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Sunday, May 18, 2014

$45 Bathroom Cabinet DIY

When we first bought our home, we knew that there were plenty of things that we would need to update. Add in a few "oh my gosh the refrigerator is dead/pipes froze/furnace is broken" moments (insert amused, all-knowing "welcome to homeownership" comment here), and there have been plenty of times when I sat, staring at bare walls and leaking doors wondering why I didn't just move a little further north, to a brand new home.


Taking all setbacks into consideration, our house is far from complete. I still walk downstairs and think "oh right, that room needs XYZ." However, while it is a work in progress, I still love our home. But now, I'm in even more of a time crunch, because I'm pregnant, and if I don't do it now, when will any project be finished?

So that is what led me to tackle the bathroom, last weekend. Ever since we moved in, I have wanted to paint the kitchen cabinets, and, at some point replace the countertops. I decided to work on the bathrooms first, as sort of a "test run" on a smaller scale.

So, in one day, I took my bathroom from this:

To this:

I chose a black stain because of the existing bathroom color scheme: the toilet and bathtub in this bathroom are gray, while the existing cabinet was brown wood with a cream colored countertop. I opted for black, hoping that the contrast would make the cream/ivory countertop appear whiter and brighter, so that it would complement the gray fixtures.


  • Sandpaper or sanding block (I used 2 fine grade sanding blocks)
  • Stain, such as Minwax Polyshades
  • Paintbrush (I used a thinner paintbrush than one I would use on the walls, since I needed to paint around the mirror)
  • Mask, to avoid breathing paint fumes
  • New hinges and door pulls
  • Painter's tape

How To:

  1. Remove the doors, drawers, hinges, pulls, etc.
  2. Sand the existing finish and diminish any existing gloss.
  3. Tape off any edges, and around any hardware that cannot be removed.
  4. Mix the stain. I purchased one quart of stain, which is way more than enough, so keep this in mind when purchasing. A little goes a long way.
  5. Cover the entire surface with a thin coat of stain. You will get a much better result from multiple thin coats, than you will from one thick, gloppy coat. Plus, the stain is rather thin and runny, so a thin coat reduces the risk of drips.
  6. When the stain has dried enough so that it is no longer sticky, lightly sand (optional).
  7. Add another coat of stain. This may be enough for you, but there may also be places where the stain needs to be touched up a bit. Add a coat as needed.
  8. After the final coat has dried, remove the tape, attach your new hardware, and reattach the doors and drawers.
Now, you should have a brand new bathroom!

What I May Have Done Differently:

While I love the new cabinet, and the bathroom definitely looks modern and updated, the finish is a lot glossier than I anticipated. If I were to redo this DIY, I would pay more attention to the finish on the can of stain, and maybe pick something a little more subdued. However, I am definitely not disappointed, and this is, of course, up to personal preference.

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