Refinishing Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Lead Image
  • 10-40 hours
  • Beginner
  • 250-750
What You'll Need
Door handles
Natural bristle paint brush
Drop cloth
Masking tape
Paint or wood stain
Polyurethane sealant
Paint roller
Shop vacuum

Refinishing the wooden cabinets in your kitchen can give it a fresh new look. You can bring new life to your old kitchen cabinets for less than it would cost to replace them with these steps.

Step 1 — Remove Cabinet Drawers and Doors

Empty the cabinets and remove the hardware from the fronts of the drawers and doors. Remove the cabinet drawers, writing numbers on masking tape to keep track of their locations. Use a screwdriver to detach the cabinet doors and remove the hinges. Finally, place the cabinet doors and drawers in a clean, dry place to be worked on later.

Step 2 — Repair any Damage

Inspect the cabinets thoroughly for any damages, including scars, nicks, or rot. You can repair these using wood putty or sandpaper. Do this for the drawers and doors too.

Step 3 — Wash the Cabinets

Wash the cabinets, doors, and drawers with warm water and a cleaning solution to remove the grease and grime that has accumulated over the years. Use a mixture of one teaspoon Borax and ¼ cup vinegar to create a paste. Put this on a rag or old toothbrush and rub away any grease or oil stains with it. Rinse with cool water and then cover the countertop with a drop cloth. You’ll need it when you sand and stain the cabinets, doors, and drawers.

Step 4 — Sand the Cabinets

Use a light-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or debris. Repeat this process for the doors and drawers. When you’re all done, clean up with a shop vacuum.

Step 5 — Paint or Stain the Cabinets

Paint or stain the cabinets with the wood stain or paint that you selected. If you decide to paint, use a natural bristle brush. If you decide to stain, use a rag and apply the stain with the grain of the wood. Do this for the cabinets, doors, and drawers, working carefully to ensure that all surfaces are covered completely.

Apply multiple coats of paint or stain. Always wait for the first coat to dry completely before applying the second coat. If you applied stain, wait for it to dry and then apply a polyurethane sealant to protect the wood and bring out the gloss of the cabinets.

Step 6 — Attach the Handles and Hinges

Put the hardware and hinges back on the doors and drawers. Then, put the doors back on the cabinets and replace the drawers and shelves.

Giving you kitchen a makeover doesn't have to cost a fortune. Use these steps to refinish your wood cabinets, and give your kitchen a new look for less!