If you're a homeowner itching for a revamp or a builder on a mission to deliver exemplary results, one of the most criminally underrated items you might want to consider are unfinished cabinets. These cabinet configurations are quickly gaining popularity, offering endless options for customization and personal touch.

Understanding Unfinished Cabinets

As the name implies, unfinished cabinets are bare, untreated doors and boxes that are ready to be stained or painted. They provide a blank canvas allowing you to fully customize your cabinetry, from the colors to the finishes. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or prefer the touch of a professional, these products allow you to make your cabinets truly unique and personal to your style.

Material Choices for your Unfinished Cabinet

  • Hardwood: Unfinished cabinets in hardwood are a popular choice for homeowners who wish to impart a classic, warm, and textural look. They're known for their durability, being less prone to dents and scratches.
  • Plywood: Plywood unfinished cabinets show off a bit of wood grain, providing a pleasant aesthetic. Plywood is also quite resistant to water damage, making it a good choice for damp spaces like kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF): This material is an excellent budget-friendly option. MDF cabinets are smooth, resistant to warping and shrinking, making them ideal for painting.

Unleashing the Beauty of Unfinished Cabinets

The beauty of unfinished cabinets lies in their potential — the freedom to customize. You may prefer a natural look, perhaps polishing the cabinet to a shine while showing off the beautiful grain of the original wood. Alternatively, you might desire to paint it with bold or pastel hues tailored to your interior motif.

Matching your Unfinished Cabinet to your Home Decor

Unfinished cabinets are versatile. Regardless of your design preferences, they can be altered and matched to your home décor. Here's how:

  • Modern Style: For a modern look, consider painting your unfinished cabinets in a gloss or semi-gloss finish. The reflective surface will give a sense of space and an updated feel.
  • Classic Style: For a vintage or classic design, try a distressed paint effect. This would give the cabinets an aged look, consistent with the rest of your décor.
  • Rustic Style: If you want a rustic look, stain your cabinets. The stain will allow the natural grain of the wood to show, adding rich warmth to the space.

Where to Use Unfinished Cabinets

Unfinished cabinets aren't limited to kitchens and bathrooms. You can customize them for any room in your home, including:

  • The living room: Use a stained, open-shelf unfinished cabinet as a centerpiece on the feature wall.
  • The bedroom: A painted unfinished cabinet can be incorporated as a wardrobe or a standalone storage space.
  • The home office: An unfinished cabinet can serve as a bookcase or a concealed file storage, depending on your stain or paint choice.

Affordable and Accessible

One of the major advantages of choosing unfinished cabinets is their affordability. The cost is significantly lower than finished cabinets, especially if you're inclined towards the DIY approach. Plus, they're widely available in home improvement stores and online.

Prepping and Painting Unfinished Cabinets

Preparation is key when it comes to painting or staining unfinished cabinets. It starts from proper sanding, ensuring smoothness, to the application of primer and paint. Consulting with a professional painter might be beneficial to get that perfect finishing touch.

Whether you paint, stain or varnish, unfinished cabinets grant you the freedom to put your unique stamp on your home's interior. So, embark on this journey of transforming your living spaces one cabinet at a time!

Frequently Asked Questions Related to Unfinished Cabinets

What are the various types of unfinished cabinets available?

There are several types of unfinished cabinets available in the market. You can find unfinished base cabinets, wall cabinets, pantry cabinets, and corner cabinets among others. Unfinished bathroom cabinets and kitchen cabinets are also very popular. The choice often depends on multiple factors like your requirements, design preferences, and budget.

Why should I consider buying unfinished cabinets?

Unfinished cabinets provide a great deal of flexibility. They allow you to customize the finish based on your décor. You can pick the paint, stain, or varnish you like the most to match your existing furniture. Moreover, they often tend to be more affordable than prefabricated, finished cabinets.

Where can I purchase unfinished cabinets?

Unfinished cabinets can be purchased in several places. Many home improvement stores carry a wide selection. Additionally, numerous online retailers specialize in unfinished cabinets for kitchens, bathrooms, and other rooms in the house. Some local carpenters also provide them on demand.

What materials are typically used to make unfinished cabinets?

Unfinished cabinets are usually crafted from a variety of solid wood types including oak, maple, hickory, and cherry. Sometimes, they also feature plywood, particle board, or MDF (medium-density fiberboard.) The choice of material can greatly influence the durability and appearance of the cabinets.

Can I install unfinished cabinets by myself?

Yes, it is possible to install unfinished cabinets by yourself if you have some experience with DIY projects. It mostly involves careful measuring, drilling, and screwing. However, if you are not confident or if the project seems complex, it's recommended to hire a professional to ensure a more secure and proper installation.

What is the best way to finish unfinished cabinets?

The best way to finish unfinished cabinets depends on your personal preference. You can paint them for a smooth, modern look or you can stain them to highlight the natural grain of the wood. Before applying the topcoat, it's important to properly sand and prime the cabinets to ensure a longer-lasting finish.

How do I take care of my unfinished cabinets?

Before you can take care of them, unfinished cabinets must first be finished. The way of care then largely depends on what finish was applied. In general, using a mild cleaner and a soft cloth is often enough for regular maintenance. Make sure to wipe off spills immediately to prevent staining.

Can I change the look of my unfinished cabinets after they have been finished?

Yes, if you desire a new look after some time, you can indeed refinish your cabinets. However, it can be quite a labor-intensive process. The old finish needs to be completely removed by sanding or using a chemical stripper before applying a new one.

How long do unfinished cabinets last?

The lifespan of unfinished cabinets depends largely on the quality of the material, how well they are installed, and their maintenance. Good quality, well-maintained cabinets can last for many years. However, they need to be appropriately finished first to last effectively.

Are unfinished cabinets a good option for the budget-conscious?

Yes, unfinished cabinets tend to be more affordable compared to their prefinished counterparts. You not only save on upfront costs but also get the opportunity to customize them exactly to your liking. Therefore, they can indeed be a good option for those considering a kitchen or bathroom renovation on a budget.

Pros and Cons of Unfinished Cabinets

Pros of Unfinished Cabinets

Greater Personalization

  • One of the primary advantages of unfinished cabinets is the scope for customization. You get to choose the exact finish or paint, enabling you to sync the cabinets with your home's decor and style.
  • You can modify the look and feel of your unfinished kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, or any other cabinets as per your taste and requirements. This allows for greater personalization.


  • Another significant advantage of unfinished wood cabinets is that they are typically more affordable than pre-finished cabinets. This is because the cost of the finish or paint and the labor involved in applying it is avoided.
  • You can gain considerable savings with unfinished cabinets, especially if you have a tight budget for home renovation.

Variety of Materials

  • Unfinished cabinets come in a variety of materials, like oak, pine, maple, and cherry, providing more options to choose from. Each of these has unique features and can bring a different appeal to your space.

Cons of Unfinished Cabinets

Time Consuming

  • The process of painting or staining unfinished cabinets can be quite tedious and time-consuming, especially if it's a DIY project. The cabinets need to be sanded, primed, and then painted or stained which can extend the completion of the renovation project.
  • The duration of the project will depend on the size of the cabinet or the number of unfinished cabinets to be installed.

Requires Skill

  • While personalization is an advantage, it requires a certain level of skill to apply finishes on unfinished cabinets. A poor painting or staining job can leave your cabinets looking unattractive and severely impact your home decor.
  • If you're not comfortable with DIY cabinet finishing, you may need to hire professionals, adding to the overall cost.

Lack of Warranty

  • Many manufacturers do not provide a warranty on unfinished cabinets. This is because the quality of the finish and its application can significantly impact the longevity of the cabinets.

Long-Term Maintenance

  • Unfinished cabinets require regular maintenance to preserve their appearance. They are more susceptible to stains, spills, and abrasive cleaning agents that can damage the cabinet's surface. Regular refinishing may be necessary to maintain their look, adding to the overall cost over time.
  • You may therefore end up spending more time, effort, and money in the long-term maintenance of unfinished cabinets.
All said, the decision to buy unfinished cabinets hinges on your preference, budget, skill level, and availability of time. If you have a knack for DIY projects and customization appeals to you, unfinished cabinets may be a great option. Conversely, if you want a hassle-free, warranty-backed solution, pre-finished cabinets could serve you better.


Choosing unfinished cabinets can be an exciting and cost-effective way to personalize your kitchen or bathroom. With some time and effort, you can create a customized look that is perfect for your space. These cabinets offer the flexibility to choose any paint or stain color and finish which allows you to match them exactly to your interior design. Moreover, they are often less expensive than pre-finished ones, meaning you can afford higher quality wood or more intricate designs.

Remember, though, unfinished cabinets also require a higher level of maintenance. Regardless of the quality, these cabinets might be susceptible to staining and damage if not properly sealed. Therefore, they require careful handling during installation and a lot of prep work to get them ready. Yet, for DIY enthusiasts or anyone who values a personalized touch to their home, there's a deep joy in seeing your dream kitchen born out of your own hands.

All in all, while unfinished cabinets may demand extra work and care, the end result can be absolutely worth it. They provide a clean slate for creativity, offering endless possibilities for customization. The freedom to bring your vision to life combined with the potential cost savings can make these cabinets an excellent choice as you remodel your kitchen or bathroom.

About GVD Renovations

Welcome to GVD Renovations, based right here in Sacramento, CA! We are your local home remodeling and renovation experts, committed to making your dream home a reality. With our skilled team, we're able to transform your current home into a space that reflects your unique style and meets your needs. Whether it's kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations, siding installation or window replacement, we deliver beautifully crafted results with exceptional professionalism and dedication. Connect with us and let's turn your house into the perfect home, one room at a time.

Tags: unfinished cabinets, home renovation, decor inspiration,