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Are Stained Cabinets Outdated? Not So Fast!


Are stained cabinets outdated?

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Stained cabinets have been a traditional staple for most kitchens for years. Now kitchens have been getting more sleek and light. Although not as popular, stained cabinets have not become extinct.

Stained cabinets are not outdated. They very much still have a place in modern kitchen designs. While not the most popular, the stained cabinets have taken on different tones and remained relevant in designs such as the transitional kitchen trend. 

If you’re considering staining your cabinets, but want to stay on-trend, there’s a style of staining for you. Keep reading for more on whether or not stained cabinets are out of style, in my opinion. 

Stained Cabinet in Today’s Designs

Modern-day kitchens are different from kitchens of the past because there are so many different styles. The stained cabinet is not a “one size fits all,” so it still fits in the kitchens of today. There are so many variations of the shades of stain and so much potential for kitchen designs.

Transitional Kitchen Trend

The kitchen is now the focal point of many homes with the increasing demand for having an entertaining and inviting space. Most homes are now built with open concept plans, where friends and family can meet and enjoy food and fun.  

While some may like a strictly modern look, the blending of traditional and new styles can be appreciated with the transitional style. According to Flooring Inc, the transitional kitchen may have traditional cabinets mixed with more modern elements such as granite or slate countertops and stainless steel appliances. 

Updating Stained Cabinets to Fit Modern Trends

The first color that comes to mind when you hear stained cabinets could be the cherry wood or blond wood stained cabinets you have seen in many kitchens designed in the 1990s.

These stains are just a few of the many shades that can be used to stain a cabinet. 

While the blond and cherry stains may seem a bit dated, there are some new sleek, and even exciting stains that are now used in modern kitchen designs. 

Dark Stains

Some kitchens look spectacular with dark stained cabinets, especially when placed against stainless steel appliances. Some dark stains include black or brown. Dark stained cabinets are sometimes used to create a warm kitchen and are often used in larger kitchens. 

The lighting, when using these dark stained cabinets, can make for a look of luxury.  Although dark cabinets can be beautiful, lighter cabinets may be a better option for some kitchens.

Light Stains

Stains do not always have to be dark. Some light cabinets that you have seen in modern kitchens are stained.  White stained cabinets are sleek and ideal for an all-white kitchen. White stained cabinets are typically used in smaller kitchens to create an illusion of size. 

There is also the gray stained cabinets, which can create the popular country style kitchen desired by many in modern designs. Gray stained cabinets give a cool and calm feel to a kitchen. 

Gray stains also make the kitchen appear sleek and clean. Like white stained cabinets, gray stained cabinets have become popular and can be used in small kitchens to make the room appear larger. 

Bold and Vibrant Stains

If you want to go against the traditional light or dark kitchen, there is now an option to use bold colors on either accent cabinets or primary cabinet colors.  Having one set of cabinets, a different shade has become increasingly popular and creates dimension in a kitchen.

Creating these bold pops of color in the kitchen is now possible on wood cabinets by using stain. Stains are now as versatile as paint colors. If you enjoy vibrant shades such as yellows and teal, there is a stained cabinet in that shade for you. Bolder shades such as red and navy blue are also available as stains.

Multi Stained Cabinets

While having a standard stain may be the norm, some cabinets are multi stained. The multi stained cabinets are not profoundly different in color but can provide subtle hints of variations in the wood for a distressed or rustic look. Multi stained cabinets usually have a dark base with slightly lighter shades hinted through the surface.

Now that you know that stained cabinets are still in style and have evolved to include many different shades let’s look at the kitchen trends that should be around for the next couple of years.

Kitchen and Cabinet Staining Trends

Most modern kitchens are now leaving the doors off the cabinets and moving towards open cabinetry where kitchen wears are on full display.

This concept of open cabinetry would have been unheard of during the 1990s as the kitchen was more tucked away.  Even appliances were hidden, and every kitchen utensil was stored out of sight. It wasn’t a very functional design.  

Today’s kitchens are focused on adaptability for individual use. They’re very much a function-based design. Although there may not be doors on some cabinets, cabinet colors are now being chosen with much care and customization. 

Since the kitchen has become a focal point of the home, many owners who may be renovating are seeking unique colors that may not be popular in many homes.

The use of standard colors and the exact design and color as the neighbor is no longer desired.  

Each homeowner is now trying to express their unique style within their home design. Having the various shades of stains makes choosing a unique stained cabinet less complicated and provides unique options to express yourself and highlight your taste. 

Another trend that has emerged is the transitional style. The transitional style of mixing new with the old has also been trending to allow a modern look with a warm touch.

This style may be prominent with renovations where certain elements are preserved to keep a particular character to the kitchen.

Remember the multi stained cabinets? Those multi stained cabinets are now trending as customers find unique cabinets to make their unique style statement.

Multi stained cabinets may not sound very appealing, but if you find the right shade, you will be amazed at its rustic elegance.

If you are not particularly thrilled about making constant changes to your kitchen or cabinets as the times change, you can look into kitchen designs that have remained classic and have remained in style for many years.

Timeless Kitchens with Stained Cabinets

There have been talks about white cabinets being out for 2020. I have to disagree. Have you watched HGTV lately? White? Out? Not a chance. White cabinets and white kitchens remain a classic. The next time you watch your favorite classic movie or television show, take note to see if the kitchen was white. 

The beauty of having a white kitchen is that you can make changes to elements in the kitchen without doing a full remodel. The color will never get old or outdated (source).

Although white kitchens and white cabinets are timeless, there are times when too much white is used in one space. The overuse of white can make space sterile and slightly bland.

When decorating a white kitchen, ensure that colors other than white are used as accents

This YouTube video goes over the pros and cons of stained cabinets vs. painted with some excellent points worth noting:

Let's Talk! Stained cabinets vs. Painted cabinets.

Apart from the color of the kitchen and kitchen cabinets, the use of wood in the kitchen is also a timeless piece. Wooden cabinets are another kitchen staple that remains timeless. 

Adding stains that could be outdated eventually may not add to the timeless factor. If using wood cabinets as a timeless piece in your kitchen, consider using natural wood or a light stain.

Although some shades of stained cabinets may appear to be outdated, these cabinets can still e used in modern trends such as transitional kitchen designs.

Transitional kitchen designs mix old and new design trends to allow a modern look and a warm feel. 

The variations in the stain colors used on wood cabinets have evolved. Gone are the days when an only cherry stain or blonde stain was used on wood.

Stains now include dark luxury shades, light stains to preserve the white kitchen, and bold tones to add character to the kitchen. 

Final Thoughts

While certain shades have changed, stained cabinets remain apart of modern design trends. Stained kitchen cabinets are versatile and make a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of the kitchen design. 

Staining kitchen cabinets are also much more affordable than purchasing new ones. Not to mention, refinishing with stain prevents old cabinets from going in the landfill.

The focus on sustainability is a top priority in today’s designs, making stained kitchen cabinets very much on-trend.


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Paul

As a homeowner, I am constantly experimenting with making the structure of my house more energy-efficient, eliminating pests, and taking on DIY home improvement projects. Over the past two decades, my family has rehabbed houses and contracted new home builds and I've learned a lot along the way. I share my hard-learned lessons so that you can save time and money by not repeating my mistakes.

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