I have been toying with the idea of redoing my kitchen cabinets for a long time. I thought about painting them white and adding a glaze, but with the light counter tops and white back splash I couldn't really update it without basically doing the entire kitchen. So then I saw all the pictures online of people who used a gel stain to darken them, but I was super nervous! Let's face it - there are a lot of cabinets!
So I started small, doing the tiny cabinet in my bathroom first. It was pretty easy and I LOVED the way it looked! So of course, being the impulsive person I am, I just went to town on the kitchen. Little did I know that it would take me almost an entire MONTH! Putting the gel stain on was super easy, but then you have to wait an entire day in between coats. It took forever! Just to let you know, in case you are thinking about it. ;)
Here is what I started with:
The lovely golden oak was so beautiful don't you think? I actually didn't mind it, but I wanted a little richer color and definitely some knobs.
Here is a picture of how the kitchen looked when we bought the house:
The green paint that we added to the walls definitely brought some much needed color to the room.
Okay, so here is my kitchen after:
Don't mind my horrible photography skills. That is one talent that I definitely DO NOT have. ;) Also, try not to notice the mismatched appliances. We are working on upgrading to stainless steel. First things first, right?
I did everything in sections, starting with the bar and the cabinet above it on the right. I left everything in the cabinets and just took the doors off. With the drawers, I pulled everything out and set stuff on the counters. Yep, it was a pain and a mess, but we lived with it. It was worth it. ;)
We ordered all our knobs on Amazon. We got a set of 25 brushed nickel knobs for $25, and a set of 10 drawer pulls for around the same price. So $50 for the hardware, and then I used 1 1/2 cans of gel stain, so maybe another $30 for that. Pretty great to get a whole new look for under $100!!
The gel stain I used was Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory. I also used those cheapo foam brushes that you can throw away after. Make sure to get a regular size and a thin one for the tight areas.
Okay, so here are the before and afters:
We really love it! If I could take better pictures it would not look so dark. haha :) It looks richer and more updated. I also LOVE the hardware! How did I live for 3 years without knobs??
Well, hopefully this might help you make the decision to try out gel stain if you are on the fence about doing it. I only did a light sand everywhere, and then wiped everything off with a wet rag. Then I applied 2 coats of stain, maybe a third coat in the areas that really needed it. (Waiting until each coat was completely dry before adding another one.) So far I haven't put a poly on top. When I first tried it, it wiped some of the stain off, so I am waiting to make sure it's completely set before I try again. I am not even sure I will really need it. We'll see I guess. ;)
Thanks for stopping by!