When it comes to giving your cabinets new life, you have options. Some are pretty simple and don’t require a lot of effort; some are quite challenging and may generate a great deal of mess and confusion. They’re all valid options, though, depending on just how much time you’re willing to put into the project.
You’ll have the most flexibility if you’re working with wooden cabinets, whether or not they’ve been painted previously. Laminated cabinets (also sometimes called MDF) are a bit of a different beast, and are very difficult to change once they’ve been installed. Here are a few things you should consider, depending on your cabinets:
- Swapping Hardware. Sometimes, the thing making your cabinets feel old and dated is the hardware. It might sound like a small thing, but heavy cabinet hardware from the 1970s has a whole different feel than more streamlined contemporary hardware. If you’re on a small budget, or you can’t have your kitchen torn apart for an extended period, investing in new hardware could give you a whole new look.
- Repainting.This is generally only a trick to try on cabinets that are made of wood, but if you use specially designed paints and primers, you can often make paint stick to laminated or metal cabinets. Choose a paint that’s self-leveling and dries hard, like a latex-based enamel cabinet paint, along with a bonding primer, for the very best results.
- You’ll need to take the doors down, sand the existing finish just enough to rough it up, and allow for plenty of dry time, but because these paints are tintable, the sky is really the limit. It goes on just like other high grade paint, so mix and match colors, paint two-tone designs on your existing cabinetry, or freehand it with fancy designs for a look you really love.
- Restaining.This will only work with wood cabinets, but you can really change the look of a room simply by restaining your existing cabinets. It’s possible to strip old paint off of painted cabinets, but be warned: it will be a lot of work and mess, so do it outside as much as you can.
- Once you have all the old stain or paint sanded off, apply your new stain per package directions. Today’s stains come in a lot more than traditional “wood” colors; many can create simulated whitewash or aged wood, or add a thin tint of color that will still allow the wood grain to show through.
If redoing your cabinet doors seems like it may be more mess than you’re prepared to deal with, or you want to change the actual design of your cabinet doors, another viable option would be to order all new cabinet doors. You may still need to paint or stain the cabinet bases to match, but a whole new design is a lot easier to achieve with new doors, and replacing those doors is a lot simpler than replacing all your cabinets.
Need a Little Help Deciding?
Not quite sure what you want to do with your cabinets? It’s ok, we’ve all been there. Just look in HomeKeepr for a recommendation for a cabinet maker, interior designer, or general contractor with kitchen experience. These experts know how to make your dreams come to life, no matter how specific they might be.