From Oak Kitchen Cabinets to Painted White Cabinets


Painted White Oak Cabinets Before and After
Updated kitchen painted cabinets-2

This kitchen update is pretty great, the kitchen was actually a good space to start with, but the freshening effects of the white paint, new hood and architectural details makes all the difference.  Check out what Jennifer of Southern Inspirations had to say about it:

Updated kitchen painted cabinets

This is a “before” shot of my kitchen – can you hear it screaming for an update??? (please excuse all the junk sitting around – I really should have cleaned!!)
When I built this house in 1987 and was so very proud to have solid oak kitchen cabinets.  Boy, did I learn to hate them!  Not that there is anything really wrong with oak, it is a nice wood with lots of grain and it was very popular in the 80s.
So, not being brave enough to take on painting oak myself, I hired a professional.

 And this is what it looks like today.  Big change, huh?  Let me show you around…

Updated kitchen painted cabinets-3

Cabinets were painted BM Navajo White then slightly distressed and glazed with min-wax provincial stain mixed with a glazing medium. We updated all the hardware to oil rubbed bronze and replaced the old green laminate counter tops to granite.
Anyways, this is my new microwave hood – we love the dimension it adds to the cabinets! I think the coloring in some of these pictures is off because the cabinets are more creamy white than yellow.
Updated kitchen painted cabinets-2
Do you see the feet underneath the cabinets?  We think they add some character.  Also you will notice the old scalloped thingy over the windows has been replaced with this straight one.
We had this cabinet built and used the granite remnant from where they cut out our sink.  (By the way those two pics hanging to the right of the cabinet – I painted those myself!) I love the little feet on this cabinet – see close up below.
Aren’t they so cute!!
That’s our pantry to the left of the dining room door.  We wanted it to look more like furniture so we had a furniture type molding added to the bottom.
This is a close up of the pantry molding.
The side of our pantry and some of the cabinets were very plain so our cabinet maker/painter guy added these bead board end caps. He also added a bead board back splash for us.
I took this pic from the sink area so you can see our breakfast nook. By the way we painted the kitchen BM Decatur Buff – a color I will most definitely  use again.  I also updated the rug to one with more of my most favorite color red.
By the way, this is the original island – can you believe it?  We added a new spalted maple top, corbels, new drawer pulls and the cabinet painter guy painted it black with copper glazing. I could have kissed him!!!  Take another look at the before below.  I really didn’t think the “before” island was so ugly until it was updated and I looked back at this pic! I love that the top is longer now so I can pull up a bar stool (if I ever get one!).
We also had this little drop down door added beneath the stove.  When we replaced the stove several years ago it left a space at the bottom. Now I can use it to store trays!  Yippee – more storage space!

So, once again here is the before and after shots.

I love to wake up in the morning and stroll into the kitchen for a cup of joe!

We still have some work to do – I would love to add recessed lighting and replace that ugly fluorescent fixture with a hanging one.

Now a question for you – would you add a window treatments???  I sometimes think with all the hard surfaces a little soft fabric might make it more homey.  My husband disagrees.  What do you think?  I really appreciate your feedback!

Looks Beautiful!!
What is your favorite part?

Meet the Author: Cassity

Cassity started Remodelaholic with her husband, Justin, to share their love for knocking out walls together. She is an interior designer, wife, and mother of two. She and Justin have remodeled three Read More


  1. Kari says

    >This looks AWESOME! It's crazy how different it looks with just a paint change! It looks like a whole new room! I love all the small details that you paid attention to (the feet on the cabinets, the distressing, etc) – WONDERFUL job!!!

  2. SandyQuilts says

    >WOW it's wonderful. Hey what's your painters name I wanna hire him. No to the window treatment … I love the clean look.


  3. RACKS and Mooby says

    >What an amazing transformation! I would love to have cabinets this color in our Kitchen but hubby has put his foot down. I'm so jealous! Looks FAB!

  4. Knit Purl Gurl says

    >I'd add something small and unobtrusive to the windows like a valence. And I'd do it in colors to match your roosters – a nice small pop of color to tie it all in, but not to clutter the room! :)

    Gorgeous remodel! We are in an all oak wonderland in the kitchen and it definitely needs an update. Maybe your pics will convince hubby!

  5. Chris says

    >Wow it is GORGEOUS!!! I love everything about it, including the roman blinds on the windows! We redid our kitchen a while ago and put up curtains… which I am really regretting now. They are always getting dirty! I am going to start searching for your blinds today! :o)

  6. Love the Decor! says

    >We are wanting to do this very thing to our oak cabinets too . would love to knw the steps you took and the prep you did Please?

  7. Anna says

    >Beautiful job! I actually think window treatments, if you kept them simple, would look great. I tend to like the clean look of no curtains or something like bamboo blinds in white kitchens that are clean and simple and sparser (for lack of a better word???) but where yours has the great beadboard, corbels, the decorative doohicky above your microwave, etc…I think a nice window treatment would look good and compliment the rest of the decor. Maybe just a pretty little valance. Just my two cents!

  8. Matt Anderson says

    >Do you have a picture with the cabinets open? I am interested to see how the frames and insides of the doors and cabinets were painted.

    Kitchen looks awesome!

  9. Jennifer says

    >Oh my, I am so honored to have my kitchen update featured on your blog! Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a new blogger it really means so much!

    I have sent an email response to the question asked by Love the Decor. I didn't find an email for Matt so I will answer his question here: I don't have a picture of the inside of the cabinets but I can tell you that while we did paint both sides of the doors and the cabinet frames themselves, we did not have the inside of the cabinets or the shelves painted. I will take a picture and add it to my post later so you can see. I just didn't see any reason to remove everything inside the cabinets to paint in there (am I lazy or what??).

    Thanks everyone for your nice comments – they are truly treasured!

    • Marsha says


      I LOVE your kitchen. I decided almost a yr. ago to paint my cabinets white (or cream). They are also oak. I have not done it yet because I’m terrified of how it will turn out but after seeing your pics I feel much better about it. Please send me the details of every step you took. Did you paint them yourself or hire someone? Were they painted with a brush or sprayer? AND the most important question of all is HOW did you keep the grain of the oak from showing through once painted. In your photos I could not see the grain at all, which is just what I want. Is there a special primer that needs to be used? I would greatly appreciate every detail of how to make my cabinets look this great. Thanks! Marsha

    • Lisa says

      Hi Jennifer,

      I just found the photos of the remodel you did on your kitchen. Both my husband and I LOVE what you’ve done. It’s our style exactly. We have recently bought a new house and they have beautiful solid oak cabinetry but…it’s just a little too country for us and we’d love to mimic what you’ve done. Would you mind me asking how much it cost to have a professional do this for you? We’re trying to plan out our budget and updating the kitchen is on our priority list. Also, if you know the process he used and which products/colors, that would be really helpful as well.

      Please feel free to email me at at your earliest convenience.

      Thanks so much!!


      • says

        Lisa, I can’t give you specifics because this is a guest post, but if you click on the link to the blog author and I am sure they would love to help you out! Good luck on your project!

    • Janae says

      My husband and I are purchasing a home with oak cabinets. Can I ask how much your kitchen remodel cost you ? Roughly? Thank you so much!

  10. Kimberly says

    >I LOVE your kitchen. I too, have a oak kitchen and I have been trying to get the courage up to paint it. I think you made wonderful choices and I think the ball feet are so cute!!!!

    I would probably go with a simple RED valance across the windows, just enough to hide the brown shades. I think it will bring a touch of color up from your accents and the lovely red rug under the table.

  11. Luvin' the Hubs says

    >I've been trying to convince my husband to do this EXACT thing to our kitchen!! Got hosed by or builder who installed the wrong cabinets and would NOT change them. I hate the orangie-oak color and have long dreamed of them being white. Would also love to find out just how we could do this project (any chance your painter will come to Colorado Ü)??
    Thanks for any info you can send my way…and, I love the window just as it is. Absolutely beautiful kitchen right outta a magazine Ü

  12. Thirty-Six Ten says

    >That is sooo gorgeous! I have a white kitchen but I sooo want to warm it up with glaze and the little feet on the cabinets add such a great touch. This is the second time I have seen a beadboard backsplash. I'm taking it as a sign (and my handy hubby can do it instead of tile!)

  13. rriemann says

    >I too would be interested to learn about your prep work and the exact color of stain/glaze that was used. This is exacly what I have been looking for in my own kitchen- something bright and airy, yet not stark white. My email is Thank you!

  14. ~john says

    >Did they have to take the cabinets down or did they paint them in place? Looks great! Would you consider it an expensive job?

  15. The Marble Mix says

    >Wow…you guys did such a great job..I am in Love!! I absolutely love everything about your kitchen..the colors of the cabinets, the glaze, the granite, all the details, the hood over the microwave, the beadboard, the hardware…EVERYTHING. I love the touch of country! I was wondering if I could get the color of paint you used as well as the glaze. Did you get most things from Home Depot or Lowes? What brand of paint did you use? What process/order did you do your kitchen in? Did you paint them yourselves or hire someone to do it? My husband and I just purchased a short sale and while the cabinets are not terrible, I either want them darker or white and from what I have found out it is easier to go white. I really want to do wood floors in our home and can't stomach doing wood floors the color of the current cabinets and therefore would love as much information about your transformation that you have…I just love it! Did you purchase the feet on your cabinets at Home Depot? Did you do your bathroom cabinets as well? Are you located in the Northern California area by chance? Well sorry to bombard you with soo many questions, but I love the work you have done and would love to duplicate many of the features. If I can get any info I would greatly appreciate it and will email you pics of our finished product. You can email me at Thanks and great work!!

  16. Carey says

    I LOVE the transformation and all of the details that you paid attention to!! I’ve talked with 3 painters and they all said I would see the texture of the oak grain through the paint. One even said the glazing would make the texture even more pronounced. I don’t see the grain at all in yours, though. Do you know what process/products your painter used? Do you have his contact info.? My email is Also, did you lose storage about your microwave when you put in the darling hood or are those beadboard doors above it? LOVE it!!

  17. Anna says

    Hello! Your kitchen looks beyond fabulous. Did you use a grain filler??? Is your wood grain still noticeable now that you’ve painted? My husband and I just bought a house and are planning to paint the cabinets just like yours. Enjoy your beautiful kitchen!!!

    • says

      Anna, This was a guest post, so I can’t tell you about this kitchen exactly. But I have painted my cabinets before, we sprayed ours and they looked great. There was a tiny bit of wood grain that showed through, but I didn’t mind a bit because it tells you that the cabinets are wood. I guess it is just a personal choice, so I guess if you know you can’t stand the wood grain i would go with a filler…

  18. Lisa says

    We have oak cabinets exactly like yours and want to paint them white…just like yours. Could you please email me with exactly what you had to do to them to get them ready along with the paint colors, steps they took, etc. I would sure appreciate it!

  19. says

    I was googling looking around for how people have transformed their 80’s/90’s oak into beautiful antique white…. This is exactly what I was looking for! Our new house has that same tall pantry next to the refrigerator with the dining door right there…and more cabinets on the other side if the door. I love the open cabinet on that side with all the moldings and the feet! Oh, the feet! Brilliant! Thanks for posting! :)

  20. becky says

    can you tell me what kind of granite did you use? Slab or Mini Slabs? Name of color? It looks great we are doing white cabinets with our black appliances and I was unsure if I should do all Black Slab or a lighter one, attempting a black and antigue white look with Black nobs.

  21. Amy says

    Cassity- It looks like many of us are interested in the same answer in regards to the steps taken to paint these oak cabinets. Especially since there is no grain showing through (which is the look most want to achieve when painting).

    Can you follow up with a post replying to everyone on how this was done? It seems easier to have one person contact the guest poster to the benefit of all? I would also love to know the color paint and glaze used. It would be great if you could even get the contractor to join in the conversation. GREAT PICs of a fabulous kitchen redo. Would appreciate more information.

  22. Connie Barclay says

    I have the same orange/oak cabinets and want to change them. I had home depot come out yesterday to discuss options. Was considering refacing…but this morning thought to look up painted cabinets and yea I found you. I now will find someone to paint mine white!! Thank you for your post. Your kitchen looks really pretty.
    They don’t chip?

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