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How to Update Oak Cabinets Without Paint

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If you have a kitchen from the 1990’s like me, you probably have honey oak cabinets that you want to update. I searched and searched for ideas, and most of the suggestions were to paint them. Let me be super honest with you. I don’t have to time to paint my cabinets nor am I a DIYer!

So after much research, I discovered another solution.

In this post I’m going to share how I updated my oak cabinets without painting them by using a stain called Briwax (affiliate link). It doesn’t require sanding is a very easy to apply. So if you are not a regular DIYer like me, you’ll still get great results!

First, here is a before picture of my 1990’s oak kitchen cabinets.

How to Update Oak Cabinets Without Painting Them

1. Wash all dirt and grime from the cabinets.

This is the best part. You don’t have to remove the cupboards unless you want to. You also don’t have to sand them! Just wash away any grime.

2. Generously apply Briwax stain to cabinets.

Before applying the stain, I strongly recommend wearing gloves as it is a bit messy. Then using a cloth generously cover the section of cupboard you are staining.

I suggest starting in a lower cabinet that isn’t the first thing people will see. That way you can get used to using the Briwax on the cabinets that aren’t as visible.

3. Rub in excess Briwax with a different cloth.

This is the hardest part (but still easy!). Once you have applied the Briwax, it will take some elbow grease and time to rub in the stain. You don’t want any clumps leftover. It should be dry to the touch.

Once the Briwax has set, you can take your updating to another level by updating the cabinet hardware.

4. Update the cabinet hardware.

My kitchen cabinets didn’t have any handles to being with, so this was the perfect time to add some. I purchased black knobs (affiliate link) for the cabinets and black pulls (affiliate link) for the drawers.

I personally love the look of wood and black metal, but that is total preference.

I also updated the kitchen faucet which made a big difference in the overall look and feel of the kitchen.

My next step is to change the color of the walls from a yellow tint to a cool color. That will help tone down the orangey oak.

I hope this inspires you to update your oak cabinets even if you can’t paint them!

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6 thoughts on “How to Update Oak Cabinets Without Paint

  1. Love the update! I recently painted my cabinets and while I love them, it was A LOT of work! You’ve definitely inspired me to update the faucet next! Awesome job 🙂

    1. I bet your cabinets look great! I love the look of painted cabinets. I just know I couldn’t do them right. Yes, updating the faucet was way easier than I thought it would be and it elevated the whole space. You’ll love it!

  2. Omg I’m so excited you posted this!! I have the same outdated cabinets and was telling my hubby it would be thousands to redo the kitchen! Well now I can try your idea instead!! 🙂

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