How to Stain Cabinets Grey

Are you eager to update the cabinetry in your home with a classic new look? Staining cabinets grey is an easy and affordable way to give any space in your home an elegant and timeless feel.

How to Stain Cabinets Grey

If you’re looking to transform any room in your home with a unique and custom look, look no further than adding grey-stained cabinets. Not only can they add an updated and modernized touch to the overall aesthetic of any room, but they are also incredibly easy to achieve! 

With just a few simple supplies and a few hours of your time, you could give your kitchen or bathroom an entirely new feel by staining the cabinets– all while avoiding the hefty price tag that comes along with buying or remodeling.

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to stain cabinets grey.

What Will You Need?

First and foremost, you’ll need to ensure you have the proper supplies to complete the project. Here is a list of all the items you’ll need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrushes
  • Staining cloths
  • A dust mask
  • Old newspapers 
  • Wood stain
  • Polyurethane sealant
  • Clean rags
  • Paint stir sticks

Once you’ve gathered all these items, you’re ready to start the process of how to stain cabinets grey.

10 Easy Steps on How to Stain Cabinets Grey

Step 1. Preparation & Sanding of the Cabinets

Before you begin staining your cabinets, you’ll need to prepare them for the process. Begin by removing any hardware from the doors and drawers, then use sandpaper for sanding down the surfaces lightly. Once complete, it’s time to start staining.

Step 2. Choose the Right Wood Stain

Choosing the right wood stain is essential for staining cabinets grey correctly. Opt for a light-colored grey stain in order to achieve a classic look that won’t overpower your space. Once you have chosen your desired stain, use a paintbrush or a clean rag to evenly apply one coat of stain before wiping away any excess stain with a clean rag.

Step 4. Let the Stain Dry

After wiping away any excess wood stain, let the remaining layer dry for 1-2 hours before continuing on to the next step. Be careful not to touch the cabinets during this time, as it can ruin the finish. You can also use a fan or open window to speed up the drying process.

Step 5. Apply Polyurethane Sealant

Use a Paintbrush

Once the stain is completely dry, use a paintbrush to apply one coat of polyurethane sealant onto each cabinet door and drawer front in a steady and even motion. Make sure to cover all areas with an even layer of sealant. Allow it to sit on the surface for 10-15 minutes before wiping away any excess sealant with a clean cloth or paper towel.

Step 6. Check for Any Bubbles

Once the polyurethane sealant has been applied, look closely at the cabinet surfaces to check for any bubbles. If you spot any, poke them with a toothpick or thin object to release the air before wiping away any excess sealant. Try to do this as quickly as possible so that the sealant doesn’t start to dry.

Step 7. Sand and Finish

Use a Piece of Sandpaper

Once the sealant is completely dry, use a piece of sandpaper or steel wool to lightly sand down each cabinet door and drawer front until they are smooth and free from any bumps or imperfections. This will also help to enhance the grey color of your cabinets even further! Additionally, applying a topcoat of wax or varnish can help to protect the finish for years to come.

Step 8. Apply a Second Coat of Stain

Once complete, apply a second coat of stain in order to achieve an even darker shade of grey. Use a paintbrush or clean rag to apply the second coat of stain, and then allow it to sit for 1-2 hours before wiping away any excess stain with a clean cloth. It’s important to remember that the darker the stain, the longer it will take for it to dry.

Step 9. Apply a Second Coat of Sealant

Use Paper Towel to Dry

To complete staining cabinets grey, apply a second coat of polyurethane sealant in order to protect and preserve your newly stained cabinets. Ensure that you cover all surfaces with an even coat of sealant before wiping away any excess with a clean cloth or paper towel. This step is especially important if your cabinets will be exposed to moisture or water.

Step 10. Let Everything Dry

Lastly, let everything dry overnight before replacing any hardware cane chair or adding your cabinet doors back onto their hinges. And there you have it—you’ve successfully completed staining cabinets grey! Now that you know how easy it is, why not give other pieces throughout your home the same treatment? The possibilities are endless.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to achieve a classic grey-stained look that will give your cabinets an updated and modern touch.

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

Scrap Piece of Wood
  1. Before you begin staining your cabinets, ensure the surface is clean and no oils or dust remain. This will help the stain adhere better to the surface and will ensure a better finish.
  2. Use a high-quality pre-stain wood conditioner with a gray stain before staining your cabinets. This helps stop blotching, streaking, or uneven color while providing an even finish and help the stain penetrate deeper into the wood.
  3. Test out how your chosen gray stain looks on a scrap piece of wood before you apply it to your cabinets. This will help you get an idea of how it will look and how long it will take you to achieve the desired shade of gray.
  4. Work in small sections at a time when staining your cabinets, making sure that each section is completely dry before moving on to the next one. Apply the stain in a thin and even coat, then wipe it off with a lint-free cloth.
  5. After you finish staining your cabinets, apply two coats of polyurethane to protect them from scratches and moisture. This will also help your cabinets look better for longer!

Follow the instructions on the product carefully for the best results. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to easily create beautiful gray stained cabinets that will last for years to come!

5 Things You Should Avoid

Using a Brush or Roller
  1. Avoid starting with a light sanding of your cabinets. This can leave a rough, uneven surface that won’t absorb the stain evenly.
  2. Avoid using a roller or brush to apply the stain. It’s important to use even pressure when applying the stain in order to get a consistent color throughout the cabinets.
  3. Avoid skipping any steps between staining and sealing the cabinets. Depending on your finished product’s appearance, it may require additional steps such as buffing, drying time, or cleaning before sealing.
  4. Avoid splattering or spilling stains onto surfaces that don’t need to be stained – this could cause discoloration and unsightly marks on walls or countertops near your cabinets!
  5. Avoid staining your cabinets in direct sunlight or high humidity. This can cause the stain to dry too quickly and unevenly, leading to an inconsistent color once sealed.

Following these tips will help ensure you get a beautiful, even grey finish on your cabinets!

What is the Best Gray Stain for Wood?

The best gray stain for wood depends on how you want the finished product to look. For cabinets or other pieces that will be exposed to a lot of wear and tear, it’s important to choose a durable stain that is water-resistant and easy to clean. A few popular stains include Varathane Fast Dry Wood Stain in Gray Wash, Minwax PolyShades in Classic Grey, and General Finishes Water Based Wood Stain – Gray.

Additionally, many other shades and tones of gray are available in oil- and water-based stains that can help you achieve the perfect look for your project.

Gray Stain for Wood Depends

No matter which type or shade of grey stain you choose, test it on a piece of scrap wood before applying it to your cabinets. This will help you get an idea of how the stain will look and how long it will take you to achieve the desired shade of gray. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to create beautiful grey-stained cabinets that will last for years easily!


Staining your cabinets grey is a great way to give your kitchen or bathroom that modern, updated look. The staining process isn’t too difficult, but you want to ensure you adequately protect your space from splatters and messes.

Carefully select the appropriate sandpaper grits, use a quality stain, and follow the directions on the product to get the perfect look for your cabinets. It’s also important to be patient throughout the entire staining process–you don’t want to rush it, as mistakes will be much harder to fix down the line. With some elbow grease and careful attention, you’ll have freshly painted grey cabinets in no time!

Hopefully, the article on how to stain cabinets grey has been helpful for you and gave you the confidence to take on this project yourself. Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or need additional guidance. Good luck!

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.

Leave a Comment