how to update kitchen cabinets without replacing them

Over time, kitchen cabinets become outdated. What looked fantastic and modern at the installation time may no longer seem relevant or inspiring. The kitchen is the room of your house more prone to wear, and cupboards and kitchen units, in particular, can easily get damaged and fade. This results in the need for a kitchen cabinet makeover!

Replacing kitchen doors is expensive and time-consuming, so why not update your existing kitchen cabinets instead?

In this article, you’ll learn how to update kitchen cabinets without replacing them instead of paying for an expensive full refit. Read on and be ready to welcome your quasi-new cabinets!

Updating Kitchen Doors – 9 Simple Methods

Method 1: Paint Kitchen Cabinet Doors

When looking at how to revamp kitchen cupboards, the top method is to paint kitchen cabinets. Depending on the colour and paint you choose, this will definitely change your kitchen feel.

This is a time-intensive task; however, that must be given careful consideration.

First, clean the cabinets thoroughly using kitchen degreasers to remove any grease, food grime, dust, and dirt. The surface must be smooth and clean to paint over. Otherwise, the finish may look poor. It is also important to sand wood cabinets to improve the smoothness of the finish.

Secondly, you must remove the doors, hinges, and handles. This is a vital step to avoid getting any paint on them and ruining them. Go for a gloss or shabby chic feel; the choice is yours!

Extra Tip

When painting, it is also important to consider using a primer before applying the main coat – especially if you have wood cabinets. This can greatly improve the quality of the paintwork and final finish. Also, paint the different areas in a logical order, and make sure the painted cabinets are completely dry before adding a fresh coat.

Method 2: Reface the Cabinets

Painting is time-consuming, so if you don’t want to paint your cabinets, you could reface them instead. This is a process with a similar intention – instead of replacing the cabinets, you are instead drastically altering the surface.

The downside is that this is a far more difficult and time-consuming project. This is because you have to reface different parts of the cabinets. For example, you have to reface the cabinet boxes, sides, and doors and potentially replace the fixtures.

However, the effect can be fantastic. Adding a different veneer to your cabinet surfaces can breathe new life into them. It is a great way to change your kitchen’s colour scheme and transform your cabinets without replacing them.

Method 3: Install Under-Cabinet Lighting

Today, many modern kitchens utilise under-cabinet lighting. This looks incredibly stylish and can accentuate the colours and design of your cupboards, especially if you have dark cabinets. More importantly, under-cupboard lighting is also beneficial as it adds an additional light source to your kitchen and means you do not always have to rely on the central light fixture.

Under-cupboard lighting is often easy to install, particularly if you choose lighting that requires batteries. The difficult task can be to wire the lights if they need an electrical outlet.

You can buy many different lights for the underside of cabinets, including LED light strips or singular light fixtures. Lighting is also a great way to brighten your countertops.

Method 4: Add an Underside Plate Rack

You can always install a plate rack if you have enough space between your wooden cabinets and countertops.

A plate rack is a simple accessory with a rectangular wooden frame. Inside the frame, it has individual slats that act as dividers between your plates. You can use this to store your plates in an easily accessible area instead of shutting them away in your cupboards.

This type of hardware is fairly easy to install – much easier than lighting. In most instances, it is a simple case of fixing the top side of the frame to the underside of the cabinets. The rack will usually include step-by-step instructions so that you can make a secure connection between the cupboard and the rack. Enjoy some extra space in your kitchen!

Method 5: Add Cabinet Crown Moulding

Crown moulding is a brilliant way to create custom cabinets and radically change their style and design.

Moulding typically sits above the cabinets and bridges any gap between your cupboard and the kitchen ceiling.

They are similar to moulding that you find around ceilings in your home. You can find many different mould designs. Plus, it is easy to find a design that matches your cabinets’ colour, material, and style. You could also check with the original manufacturer to see if they also produce any matching mouldings.

The mouldings are simple to install. Depending on the material, it is usually a case of fixing the moulding to the top of your cabinets using either wood glue or screws, extending cabinetry up to the ceiling.

Method 6: Replace the Fixtures

removing a cupboard door

If you are updating kitchen cabinets on a budget, then replacing the fixtures is a simple thing you can do. The fixtures are the cabinet handles, hinges, and stoppers that hold interior shelves up.

These items are incredibly easy to remove and replace. In most instances, you can simply unscrew cabinet handles, for example, and attach new ones. You can buy a completely new set from DIY stores and home improvement stores for a minimum expense.

Something simple like this can radically change the look of your cupboard doors. It can also modernise them if the old fixtures look outdated.

Method 7: Install Interior-Cabinet Lighting

While underside cabinet lighting is fantastic, so is interior lighting! Internal cabinet lights can change the way your cabinets look entirely. For example, this works better on open shelving or cabinets with see-through doors.

You can find many different types of internal lights in DIY stores. Some require hardwiring, while others may only require long-lasting batteries.

It is a simple case of sticking the lights to your cabinets in most instances. You may have to drill some small holes in the back of your cabinets for the wiring to feed through.

Method 8: Remove the Doors

If your cabinet doors look outdated, why not remove them? A cabinet door is incredibly easy to remove. Usually, you just have to unscrew the door hinges.

By removing the doors, you can completely change the look of your kitchen cabinets. This also means that things like interior cabinet lighting will be far more effective. Lastly, it also means that you can easily access your food and supplies!

This may leave noticeable holes where the hinges were removed, but you can easily fill these holes with wooden plugs, stoppers, or even filler and painted over.

Method 9: Replace Glass With Different Materials

white modern cooking station

Many cupboard doors have glass inserts. These can look fantastic, but they can also look outdated – especially if they have trellis patterns inside the glass.

A simple thing you can do to update kitchen cabinets is to remove the glass. This may require a little handiwork, but it is possible. Some glass inserts may also be held in place with metal fixtures.

Once you have removed the glass, you can consider installing a different type of material. For example, to create a retro-style for your cupboard doors, why not consider installing a metal grid? There are many possibilities to revamp your cabinets and replace outdated glass.

Updating Kitchen Cabinet FAQs

Is It Expensive to Replace Kitchen Cabinets?

It can be yes! However, this depends on the new hardware you choose. Many cabinets are expensive. Also it is also often not cost-effective to pay for the doors to be removed and new ones installed.

Can You Replace Kitchen Cabinets Yourself?

You can, but it requires a decent amount of DIY knowledge and skills. The cupboards themselves are mostly easy to put together – like flatpack furniture. However, the challenge is in the installation. It can be difficult to make sure everything fits and is aligned properly – even when following step-by-step instructions for renovating kitchen cupboards.

Can You Repaint Your Existing Cabinets Yourself?

Yes! As you can see from the above, this is a great way of upcycling kitchen cupboards. Providing that you choose suitable paint, you can complete this job yourself. It is also one of the most cost-effective ways of updating kitchen cabinets.

Time to Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

We hope you have found this guide on how to update kitchen cabinets without replacing them useful! There are many creative ways you can spruce up your cupboards and modernise them!

As you can see, an old kitchen cabinets makeover is perfectly possible. Don’t settle for outdated kitchen doors that look like they belong in a different century! Instead, try out some of these tips and see how you can improve your kitchen storage! Whether you will be painting your cabinet doors or installing interior lighting, make sure to share the final results below!

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