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Hello,

We currently have honey colored cabinets in our kitchen which doesn't go with anything else in our home. We prefer dark woods (espresso/mahogany) which are the colors of everything else we own (dining room table, armoires, etc). We are getting new granite counter tops and I want to have the new color before these are installed. The cabinet doors are wood but we believe the cabinet sides are plywood. We really don't want to spend the money replacing all the cabinets but definitely need a change. Will we be able to change the color ourselves without having to replace the cabinets? Would we stain them or have to just paint them? If we just paint them, do they still look like dark wood cabinets or the paint that you see on the walls? Sorry, I am new at this. It’s a smaller kitchen so I feel like if we do it ourselves we could complete it in a weekend, am I being realistic? If you have done this before, any before and after photos would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance!
 

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In either case (staining or painting), it's going to be a pain. You'll have to remove the doors and hardware, clean, sand, prep, and stain/paint. If your cabinet doors have any type of trim on them, it's an even longer process. Our cabinet doors are flat panels, and although we have a large kitchen it took us 3 days and 3 people to paint all the cabinets and doors. Not a fun project. It would have been more time/labor to stain them.

And yes, if you use paint it will look like paint on the walls, unless you use a faux finish - which I've seen done in some homes and it looks okay, but it will never look like real wood.

If replacing the cabinets isn't in your budget, I'd paint them. Just remember to use the right paint - not the latex stuff you put on the walls. You want an oil based paint which is harder to work with, but will give you a hard finish surface that won't fade or chip away.
 

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If you paint them renting a HVLP sprayer wouldn't be a bad idea. If you stain you will have to sand down to bare wood which could take quite a while, depending on the detail level of your cabinets - flat panel vs. molding.

my 0.02 - paint them.
 
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