This TikToker Transformed Her Oak Kitchen — Without Refinishing the Cabinets

published Apr 7, 2023
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Back in the early 2000s when “Tuscan” and “country kitchen” aesthetics were all the rage, oak cabinets were all the rage, too. Paired with dark red paint, beige or tiled countertops and backsplashes, these cabinets were everywhere — and now so many people are tearing them out of their homes because they just feel dated.

But one TikToker didn’t want to spend the money to replace or even refinish their oak cabinets. Instead, Sara Chiodo (@functionalforyou) remodeled the rest of her kitchen to work with the cabinets and the final result looks like a modern apothecary.

“We brought our oak cabinets back to life with a countertop and backsplash upgrade,” Chiodo wrote in the caption of her February TikTok video. “Besides a hardware change, I’m so glad we left them as is. We saved so much money by doing so, too.”

Chiodo removed the majority of her upper cabinets near the stove, replacing them with upgraded open shelving, and changed out the hardware on the remaining cabinets to something a bit more rustic compared to the original “Tuscan” twist. Then she replaced the countertops with fresh white marble (including a stunning waterfall-style island) and installed glossy white tiles on all the walls.

“Oh thank god. These are gorgeous.” one commenter wrote. “It was the wall paint and other finishes making it outdated. Not the cabinets.”

Another commenter said, “Great example of how oak works if done right.” 

“Huge fan of this,” someone else wrote. “The people trading in high quality wood for particle board white shaker cabinets are going to regret it.”

So if you’re trying to figure out how to make your dated-looking oak cabinets work, you may just need to think outside the box and address the cabinets’ surroundings before addressing the cabinets themselves. Check out detailed before and after photos and more about this project on Sara’s website, Functional For You.

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: This TikToker Made Her Oak Kitchen Look Fresh — Without Refinishing the Cabinets