Skip to Content

Transforming My Bathroom Vanity With Gel Stain

Transforming My Bathroom Vanity With Gel Stain

With outdated hardware and a yellow-ish finish, all of my bathroom vanities needed a makeover.Seeing what an ordeal it was to paint my kitchen cabinets with oil paint, however, I was looking for an easy way out.Thank goodness I stumbled upon a new product called gel stain( here is the one I used).

*This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on one of those links and buy something, I may receive a small commission, but you won’t pay a dime more.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

After some intensive research and a few tutorials, I decided I would take the leap and try the  gel stain. So glad I did. The application was super easy and after two years, the product has not even one scratch.

Here is what the vanity looked like before the gel stain application.

gel stain vanity diy

Here is the vanity after 3 coats of  Java Gel Stain
and some new chrome hardware.

gel stain bathroom vanity

The color I went with, Java, deceptively appears as black in these photos. However, it is more like a super dark wood finish.

Materials Needed

How I Gel Stained My Vanity

1. Remove existing hardware and tape off your working area.

2. If desired, remove doors and drawers. I took the lazy way out and omitted this step.

3. Lightly sand your surface with sandpaper. The beauty of  gel stain is that you don’t have to make a big to-do of this step.

4. Put latex glove on your working hand (hand you want to apply stain with). Then, place sock over your latex glove and start applying your  stain. I know it sounds weird, but application of the stain with old socks is really the easiest way I found. Because the stain will bleed through your sock, latex glove is necessary to avoid getting stain on your hand.

5. Don’t freak out after your first or second coats! It will look ugly AF at first. Here is how mine looked after the second coat. Also, be sure to let each coat dry completely between application.

IMG_20150307_095204988_HDR (1)

6. Use small foam brush for touch ups or hard to reach areas.

8. After you are happy with the finish, let dry overnight. Then apply wipe on polyurethane. It is best to apply 2-3 coats. I only applied one coat and I still havent had any dings or scratches.

9. Re-install hardware and enjoy your new vanity!!!

Here is the finished product.
gel stain bathroom vanity

Like I said, I would highly recommend this particular gel stain and no one is paying me to say so. I found it so much easier than using actual paint.

In fact, I have found gel stain to be so durable, I even applied it on my front exterior doors which you can read all about in this tutorial.

Update 6-8-2018: My gel stain cabinets are still holding up beautifully, but I also recently discovered a cutting-edge paint product that I used to paint my kitchen cabinets with- by the same company- (and no…I am not being paid to endorse this product). To read my hack for painting your cabinets or bathroom vanity the easiest way possible, click here to read the post.  This type of paint is particularly useful if you cannot find the gel stain in your desired color or if you need a product that will go over cabinets that have already been painted . Good luck, babes!

Now get out there and design some good vibes !!!

how to gel stain cabinets
most popular blog postsmy most popular diy tutorials



My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...


Tuesday 7th of February 2017

Great job - you've given me the solution for our master bathroom!

Designing Vibes

Tuesday 7th of February 2017

Thank you , Sadiya. So glad I could help!


Saturday 19th of November 2016

Looks great! Is the vanity real wood or laminate?

Designing Vibes

Sunday 20th of November 2016

Thanks, Tanya! The vanity is real wood. Hope this helps.

Melissa Bateman

Friday 11th of November 2016

Hi! This looks amazing! What kind of polyurethane did you use on top? Thanks!

Designing Vibes

Sunday 13th of November 2016

Thanks, Melissa! I used Minwax's Wipe-On Poly. Hope this helps!


Saturday 29th of October 2016

Absolutely stunning! Our vanities are painted. Would the paint need to be stripped prior to applying this gel? Or will a light sand work?

Designing Vibes

Sunday 30th of October 2016

Thanks, Mimi. I am honestly not sure how the stain would do on a painted surface, but I would think the surface should be stripped before application.

Lisa Noland

Sunday 16th of October 2016

It looks beautiful! I would like to redo my stairs which are hardwood, do you know if this would work? I do realize I would need a harder finishing coat, any suggestions??? Thanks in advance. ?


Thursday 19th of January 2017

We just recently did this for our stairs! We painted white risers and gel stained the treds. :) Turned out fabulous!

Designing Vibes

Monday 17th of October 2016

I am not sure, Lisa. I am sure it could work, but it may be easier just to use a stain specifically for flooring. Thanks for stopping by!