Kitchen Renovation: Unfinished Oak Cabinets

Happy Saturday friends!

The floors are down and now it’s time for cabinets! If you missed the last post about the floors you can read about them here.

Renovations are a funny things right? Have you guys ever renovated a kitchen or any room in your home before? It’s amazing what you think the natural order of things is and then you turn out to be wrong. Okay, I know the floors come before cabinets but seriously some of the other lines are blurred.

Anyway, back on track, it’s cabinet time!

The cabinets were probably one of the hardest decisions of this project. All along I thought I would paint my existing cabinets gray and call it a day. But once I started making all the other decisions I realized that I was going to be putting all of these new items onto old cabinets that didn’t have much life left in them to begin with. Boo!

I also really struggled with the idea of painting them myself. I knew I could do it if I had the time, the place to set up a paint booth and the right tools. When I finally got honest with myself I realized I didn’t have any of those things. I already feel over worked and over tired so I came to terms with the fact that painting the cabinets just wasn’t in the cards.

What did this mean? I was back to square one and had to accept that I wasn’t going to get the gray cabinets I wanted :( Fast forward through a lot of whining on my part and I decided to take a leap of faith or to jump into a dark hole with my eyes closed, however you want to look at it.

I walked the aisles of Lowes about a million times in utter denial and confusion and after awhile I noticed their selection of in-stock cabinets. I thought, perfect, probably not quite up to par with custom cabinetry but they had a shaker style that I liked so surely I could make them work. Well, the only color options I saw were white and mahogany. Naturally I would have been fine with white, as white kitchens are all the rage, except I just pulled white cabinets out of my kitchen and I REALLY wanted something different. This I wouldn’t compromise on.

So I started doing some more research, aka a lot of pinning, and came across a snippet of a kitchen that I couldn’t get out of my head. And, for some reason I’ve been really drawn to natural wood again lately. Are you about to lose your mind yet? Well, hold tight it hasn’t been blown just yet.

From the title of my post I bet you can guess what I’m going to say next…wait for it…the other option was the unfinished OAK cabinets. Yep, I said it, and everyone in my life thought I had lost MY mind so your reactions are perfectly normal. Here is the dream image (and, yep, I know this wood isn’t oak, it’s actually a beautiful chestnut!)

kitinspo2 (1)

{via Crown Point Cabinetry}

Honestly if the custom cabinets from Lowes were in the right budget I would have gone with them but something did intrigue me about seeing how I could transform these basic, off the shelf, oak cabinets. I always enjoy a good challenge! Anywho, I’m going to let you take a look!


Lowes did a fantastic job installing the cabinets! They had to work around a few snags and sizing problems but took care of everything without me having to worry! They even drilled all the holes and attached the hardware for me! Okay, maybe that’s a standard service but for some reason I thought I was going to have to do all that! #renovationvirgin








Now picking a stain color…that is a WHOLE other ball game.


Wow, those are some cherry stains right there! PSA: don’t ever choose those colors!



And I’m going to be so cruel and leave you guys hanging on the edge of your seats! I’m going to talk about what stain I chose, the staining process, and this awesome hardware from D. Lawless Hardware in another post so you’re going to have to check back and see which one the winner is! Let’s just say it was NOT a #diyfail!

Get ready for some over-gramming today on Instagram because we’re headed to Skytop Orchard to pick apples! My favorite day of the the year! You can also follow along on Snapchat: simplestylings

Happy Weekend!




**Thanks to Lowes for providing the unfinished, in-stock oak cabinets for our kitchen makeover and thank YOU for supporting the brands that support Simple Stylings. My opinions are always my own.**

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  1. I have the same cabinets, I just installed them. How did you handle the particle board sides? Did Lowes install Birch Plywood?

    1. Hi Mike! I’m trying to remember back but two of the sides of ours were stainable just like the rest of the cabinets but I covered up under the bar with shiplap and the other exposed side. Lowes didn’t install birch plywood as far as I remember.

  2. We are looking at a house that needs a kitchen update and I found myself thinking all your same thoughts!!! It’s really overwhelming.
    Your cabinets look great and I have to say, when it got to the pictures of the bare, unfinished cabinets, I thought you were going to leave them that way and I was excited. I actually thought the pale, raw look could be a cool, rustic thing. Then again I could be crazy.
    Anyway, the stain will look awesome. can’t wait to see!

  3. I’m living through you right now!!! I know this is so much work and stress but from the outside looking in, it’s a dream!! I can’t wait to see the end result – it’s going to be so good!!

  4. I saw that exact same image on Pinterest and I fell in love with that kitchen too!! I can’t wait to see which stain you go with! Our kitchen is full of honey oak cabinets right now, I don’t mind the look but iv lived with them or 3 years and next weekend I’m going to be painting them Chelsea Gray by BM. Wish me luck!! I’m kinda excited that you went this route! I have photos of my oak cabinets on my blog (of your ever looking for a read) :)

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