unfinished pantry cabinets

Unfinished Pantry Cabinets: Should You Buy Them?

Unfinished pantry cabinets can provide endless possibilities for your kitchen. They give homeowners a fresh opportunity to create a personalized design. Unlike finished cabinets, unfinished pantry cabinets come without sealant, paint, and stain, leaving an open door (no pun intended) for creative possibilities.

In this guide, we’ll explore unfinished pantry cabinets and all the information you should know to determine if you should need them.


What are Unfinished Pantry Cabinets?

Unfinished pantry cabinets are wooden cabinets that come in their original state and allow homeowners to customize their cabinets however they see fit. This is opposite from pre-finished cabinets, which come stained or with a coat of paint. This means that unfinished pantry cabinets are without the extra touches that give the cabinets their appearance.


Advantages of Unfinished Pantry Cabinets

Unfinished pantry cabinets are one of the most popular cabinet options for homeowners who are on a renovation budget and want to save money while still providing a unique design once customized. Whether you’re a professional or a DIY enthusiast looking for something practical and aesthetically pleasing, understanding the advantages of unfinished pantry cabinets will help you decide whether or not they’re the best option for your kitchen project.

  • Saves on costs - Since unfinished cabinets require fewer materials and cost less in labor, you can save anywhere from ten to thirty percent in costs compared to prefinished cabinets.
  • Flexibility - Unfinished cabinets allow you to play around with various techniques such as painting, staining, and sealing that can give your cabinets a unique appearance.
  • Customization - Unfinished pantry cabinets give you a fresh start to select the perfect stain, cabinet color, or finish that matches the theme of your kitchen.
  • Decorative - Your pantry cabinets can be designed to match the existing decoration in your home to provide a pleasing aesthetic.
  • Quality Control - Since your unfinished pantry cabinets are exposed, you can address the craftsmanship and materials before choosing your finish to ensure your cabinets are long-lasting.
  • Personalization - If you’re a DIYer, unfinished cabinets allow you to get creative with a hands-on project and elevate your pantry space.


unfinished pantry cabinets


Unfinished Pantry Cabinet Ideas

1. Painting Customizations

Embracing various paint contaminations and color ideas can give your kitchen pantry a new appearance, a game changer. Painting unfinished pantry cabinets will allow you to show your personality and create an elegant masterpiece.

Here are some painting suggestions based on pantry color schemes and designs.

  • Bold sophistication - To make a bold statement, opt for colors like forest green or navy blue to help bring depth to your pantry.
  • Subtle shades - Choose color tones like dusty rose or teal to give your pantry a sophisticated ambiance.
  • Contrast - Give your pantry a statement by combining dark and light shades to help create a contrast and draw attention to your pantry cabinets.
  • Elegance - Get a creative mind for modern elegance with metallic accents and gray shades to add an urban touch to your pantry.
  • Pastels - To create an open atmosphere, you can use pastel shades such as aqua, blush, or mint.
  • Rustic - For homeowners wanting a vintage look, opt for rustic charm such as shades of gray, sage green, or antique blue.
  • Neutral - Cream or white pantry cabinets provide a versatile appearance and go perfectly with various design options, from modern to traditional.

2. Staining

When staining your unfinished pantry cabinets, you can change the shade of your cabinets without hiding those wooden tones underneath. There are various staining techniques you can use when staining your pantry cabinets.

  • Wiping - Wiping stains are created when the stain is wiped on and off, allowing you to control the intensity of your cabinets. This staining technique provides for an even and balanced tone.
  • Traditional - When applying traditional stain to your unfinished cabinets, it will penetrate and highlight the grain patterns of your cabinets.
  • Gel - Unlike liquid stains, gel stains are thicker and easier to apply to pantry cabinets. Gel stains provide a more consistent color and even finish.
  • Layered - When layering several stain colors on your pantry cabinets, you can create a multidimensional appearance and unique look. Start with a light stain base, gradually applying darker stains.

3. Two-Tone

Making your pantry cabinets two-toned requires combining various finishes to help create a visually appealing pantry and distinctive appearance. Using the two-tone approach, you can experiment with depth, texture, and contrast to create a personalized pantry.

A two-tone pantry cabinet will help create a diverse design, especially when pairing lighter and dark cabinets.

4. Distressed

If you want to give your unfinished pantry cabinets a distressed look, this technique brings rich character to any pantry. By creating an aged appearance, you can provide a sense of nostalgia to your pantry and the rest of your kitchen space.

To achieve a distressed look, gently sand the corners, edges, and surfaces to display the natural wood underneath. Distressed pantry cabinets can add dimension and depth and look perfect in rustic homes or shabby kitchens.

5. Combine Materials

If you still want a natural wooden look, you can create a multidimensional and dynamic space by combining several materials. You can use metal to create warmth with sleek accents, such as brass hardware and stainless steel.

You can use the stone to integrate backsplashes and flooring with your unfinished pantry cabinets to balance the textures of the cabinets. You can use natural elements such as fibers, plants, and edge wood to provide a touch of nature to enhance the organic feel of your pantry cabinets.

6. Island Contrast

Very similar to using the two-tone approach, using unfinished pantry cabinets against an island contrast is becoming used more in modern kitchens. By taking this approach, you’re using unfinished pantry cabinets to pair directly with your island, creating a pantry focal point that stands out.

A contrasting island will help create a bold statement and eye-catching addition to your kitchen area. The contrast between unfinished cabinets and natural wood can create a unique impact to act as a centerpiece.


How Can I Customize My Unfinished Pantry Cabinets?

From ensuring the longevity of your unfinished pantry cabinets to selecting the best finishes, customizing your pantry cabinets involves much more than painting. Here is a compiled list of several steps you can take to help you customize your unfinished pantry cabinets.

  1. Surface preparation - Ensure your cabinets are free from dirt and sand surfaces to remove imperfections. Proper cabinet preparation will help create an even surface and help the paint properly adhere to the wood.
  2. Select your finish - You can select stains that will help enhance the wood and paint colors to help match the aesthetic of your kitchen.
  3. Do a test run - Perform a test run before applying your finish to the cabinets. This will allow you to see how the finish interacts with the wood so you can adjust your technique if needed.
  4. Finishing - Follow the instructions when applying your finish to ensure the best coverage and avoid drips and unevenness.
  5. Protective Coat - Apply a sealant to preserve your cabinet’s lifespan.
  6. Maintenance - To properly maintain your cabinet’s finish, avoid using harsh cleaners that could damage the wood.


Unfinished Pantry Cabinets: FAQ

1. Are unfinished pantry cabinets the same quality as finished cabinets?

Finished and unfinished cabinets are typically the same quality; however, unfinished pantry cabinets cost less.

2. Can you change the finish on unfinished pantry cabinets later on?

Unfinished pantry cabinets allow you to be flexible and change your pantry finishes over time. You can refinish your pantry cabinets to align with current trends.

3. What kind of wood are unfinished pantry cabinets made from?

Unfinished pantry cabinets can be made from wood, such as cherry pine, maple, and oak. The wood choice depends on your chosen design, budget, and durability.

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