Updating a Kitchen with Oak Cabinets (Without Painting Them)

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  • Tips and tricks to update dated oak kitchen cabinets without painting them. Make your oak cabinets feel modern and fresh with these easy DIY ideas.

    Tips and tricks to update dated oak kitchen cabinets without painting them. Make your oak cabinets feel modern and fresh with these easy diy ideas.

    Updating a Kitchen With Oak Cabinets

    When we purchased the lake cottage, I told myself that we didn’t have to decorate it all at once. We could relax, enjoy the lake and embrace the charm.

    After winter and spring, I became a little stir crazy and decided to freshen it up a bit, with the help of my friends at Delta® Faucet. We wanted to make it feel fresh, without doing remodeling, painting the oak cabinets or spending a lot of money.

    How to update oak cabinets without paining them

    Getting Inspired to Update the Kitchen

    I wasn’t sure what direction I would take until after I visited Chicago for the Day of Design event in May. I was so inspired by the water that surrounds the city, the history of Chicago and architectural details that have endured the test of time that I integrated a few of the elements into our kitchen design.

    champagne bronze faucet and flowers in an original porcelain sink

    When we moved into our lake cottage, we immediately decluttered the kitchen, removing wall hangings and ivy. It instantly felt bigger and helped expose its charm.

    replacing a faucet is an easy and inexpensive way to update a kitchen on a budget

    How to Refresh A Kitchen With Oak Cabinets

    I loved the unexpected sconce the builder put just to the side of the kitchen window and sink. We were also lucky to have neutral appliances, countertops and a backsplash similar to the one in the Delta Showroom to work with, but those are also easily paintable to keep a kitchen budget friendly.

    delta cassidy faucet in champagne bronze

    Where To Start When Updating Oak Kitchen Cabinets

    We removed the wallpaper and painted the walls to make the space feel light, bright and open, but replacing the faucet with a Delta Cassidy™ faucet in beautiful Champagne Bronze made the most significant impact.

    The original faucet felt dated while the Cassidy™ faucet felt fresh and beautiful. It reminded me of the timeless banister at the entrance of the Chicago Cultural Center and how the handrail and oak of the trolley we spent the day on played so well together, making my oak cabinets feel timeless, too.

    I incorporated a striped rug just below the sink to distract from the original ceramic tile floors and as a nod to the blue stripes on the horizon above the water on Lake Michigan.

    how to update a 90's kitchen without painting the cabinets

    DIY Ideas To Update Oak Kitchen Cabinets

    To accent the original oak cabinets and porcelain sink, I added a kitchen towel in a beautiful scallop pattern which reminded me of the breathtaking stain glass ceiling at the Chicago Cultural Center.

    making a dated kitchen feel fresh and up to date on a budget

    how to update a kitchen on a budget without painting the cabinets

    How to Update Oak Cabinets Without Painting Them

    Painting our oak cabinets wasn’t an option because it’s costly and time-consuming. I considered liming them with wax, but after a ride on the trolley, I decided to embrace them.

    We repurposed the hardware from our St. Louis kitchen making it feel classic and up to date. The pulls complement the Delta Cassidy™ faucet without competing with it, allowing it’s classic design to be the centerpiece of the kitchen, bringing the original porcelain sink back to life!

    how to update oak kitchen cabinets on a budget.

    how to update a 90's kitchen without painting the cabinets

    What Lighting Does For A Kitchen

    I also couldn’t resist adding a rattan light fixture after admiring them at lunch while in Chicago. It fills the void above the kitchen window and gives the previously dated kitchen a more modern and waterside aesthetic.

    making a dated kitchen feel fresh and up to date on a budget

    how to update a 90's kitchen without painting the cabinets

    Do you have a 90’s kitchen or dated oak cabinets? If so, do you plan to paint or refresh?

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