Restaining Kitchen Cabinets

Explore your options for restaining kitchen cabinets, and get all the info you'll need to give your kitchen a stylish facelift.

Custom Oak Kitchen Cabinets

Neutral Kitchen With Custom Oak Cabinets

This classic, neutral kitchen features custom oak cabinets to fit around appliances while providing plenty of storage space.

Photo by: Ryan Garvin Photography, Architect: Scape Design Studio, Inc.

Ryan Garvin Photography, Architect: Scape Design Studio, Inc.

By: Sean McEvoy

Restaining kitchen cabinets takes some DIY knowledge and a bit of sweat equity, but it can be a great way to give your kitchen a simple, cost-effective makeover.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Get all the info you'll need on kitchen cabinet refacing, and ensure your kitchen cabinet makeover will be a stylish success.

Step 1. Disassemble and Label Cabinets

The first step in restaining kitchen cabinets is to remove the doors from the cabinets and the cabinets from the wall. Before removing, be sure to label all cabinets and doors so that you will be able to re-install them in the correct locations and in the right order.

Step 2. Remove All Hardware

Next up, unscrew all hardware, including hinges, knobs and pulls, and keep them together in a bag or container.

Step 3. Strip the Finish

The next step is to strip the old finish from your cabinets and doors. Apply gel stripper with a paintbrush to one or two cabinet/door sets at a time (any more and the gel will dry out). Let the gel sit for 10 minutes or so until you see that the surface has bubbled and softened.

Step 4. Scrape the Cabinet Surface

Next, scrape the old surface with a scraper, in the direction of the grain. Scrape the old varnish into a container, and be sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area. Scrub any stubborn spots with steel wool. Wipe down the stripped surface with a rag dipped in mineral spirits to remove any stripper residue, and wipe everything clean with a tack rag.

Kitchen With Wood Cabinetry and Shelving

Wood Floating Shelves in a Midcentury Modern Kitchen

This recently renovated kitchen houses its original wood cabinetry on the bottom but swaps the upper cabinets for floating shelves above the sink. The midcentury modern kitchen features a warm wood stain on the cabinets and shelves contrasted by a bright white hue on the walls.

Photo by: Kaila Edwards

Kaila Edwards

Step 5. Paint on the New Finish

When the doors and cabinets are fully dry, paint on the new finish in long, smooth strokes, then apply a second coat after six hours of drying. Next, apply at least two coats of protective polyurethane varnish to the cabinets, using a brush or paint sprayer. Apply one coat, let it dry for 24 hours, then apply another coat. Allow all surfaces to dry for 24 hours, then re-install the hardware.

Next Up

Resurfacing Kitchen Cabinets

Resurfacing kitchen cabinets gives your kitchen a much-needed facelift without the hassles of a complete remodel.

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Learn about the different options for kitchen cabinets and decide what's right for your home based on your budget and style.

Updating Kitchen Cabinets

Updating kitchen cabinets transforms your kitchen into a gathering place for the whole family.

Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

When refinishing and refacing don't make sense, consider replacing your kitchen cabinets.

Refinishing Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Get the feel of a whole new kitchen with beautifully refinished kitchen cabinets.

Kitchen Cabinet Colors and Finishes

Find helpful tips for choosing colors and finishes for your kitchen cabinets that reflect your personality and style.

New Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Get all the info you need on new kitchen cabinet doors, a great way to update your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

Get tips on how to find the right cabinetry for your remodel.

Modern Kitchen Cabinets

Learn about the different options of modern kitchen cabinets and how they translate into a spacious and airy dream kitchen.

Kitchen Cabinet Material

Explore These Beautiful Kitchen Cabinet Options for Ideas

Go Shopping

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