How to Change Kitchen Cabinets Cheaply

Written by kristan hart
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How to Change Kitchen Cabinets Cheaply
Update your kitchen with an affordable kitchen cabinet makeover. (Kitchen image by armanxo from

You can cheaply remodel or replace your kitchen cabinets. In addition to being storage for your food and supplies, kitchen cabinets can help set the decor of the space, making them an important element of the kitchen. However, that doesn't mean you have to spend a lot of money to make your kitchen cabinets more appealing and fucntional.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Drill
  • Paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Roller pan
  • Paint thinner
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Scouring pad
  • Sandpaper
  • Lint free cloth
  • Paint
  • Wood stain
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Razor blade
  • Hammer
  • Finish nails
  • Kitchen cabinet door hinges
  • Kitchen cabinet door knobs
  • Drawer pulls
  • Screwdriver

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    Paint or Stain Kitchen Cabinets

  1. 1

    Take the doors off your kitchen cabinets and remove the hinges. It's easier to do a professional job if you lay the kitchen cabinet doors on a flat surface. Use a drill to remove the screws that hold the cabinets and hinges in place.

  2. 2

    Remove the finish from the cabinets. If you have painted kitchen cabinets, brush paint thinner onto the surface to remove the paint. Allow the paint thinner to set according to the manufacturer's recommendations, then wipe the old paint off using a soapy scouring pad. If you have stained cabinets, rub sandpaper over the surface to remove the stain.

  3. 3

    Wipe away any dust or debris left on the cabinets with a cloth after the old finished has been removed. Then, clean the surface of the cabinets with soap and water and allow them to air dry completely before you apply new paint or a stain.

  4. 4

    Paint or stain the cabinets. Use a paintbrush to apply stain or a paint roller to paint to the cabinets. Apply the paint or stain in the same direction as the grain of the wood for a uniform look. Add as many coats of either paint or stain until you achieve the colour you desire.

    Change Kitchen Cabinet Doors and Drawer Fronts

  1. 1

    Replace only the doors to the cabinets. Replacing cabinet doors costs less than half of what you would pay for a full kitchen cabinet makeover. The most common kitchen cabinet door styles are recessed panel, raised panel and a slab, which is a flat door without raised or recessed features.

  2. 2

    Replace drawer fronts to match your new kitchen cabinet doors. You can install a new front on a drawer while leaving the structure of the drawer intact. Open the drawer and look at the back of the drawer front to determine how it is attached to the drawer. If the front is attached with screws, use your drill to unscrew them. If it is attached with staples, use needle nose pliers to pull the staples out. If the front is glued to the drawer use a razor blade between your drawer and the front to break the glue seal.

  3. 3

    Add moulding. Spruce up the framework that supports your kitchen cabinet doors by adding moulding to your kitchen cabinets. Place the moulding up against your kitchen cabinets in the location where you want to install it, then hammer finish nails through the moulding and into the cabinetry to secure it in place.

    Change Kitchen Cabinet Hardware

  1. 1

    Replace the hinges that secure your kitchen cabinet doors to the cabinet frame. Updating your hinges are a cheap way to change the look of your kitchen cabinets. Exposed hinges attach to the frame and the cabinet door where you can see them when the door is closed. Concealed hinges screw into the recessed areas in your kitchen cabinet frame and into the back of your kitchen cabinet door, so you don't see the hinges when you look at your cabinets with the door closed. Use your drill to remove the screws that secure the old hinges, then use it to screw the new hinges in place.

  2. 2

    Replace the existing knobs on your kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. If you currently have knobs, consider replacing them with pull handles to give the drawers a new look. Choosing a different finish like silver, wood or gold can also help you remodel kitchen cabinets cheaply. For easier installation, choose handles that are the same size as the current handles, but a different style. Remove the old handles with a screwdriver, then position your new handles over the existing holes. Use the screwdriver to thread a screw through the back of the cabinet, through the existing hole and into the kitchen cabinet knobs or handles to hold the knobs or handles in place.

  3. 3

    Add new hardware to kitchen cabinets that previously didn't have hardware. Adding handles to a slab kitchen cabinet door or drawer is a great way to freshen up the look of your kitchen. Determine where you want to add the handles, and then use a tape measure to mark the spot on each kitchen cabinet door and drawer. Measure the same distance for each cabinet so you install your handles consistently in the same location on every cabinet and drawer. Drill a pilot hole in the location you want to install your new hardware, and then thread a screw through the back of your kitchen cabinet so it threads through the existing hole and into the kitchen cabinet knobs or handles to hold the knobs or handles in place.

Tips and warnings

  • Remove all of your dishes and kitchen utensils from your cabinets and drawers, so they don't get dirty or damaged during the remodelling process.
  • Consider laminate veneers that you can buy to cover your existing kitchen cabinet doors. This can significantly change the look of your kitchen without requiring you to replace your kitchen cabinets.

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