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Kitchen Renovation: Cabinet Stain and Hardware


Happy Monday friends! I’m so excited to share our new cabinet stain and hardware today!

Whether or not to stain the cabinets was probably the hardest decision of the kitchen reno…until I had to decide what color to stain them! If you need to catch up you can read about the unfinished oak cabinets we chose here.

I went through almost every stain sample Lowes carried searching for the perfect shade but every time I thought I had made a decision I changed my mind. It was either too red or to brown and I was looking for a warm, chestnutty color. But remember, my cabinets are oak which tend to be very grainy so I had to take into consideration what that contrast would look like.

If you remember this was my inspiration photo:

kitinspo2 (1)

{via Crown Point Cabinetry}

I think we used more oak boards for sampling than there were in the cabinets themselves!


After all of these samples I remembered that I had used Danish Oil in Dark Walnut to stain the top of our dining room table and I had always loved the color. Here is a picture of it from our Christmas home tour last year. I had to do a little research to make sure it would be fine to use on the cabinets and I didn’t find anything indicating that it wouldn’t so I took the leap!


danish oil

So I proceeded to prep the area and get to work. One could argue that it would have been easier to stain the cabinets before installing them but some things don’t work out in that order, especially in DIY kitchen renos!



First I gathered my supplies then lightly sanded the cabinets with 220 grit sandpaper. Next I generously applied the stain using a sponge brush and let it saturate into the wood for about 20-30 minutes then I wiped the excess off with a rag. When the stain was dry I decided that it was the perfect shade and didn’t need another coat. To finish it off I applied 3 thin layers of polyurethane with a natural bristle brush for oil-based paints, lightly sanding with the 220 grit sandpaper between coats. Easy peasy y’all!





I love the way the color turned out and I think it is actually really similar to the inspiration picture!


Next up, I need to talk about this awesome hardware! I met Derrick of D. Lawless Hardware at the Haven Conference two summers ago and I’ve been dying for a project to use some of his pieces. I chose this Antique English cup pull and knob and they are just perfect! Originally I thought I would go with more of a shiny brass hardware but once I decided to stain the cabinets these really jumped out at me. The brass definitely wouldn’t have worked.

And I think the stain and hardware combo really work with the tile floors too!


Here is a little sneak peek of the backsplash!


So what do you think? Do you still think I’m crazy for staining them?



**Thanks to Lowes for providing the cabinets and stain and to D. Lawless for providing the hardware for the kitchen makeover. All of my reviews and opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Simple Stylings**


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  1. Hi. Love your kitchen remodel. Our kitchen has the same beautiful cabinets. Wondering what color your appliances are. I am having white solid surface counters installed. I can’t decide between white or slate appliances. Ty

    1. Hi! So sorry I missed this comment earlier. My appliances are stainless steel but I love the trendy white appliances. We may consider those in our new home. The slate is really cool too. I think if you wood lends to the lighter side I would go with white, if they are like mine or even darker I would probably go slate! Hope that helps :)

  2. I love everything about your kitchen! We’ll be redoing ours soon and I keep going back and forth between stain and painting them white. Planning on using these exact cabinets though, and the stain you did looks absolutely beautiful!!!

  3. Hello! I have a similar look but can’t find a white backsplash that goes with my white quartz counter. I like yours a lot! What backsplash did you pick?

    1. Thanks so much Stacey! We just used white gloss subway tile from Lowe’s! Here is the link https://www.lowes.com/pd/American-Olean-Profiles-100-Pack-Ice-White-Gloss-3-in-x-6-in-Glossy-Ceramic-Subway-Wall-Tile/3146095 Ours was ice white gloss. We used dark gray grout for contrast. Hope that helps and thanks for reading!

  4. This is amazing! Even though I could wax my cabinets, I want to strip them and restain them, because I want something that I don’t have to fuss with reapplying, and with wax, scrubbing will remove the finish. I am wondering what polyurethane you used, and whether you have experienced any yellowing? This is truly gorgeous and inspirational!

    1. Thanks so much Emma! I can’t believe I didn’t include anything about the poly on the cabinets and I’m struggling to remember. I used General Finishes High Performance Clear Topcoat in satin on my uppers and I’m pretty sure I used it on the lowers too. There is just slight yellowing on the uppers but I think it was only in a couple corners where I used a little too much. Hope that helps!

  5. What color did you go with on your walls and I also love the floor. Can you tell me what it is? We’re redoing our kitchen and I’m keeping the oak cabinets. I may look into the Briwax you suggested.


    1. Hi Barbara! I’m so glad you like our kitchen!

      The shiplap walls are Pure White by Sherwin Williams and the rest of the walls are Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams. This is the link to the floor tiles. https://www.lowes.com/pd/Style-Selections-Leonia-Silver-6-in-x-24-in-Porcelain-Floor-and-Wall-Tile-Common-6-in-x-24-in-Actual-5-75-in-x-23-75-in/50015950

      You should be able to find most of the other sources here. https://simplestylings.com/kitchen-renovation-reveal/

  6. I’d be interested to know if anyone has used this stain on prefinished cabinets. I have mid-90s golden/honey oak cabinets that are very sad and tired. Have decided to paint the uppers and restain the lowers. Your thoughts would ge appreciated!

    1. Not sure if the stain in this post would work on your honey oak cabinets that are already stained but Briwax Tudor Brown would work. Here is the link to the post I saw when I was searching for how to change my honey oak cabinets on a budget. http://inbetweenchaos.com/2017/10/01/refreshing-worn-wood-with-briwax
      I just used this method on my kitchen cabinets and am so thrilled with how they turned out. Rub on and buff off. No prep work required and goes on right over the existing stain.

      1. Hi…I would love to see before and after photos of your kitchen cabinets😀
        I’ve been researching Briwax too..
        Did you lightly sand before applying the Briwax? Does.one have to reapply the wax after time?
        Thanks so much!!!

        1. I don’t know how to add a picture to this post but if you cut paste and enter the following into the URL line on your computer you will see the original Pintrest post and I added my before/after picture of my cabinets to that Pintrest pin. (don’t put the copy paste into a search field as it won’t work. Enter it where you would type a www. address) No need to sand prior to putting the Briwax on. I just washed my cabinets with warm soapy water first. From what I have read you do not have to apply the Briwax after time. Not sure though since I just did my cabinets in January of 2019. The original post has good tips.


  7. I am searching the internet high and low and around every corner to try to find knobs like your pictures the round diamond or round pyramid. Anyways if you have a link to where you purchased the knobs I would be ever so grateful!

  8. I love this! I love it so much that I’m using it for the inspiration on my kitchen. The hardware you used is sold out. Would you suggest something similar to use?
    Thank you!!

    1. Oh wow, what an honor! Thanks so much Cher! These from Lowe’s look like they are similar https://www.lowes.com/pd/Richelieu-3-in-Center-To-Center-Burnished-Brass-Cup-Cabinet-Pull/3076453 and so do these from Restoration Hardware https://www.restorationhardware.com/catalog/product/product.jsp?productId=prod1283099&categoryId=cat1512023

      Hope that helps!

  9. I think it came out Great. I have pinned that inspiration photo you used awhile back as inspiration for one of my income properties. Our tenant is about to move out and I am going to refresh the oak kitchen cabinets that are there to save $. They are stained an almost identical shade to the stain you picked. So I’m going to leave the lower cabinets oak. Paint a few of the uppers white and remove a few of the other uppers and replace with some open shelving, change out the hardware, put in a white farmhouse sink and to save (since it’s just an income property) I’m going w/ the Formica in the calcatta marble finish with an ideal profile edge , finishing off w/ some white subway tiles and I think it’ll be a really nice inexpensive update. I love that I now found another pic to show my hubby what I’m thinking. I think a lot of people can save $ using existing oak cabinets or getting the stock ones at home improvement centers. Done right w/ lots of white I think it can look nice., And refreshing. I’m so sick of seeing cabinets painted grey.

  10. Pretty great post. I just stumbled upon your
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  11. I know that all white kitchens are all the rage, but I sure do love a nice rich wood! I love the inspiration photo and I think your kitchen is turning out fabulous! DLawless is my FAVORITE place for hardware- awesome quality and huge selection. Love it.

  12. Love the colour you choose! I’m glad someone took a leap of faith and went this route. Maybe the start of an trend!? Wink wink ;)
    Can’t wait to see more!

    XO Kass

  13. Hi Summer,
    I am new to your blog through instagram :-) Just wanted to say that I loooove the inspiration photo, and I don’t think you are crazy for staining them. My sister and I were just talking about her kitchen reno- and how much we love her oak cabinets. They are a gray-ish stain. Before they arrived she called in a panic thinking “maybe I should have gone white?!” But once everything was in it was all so beautiful.
    Looking forward to seeing the rest of your kitchen. xoxo

    1. Hi Ashlea,
      Would you be able to share the gray stain that your sister used? Also, if she has pictures that would be even more wonderful. I am wanting gray cabinets like Summer did, but am not sold on the staining unfinished oak cabinets just yet. I had not thought about staining them a gray shade.


  14. Hi Summer,
    I am new to your blog through instagram :-) Just wanted to say that I loooove the inspiration photo, and I don’t think you are crazy for staining them. My sister and I were just talking about her kitchen reno- and how much we love her oak cabinets. They are a gray-ish stain. Before they arrived she called in a panic thinking “maybe I should have gone white?!” But once everything was in it was all so beautiful.
    Looking forward to see the rest of your kitchen. xoxo

  15. The look gorgeous Summer! I think the finishing touch will be the back splash. ..can’t wait to see it done! I’ve gotten hardware from Derrick at DLawless and loved it too!

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