If you’re finally fed up with your dingy, outdated kitchen, but you don’t want to spend the funds on a complete renovation, changing your kitchen cabinets is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to give the room a facelift. Because of how much visual weight cabinetry has, giving them even the slightest update will help revive your kitchen. You’ll actually want to actually spend time in there—not just rush off to the living room when you’re finished eating. Here are some of our favorite budget-friendly ideas to refurbish existing cabinetry that will fool everyone into thinking your kitchen is brand new.
We know this is the obvious choice, but there really is no better way to get the most bang for your buck when it comes to updating your kitchen cabinets on a budget than with a fresh coat of paint. Since cabinetry is almost always the main focal point in the kitchen, reviving your dated wood-stained doors or lackluster beige-painted ones with a new, stylish cabinet color will instantly change the look and feel of your kitchen—and you won’t have to shell out your entire month’s paycheck. Here’s a great tutorial from DIY Network on how to paint kitchen cabinets
If you’re not ready for a big undertaking like painting cabinets, take a simpler approach by replacing the hardware with new knobs and handles. This do-in-one-day upgrade is easy to install and works wonders to cheer up a drab kitchen or connect the room with your design aesthetic. You can always remove them and add them back if you ever decide to put on your DIY hat and paint the cabinets.
Spray and Go
Don’t want to invest in new knobs and pulls? An ultra-frugal way to freshen up less-than-attractive kitchen hardware (we’re talking to you, builder’s grade brass handles) is to invest in a can of spray paint. Yes, really. This $5 makeover can add to your kitchen’s ambiance in a few simple steps. Choose high quality spray paints in finishes like of-the-moment matte black, copper, oil-rubbed bronze, or chrome—just make sure it’s meant for metal.
A tip from the pros: Thoroughly clean the hardware and prime them before you start in order for the paint to really stick.
We know open shelving can be intimidating, but simply removing cabinet doors can completely transform a drab kitchen with minimal effort. The look helps your kitchen appear brighter and more airy, while allowing you to create a more homey vibe by showing off colorful dishes and personal items. But one thing’s for sure: It will force you to tackle the clutter that’s hiding behind those doors. If you like the look of open shelves, but aren’t quite ready to take the leap, meet the trend halfway by removing one or two doors. We suggest the ones on your upper cabinets that flank the sink or stove.
Tuxedo kitchens are a surefire way to turn your space into a Pinterest-perfect escape. While the trend definitely reinvents the traditional kitchen cabinetry look, it’s not too out-of-the-box so it has long-term staying power. Darker shades like hunter green, navy, and black wokr well with neutral upper cabinets to add warmth and dimension to the room. If you’re not afraid of color, two bold hues will make the kitchen an unexpected show-stopper.
You won’t believe how easy it is to turn your plain flat-front doors into charming Shaker style cabinetry—especially with this easy-to-follow DIY tutorial from Cherished Bliss. In the simplest terms, all you have to do is nail wood trim onto pre-existing cabinets after you clean and sand them. While it does require some effort, the hard work is worth it when the result is timeless, elegant look that goes with practically any decorating style.
Stroke of Color
A splash of color or pattern in the interiors of glass-front cabinets or open shelving offsets a neutral kitchen with a subtle dose of personality. Not to mention it creates a sense of depth so your space will appear a little bit larger. Graphic wallpaper gives a modern touch to the doorless look that’s often more rustic or country.
Tired of the glass front cabinets you’ve been staring at for years? Grilles are the easy-to-install answer to your tiresome kitchen. The decorative metal or wire mesh provides a simple way to add interest to your kitchen. Whether you opt for a small-scale grid pattern that skews more vintage or a bold geometric print for a more glam look, grilles are a eye-catching update.
Give your country kitchen further farmhouse character by revamping your cabinets with bead board. It’s seriously easy thanks to bead board wallpaper. Install it in the center cutout section (or add wood trim on the edges if your cabinets are flat) to complete the charming look.
If your significant other is constantly putting dishes back in the wrong spot, this helpful little detail will spell it out for him or her in the most delightful way. A 30-ounce can of chalkboard paint will set you back only $10, and it’s a cute way to label where everything goes and give simple cabinets something to be excited about.
Utilize crown molding at the tops of your cabinetry for a low-cost way to make your cupboards look custom. Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love show how a $35 DIY unified their traditional-meets-modern kitchen.
Squeeze every square inch out of your small kitchen by retrofitting the dead space on your lower cabinets into toe-kick drawers. This simple addition blends seamlessly into the design of your kitchen, but the little extra storage spot is the perfect way to declutter your overcrowded cabinets. These drawers are the ideal place to store less frequently used items like cookie sheets, muffin tins, and cooling racks.
Want a fast way to make bland boxed cabinetry look expensive? Decorative furniture feet provide a lovely little dose of craftsman flair.
If your kitchen cabinets don’t extend all the way to the ceiling, install a shelf above them to make use of the wasted vertical space. Show off your collection of ceramic bowls and cake plates, use the extra space to store rarely-used serving dishes, or create a well-styled shelf with cookbooks and plants for a chic, well-curated feel.