How to makeover old kitchen cabinets

Written by michelle matthews
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How to makeover old kitchen cabinets
Getting fresh, modern cabinets is as easy as updating your old, ratty cabinets. (Kitchen image by armanxo from

If you're sick of your kitchen's look, you might daydream about gutting your cabinets and installing expensive, brand new replacements. Of course, not everyone has the budget to makes these kinds of changes. Fortunately, to get an updated look in the kitchen, you don't need to replace your existing cabinets. A little D.I.Y. spirit and a few hours on a weekend can give your kitchen cabinets a nice facelift.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Wood glue
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Screwdriver
  • Sand paper
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint or stain
  • Paint transfers
  • New hardware
  • Cabinet liner

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  1. 1

    Determine what kind of look you want to go for with your cabinet makeover. If you want just a subtle difference, you may not need to follow all of the steps here. If you want a radical change, consider how modern you want your cabinets to look. Also think about how the cabinets will match the rest of your kitchen's decor

  2. 2

    Repair any broken areas of the cabinets. Simple wood glue and a hammer and nails should do the trick for most damage. For major damage, consult a professional to prevent further damage to your cabinets.

  3. 3

    Sand the cabinets and the doors down first to apply a new coat of paint or stain. Remove the doors with the screwdriver for this step. You can either apply a glossy, bright, colourful paint to give your cabinets a more modern look, or you can apply a natural wood stain.

  4. 4

    Replace your cabinet doors. This step is optional. If you don't like the design or cut of your doors, you can have your doors measured and have a woodcutter cut you new doors in the design and shape you prefer. You can stain or paint the doors to match the rest of your cabinets.

  5. 5

    Consider adding a decorative paint transfers to one or more of your cabinet doors to give your kitchen a customised look. Instant Expressions is one easy-to-apply brand that is available both online and at most craft stores. The paint transfers are available in many motifs, designs and even letters. You simply press the design to the cabinet, wet the back of it with a sponge, and peel it off, like a large temporary tattoo for your cabinet. If you tend to change your mind frequently, you can also paint over the designs easily with a primer and start over again, or you can sand the design right off.

  6. 6

    Update your cabinets' knobs. This is a simple step that can have a dramatic effect. Going from old brassy knobs to sleek, modern brushed steel knobs can make a big difference, and it's a change that doesn't cost very much.

  7. 7

    Replace old cabinet hardware, including hinges and slides. These are a relatively inexpensive addition and the shiny new metal will take years off of the face of your cabinets. It will also reduce any creaks or squeaks they make.

  8. 8

    Line your cabinets. Lining your cabinets protects your dishes and your cabinets. You don't need to get the decorative cabinet liner that your mother bought. Instead, opt for something more sturdy, practical and environmentally friendly. Cork and cinnamon bark are viable options that are also attractive.

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