Are Glazed Kitchen Cabinets Out of Style

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Last updated: July 7, 2023

Cabinets are the first thing that people first notice when they enter your kitchen space. For example,  white cabinets play a significant role in the overall look and style theme of your white kitchen design. In fact, for most people, their kitchen cabinets are more than just wooden furniture for storing kitchen items.

If you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen by adding a kitchen island, you probably first want to change the look and style of your kitchen cabinets. Your kitchen renovation is incomplete without considering the customizations you should consider for your upper cabinets. That’s why changing up the aesthetic of your white kitchen cabinets can replace the whole look of your kitchen theme and style.

An all-white kitchen continues to be a popular choice for many Americans and many modern kitchens.  Kitchen styles do vary over time but a cost-effective kitchen remodel can be done with glazed kitchen cabinets.  

The custom cabinets have a cream finish with chocolate glaze, CaesarStone's engineered stone on the perimeter countertops and a backsplash of glazed tile.
“French Country Kitchen” by is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Kitchen trends suggest do-it-yourself is on the rise as younger generations find cost-effective ways to spruce up, even traditional kitchens, by highlighting inlay details with glazed kitchen cabinets. You can do this with gray cabinets and traditional cabinets, pulling out some natural elements to create nice two-toned kitchen cabinets.

Table of Contents

  1. Glazing: Kitchen Cabinet Customization Options
  2. What is Glazing?
  3. How to Glaze Kitchen Cabinets
  4. Types of Glaze
  5. Are Glazed Cabinets Outdated
  6. Do Glazed Cabinets Look Dirty
  7. Can Glazed Cabinets Be Painted
  8. Should I Glaze My Kitchen Cabinets
  9. How Much Does It Cost To Glaze Cabinets
  10. Are Glazed Cabinets More Expensive
  11. How To Remove Glaze From Cabinets
  12. Conclusion

Glazing: Kitchen Cabinet Customization Options

Now, there are many types of customizations you can do with your kitchen cabinets. For example, you can re-build your kitchen cabinets, re-paint the cabinets, apply wooden paint, or you can glaze your kitchen cabinets. If you’re more into classic or prefer retro and antique styles versus contemporary kitchens, then believe us, there’s nothing better than glazing for your kitchen wood cabinets.

Some kitchen trends include the use of double islands because this type of dream kitchen benefits from large kitchen layouts, providing the ultimate flexibility to define whatever kitchen aesthetic you desire.  Large spaces are a wet dream for kitchen renovators who love to create modern kitchen designs.  This is because they are usually bright kitchens, or an industrial-style kitchen and neatly arranged kitchen plate racks.

So let’s get into it!!

What is Glazing?

Many of our readers might not know much about glazing, and some are probably hearing about it for the first time. So basically, cabinet glazing is the process of adding an overlay painting texture to your cabinets. This overlay color texture accentuates some minor details such as corners, inlays, or the whole cabinet body.

In simple language, it’s the process of adding a texture to your cabinets that gives your cabinet an antique, vintage, and gives them retro look. Or simply, creates two-toned kitchen cabinets. Moreover, it highlights the details of your cabinets and gives them a more refined look. Glazing is best if you want to get a unique and attractive antique look from your kitchen cabinets without changing the paint or anything in your cabinets.

A simple trick and more can be seen in this short video:

How to Glaze Kitchen Cabinets – Do it Yourself Tips

How to Glaze Kitchen Cabinets

Only a professional should do the glazing because it’s all about the technique you use to convert yo glazed cabinets. The craftsman or expert will use a specific polish known as “glaze polish.”  However, for simpler projects, you could do it yourself.

Depending on your style and preference, the expert will spread the polish all over your cabinet.

Now, here comes the primary technique, which is the final crafting of glaze polish. The expert craftsman will do the final finishing of the glaze polish to give your cabinet the style you want.

Note that the tone and texture are entirely dependent on the craftsman’s expertise and what type of texture you want from the glazing.

We’ve seen some amazing glazed efforts with blue kitchens and country kitchens.  But these are more challenging efforts.  Most of these were not over-the-top, but added plenty of character, moving from dull to the lively kitchen with well-glazed cabinetry.  

You have to keep personal tastes in check, especially if you are considering the future resale value of your home.  If you end up with darker colors, any fun color, or pops of color, they may make it the perfect kitchen for you, but the future home buyer may prefer classic colors or a neutral color.  

Types of Glaze

Glaze comes in two basic formulas. One is known as “oil-based,” and the other is known as “water-based.” Choosing the proper form of glaze color depends on your choice and the type of outer finish you have on your cabinets.

In our view, if your cabinets have a simple paint finish, we recommend going ahead with water-based glaze. Since most of the paints used in cabinets are water-resistant, using a water-based glaze will be perfect in that case.

On the other hand, for in-stained cabinets, using an oil-based glaze will be perfect. Since, in-stained cabinets, the stain from which cabinets are covered is made up of water. In that case, it’ll mix up the stain and glaze, which will not be suitable for your cabinet color. Oil doesn’t mix with water, and that’s why using oil-based glaze will be perfect for your stain-based cabinet.

Kitchen interior with Kraftmaid Kitchen Cabinets with Vanilla Bean Glaze
“Kitchen” by ilovebutter is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Are Glazed Cabinets Outdated

It all depends on how you want your cabinets to look like. If you’re more close to a classy and retro look, then nothing will be better than glazing your cabinets. On the other hand, glazing might not be a good idea for your kitchen cabinets if you prefer a modern look.

Similarly, it also depends on the color and style of your cabinets. If the base theme of your kitchen is more close to vintage, antique, and retro, then believe us, adding a texture of glazing over your cabinets will be the same as a cherry on top of the cake. Whereas, if your kitchen’s base theme is modern and closer to futuristic, then you might consider using other types of customizations. Because then glazing your cabinets will make your kitchen look worse and dirty.

You’ll need to look at some examples and don’t forget that the kitchen tile is also part of any future design decisions.  We’ve seen some amazing kitchens with a white or ivory subway tile backsplash that uses a slightly darker grout appearance (alabaster, a half shade darker) with the same color register as the subway tile.  It kept things mellow versus busy.  And this without glazed cabinets. 😉

Glazed white cabinets, saltillo tile and granite countertops make this a wow kitchen.
“Lots of Storage” by is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Do Glazed Cabinets Look Dirty

Again, it all depends on how you look at the glazing. For most people, glaze cabinets look like old-oxidized cabinets that have not been renovated for decades. What’s more, highlighting the glazing on the corners and the narrow borders can really give it a refined look. 

Unless we’ve missed something here, they really wouldn’t look dirty unless you’ve used the wrong color like white.  It can look “dirty” even if we all know white as a color is a kitchen staple.  You also want to buy high-quality paint colors for natural wood and wood cabinetry.  Consider sparingly using a very light, taupe-ish grey glaze.  We always recommend you test a small area first.

On the flip side, wood elements or wood grain benefits from the unique aesthetic and style when glazed. Of course, the iconic and retro wooden finish on your kitchen cabinets will attract some vintage lovers, and it will give your cabinets a refined woody look.

Kitchen room interior with granite countertop and glazed wooden cabinets.

Can Glazed Cabinets Be Painted

No! You should never paint your cabinets after the glazing. Of course, the cabinet glazing is a 2D texture art design. If you paint cabinets with glaze, then you’ve decided on your design preferences. Grin.

If you plan to paint dark cabinets, or colored cabinets,  complete this before the glazing.

Because the glazing texture is always translucent or transparent, it will still show your cabinets’ paint. Still, you can spray a protective transparent protective paint to protect your glazing texture from scratches or oxidation.

Should I Glaze My Kitchen Cabinets

It all depends on the theme and style you want in your kitchen. You need to consider this against a few factors, such as:

Kitchen room interior with glazed light grey cream kitchen cabinetry
  • How will this look with white appliances or black appliances? What about my light fixtures? Will they need to be changed? What about white countertops?
  • What about my existing cabinet hardware?  Is it made of natural materials or mixed materials?
  • Have you consider light shades compared against hardwood flooring?  
  • What are my flooring options if I make these design changes?
  • Will my glazed cabinets clash with entire walls in my kitchen?
  • If you decide to change cabinet manufacturers, or consider custom cabinets, maybe you’ll have some other color options such as charcoal gray or emerald green.

We know of one couple that used an olive green color for their kitchen island with a dark glaze or rather black glaze, which gave it a grey tone. Soft greens and white glaze remain popular and many feel it adds richness to white cabinets.

The ongoing trend of opinion is that glazing is dying out.  And yet, here we are with evidence that homeowners remain interested. Grin.

French country kitchen with cream glazed raised panel custom cabinets. Glazed ceramic tile backsplash accented with copper tiles from the Medici collection.
“Part of the Main Kitchen” by is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

If your kitchen’s base theme is similar to retro, vintage, and your preferred antique looks, then believe us, glazing is the perfect thing for your kitchen cabinets. On the flip side, if your kitchen’s base is based on a modern and futuristic theme, we suggest you do not glaze your kitchen cabinets. Moreover, glazing will add a vintage and retro look to your cabinets that some people might not like because it feels old and of an antique quality. So, to be short, it all depends on personal taste and this will really matter when you sell your home!

How Much Does It Cost To Glaze Cabinets

The cost might differ according where you live in the United States, the type of wood you’re using, the quality of your glaze paint and the expert you’ve hired. According to estimates, average cabinet glazing might cost you about 7-12$ per square foot.

Depending on your plans, such as full cabinet glazing or corners and borders,  prices may differ accordingly.  Sprucing up your cabinet this way is still the most affordable decorative element you can find out there in the market.

Are Glazed Cabinets More Expensive

Glazing remains most affordable type of cabinet decoration and texturing you can do with natural wood. It’s because the glaze is relatively cheaper than any other polishing or decorating compound used in wooden furniture. Moreover, a minimal amount of glaze is used, and it doesn’t require much hard work for you or a craftsman.

However, it doesn’t mean the cost will remain lower. Depending on whether you do this or hire someone, the type of wood you’re going to use, the type of glaze (pigmented glaze, white glaze, etc.) and many other factors, cost will vary.  

How To Remove Glaze From Cabinets

Maybe you’re changing from blue cabinetry or white cabinetry, and are looking to put on fresh paint as part of your new kitchen design.  Well, this will require some work.  Removing any glaze isn’t as easy as getting a wet, washcloth and voila, it’s done!

Removing glaze from kitchen cabinets is not that easy.  It’s not like you’ve added a sticker or some vinyl strip that peels off easily.  We hate to say it but the easiest thing you can do is simply re-paint your cabinets or wood tones that match your liking.

If this doesn’t work for you, you can try spraying WD-40 over the glazed area. As you spray the WD-40 over the glazed side, rub it up and down tightly. This should help remove all the glaze from your cabinets. But note that, after doing this, you need to re-paint your cabinet as WD-40 will also remove the background paint with glaze.


Glazing remains one of the popular options for cabinet restoration, decoration, and kitchen remodeling.  If you have cabinets with lots of design elements, consider a test with a piece of flat panel to see how it looks. If you find yourself dealing with an ornate design, it may be time to call in a specialist to finish the work.

Your design choice is driven by what cabinets you already have.  Contemporary design is can be easier because of its clean lines and you may be about to do this yourself.  Kitchen cabinet trends seem to such natural light and other bright tones work best with modern, contemporary finishes.

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