Glazed Kitchen Cabinets


When you’re thinking about a kitchen renovation, you might want to look at changing your kitchen cabinets. After all, these are one of the first things people see when they walk into your kitchen, so changing up the aesthetic can instantly change the feel of your kitchen design as a whole.

If you’re into that classic “rustic” look, maybe you should consider glazing!

Glazed cabinets are known for their unique aged look that makes them appear as old or antique cabinets, adding a very unique feel to your kitchen. Depending on the base coat and the glaze color you choose, you could achieve a wide range of aesthetics with your glaze-layered cabinets.

So, what exactly are glazed cabinets, and how do you make them? Here we answer all your questions and give you our top tips on glazing cabinets and whether or not you should do it!

What Are Glazed Cabinets?

Glazed cabinets refers to kitchen cabinet sets that have been prematurely aged with cabinet glaze paint. This glaze is usually an oil-based semi-gloss paint color which is applied over a cabinet door that has already been painted with a base color. The glaze adds a unique sheen that adds dimension and depth to the cabinet door, accentuating the design.

Cabinet glazing is sometimes referred to as “antiquing cabinets” because glazing cabinets tends to leave them with an aged, antique-like design.

As well as making the cabinetry look aged, cabinet glazing can also add a “pop” to your kitchen design due to the way in which the glaze highlights details in the wood. If your cabinet doors have an ornate design with curves and layers, the glaze will sit into the carvings and give them a dark highlight.

It’s a great way to make fancy cabinets look even fancier.

Generally speaking, cabinet glazing is found in a kitchen design that is very rustic, old-fashioned, and farmhouse-like. Glazed kitchen cabinets are designed to look like they’re right at home in an old French country cottage or traditional farmhouse kitchen.

Many manufacturers sell oil-based semi-gloss paints that you can achieve this finish with, such as Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore.

White glaze on white cabinets

Some people aren’t interested in an old-style finish – they just want shining white cabinets. If this is the case, use a white glaze over a white-painted cabinet to achieve a brilliant and dazzling luster that looks clean, neat, and bright in your kitchen.

One of the most common shades for this is “vanilla”, which has a slightly off-white sheen.

This finish is brilliant for making a small kitchen feel larger, as the sheen helps to reflect light around the space and make everything feel brighter. It’s also a pretty safe option if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future – most people don’t have a problem with white on their cabinet surface!

However, this finish is difficult to clean, shows dirt easily, and isn’t ideal if you’ve got messy children or pets. If you’re going for white glaze on white base, prepare for a lot of scratches, grime, and wear-and-tear in the future.

Brown Glaze on White Cabinets (aka antiquing white cabinets)

If you’re a fan of the antiqued cabinets look, then this glazing technique is for you. To achieve that old-fashioned finish, you need to use a brown or black glaze over a white base color. This may seem counterintuitive, but the dark pigmented glaze effectively “roughs up” the white and highlights details in the wood.

You’re making them look “worn in”.

Glazed kitchen cabinets are endlessly popular in country and classic farmhouse kitchen designs, as well as in other rustic styles such as French country kitchen. Depending on the way your kitchen is laid out, these painted cabinets could be the focal point of the room or simply add to the overall feel you’re going for with the decor.

Just be careful not to overdo it.

Cabinet glazing is a brilliant way to add some character to your home if the kitchen is feeling a little bland. It’s also a great way to make your home feel warm and inviting if you like antique furniture but you can’t afford it or it doesn’t have the practical characteristics you need because it’s too old.

You get the aesthetic of antique cabinets without the downsides!

Nonetheless, cabinet glazing isn’t the best idea if you plan on selling your home in the near future. Glazed kitchen cabinets tend to be a “love or hate” design choice, so you’re rolling the dice with the opinions of potential buyers – they might love it or they might think it looks awful and dated.

Still, if you don’t need to worry about what other people think of your home, glazed cabinetry is really cool and unique.

How Do You Glaze A Cabinet?

To put it simply, glazing a cabinet involves using a semi-transparent glaze paint over a cabinet door that has already been painted with regular matte paint. Glazing a cabinet is simply painting over with a special paint that is designed to sink into the carvings of the wood, adding a unique sheen that draws attention to the wood’s characteristics.

Done well, it looks very ornate and opulent!

There are many different paint colors and base coats you can use for your glaze-layered cabinet, but there are certain colors that are most commonly used. Usually, if you’re going for an antiqued finish, you will glaze a cabinet with either brown or black glaze. If you simply want a sheen, then you might use a white glaze on a white cabinet.

The most common colors for glazing cabinets are:

  • Mocha
  • Bronze
  • Nickel
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Caramel
  • Vanilla

Lots of paint manufacturers sell semi-transparent oil-based paints that can be used for cabinet glazing, such as Sherwin Williams. If you’re not sure how the combination of your base coat and the glaze will look on your cabinet doors when they’re finished, speak to an interior designer or paint specialist.

7 Things to Consider Before You Glaze Your Kitchen Cabinets

If you’re thinking about cabinet glazing in your kitchen, there are some things you definitely need to take into consideration. From budget concerns to resale value and focal points, there are many aspects to take into consideration before you decide to glaze your cabinets.

If you’re not a professional interior designer, it can be hard to know what to look out for, so we’ve broken it down into 7 things you need to consider before you glaze your cabinet set. After all, once you glaze a cabinet, it’s very hard to remove the paint and go back to the original style.

Here are 7 things to keep in mind when deciding whether or not to glaze your kitchen cabinets:

  1. Kitchen Style – What does your kitchen design look like already? If you’ve got a modern or transitional kitchen style, chances are that cabinets with glaze are going to look really out of place. If you’re going to glaze your cabinetry, it really needs to be in a classic farmhouse-style kitchen where the look fits in and makes sense.
  2. Focal Points – When you glaze cabinets, you can quickly turn them into a focal point of the room. This is especially true when applying a dark glaze over white cabinets for the “antique” aged effect. You need to ascertain the focal points in your kitchen design and decide whether a glaze finish will add too much visual noise into the space, making the design feel over-the-top. If your heart is set on cabinet glazing, you may need to tone down other elements of the kitchen design and focal points.
  3. Glaze Quality – If you’re going to glaze your cabinets, you need to think about buying high-quality paint from a reputable manufacturer. Don’t attempt this with cheap, low-quality paint, as the effect will not work very well and the overall look will be cheap. Paint manufacturers like Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore sell plenty of great semi-transparent paints you can use for glazing cabinets.
  4. Expensive – Cabinet glazing can be a little pricey, especially if you’re using a high-quality glaze. If you’re on a budget and money is tight, it might be best to stick with regular painted cabinets for the time being.
  5. Refinishing and Repainting – Once your cabinet glazing is complete, it can be very difficult to refinish the cabinet door design or repaint it. It’s not impossible, but if you decide that you want to change the look of the cabinets, you’re going to have a challenge sanding all that glaze and paint away once it settles into the carvings of the wood.
  6. Divided Opinion – As mentioned earlier, people tend to love or hate a glaze look on their cabinets. It’s definitely not for everyone! If you’re selling your house in the near future and you want to cast a wide net over the potential buyers, you might be better off with a safer, more generic look for the cabinets instead.
  7. Dramatic Feel – Glazing your cabinets tends to yield quite dramatic-feeling results, so it’s definitely not the best choice for everyone out there. If you want a kitchen that’s super calm and relaxing, then glaze might not be the best idea.

Whether you glaze your cabinets or not is totally up to you and your personal taste, though you should certainly take these 7 factors into account before making the decision.

If you’re having doubts about the glaze, it may be best to get a second opinion of a homeowner or speak to a professional interior design specialist.

Are Glazed Cabinets Going Out Of Style?

Glazed cabinets are not the most popular look when it comes to painted cabinets. They’re almost exclusively reserved for traditional farmhouse cabinets and country-style kitchens, so they need to be part of a kitchen that fits in with their overall look.

In terms of popularity, they’re not SUPER popular.

This doesn’t mean you should avoid them entirely, but bear in mind that glazed cabinetry tends to divide opinion among buyers. Some people love the aged finish, others think it looks grimey and old in a negative way. If you’re trying to have a kitchen that stays modernly stylish for years to come, they may not be the best choice.

They really split the room!

However, it’s worth bearing in mind that this classic farmhouse kitchen look doesn’t tend to change much over the decades – the look is always very similar. On the other hand, more modern kitchens will start to look dated 5 or 10 years after they’ve been installed as contemporary design trends inevitably come and go.

While not everyone likes the look, a cabinet door with a dark Sherwin Williams glaze is never going to look “dated” – it will always look appropriate as part of the larger traditional design. So while glazed cabinet doors are not super stylish right now, they won’t age badly like some modern painted cabinets do.

How Much Does it Cost to Glaze Cabinets?

Cabinet glazing is more expensive than just giving your cabinets an ordinary matte or satin coat. Nonetheless. it’s still relatively affordable if you’ve got some money to play with.

On average, you’re looking at around $10 per square foot to glaze your cabinets. However, if you’re after a high-end vintage look, then you might pay more like $10-$25 per square foot.

All things considered, this isn’t too expensive. It’s also very cost-effective, as done correctly, cabinet glazing can make your kitchen cabinets look like expensive old antiques when they may not actually be worth that much money in comparison.

If you can afford the costs, cabinet glazing is an excellent way to boost your kitchen’s aesthetic value.

Do You Have to Seal Glazed Cabinets?

Most of the time, you do not have to seal cabinets that have been glazed.

Usually, the glaze coat itself acts as a sealer for the cabinets, helping to keep the paint in good condition for many years to come. Extra layers of topcoat or polyurethane are not usually necessary, and they may actually ruin the effect of the glaze if you’re not careful.

There may be exceptions, but the glaze layer itself is normally enough.

Cabinet Refcaing and Facelift

Conclusion – Should I Glaze My Kitchen Cabinets?

When it comes to kitchen cabinet glazing, it’s all about personal taste and resale value. If the aesthetic of glaze-layered cabinets fits in with your country-style classic kitchen and doesn’t feel over-the-top, then do it by all means. A well-glazed cabinet set can add tons of character to a kitchen as well as a dramatic, ornate flair.

We love flair!

On the other hand, this aesthetic is very divisive and could incite a “love or hate” response in future buyers, so it’s a bit of a gamble if you plan on selling your house soon. It’s also more expensive than some more basic cabinet styles and may require more upkeep and cleaning.

Whether you decide to glaze your cabinets, antique them, or leave them as they are, we hope you make the right decision for your kitchen design, your budgets, your needs, and your personal taste.

Good luck!

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