Cabinet Finishing Techniques

The perfect type of finish on your kitchen cabinets can help create a sense of warmth and complexity to the cabinets that will positively impact the entirety of your home. For that reason, it is very important that you know the different kinds of cabinet finishes and techniques that you can choose from. 

The right choice of finish will not only give your wood cabinets a beautiful look and feel, but it will also help protect them from dirt and grime for years to come. 

So, let’s break down the best Finishing Techniques on Kitchen Cabinets so that you know exactly what to do once you are ready to apply finish to your cabinets. 


A glaze finish is a semi-transparent color that is applied over the stain to your cabinets. The glaze is applied to the wood and then wiped off by hand. After that, it settles into the grain and gives the wood an even wash of color and depth. 

This cabinet finishing technique is thought to add depth, dimension and a slight shine to your cabinets. Sometimes, people will apply the glaze to corners of the kitchen cabinets in order to help carved details pop. 

While an even application renders a more subtle look, heavier application of glaze will lead to a more dramatic aesthetic. Since glazes do come in a variety of different color options, it is important to keep the color of your wood in mind when making your glaze decision. 


Staining is a very easy way to improve the natural beauty of the grain of the wood you use for your kitchen cabinets. Before you apply a stain, make sure that the cabinet’s surface is sanded so that the stain can be absorbed evenly. After you apply your stain, you will notice that the wood’s natural characteristics like streaks and knots become more prominent and create lighter and darker spots along the cabinet. It’s a classic look for wood cabinets and is a great idea if you want to highlight the quality or type of wood that you decided to go with for your cabinets. 


This will give your cabinets a rustic and homey aesthetic that fits perfectly with the farmhouse style of kitchens. This will give your kitchen a sense of age that can resemble a beautiful antique piece. One thing to keep in mind is that distressing becomes more visible after your glaze, so take that into consideration during your decision making process. 


Burnishing your kitchen cabinets will result in a warm and traditional look of furniture that many people desire out of their cabinets. In order to complete this technique, the wood will first be randomly distressed and over sanded. After this process is completed, a stain will be applied for a burnished look. Finally, a glaze will be applied to the wood – especially the high-wear areas – in order to create a softened appearance. 


Finally, this technique is used to recreate the natural process of wear on wood to created an aged finish. This technique is carried out by selective sanding that exposes underlying wood on the cabinet. After that, the corners and edges are sanded down. Finally, a glaze is applied. This results in a one-of-a-kind look that is beautiful to look at.

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