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Staining cabinets no walk in the park

Letters From the Farmhouse: Giving our cabinets a face-lift is not as easy as I thought.

Allison Lund, Indiana Prairie Farmer Senior Editor

May 16, 2024

3 Min Read
A kitchen with honey oak cabinets
TIME TO UPDATE: These honey oak cabinets in the kitchen are ready for an update. The glass fronts on the doors add a special touch, and I plan to preserve those. Allison Lund

With planting season here, our house remodel is at a bit of a standstill. However, it has given me some time to regroup and tackle a project that I think I’m qualified to handle: staining cabinets.

This confidence in my ability to give our cabinets a face-lift came from watching a few short clips of social media influencers showing how “easy” it is to bring your cabinets back to life, as they put it. I’ve learned through this limited research that honey oak cabinets are out of style, and basically anything else is in style.

I grew up with honey oak cabinets in my house and never really considered any other options. When we acquired this house, I saw that its kitchen featured those same kinds of cabinets, and I did not think much of it. However, as we considered flooring and paint colors, I soon realized that those cabinets would not fit in anymore.

A hectic Menards trip

Once I watched some more videos and found a DIY website that seemed legit, I decided it was time to gather the supplies I’d need for this project. My fiancé, Ryan, and I planned to go to Menards one Sunday evening, and I figured I’d peruse the aisles until I found just what I needed.

Well, like most things we try to plan, this loose plan did not go how I intended. We thought Menards closed at 10 p.m., but we failed to acknowledge Sunday hours. Headed to the closest Menards an hour away at 6:45 p.m., I checked my phone to make sure we’d have ample time to select what we needed.

Related:Join me on a house remodel journey

“Ryan, I totally forgot they close early on Sundays,” I said. “They close at 8 p.m. today.”

“We can make it,” he replied.

So, we rushed to Menards and made it with 15 minutes to spare. I bolted to the staining supplies and gathered armfuls of what I remembered reading about on the DIY website. I figured I’d just go back if I forgot something, although it would be no quick trip.

My first attempt

Luckily, I had what I needed to start the project. My first task would be taking down all the cabinet doors and washing them before I began sanding and staining. This seemed like the easy part. How hard could it be to unscrew some doors?

Very hard. The answer is very hard. I failed to realize that each cabinet door equals four screws that need to come out, and I was done after the sixth door that day. That was the moment I decided this would not be a one-person job.

With Ryan tied up during planting season, I have recruited my mom for assistance. She plans to come visit in a few weeks, and we are hopeful we’ll finish these cabinets in the span of a weekend.

I’ll keep you posted as we continue to make progress. As always, if you have any advice on staining cabinets or other home DIY projects, please send them to [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Allison Lund

Indiana Prairie Farmer Senior Editor, Farm Progress

Allison Lund worked as a staff writer for Indiana Prairie Farmer before becoming editor in 2024. She graduated from Purdue University with a major in agricultural communications and a minor in crop science. She served as president of Purdue’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow chapter. In 2022, she received the American FFA Degree. 

Lund grew up on a cash grain farm in south-central Wisconsin, where the primary crops were corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Her family also raised chewing tobacco and Hereford cattle. She spent most of her time helping with the tobacco crop in the summer and raising Boer goats for FFA projects. She lives near Winamac, Ind.

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