How to Restain Bathroom Cabinets

Restaining bathroom cabinets is a great and cost-effective way to give your bathroom an updated look. The process can be time-consuming but the results are definitely worth it! With just some straightforward steps explained in detail, you can take on this affordable DIY project with confidence.

How to Restain Bathroom Cabinets

Not only will you save money by doing the job yourself, but staining your cabinets will also add character and interest to any size or style of the bathroom – from plain white units to more intricate designs.

Stay tuned for our guide on how to restain bathroom cabinets step by step so you can transform your boring ol’ vanity into a custom showpiece that screams “you!”

Why Restaining Bathroom Cabinets are Important?

Restaining your bathroom cabinets can be a great way to give them an updated look. It can also help protect them from wear and tear, as well as prevent wood rot. Restaining your bathroom cabinets will improve their appearance and add value to your home.

The process of restaining is relatively simple and can be done with minimal effort in just a few steps. It only takes a few days, and the results will be well worth it. With regular maintenance and proper care, restaining your bathroom cabinets can help ensure that they last for years to come.

Additionally, restaining your bathroom cabinets can provide an aesthetic upgrade to any room in your home. By applying a new stain and topcoat to the cabinet’s wood surface, you can enhance its natural beauty or give it an entirely updated look.

Whether you choose to match existing décor or create an entirely new design, restaining is one of the most cost-effective ways to update the look of any room in your house.

Finally, restaining your bathroom cabinets helps protect them from water damage that could lead to wood rot.

Water can quickly damage wooden surfaces, and if left unchecked, it can completely ruin the wood over time. By restaining your cabinets, you can help protect them from water damage and ensure that they remain in perfect condition for many years to come.

Things to Consider While Restaining Bathroom Cabinets

1. Choose the Right Type of Wood:

Select a High-quality Wood

The most common type of wood for bathroom cabinets is oak, but you can also use pine, maple, cherry, and other types of wood. Choose the type of wood that best suits your needs and décor. To ensure your project turns out the way you want it to, select a high-quality wood with a nice grain pattern and color.

2. Select an Appropriate Stain:

Stain can be water- or oil-based, so make sure to select one that is appropriate for the type of wood you’ve chosen. Consider the color and finish of the stain before you buy it.

If you’re going for a more classic look, opt for a rich, warm brown color. For a modernized style, try using grey tones. Regardless of the color, make sure to use a satin finish for the most natural look.

Additionally, follow the label instructions on the back of the container for best results.

Though it’s riskier, you can also try mixing stains to create a more unique look. Make sure to test the mixture on a scrap piece of wood first in order to ensure it’s what you want.

3. Protect Your Surfaces:

Before beginning your project, make sure to protect your floors, countertops, and other surfaces by covering them with a plastic sheet or drop cloth. This will help keep them clean and free from any messes caused by staining.

It will also make cleanup much easier when you’re done. While you’re at it, make sure to wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and gloves to protect your hands. Although some stains are non-toxic, it’s still a good idea to protect your skin.

4. Prepare the Cabinet Doors:

Remove All Hardware From the Doors

Remove all hardware from the doors and shelves of your cabinets before beginning to sand them down. You’ll also want to cover up any drawer glides or hinges to protect them from the sanding process.

While you have the hardware off, it’s a good idea to clean and polish it so that you can give your cabinets an overall refreshed look.

If any of the hinges or handles are missing or worn, you can replace them with new ones. Additionally, you may want to consider changing out your old hardware for a more modern look.

5. Sand the Cabinets:

After all of the hardware has been removed, begin sanding down your cabinets with fine-grit sandpaper. Make sure to cover every inch of the cabinet doors and shelves, including any crevices or other hard-to-reach areas.

Sand until the surface is smooth. If you have an orbital sander, this will significantly speed up the process. Once you have sanded the cabinets, wipe them down with a damp cloth. However, make sure the cloth is just damp and not wet; otherwise, you run the risk of warping the wood.

6. Apply the Stain:

Once you’ve finished sanding, you’re ready to apply the stain you selected earlier. Remember to follow all directions on the label for best results. Apply several thin layers of stain until your desired color is achieved, then allow it to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

If your stain has a sealer in it, you’re done. However, if you opted for a separate sealant, now is the time to apply it. Use a clean, soft cloth, and make sure to cover all surfaces that have been stained. Let the sealant dry before using the cabinets.

7. Protect Your Finish:

Once the cabinets have been stained properly, it is important to protect your work with a topcoat. The topcoat helps ensure that the stain does not fade and the cabinets stay looking beautiful for years. Generally, a clear polyurethane topcoat is recommended to seal in the stain and preserve its look.

Depending on the type of wood and your desired finish, you may want to opt for a topcoat that is more matte or glossy. You can also use a combination of both for a semi-gloss finish. Before applying any topcoat, be sure to read the instructions and safety warnings on the product’s packaging.

8. Reassemble the Cabinets:

When the stain has dried, it’s time to put your cabinets back together. First, reattach the cabinet doors to the hinges.

Then, carefully reattach any other features like knobs and handles. Once everything is in place, your bathroom cabinets will have a brand-new, revitalized look. You can proudly show off your handiwork for years to come.

Reattach the Cabinet
Doors to the Hinges

With a few basic tools and materials, you can easily restain bathroom cabinets and give your bathroom a fresh new look. As long as you take the time to do it properly, you can be sure that your cabinets will stand the test of time.

Plus, you’ll know that your hard work was worth it.

Restaining bathroom cabinets is a great way to revamp your bathroom, adding style and value to your home.

9. Enjoy Your New Look:

Your bathroom cabinets should now be restored to their former glory, and you can enjoy your new look. Be sure to keep a watchful eye on the cabinets and apply additional coats of stain if needed. With proper care, your cabinets should look beautiful for years to come.

Congratulations on a job well done! However, if you find yourself overwhelmed by the process, it may be best to hire a professional. Professional refinishers have years of experience and can help ensure the job is done correctly.

10. Regularly Maintain Your Cabinets:

Keep your cabinets looking like new by regularly cleaning and treating them with a wood preservative. This will help protect them from water damage and keep them looking great.

You can use mild soap and warm water to clean your cabinets, then make sure to dry them thoroughly.

After that, lightly sand and apply a wood preservative or sealant to the outside of your cabinets. This will help protect them and keep them looking like new for years to come.

Some Common Mistakes When Restaining Bathroom Cabinets

1. Not Sanding the Cabinet Properly

Make Sure That the Surface Has Been Sanded

Before you start staining, it’s important to make sure that the surface has been sanded properly. You want to make sure any existing stains, discoloration, or cracks have been completely removed, and you should always sand in the same direction as the wood grain.

2. Not Applying The Stain Evenly

In order to get an even finish with your staining job, it’s important to apply the stain in even strokes. Make sure you’re not over-saturating the cabinet with the stain, as this can lead to an uneven finish.

3. Not Protecting The Cabinet

Once you’ve finished staining the cabinets, it’s important to protect them from future damage. You should apply a top coat of sealant or a clear varnish in order to protect the cabinets from water damage and dust.

4. Using The Wrong Stain

When selecting a stain, it’s important to make sure that you choose one that is compatible with the type of wood you are staining. If you choose a stain that is too dark or too light, it can end up looking unnatural and lackluster.


Whether you choose to incorporate this project into your own renovation or plan for it in the future, it’s important to remember that any job can be done with the right amount of patience and determination.

Consider Purchasing Specific Tools

With a small investment of time and resources, taking the steps outlined above is all you need to constructively resurface bathroom cabinets.

You could even consider purchasing specific tools or hiring a local handyman to help along the way.

Utilize these tips and ideas every step of the way as you plan how to restain your bathroom cabinets. Thanks for reading, and we hope this has given you some inspiration on how to restain bathroom cabinets!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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