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Varnish is ideal if you like the look of plain wood and the cabinets were previously varnished or have been stripped down to bare wood.

The end result: cabinets styled exactly the way you like, from quirky to classic or sleek, and anything in between.

Replacing the hardware on cabinets -- generally the hinges, handles or knobs -- is a quick and relatively inexpensive way to give those cabinets an entirely new vibe.

If you're giving the cabinets an entirely new finish, prepping the current surfaces is required for optimal results with the new look.

This applies whether you plan to paint, stain or varnish the cabinets. Clean cabinets with a potent degreaser, especially near the stove, as this buildup can be hard to remove and will gunk up sandpaper.

For a color wash, apply a contrasting color over a painted cabinet using large "X" strokes.