Ideas for Old Kitchen Cabinets


Kitchen cabinets are expensive to replace, easily amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, including labor costs. Instead of buying new cabinets, buy yourself more time with what you have by giving your old kitchen cabinets a face lift, suggests This Old House. Painting, refacing, repairing and adding interesting hardware can give them a like-new look and feel, while saving you money.

Don't Replace, Reface

  • A quality refacing job is one of the more expensive options for re-doing your old kitchen cabinets, says This Old House. However, it is less intrusive than starting from scratch and allows you to keep your quality boxes. "Some of the cabinets built 20 and 30 years ago are more solidly constructed than most modular, prebuilt cabinets today," says a contractor for This Old House. Refacing, which consists of veneering the existing cabinet boxes and replacing just the doors, can cost approximately $3,500 to $10,000. This is a good option for kitchens cabinets that are structurally intact, but have doors with chipped veneer and joints that are opening up. Doors are sold by the square foot and can be ordered by mail in various woods and designs, says This Old House. You can find a list of companies that offer replacement doors at the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association website.

Paint Cabinets

  • One of the least expensive but labor intensive ways to spruce up old kitchen cabinets is to paint them. You will need to sand and prime before you paint, but it's possible to get the entire job done in a full weekend. By removing the grease and the old gloss finish, you help ensure a durable new paint job that sticks. This project should be done under dry weather conditions, to help the paint dry faster and allow you to open windows for ventilation. Choose an oil-based paint and primer which provide a smooth, fast-drying and durable finish. When choosing paint colors and finishes, consider the size and lighting in your kitchen. White makes a small kitchen look bigger and a high gloss finish is more resistant to staining and highly reflective indoors.

Replace Hardware

  • Replace the hinges and handles on your cabinets to update their look and improve performance. You can choose from handles, which require two holes and therefore more work to install, or easier, single knobs. Coordinate the hardware's finish with your kitchen's faucet and/or appliances. This Old House suggests polished chrome or brushed nickel. They also recommend using a handle or two knobs for long drawers measuring more than 27 inches. The hinge finish should match the handle finish, and don't overuse accent or offbeat hardware in novelty shapes and themes.

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