Refinishing Solid Wood Cabinets: DIY Kitchen Cabinet Decorating Ideas

    The cost of remodeling a kitchen can put you in debt for years, but things like kitchen cabinets become outdated and start to show wear and tear. Luckily for those who are a bit handy with tools, updating existing kitchen cabinets is not a big deal. For more guide to DIY home improvements visit

    While it’s simple, not everyone has the time nor the patience to do it. So, if you’re thinking of having profitable projects to build and sell, you may refinish old cabinets and sell them. Better yet, make a new one and create your own mini cabinet-selling business. With the wide potential of this simple project, make sure you follow the following tips carefully so you can apply it in your own home or your future business venture.

    What You Need

    You can do something as simple as re-finishing. All you need is a good stain or paint to put on and the patience to remove the old stain or paint. Take off the doors and then remove the hinges. Give the hinges a good going over with a metal polish—can’t have dingy hinges on bright new doors. 

    There are some very good products that make taking the old paint or stain off of the kitchen cabinets. Just brush them on and wipe them off, but make sure you do it in a well-ventilated area. And make sure it all comes off. Then use fine grain sandpaper just to make sure. Always go in the same direction as the grain of the wood. It brings out the grain and gives a professional looking finish.

    The Process

    If you use paint a print brush will do. Use even strokes. Do not stop in the middle of the door. Go all the way from the top to the bottom in one light, easy stroke. Once they are day and re hung, you can be as imaginative as you want. There are many ways to decorate newly painted kitchen cabinets. For those who are really artistic, there are stencils. These are best used before the doors are put back on. For those who do not have a talent for painting, there are appliques. Just peel and stick and it looks like it is painted on.

    When using stain, I like to use cheese cloth instead of a brush. Sounds messy and it is, but you do not get brush marks and the cheese cloth really gets the stain deep down into the wood and brings out the highlights. You might have to prepare the wood first, if it is worn. Look into products like a pre stain wood conditioner or a wood filler. Get a stain that has Polyurethane in it already, or you will have to purchase it separately and apply two coats when the finish is perfectly dry. Reattach the doors and put on some new hardware to make them 100% as new as they can be.

    The Look

    Remember, small kitchens need light colors. Dark colors make spaces look smaller. If you have a nice, spacious kitchen, darker paint and stains will do fine.

    If the finish is light and you want to go dark, it is possible to go over the old finish, but make sure it is clean first. Make sure there is no dust hanging around. But before you do the whole thing, test out what you want to do on a spot that cannot be seen, like on the back corner of a shelf. Make sure it will look the way you want it too. When you take shortcuts like this, you can end up with an unsatisfactory result and end up with more work to instead of less.

    Yes, it is a lot of work and time consuming, but when you consider the cost of new cabinets, it is well worth it and it makes a great family weekend project.


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