Lighten Up Your Dark Wooden Cabinets With David Bromstad's Expert Advice

Light and airy interiors are at the height of their popularity. This color scheme makes enclosed rooms, such as kitchens, feel more open and spacious. But darker wood, which is often featured in older houses, can make it difficult to achieve that aesthetic. In fact, according to HGTV's David Bromstad, the kitchen is the room most likely to need updating in an old home. Replacing cabinets can cost about $2,000 to $10,500, on average. So, how do you lighten dark cabinets without spending the money to replace them? Bromstad offers smart advice on "My Lottery Dream Home" to clients who want a white kitchen. "I would strip all that down and bleach it, and it will come out almost white. And you'll have a natural look that's casual, and you'll see the wood grain, and it's absolutely stunning," he advises.

Bleaching allows you to strip some of the stain from wood cabinets, which can give you the look of natural, light wood. Plus, this is a DIY that homeowners can do on their own. Many people use household bleach for this project, which can be an inexpensive and easy option. However, it may require you to apply it a few times to achieve the desired color. A two-part wood bleach, though, is a little stronger and can change the actual color of the wood, which household bleach cannot do. This may be a better option for more stubborn wood stains and darker-toned woods.

Bleaching kitchen cabinets

If you dream of a white kitchen but currently have dark cabinets, bleaching the wood can help you achieve your desired look. David Bromstad suggests bleaching because it's an easy DIY that retains the natural grain of the wood. Bleaching cabinets is similar to bleaching anything else. But before getting started, you'll want to remove any hardware, such as hinges, knobs and pulls. Take the doors down and lay out a tarp to prevent bleach from getting on other surfaces.

Sand the doors down to remove any paint, stain, or vener so the bleach can penetrate more easily. Using a paintbrush, apply a layer of bleach onto the wood and allow it to sit. If you use household bleach, placing the cabinet doors in the sunlight can help it lighten more. If you use a wood bleach product, it will have directions for how long to leave the product on and when to wipe it off. Check the color of the wood after the suggested amount of time. If you want a lighter color, repeat the steps, starting with applying the bleach. If you have the color you desire, thoroughly wipe the cabinet doors to remove any lingering bleach. You can then reinstall your cabinets and enjoy your lighter kitchen.