How to Refresh Oak Cabinets
To refresh oak cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom, you can:
Need help refreshing your oak cabinets? Contact us online or call (480) 641-9611. One of our cabinet experts will come to your home for a same-day, no-obligation quote to refinish, reface, or remodel your old oak cabinets.
Refinish the Cabinets
If you just want to spruce up your existing oak cabinets, you can refinish them.
A cabinet refinishing involves:
- Stripping the existing finish. On oak cabinets, this is usually a type of polyurethane.
- Sanding the cabinets. This removes any leftover finish and helps the new finish stick to the cabinets. The cabinets should also be wiped down after sanding to ensure no dust remains.
- Applying the new finish. The new polyurethane is applied to the bare cabinet boxes and panels.
You can find the supplies to DIY reface your oak cabinets at most home improvement stores, but if you haven’t refinished cabinets before, we recommend hiring a professional for cabinet refinishing.
By going with a professional, you’ll save time and get better quality work. Plus, you’ll get to choose from a wider range of professional-quality finishes that last longer than ones found in most home improvement stores.
Refinishing the cabinets is also a good time to change the cabinet hardware.
Change the Hardware
For an easy way to refresh oak cabinets, replace the pulls on the cabinet doors and drawers. This can have a surprisingly dramatic effect on the look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom.
When changing cabinet hardware, think about:
- The look you want. If you want to modernize your oak cabinets, consider going with sleek, minimal pulls. More traditional or country-style kitchens and bathrooms look great with more decorative pulls.
- Cabinet pull types. You can choose between two types of cabinet pulls for doors and drawer fronts: knobs and handles. You can also choose whether to go with all knobs, all handles, or a combination of both.
- Appliance and fixture colors. If you want a cohesive look in your kitchen or bathroom, choose pulls that are the same color as your appliances and plumbing fixtures. If you’re looking to add some contrast, try choosing a metal for pulls that’s different from appliances and fixtures.
For more tips on choosing cabinet hardware, visit our blog “How To Choose Kitchen Cabinet Hardware To Match Decor.”
Another relatively easy way to refresh oak cabinets is to install a new backsplash.
Install a New Backsplash
Adding or replacing your backsplash can refresh the look of your entire kitchen.
The right backsplash will either:
- Blend with oak cabinets, giving your kitchen a seamless look.
- Contrast with oak cabinets, making the cabinets pop.
If you want your backsplash to complement your oak cabinets, go with light, warm neutrals like:
- Light brown
- Copper (if you don’t want tile)
For a more interesting contrast, go with a darker, more vibrant color that will make the oak cabinets pop, like:
- Dark marble or multi-colored tile (if you don’t want a single color)
To make your oak cabinets even more unique, consider crown molding or additional cabinets.
Add Crown Molding or Additional Cabinets
For a truly custom cabinet look, you can install above your upper cabinets:
- Crown molding: This is a decorative trim that goes from the top of your upper cabinets to the ceiling. The molding can be the same color as the ceiling or the cabinets or a different color for a bit of contrast.
- Additional cabinets: Also called ceiling cabinets, these cabinets are smaller than your upper cabinets, but are a great way to uplevel your kitchen or bathroom and add storage space. You can also choose center panels that are beadboard, glass, or wire mesh for some added texture.
Our cabinet experts at Cabinet Coatings can remodel your existing cabinets to install crown molding or ceiling cabinets and give your bathroom or kitchen a taller, more refined look.
For a completely fresh look, update the cabinet panels.
Update the Cabinet Panels
Replacing your cabinet panels (the doors and drawer fronts) with ones that have a different style will give your kitchen or bathroom a completely new look.
You can choose from several different styles of cabinets:
- Raised panel: Have a raised center panel that sits at the same level of the frame, with carving or beveling that sets the panel apart.
- Recessed panel: Have a center panel that’s recessed to sit behind the raised frame.
- Slab or flat panel: Have a completely flat surface (no frame or center panels).
- Glass cabinets: Essentially recessed panel cabinets, except the center panel is made of glass.
If you like the idea of replacing your oak cabinet panels with different ones, consider a cabinet refacing. You’ll get brand new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, which—along with your existing cabinet boxes—are applied with the finish of your choosing.
Plus, at quality cabinet companies like Cabinet Coatings, you’ll get solid hardwood panels with a refacing. Hardwood lasts much longer than engineered wood (like plywood or particleboard), helping your cabinets last that much longer.
Want to Refresh Your Oak Cabinets? Call Cabinet Coatings Today
Schedule an appointment online or call us at (480) 641-9611. Our finishing pros will discuss what updates you’re looking to make, then give you a free in-home or virtual consultation to refresh the oak cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom.