How to Update Kitchen Cabinets Without Breaking the Bank

Last updated on June 23, 2024

Learn easy and fun ways to update your kitchen cabinets without breaking the bank.

Considering a kitchen facelift but dreading a full renovation? Updating your cabinets can breathe new life into your culinary haven without tearing the place apart. From refacing to painting and everything in between, this guide covers all the juicy details. Ready to transform your cabinets with minimal effort and cost? Keep reading—you’re in the right place!

Key takeaways:

  • Reface cabinets with new fronts for a fresh look.
  • Swap hardware for instant cabinet transformation.
  • Paint cabinets; consider a bold color for impact.
  • Add floating shelves to modernize, open up space.
  • Install dividers, slide-out shelves for organized drawers.

What's Inside

Reface the Cabinets

reface the cabinets

Give your kitchen a dazzling facelift without a major overhaul. Replace the old cabinet doors and drawer fronts with new ones.

Opt for different materials: wood, laminate, or even metal for a dramatic change. Match the new fronts with your existing cabinet boxes for a seamless look.

Change the color or finish to add personality. Cherry wood can transform into sleek, modern ebony.

Don’t overlook the hinges. Soft-close hinges are a game changer, making your kitchen feel high-end and whisper-quiet.

Lastly, think about the style: shaker, flat-panel, or raised panel. Your choice will set the design tone for the entire kitchen.

Swap Out the Hardware

Want a quick fix that packs a punch? Changing the handles and knobs on your cabinets can instantly elevate their look. Think of it as your kitchen accessorizing for a night out.

First, decide on the style you want to achieve. Modern and sleek? Go for stainless steel or matte black. Feeling vintage? Glass or ceramic knobs might be more your style.

Not all handles are created equal. Make sure the new hardware matches the existing hole spacing. Measure twice, shop once.

Mix and match. Nobody said you have to stick with one type of handle. Combine knobs and pulls strategically to create visual interest.

Want a quirky touch? Opt for novelty hardware in unique shapes like tiny forks and spoons. Your guests will either applaud your creativity or wonder if you’ve been drinking the cooking wine. Either way, a conversation starter.

Discover the Power of Paint

Ready to give those cabinets a fresh vibe? A can of paint is your best friend! You can choose a classic white for a clean look or go bold with navy or forest green for a modern touch.

Make sure to prep the surface. Clean, sand, and prime those cabinets so the paint sticks properly. You don’t want any peeling paint drama down the line.

Consider using a semi-gloss or satin finish. These are more durable and easier to clean, perfect for a kitchen setting.

For a fun twist, paint the inside of open cabinets a contrasting color. It adds a surprise pop of color every time you reach for a mug.

Add Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a game-changer! Instead of dealing with your old clunky cabinets, consider replacing a few sections with sleek, floating shelves. They instantly update the look and open up your kitchen by making it feel more spacious.

Display your favorite dishware. Those beautiful plates and bowls? Put them out for everyone to see. Your kitchen will feel more personal and stylish.

Keep frequently used items handy. Spices, olive oil, and mugs can find a new home on your floating shelves. It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s functional too.

Mix and match. Pair wooden shelves with metal brackets for a trendy, modern farmhouse look. Or go all white for a clean, minimalist vibe.

Floating shelves are versatile. You can place them above the sink, next to the stove, or wherever you need a little storage boost.

Enjoy easy access. No more digging around in the back of a cabinet for that one thing you need. Everything is right there in plain sight.

Install Drawer Dividers and Slide-Out Shelves

Imagine never having to riffling through a drawer again just to find that one elusive spatula. Drawer dividers keep everything in its place. Simply measure the drawer’s interior and choose adjustable dividers that fit. Boom! Instant organization.

Slide-out shelves make life smooth—literally. No more bottomless pit shenanigans as you sift through your pantry. Think about it. Just pull out the shelf, and everything you need is right there, ready to grab and go. First, measure your cabinet’s depth, width, and height. Then, find slide-out shelves that fit, install them with some basic brackets, and enjoy a new level of kitchen zen.

Both features are especially useful for those lower cabinets, where stuff tends to vanish into the abyss. With these simple upgrades, your kitchen will feel like a high-end culinary workspace where you’re the master chef.

Brighten Up With Wallpaper

Wallpaper can be an absolute game-changer. Yes, wallpaper in the kitchen, trust me on this! Choose a vibrant or subtle pattern to line the back of open cabinets or glass-front doors. It instantly adds depth and character.

You could go for something bold and colorful to make a statement, or a softer, more neutral pattern for a subtle facelift. The best part? If you change your mind or your style evolves, it’s not too difficult to swap out.

Also, think removable wallpaper. It’s an easy, non-committal way to experiment. Stick it on, peel it off – no harm, no foul.

Pro tip: Consider patterns that are easy to wipe clean. Spaghetti sauce on your gorgeous Victorian floral print? Not a problem with the right material. Enjoy the fun and flair without the fear of stains!

Add Molding

Molding can dramatically elevate the look of your kitchen cabinets. It’s like giving them a fancy hat without breaking the bank.

First, crown molding added to the tops of your cabinets draws the eye upward, creating the illusion of taller, more grandiose cabinetry. Perfect for apartments with low ceilings.

Next, consider under-cabinet molding. It hides under-cabinet light fixtures and gives a smooth, finished look that channels those high-end kitchens on TV.

For a bit of glamour, think about decorative trim on the cabinet doors and drawers. This tiny touch can transform plain, flat fronts into eye-catching focal points.

Chair rail molding can also be used to add sophistication below cabinets or along walls. It’s a subtle way to add texture and interest.

Lastly, add some whimsical baseboard molding where your cabinets meet the floor. Not only does it complete the look, but it helps in cleaning up those hard-to-reach dust bunnies too.

Light Up the Area Under Cabinets

Adding lights under your cabinets isn’t just stylish—it’s practical. Think of it as giving your kitchen a fabulous, illuminated facelift.

First, consider LED strip lights. They’re energy-efficient, easy to install, and can change colors. Who doesn’t want a disco kitchen?

If you prefer something more classic, puck lights are your friend. These small, circular lights evenly distribute brightness, perfect for late-night snacking.

For a high-tech touch, go for sensor-activated lights. They turn on when you open a cabinet door or drawer. Magic? Almost.

Under-cabinet lights can also help highlight a sleek backsplash or showcase your stunning granite countertops. It’s a win-win: functional and fabulous.

Remove Some Doors

Taking some doors off your kitchen cabinets can really open up the space and make everything feel more accessible. Start by choosing which cabinets will go doorless. It works best for upper cabinets, especially the ones you use frequently.

First, grab a screwdriver and remove the hinges. Piece of cake, right? You might want to fill in the screw holes and touch up the paint for a smooth finish. Now, what to do with that new open space? Display your favorite dishes, glassware, or even cookbooks. It’s like curating your own mini art exhibit.

Just remember, this look shines brightest when what’s inside is neatly organized. It’s a perfect excuse to get those cute matching containers you’ve been eyeing. See? Your kitchen just got a chic upgrade with minimal effort.

Swap Wood Doors for Glass-Front Doors

Say goodbye to those overly solid wood doors and make way for some chic, transparent flair. Glass-front doors are a game-changer.

First, they open up your kitchen visually, making it feel bigger and more spacious. Imagine walking into the kitchen and actually seeing your beautiful dinnerware and charming mason jars without opening a single door.

Second, they’re a breeze to clean. No more scrubbing wooden surfaces till your arms fall off. A quick wipe, and you’re done.

Lastly, they add a touch of elegance. Your kitchen will go from homely to Pinterest-worthy in no time. Just be sure to keep your shelves tidy – no one wants to see a chaotic noodle avalanche.

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