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Restyling light cabinets and furniture into darker statement pieces is a popular choice now. Pickled pink oak, honey colored maple and golden oak are some of the many of the colors that I’m asked to Restyle. When my clients decide they want a deeper brown with lots of dimension, I like to suggest either Java Gel Stain or Antique Walnut Gel Stain, both colors by General Finishes. Whether you are a confident DIY’er or you are hiring someone to do it for you, it’s helpful to compare and contrast before deciding.
Java Gel is definitely darker, almost an expresso color. It’s very rich and when applied over wood with visible grain, it creates a lot of depth and interest. It’s been dubbed the “one coat wonder” and on some already darker stained projects that is an absolute fact! However, I find that the warmth of the Java colors really comes out after 2-3 coats on lighter colored projects. Let’s take a look at some examples of what Java Gel can do for you.
Once several coats have been applied it will have a much more solid appearance. However, one of the the best attributes of gel stain is the illusion of texture, depending on how you apply. Either way, Java is a deep rich brown color. In fact, if you are really going for a solid brown look, you may want to consider Dark Chocolate Brown Milk Paint instead.
If you’re starting to think maybe Java is too dark, click here to see another oak kitchen with only two layers or Antique Walnut Gel Stain. It was applied with a staining pad and a synthetic brush and finished with Satin Gel Top Coat. In this photo it looks dark, but it’s still not as dark at Java.
If you’re entertaining the thought of transforming your light cabinets, furniture, built ins or doors dark, but are looking for gel stain that is more brown instead of expresso dark, I’d recommend trying out the Antique Walnut Gel Stain. It allows for a more distressed or antiqued wood look and more grain to show through. Even with 3 coats of Walnut Gel Stain, it does not have the solid appearance like 3 coats of Java Gel Stain.
Changing from light to dark is not just a fad or trend. It honestly makes a lot of sense! Look how the custom stained glass feature goes from drab to fab in the Antique Walnut Gel Stain Restyle below.
PS: If you’re still wondering what the difference is between regular stain and gel stain, watch this video as I explain the difference!
Still have questions? I answer a question via video every Friday on the Restyle Junkie Facebook page, send me yours and it might just be the one answered on Friday.