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.

hpojb-gel-stain-final_4x3

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for refinishing kitchen cabinets are the right tools, some elbow grease, and an adventurous attitude to transform an outdated and ho-hum kitchen into a stunning showplace you'll love.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

See All Photos

Shop This Look

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.

Next Up

Painting Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

The strategy of a well-placed coat of paint on your kitchen cabinets will transform the room.

Ideas for Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Ready for a change? Discover the difference refacing kitchen cabinets makes.

Painted Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

Explore painted kitchen cabinet ideas and choose the color and style that best suits your kitchen.

Ideas for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Get ideas for painting kitchen cabinets.

Great Color Ideas for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Longing for a change to your kitchen's look? Nothing makes an impact like paint. Discover the best colors for kitchen cabinets and how to decide which color is best for you.

Resurfacing Kitchen Cabinets

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

How to Refinish Hardwood Floors

It takes some elbow grease to refinish hardwood floors, but it's worth it. Hardwood floors add value to your home and provide a classic look that goes with any style.

Kitchen Cabinet Colors and Finishes

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

Updating Kitchen Cabinets

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

Choosing Kitchen Cabinets

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

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.