Honey Oak Trim – Stain or Paint?

It’s no secret that we have honey oak everywhere in our house – and that I despise it. I have done three semi-big projects so far to cover it up including two bathroom vanities and my kitchen cabinets. Each time, I loathe the trim even more, but it’s everywhere. We’re not going to live in our house more than another year or two, so I keep stamping down my urge to do something with it.

I’m in a quandry though, when we repainted and updated our kitchen cabinets, we removed the trim from around the window and sliding glass door and we’re in the process of replacing it. It pains me to stain it honey oak to match the rest of the house. I’m getting the itch to redo it all. The big question is, do I try to stain it all just a little darker/warmer with a gel stain or do I paint it white? I’m a fan of darker wood for the most part. I do like the white trim look too though – BUT I’m not planning to actually replace it all, I’m just going to go over the current oak trim. I don’t want to strip any of it, although I would be willing to strip the mantle if I had to, but that’s it. Then, what to do about all the doors?

Here are a few pictures of what I’m dealing with. Excuse quality, I snapped most of them with my iPhone.

honey oak staircase

And I’m sure you’ve seen my mantle in other projects, as much as I try to hide it, it’s hard to.

Honey oak trimBurlap Monogram Letter with Wedding Year

And then here’s my kitchen and bathroom with the updated cabinets in a dark espresso color. When we replaced the hardwood in the kitchen, we did go with somewhat of a lighter color so it wouldn’t be too dark, but not the orangey honey oak we have everywhere else.

Bathroom vanity updated from honey oakKitchen floor update

Here’s a picture of it in the daylight (before we put the appliances back)

New hardwood floor

I feel some pressure to make a decision. My father in law (who is a retired carpenter) is visiting us this weekend and is going to help us cut the new trim for the kitchen. I can stain it after it’s cut, but once we have it, I want to get it up fairly quickly and FINALLY get the kitchen finished.

Any experience or advice?

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4 thoughts on “Honey Oak Trim – Stain or Paint?

  1. diydad April 12, 2013 at 10:40 am Reply

    I am in the same boat as you and have it all over my house. I am big on matching, so any new cabinets we put into our house when i finished the basement have been the honey oak variety. If you are looking for the color of your floor, check out the Minwax Polyshades in the Mission Oak color. I have tested it on some honey oak kick plates and it mixes well. The Polyshades gets mixed reviews, but it worked well for me (just make sure you mix the can well). All I did was clean and rough up the surface with some 220 (or higher) sanpaper. If your goal is to have all the trim look the same, make sure that the new stuff is honey oak colored first, then re-finish. Obviously it is more work, but everything will match.

    • sometimes-homemade April 12, 2013 at 11:00 am Reply

      Thanks! I think I can live with the oak if it was a little darker/warmer. I do still have an old piece of trim from the kitchen window I can experiment with. It’s just such a big project. Once I start I have to be “all-in”.

  2. twotastic April 12, 2013 at 9:36 pm Reply

    I love the dark color you did in the kitchen and your bathroom. I think white or the dark would look good. I don’t think I would have the patience for such a big project. You are truly a rockstar!

    • sometimes-homemade April 12, 2013 at 9:57 pm Reply

      It always seems like a good idea until I’m 1/3 of the way done and get sick of it but still have so much left to do!

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