Make It Great Again: Painting Oak Cabinets

I’ve been wanting to makeover our bar cabinet for years. When we first moved into this house we weren’t shy about painting oak cabinets and completely changed the look of our kitchen. However, we never updated the same bar cabinet that sits in our living room.

Painting Oak Cabinets

Painting oak cabinets made this old bar look great again.After finishing the $100 room makeover I decided to paint this guy once and for all.

Original oak cabinet with brass pull.

I’m sure in the eighties this cabinet was considered great. But today that heavy grain and strange door pull just doesn’t cut it. 

Painting oak cabinets in the kitchen.

As I said, we quickly updated the kitchen which had the same cabinets with paint, glaze and new hardware. The cabinets themselves were in great shape, and after the paint job still look great today.


Old bar cabinet with patch work.So before my husband left for a trip he helped by filling in the holes left from the strange shoehorn-like pulls.

Old hardware from bar cabinet.

I plan to remove the formica top and sink and replace it with a piece of soapstone or some other pretty solid top. 

Painting bar cabinet with blue paint and black glaze.

I chose a blue paint called Midnight Dream from Behr in a satin finish. This looks like a nice navy color on the paint chip. However, as you can see from the bottom of this picture, it came out more royal blue, even after two coats.

Smacking my head I should have known. It seems like whenever I choose a dark color from a paint chip, it always comes out lighter on the wall or project. The opposite is true for light colors. They tend to look darker on the wall than the original sample chip color.

Luckily I already knew I wanted to give it an antique glaze like the kitchen, so I added some regular black paint to the glaze and painted over the blue.

Bottom oak cabinet painted and glazed

This was much more to my liking. The glaze looks a little streakier than I’d like on the left side so I may need to touch it up. Luckily you can’t really tell in person as the room is not super bright. 

Painting oak cabinets with blue paint and black glaze.

These upper cabinets turned out pretty good. 

For now I’m using the old knobs for the drawers but plan to replace them with a chrome or glass knob. 

What do you think? What kind of door/drawer pulls would you use on this cabinet.

Finally, I’d like to have the upper cabinets fitted with glass. Don’t you think that would look great?



About Patti Estep

Patti is the creator of Hearth and Vine, a home and garden blog filled with projects to inspire your creative side. She loves crafting, gardening, decorating and entertaining at her home in Pennsylvania. When she is not working on a project at home or searching for treasures at nurseries and thrift stores with her girlfriends, you’ll probably find her with family and friends, at a restaurant, or home party enjoying new and different food adventures.

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  1. Yes the glass sound awesome above and hardware go to Hobby Lobby because they have some really neat metal ones, so I’m thinking metal.. That’s where I got those for the tray I made earlier this month. Anyways I’m loving this and really like your kitchen cabinets too. Pretty!!

  2. Marie Holmes says:

    I think you need a nice oil rubbed bronze handle. It would look rich.

  3. Patti,
    Did you sand or strip to prepare for paint?

  4. What a big difference in the overall appearance! I have been eyeing an oak end table in my family room as a redo project for a while. I think you have just given me the inspiration to turn it into a piece I will love again!

    • Definitely do it Susan.
      The hardest part was picking the paint brand and color.
      I chose Behr because we’ve worked with it before and it doesn’t have a lot of fumes.
      Thanks for stopping by,

  5. Looks great! ??????Today I was asking universe for some ideas with paint for my kitchen cabinets and here you are ! Thank you ???

  6. What a lovely transformation! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    • Hi Marci,

      Thanks for your kind words. It really looks so much better in that space. I think it definitely could use glass inserts but my husband is wary. Oh well, I just might have to do it when he is traveling. 😉
      Have a great week!

  7. Patti, you did such a professional job, can’t tell the difference between a professional and what you did!
    Its really a very rich color and makes the cabinet look very high end.

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