Are Stained Cabinets Outdated?

Author: Stuart Hunt - Published: 28.10.20
Are Stained Cabinets Outdated

Trends and fads come and go, and nowhere is this more obvious than in your home’s décor.

If you are currently attempting to modernise your kitchen and you’re trying to think of something different to do with your stained cabinets, you may be asking yourself, are stained cabinets outdated?

As a whole, Stained cabinets are not outdated however they are not nearly as common as they used to be, some people still like to see the natural grain in most types of wood especially as there are so many different colours and styles nowadays.

Here is just one example of the type of stain for your kitchen cabinets

Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish – Furniture Paint

Still, stained cabinets can be an excellent centrepiece for an attractive kitchen, but that doesn’t mean that the stain you’ll be using is the same stain that was used decades ago.

Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish – Furniture Paint

Staining kitchen cabinets is often a little easier than painting them, in part because the stain is thinner than paint is and tends to glide over the cabinets a lot easier.

The stain also gets into cracks and crevices much quicker, saving you a lot of time as you’re staining.

Several decades ago, staining became extremely popular for these and several other reasons, but the problem was in the stains themselves.

Most of them were not available in very many colours, and the available colours were sometimes very unattractive.

In fact, some of the stain colours used in the 1990s included stains with undertones that were orange in colour as well as other shades that would be considered an eyesore today.

These days, however, all of that has changed.

Not only are their more colours available today, but the colours are much more modern and not as much of a “one size fits all” look like yesteryear when all cabinets looked alike.

Today, the companies that manufacture stains for kitchen cabinets genuinely offer something for everyone, so if this is the option you choose, you are certain to find something you love.

Is the Kitchen Really That Important?

As any realtor will tell you, the kitchen and the master bedroom are the two most important rooms in any home. If either of these rooms is unattractive or too small, the house will be much more difficult to sell.

Since kitchens are now so much more than a place to cook meals, having a kitchen with modern décor is very important to most people.

You want your kitchen to be warm and inviting, so when you’re redoing your cabinets, is stain really such a good idea? More often than not, the answer is “yes,” especially if you choose the right stain.

Choosing the right stain isn’t that difficult because you really do have tons of shades and hues to choose from.

Whether your kitchen is small or large, contemporary or traditional, you can find the right stain for the cabinets there, and the selection starts with the following:

  • Light-coloured stains. If your kitchen is small, light-coloured stains such as grey or white can make it look a little bigger. White stain is sleek and looks great in an all-white kitchen. Grey stain makes the kitchen look elegant and can give it a country-like, very modern feel. Grey stain also helps the kitchen look cool, calm, and clean, making people want to enter the room and enjoy its ambience.
  • Dark-coloured stains. Dark stains tend to be mostly black or brown, and they work much better in bigger kitchens. They give the kitchen a very warm feel and look especially good when paired with stainless steel appliances. When you pair dark stains with the right lighting, the entire kitchen can have a look of total luxury.

In addition, mixing stains in the same kitchen has now become increasingly popular.

People paint the main cabinets one colour or shade and the other cabinets another.

This is usually done one of two ways: either you can use various shades of the same colour on your cabinets, or you can use two entirely different colours altogether.

Some of the stain colours that have been used in some of today’s more modern kitchens include red, navy blue, yellow, teal, and many others.

These days, keep in mind that you can get stains in as many colours as you used to find only in paints.

Suitable For All Sorts of Kitchens

Today’s stain colours offer such variety that you can find colours to make your kitchen look bigger and more spacious, a lot more modern, or a lot newer and cleaner.

In the 1990s, when stained cabinets first started getting popular, you didn’t have a big selection, and besides, that was a time when all kitchens looked alike in many ways.

Nowadays, that is simply not the case. People want kitchens that are not only functional and practical – as opposed to kitchens that just look good – but are also customised to fit their personality and even their attitude. Today’s stains allow that to happen simply because of the number of colours now available to consumers.

In fact, kitchen cabinets are so unique these days that many homeowners mix the contemporary look with the traditional, providing a look that is both unique and eye-catching.

Just like hairstyles and clothing trends, kitchen cabinets no longer all look alike, and in fact, many people try to make their cabinets look a little different than all others because they want a personalised, more custom-made look that everyone who visits them will remember for many years to come.

One of the trends popular right now is using white stains for your kitchen cabinets. Although many experts claim that “white is out,” that is obviously not the case anymore because white seems to be more popular than ever.

Why? For several reasons, including the fact that white matches everything and does a great job of brightening up the room. It also makes the room look a little more spacious and roomy, and it has a nice “clean” look and feels to it.

The only thing you have to be careful about is making every single item in your kitchen white.

You have to throw in some accent colours if you use a white stain for your cabinets because if you don’t, the room can overload people’s senses when they walk into the room.

Making everything white gives the room a hospital-like feel and does the opposite of what you intended it to do, meaning it actually makes the room less attractive, not more.

Making Sure The Cabinets Look Good

While stained cabinets are certainly no longer considered outdated, that doesn’t mean you can just rush out and buy any stain colour you like and start painting.

You still want your cabinets to look “new” and modern, even if you’ve chosen a traditional or old-fashioned décor for the room.

If you’d like some tips on getting your kitchen (or even your bathroom) cabinets looking fantastic, here are a few to help you:

  • Consider using both stains and paint on your cabinets. In some instances, people won’t be able to tell which is the stained cabinet and which one has been painted. The differences are usually subtle, but they are enough to give the room a little extra pizzazz and make people think, “How did they do that?”
  • Consider mixing dark and light colours together. If you have an island, it can be stained with a dark colour at the bottom but a lighter colour for the countertop itself. If you pair that with light-coloured cabinets, it can make for the perfect look and feel.
  • If your cabinets look too red or warm, try redoing them with either an ash-coloured or even a grey stain colour. This is an extraordinary look that keeps the room warm and inviting but doesn’t look overwhelming or like you’re overdoing it.
  • Make sure you spend time on the preparation before you start staining. Whether you’re staining cabinets for the first time or re-staining, pay close attention to the instructions on the stain product itself so that the job is done right. It is less time-consuming than you might think, but it makes a massive difference in how the cabinets look in the end.
  • Make sure the cabinets are cleaned and dried thoroughly before you start staining. Take all of the hardware off the doors to make sure you don’t miss a spot when you begin to stain.

The two main tips you need to follow when choosing to stain cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom are

1. take your time when choosing the colour so that it looks just right when you’re done.

2. follow all of the instructions in the products you buy so that no mistakes are made.


If you think stained cabinets are outdated and no longer an option for you, think again.

Today’s stain colours number in the hundreds, regardless of which brand you choose, so you are guaranteed to find a colour that makes your kitchen or bathroom look stunning.

Always try to test the stain on a small part of the cabinets that aren’t noticeable to make sure it comes out the colour you were hoping it would.

This may seem unimportant, but it can ensure the room will always look amazing once the work is done, and it can prevent a real disaster if the colour just doesn’t look right on the sample piece.

For a full in-depth guide for home DIY – Our Grant New Homeowners Maintenance Guide

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