brown Contemporary Kitchen


Nomita Joshi Gupta

Rustic Kitchen Island

White Traditional Kitchen Cabinets

White transitional kitchen

White Kitchen with Round Island

Island Seatinv in Blue Gray Kitchen

Urban Oasis Kitchen

Kitchen with Ladder

Neutral Kitchen

White Kitchen

Creamy Kitchen Cabinets


Ben Herzog

White Kitchen with Dining Table

White Kitchen with Wood Island

White traditional Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Red Hood

  1. kitchens
  2. modern style
  3. neutral photos
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  5. red photos
  6. thermador
  7. open house
  8. wood
  9. old world
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  11. raymond enkeboll
  12. columns
  13. franke
  14. range top
  15. hearth
  16. framing
  17. pot filler
  18. medallion
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  41. white paint
  42. crown moulding
  43. view
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  45. antique
  46. speed cooking
  47. expert
  48. ge
  49. hardwood
  50. hardware
  51. range
  52. toe kick
  53. hob
  54. mantle
  55. contest
  56. mullion
  57. off-white
  58. society hill
  59. modern
  60. white oak
  61. moulding
  62. oak
  63. bath
  64. enkeboll
  65. published
  66. wi-fi
  67. glazed
  68. birch
  69. this old house
  70. red oak
  71. casing
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  74. refrigerator
  75. traditional
  76. corbel
  77. electrolux
  78. integrated
  79. woodtop
  80. monogram
  81. tile
  82. plumbing
  83. cooktop
  84. design
  85. cabinetry
  86. ice maker
  87. distressed
  88. main line
  89. chester county
  90. hand applied
  91. pull
  92. wet bed
  93. microwave
  94. award
  95. meile
  96. millwork
  97. furniture
  98. hudson
  99. faucet
  100. double oven
  101. eclectic
  102. plaster
  103. hgtv
  104. post and beam
  105. range hood
  106. fireplace
  107. hood
  108. stove
  109. cape cod
  110. latch
  111. painted
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  115. white
  116. paint
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  120. cubberd
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  144. veneer
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  149. craftsman
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  155. steamer
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  174. fridgeaire
  175. heating
  176. suburban square
  177. staged
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  179. draper
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  181. storage

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Kitchen with Blue Backsplash

Cottage Kitchen with Black Cabinets

Blue Kitchen Cabinets

Stainless kitchen with white cabinets

Contemproary Kitchen with Large Table

Transitional Kitchen with Blue Cabinets

Pale Kitchen cabinets

Large Kitchen with Island


Cheri Wentworth

Contemporary Kitchen

White Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Elaborate Display Cabinetry

White Cabinets

The first thing you'll need to do is gather your supplies. Once you've got the supplies, remove the cabinet doors, drawer faces, handles and other hardware. Make sure you label each item in accordance with its location on the cabinet boxes; that way, you'll know where everything goes when it comes time to reassemble. A Post-it note on an inconspicuous back corner works really well for this. Place the hardware in labeled plastic baggies and place the cabinet doors up in a pre-established work area to stain last.

And then you sand. Sanding off the existing finish thoroughly is the difference between a clean, beautiful, professional look and a messy finish full of drips and bubbles you'll have to refinish again later. Use an electric hand sander with a heavier grit sandpaper for the first sanding. Wipe all the dust particles off, and then sand again with a finer sandpaper, about 220 grit. This will prepare the wood for the stain.

To apply the stain, use a rag and rub the stain into the wood going along with the grain. Rubbing the stain into the wood permeates the pores and allows for a much deeper saturation. Keep in mind, the stain will darken as it dries. Also, the more coats of stain you use, the darker it will appear on the wood. This will help you determine how much or how little to use based on the results you want. You can buy blends that combine the stain with a polyurethane finish to protect the wood, or you can buy the stain and polyurethane finish separately. Just be sure to get a stain and finish that are compatible and work well together. The labels on the stain will help you determine this. If you're not overly picky about the exact color stain you want, there are many blends available for amateurs. You won't be able to totally control the results, but it is the easiest and most convenient option.

Staining is a great way to get a fresh, new, real-wood look to your kitchen cabinets you just can't get with paint. It's easy and convenient and almost fool-proof as a DIY project. All it takes is a little elbow grease and you'll have a whole new look for your kitchen.

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