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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

In the era of Pinterest perfection, it seems we’re all striving more than ever for a picture perfect home. If painting cabinets white and updating countertops and a new backsplash aren’t in the budget or your husband refuses to paint perfectly good oak cabinets, you’re not alone. Behind many computer screens are hopes and dreams, even my own, but it’s not always a reality. After a stressful summer of renovations, we decided to wait on our kitchen. Despite what you see on Pinterest, you can do a kitchen makeover without painting your orange oak cabinets. While it’s a quick fix, there are a lot of other simple and inexpensive things you can do. To embrace our kitchen until we’re ready to remodel, I made a few simple changes.
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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

Well, it is finally time for the kitchen reveal.  At the start of the project, I told you that the goal  was to update a 1990’s oak cabinet kitchen without painting the oak cabinets. Mr. MLH loves the cabinets as they are, so I came up with some ways to update the kitchen while working around keeping the stained oak cabinets.
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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

Okay, we did something like that in our last kitchen. So it is not hard (although maybe a little hard to explain in words, without pictures, but I will do my best) 1. ON the longest section of cabinets, follow the instructions above. (2 cleats on the walls) Only you need to run the first side all the way to the wall behind the corner. 2. Nail that side to a cleats on the wall, like the original plan says. 3. Then once the first piece of oak is in place, you need to add a cleat for the cabinet corner to that piece of oak. Set the cleat back just the width of the wood piece you will be putting perpendicular to that board, on top of your other cabinet. Nail the cleat in place. 4.Now butt the edge of the next piece up to the first piece and nail it to the cleat you just applied to the front of the oak. And the other end nail to the cleat on the wall! Hope that makes sense, since I don’t have a way to take pictures this is about as good as it gets! Good Luck with your kitchen! Cassity
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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

1. ON the longest section of cabinets, follow the instructions above. (2 cleats on the walls) Only you need to run the first side all the way to the wall behind the corner. 2. Nail that side to a cleats on the wall, like the original plan says. 3. Then once the first piece of oak is in place, you need to add a cleat for the cabinet corner to that piece of oak. Set the cleat back just the width of the wood piece you will be putting perpendicular to that board, on top of your other cabinet. Nail the cleat in place. 4.Now butt the edge of the next piece up to the first piece and nail it to the cleat you just applied to the front of the oak. And the other end nail to the cleat on the wall!
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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

I love your remodel of the kitchen with oak cabinets. I, too, have the same color of cabinets and while I would love a white kitchen, it is not in the cards for us. I was wondering if you could tell me the color or the walls in your kitchen? I’m trying to repaint ours, so it doesn’t clash as much with our cabinets.
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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

Hi Justin and Cassity, I love your remodel of the kitchen with oak cabinets. I, too, have the same color of cabinets and while I would love a white kitchen, it is not in the cards for us. I was wondering if you could tell me the color or the walls in your kitchen? I’m trying to repaint ours, so it doesn’t clash as much with our cabinets. Thanks so much! Lindsey
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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

Before: No Distinction This 1990s kitchen was overwhelmed with oak cabinetry and flooring and lacked a wow-factor. By painting cabinets, changing out tile and light fixtures, and adding in new accessories, this kitchen was transformed into an up-to-date space. Plan a stress-free makeover with the Kitchen Remodeling Guide.
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Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

I’m not a fan of oak cabinets. Thankfully the previous owner of our home already stained ours a dark (almost cherry) color and added granite. Regarding what color of hardware to use, my parents added rubbed oil bronze to their honey oak cabinets and it looked great. They also added a mosaic backsplash to tie it all together. If you don’t have much to spend, a backsplash is my favorite way to instantly update your kitchen. I have to say though, I love your mixer!
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I have oak cabinets and floor too. I also love copper and have copper touches in our kitchen. I agree the copper updates the kitchen and also doesn’t clash with the oak. They’re both warm, so it’s a good solution, and your copper touches are beautiful!
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I know, the thought seems scary, but taking away a key cabinet can really open up a kitchen with oak cabinets.  Oak is such a heavy looking wood that it can visually weigh down a room, particularly one without adequate lighting.
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Hello Julie, I love your home and your style so much! I’ve learned so much on your blog. Thank you for sharing so willingly. I’m curious to know if you’ve written a post on your remodeling plans for your kitchen. I think your kitchen looks so beautiful. I have oak cabinets that are yellowish and floor too. Recently, after starting the sanding process on the cabinets to paint them white I found out I’m expecting our 9th baby. My sweet husband is willing to hire someone to paint them. However, our home has not been painted since it was built in 1999. There is so much to do! After reading this post I’m wondering if we should put our money elsewhere and embrace our cabinets. Our oldest is 14 so trying to get projects done is a bit challenging. Last weekend we painted one wall of the living room soft chamois after I saw it on your website. I’m thinking I might switch to zurich white now! Anyway, having fun trying to make a cozy home for my family but I’m not very confident and am getting a little overwhelmed. I appreciate your blog, such an inspiration! God bless you! Rebecca
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This 1990s kitchen was overwhelmed with oak cabinetry and flooring and lacked a wow-factor. By painting cabinets, changing out tile and light fixtures, and adding in new accessories, this kitchen was transformed into an up-to-date space.
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After: Contemporary and Bright With a budget of $2,000, this kitchen was given a simple yet powerful facelift. The main change in this kitchen makeover was painting the oak cabinetry to modernize the room. Since the family outsourced most of the work, the makeover was completed within just a few weeks. See how easy it is to paint your own cabinets.
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You might be surprised to hear it, but I’m actually a huge fan of oak cabinets…that’s right, a HUGE fan.  Why?  Well, unlike melamine, thermofoil and veneers, oak cabinets are almost always REAL solid wood.  And with real wood comes real potential.
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Antique Brass.  If you’re looking for a low-contrast look, antique brass is a beautiful finish with oak cabinets.  The bonus is that most oak cabinets (if they have their original hardware) have hinges in this colour, so that’s just one less thing to worry about!
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Well it is finally time for the kitchen reveal.  I told you all about my sad no painting allowed story on Wednesday.  How the Realtor said we couldn’t paint our cabinets because we had chosen to rent the house and the painting them would not be the best choice.  And the cabinets are only 10 years old, so they were not worth replacing , cheap though they may be.
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The easiest way to update is with a new wall color. Pick a shade in the color family you love, just make sure that the shade compliments the oak tone of your cabinets, without bringing out the orange tones that oak stain can have.
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Out with the Oak This 1990s kitchen was full of oak and lacked style. With simple, cosmetic changes and a small budget, this kitchen was quickly brought back to life. By Olivia Albers
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Out with the Oak This 1990s kitchen was full of oak and lacked style. With simple, cosmetic changes and a small budget, this kitchen was quickly brought back to life.
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Thank you! I agree with you. I try to strive for a mindset that balances updating with maintaining the integrity of the original design. One thing I keep wondering about the all white trend is, what happens when white everything is the next outdated oak everything? It's coming in under 10 years. White is classic, but white everything is a trend. What happens then? Strip it all back to wood? Paint it all black? Striving for balance and not just following trends is what will keep it timeless (aside from possibly needing minor upgrades like hardware, light fixtures, faucets). Some may enjoy making major changes to keep up with trends, but I'm not one of them 🙂 Thank you for visiting the blog and for you comment. Have a lovely day!

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