Best Stains For Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen with dark cabinets and stainless steel appliances.
  • 2-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50-200

The best stain for your custom kitchen cabinets depends on the type of color and style you are accomplishing with your custom build. The stain should complement the wood you use, whether it’s pine, maple, oak or cherry. You also need to discern between light and dark stains or whether you are looking for a more decorative stain, as with opaque stains.

Wood Type

person sanding a drawer

Your biggest consideration is the type of custom kitchen cabinets you have. A pine kitchen cabinet system would be better stained with an alcohol or oil-based stain that is rubbed on to bring out the knotty veins. Maple kitchen cabinets could use a nice opaque stain that brings out its reddish brown color while a semi transparent or transparent stain could compliment cherry cabinets.

Test the Stain

The best way to determine the right stain for your custom kitchen cabinet is to take a sample piece of wood to a home improvement center or paint store and have it painted. Running test swatches will help you see which type of stain looks better on the wood and help you with the decision process as to the type to buy. The best stain is the one that meets your preference and style.