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DIY Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets

Can you refinish your own kitchen cabinets, or must it always be a job for cabinet painting professionals ?

We won’t lie. Refinishing cabinets is not for the faint-hearted. It needs work and a certain amount of skill. And in all honesty, it is not a job for the beginner.

However, if you are confident about your DIY skills, and have perhaps attempted something similar in the past, then read on…

The Time

We estimate this project will take between four to eight weekends. 
Still up for it? Read on!


Refurbishing cabinets is a messy business. Start by placing clothes over the work area and anything else you don’t want to destroy! Also, protect yourself by having the right eye protection and gloves for the job.


Next, you need to clean all the things. This means the kitchen cabinets, but also the composing hardware (handles, hinges etc.)

Start by removing the cabinet doors. We recommend giving them a really good soaping, preferably out of doors if possible.

Tip – before you remove anything, label it – so you know where to put it back afterward!  Next, give the insides a good soaking, removing any shelves that will come out. You will polish them before replacing in your unit.


Now for some hard work! Before you strip anything you need to ensure you are working in a well-ventilated space. It would be best to do this project outdoors, but if not, then open all the windows and doors.

Which Stripping Agent Do I Need?

90% of the trick to stripping units is working out what material it is coated with, and then removing it correctly. Here’s how to identify the finish on your cabinets and then how to remove it.

Wax – If you think your unit is coated in wax, then find out by rubbing a drop of turps onto it. If the finish comes off, then it is wax.
Shellac – To detect shellac, use a small amount of denatured alcohol. If it comes off swiftly, your finish is shellac.
Water Base
– All water-based solutions will come off with some drops of Xylene.
Varnish – For varnish or polyurethane finishes, you can use varnish remover to strip at the worst of it, but you’ll still need some good old fashioned elbow grease to see the rest of it off.
Lacquer – We recommend lacquer thinner to remove lacquer finishes.
Vinyl – If your unit is coated in vinyl or Formica, then you have hit a snag. These cabinet types do not lend themselves to being painted and will need the treatment of a dedicated professional. 

Latex: Latex-based paint should come away with the application of denatured alcohol rub. 
Oil-based: An oil-based paint needs a good sanding and will not come off with alcohol. You should be prepared to sand and prime before repainting with a latex-based paint. 

Penetrating Oil – For these types of finish, you can’t strip away the color. The thing to do is to coat, paint or wax it as it stands – as long as the wood is dry. 

Sand – Now sand the unit, after firstly using a wood filler to smooth out any blemishes in the unit. 
Prime – Prime your wood with a primer before applying the top layer.
Paint – Be prepared to give more than one coat of paint if required. And allow drying before fitting back together.

Now your cabinet should be ready to go back on, looking fabulous and completely repurposed! 

Trends for Kitchen Cabinetry Designs in 2021

Kitchen cabinetry work is not limited to just storage, but it also extends its usage to style and also to add an essential element in remodelling the kitchen. Cabinetry is also considered as a crown jewel that brings the entire kitchen setup together.

Over the last few years, the brainstorm of kitchen cabinets haven’t changed drastically, but has increased in its idea of decor and adding countertops or flooring to the existing cabinetry. Today, the concept of home revamping or redecorating has extended its arms to the streamlined look that enhances and focuses on the minimalism and the simplicity of an ambience.

In 2020, 90% of simplicity with 10% bold and quirky designs have set the market trend. This also means while simple trends for home cabinetry or specifically kitchen cabinetry gets its popularity, some of the homeowners also prefer quirky and unique customizations to make their statement clear.

Colour customization

In today’s world, the homeowners no longer thrive for a cookie-cutter kitchen design. They wish to build something unique, which has a personality and character. So hence the colour is one of the main components that take adequate notice when you enter a kitchen. A unique colour and texture on your cabinetry in the kitchen can set a tone to the kitchen and separate you from the pack. Neutral colours, like grey, yellow-greens, are the biggest favourites of all the homemakers. But, nowadays the darker colour palettes are also showing up in most of the contemporary kitchens. This can include black, emerald green, navy blue, Or high-end colours that allude to the eyes.

The use of oak wood

The use of oak wood

It was the choice of the cabinet in the 1970s and also the early nineties. This trend seems to have set back or crept back into the bathroom and kitchen cabinetry ideas. They usually have seen in a honey spice stain, with a cathedral door in many homes. Many homeowners are seeking connections to their past and also to add a contemporary style; hence they go for neutral colours, which offer newfound luxury, dimension and texture to the cabinets made of oak wood. The most common colours include black, blue, grey, which add a sense of sophistication and luxury to the cabinets.

Clean aesthetics

The idea of clean aesthetic kitchen cabinetry has spread its wings even across the modernization of the most influential homes in recent years. This minimalistic trend is set to continue throughout the 2021 era and also set its foot into the year of 2022.

Modern cabinets which are made of ornate designs with traditional cabinet door styles are one of the best in the industry. This also means it provides a sense of calm and soothing atmosphere inside the kitchen with clutter reduced to a bare minimum. Hence this type of kitchen cabinetry style works for modern style kitchens, as well as some tinplating its components to the backsplash and the countertop.

6 Tips To Avoid Kitchen Cabinet Catastrophe

Repainting the kitchen cabinets may seem like a lazy Sunday afternoon project, but it is really not! 

Our home design team is only too well aware of the potential pitfalls of a kitchen unit refurbish – and have compiled a list of the worst mistakes a newbie can make when attempting a repaint…. You have been warned!

Instagram Expectations 

You’ve seen the pictures of other people’s amazing remodels. So why are your own so disappointing? This is because in real life, remodels are rarely picture-perfect.  Remember, you are still repurposing an old unit, and this is bound to have minor scuffing and aging.  Also, those perfect shots have probably been craftily staged to look flawless – real remodels still bear a trace of what lies beneath!

Rush Job
Doing a rushed job is the leading cause of kitchen calamity. Our designers suggest settling in for the long haul. 

A kitchen repaint takes a long time – maybe even a full week – so first, ask yourself if you are ready. If not, perhaps it’s time to call a professional. 

Zero Prep
Not preparing properly is a surefire recipe for failure. Cleaning and sanding are essential before even beginning the repaint. Clean everything with a grease remover before you paint – or the paint will not stick. 

Likewise, you need to take out all the drawers, shelves, hinges, handles etc, before applying the paint. It will not work if you paint around it – trust us, we’ve seen the results!
It should go without saying that you also need to sand and prime your units before applying paint.

Jigsaw Nightmare
When you remove your kitchen units – because you very definitely will paint them separately – you need to label everything.

This is so you can reassemble them in the right places afterward. Believe us, this can quickly turn into a real-life jigsaw if not! 

Color Catastrophe
There’s nothing worse than looking around to realize the whole kitchen is screaming at you – but that’s how you’ll feel if you pick the wrong color.

To try and check, test out the color on a large board and place it on your wall to see if you like its look. This is a lot quicker than painting the whole room and then getting a migraine.

Still Wet
Don’t shoot yourself in the foot by replacing your units before they have had a chance to dry properly.
Think about how long your nail varnish takes to dry before it is properly ready. That long! 
Touch dry is not the same as cured, and you need to give your units ample time to dry in before reattaching to the main unit. 

This could take days, but so be it, we say!!

Finally, painting your kitchen units is not simple. There is no quick fix, and you are not going to be done anytime soon.

If this sounds too much like hard work, we suggest letting a professional take the strain – check out our contact page for a speedy reply or get your feet wet with our DIY tips here! 

The A-Z Of Bohemian Styling For 2021

In 2020, we have heard much about Bohemian styling. Maybe being stuck staring at the same four walls has made people long for some individuality. Either way, Boho chic is in for the new year.

So, if you fancy a change for 2021, here’s how to do the Boho A-Z!

Accessories – Paintings, clocks, objects of art – Boho is about you and your personality. Whatever you’re into, bring out your passions!

Bohemian Girl

Books – Books, even higgledy-piggledy arranged can totally make a Boho living room. Don’t worry about looking highbrow, go for what you like. 

Cozy – Aim to create comfort rather than sterile perfection. This is the room you want to hang out in, not showcase to others. 

Eclectic – Boho is all about mixing it up and there’s no such thing as overkill. This is one place where less is definitely not more!

Habitable – Above all, Boho styling is about creating a living space lived in and homely.

Individual – Boho is handmade. DIY art and homespun crafts will all sit nicely in your Boho room.

Layers – Boho means layering. This means throws, rugs, and heavy chenille drapes. Wall hangings and alluring window dressings add to the atmosphere.

Mélange – Boho is about mixing it up – this means textures, styles, cultures, and lighting should be as varied as possibly.

Natural – Include as much natural light as you can do. Utilize different types of lighting to bring light to the room. Boho is never dark or dingy. 

Patterns – Patterns define the Boho look and the good thing is that they don’t have to match. Whether you go for big patterns or smaller snatches, always remember to mix it up! 

Rainbow Color – This is one style which soaks up color like no tomorrow. However, you can opt for neutral surroundings interspersed with more brightly colored items.

Textures – Textures should invite a variety of sensory experiences i.e., velvets, leather, stone etc. Also think baskets, bamboo, tapestry, and shagpile rugs.

Vintage – Vintage items really add to the Boho vibe. Whether this is an antique sideboard, or a period piece is up to you. 

Wildlife – Never forget nature – it occupies center stage in the Boho home. Leafy green foliage is a must. Choose whatever takes your fancy, from Bonsai trees to exotic orchids, but plants are essential to the Bohemian room.

Zen – Believe it or not, Boho can do Zen. Although associated with uncluttered and calm, a Bohemian styling brings coziness and nature into a Zen-like harmony. 

Here’s some Bohemian ideas for your next project.