Refinishing Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

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


Get a high-end look for less with an easy-to-do gel stain process for wooden furniture.

By: Melissa Webster

Refinishing kitchen cabinets can be a simple, inexpensive project that's done over the course of a few weekends to create a whole new look that transforms your kitchen into a favorite gathering spot for the whole family.

All you need for refinishing kitchen cabinets are the right tools, some elbow grease, and an adventurous attitude to transform an outdated and ho-hum kitchen into a stunning showplace you'll love. You'll need to devote a couple of weekends, or even a full week, to transforming your kitchen cabinets into a place of pride in the home.

First you'll need to gather your supplies. Once you have your supplies, remove the cabinet doors, drawer faces, handles and other hardware. Make sure you label each in accordance with its location on the cabinet boxes, so you'll know where they go when it comes time to reassemble. Try placing a Post-it note on an inconspicuous back corner. Place the hardware in plastic baggies, then line the cabinet doors up in a work area so you can stain them last.

Kitchen Cabinet Inspirations

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Contemporary Kitchen with Glass Backsplash


Yellow Kitchen Cabinets and Stainless Steel


From: Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri

Contemporary Kitchen


From: Debe Robinson

Photo By: DANNY MITCHELL ©Danny Mitchell Photography

White Traditional Kitchen

Tuscan Style Kitchen


Photo By: Photographer: Harvey Smith © Photography by Harvey Smith

Contemporary Kitchen with Green Granite


©Scripps Networks, LLC

Cream Color Country Style Kitchen

Modern Stainless Steel Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Subway Tile Backsplash

Kitchen with Pendant Lighting

Red Kitchen Cabinets


From: Kim Alexandriuk

Photo By: Edward Addeo ©Gibbs Smith, Farrow and Ball, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo

White Cabinet Kitchen with Stainless Steel Backsplash

Contemporary style kitchen

Stove Top and Backsplash with Blue Gray Cabinets


Photo By: Eric Rorer

Black and White Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen Design


Photo By: Picasa

Retro Yellow and Green Kitchen with White and Brown Cabinets


Photo By: Peter Rymwid

Modern Kitchen with Red Pendants

White Contemporary Style Kitchen Cabinets


From: Jennifer Gilmer and Lauren Levant

Photo By: Photography by Bob Narod for Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen and Bath

Kitchen with Antiqued Cabinets


Photo By: Peter Rymwid

Large Kitchen with Island


From: Celebrity Communities

Photo By: Courtesy of Denver Parade of Homes; Photo by Jeffrey Aron Photography © Denver Parade of Homes

Kitchen with Island Seating


Photo By: Photo Credit: HDR Homes ©Denver Parade of Homes

Brown Contemporary Kitchen


From: Nomita Joshi Gupta

Rustic Kitchen Island


White Traditional Kitchen Cabinets


White transitional kitchen


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Island Seatinv in Blue Gray Kitchen


Urban Oasis Kitchen


Neutral Kitchen

White Kitchen


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Creamy Kitchen Cabinets


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White Cottage Kitchen

White Cottage Kitchen Cabinetry

White traditional Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Red Hood


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Kitchen with Blue Backsplash

Cottage Kitchen with Black Cabinets

White Glass Front cabinets

Blue Kitchen Cabinets


Blue Kitchen with Glass Countertops

Stainless kitchen with white cabinets


Photo By: Peter Rymwid

Black Cabinetry

Contemproary Kitchen with Large Table

Transitional Kitchen with Blue Cabinets

Large Kitchen with Island


From: Cheri Wentworth

Contemporary Kitchen


Contemporary Kitchen with Elaborate Display Cabinetry

Black Cabinets in Galley Kitchen

Next comes the sanding. Sanding off the existing finish thoroughly means the difference between a clean, beautiful, professional look versus a messy look full of drips and bubbles you'll have to do again later. Use an electric hand sander with a heavier grit sandpaper for the first sanding. Wipe all the dust particles off with a tack cloth or damp rag, 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 of 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.

Refinishing is a great way to get a fresh, new, real-wood look to your kitchen cabinets that 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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