My bathroom cabinets were looking a hot mess, so I decided to do something about it last weekend. Because my husband and I are still renting, it's not like I could take them in some creative new direction, so I just gave them a new coat of wood stain to give them a refreshed look. And the result you ask? They turned out more gorgeous than I could have imagined! I also looked into new hardware, but have you seen how expensive hardware can be? Ouch! Instead, I took my trusty old spray paint and painted those cabinet pulls, and you know what? I love them now!
By the way, these pictures really don't do these cabinets justice. It totally transformed the look of the space.
Here is what my cabinets looked like before:
- Stain (approx. $12) This will last you forever. The amount of liquid in the can went down by maybe a centimeter by the time I was finished with it.
- Flat-edge paintbrush ($5)
- Dropcloth ($1) or cardboard boxes flattened.
- Acrylic paint and brush ($2) (optional - for damaged wood)
- Sanding tool ($3.74) (optional - are you gonna be a square and play by the rules or do it the fun way? Just kidding.)
Time - approximately 2 - 2.5 hrs
Step 1 - Wipe your cabinets clean. Then, sand them down...or not. I started sanding the cabinets, but then I tested out staining a sanded portion and a non-sanded portion and there was no difference, so I tossed the sand paper sponge and kept staining.
Part of the reason why I did this was because...well, I'm impatient. I can admit that, but there was another more legitimate reason for skipping a step: I was losing brain cells by the minute from breathing the air while I had the stain out. Sanding makes the process take longer and, therefore, more brain cells would have been lost. Plus, I know I was inhaling the particles that flew up into the air while sanding. Brain cell depletion + lung cancer = double whammy! No thank you. I'll risk having crappy cabinets instead.
But luckily, the cabinets still turned out great!
Step 2 - Dip your flat edged brush into the stain. Only dip the edge in, and let most of the stain drip off and also wipe the excess on the edge of the can.
Remember: The more stain you use, the longer it will take to dry. Mine took about 24 - 30 hrs to dry completely (yeah, I used too much I think).
Step 3 - Paint your cabinets with large strokes without overlapping previous strokes. Or go with the grain of the wood. I think that's what the pros say.
I only used one coat, but it will depend on your cabinets and how thick you are applying the stain.
Tip: Work fast! As I said earlier, the smell is noxious and you might feel lightheaded if you inhale it for too long. I recommend opening up your windows and possibly blowing a fan toward the cabinets and away from you.
Step 4 - If your cabinets have water damage or some other kind of damage that splits the wood and makes it bubble out, then you too might want to try this step.
This is the damage to which I am referring. It was U-G-L-Y...it ain't got no alibi! It's ugly..yeah, yeah, it's ugly. (Sorry about that. Couldn't help it.)
So, I decided to match my cabinet color to some acrylic paint. I found some in a dark brown shade that was a close enough match that I didn't have to do any mixing.
I got out a cheapo large paint brush and dipped the bristles head first into the acrylic paint. I applied it that same way to the cabinets. That is, I didn't brush on the color (because it would get too much paint on the cabinets). Instead, I poked at the rough, damaged spots with the head of the brush. That helps get all of the paint into the nooks and crannies of the damaged wood.
I must say that it disguised it really well! I can only see it if I look really closely.
Note that this may not work on cabinets that are exposed to direct sunlight (like by the kitchen window), because I feel like the harsh light of day would be unkind to these hidden painted spots. I think you would be able to tell that there is something different about those spots. But it is still probably better than leaving damaged areas as they are now.
Step 5 - Spray paint the hardware like I did. I figure I can just use a bronze spray paint to change back to their before look for whenever I get ready to move.
Check out the before:
And here is the after!
I used Celery from Krylon Fusion, by the way.
Once again, let's see that dramatic before and after shot of the cabinets.
Yay for happy cabinets!!!