Living Space: Update your kitchen cabinets without spending a fortune

By Kathryn Weber
Sept. 12, 2013 at 4:12 a.m.

If you choose to paint, don't be shy about color. Try a bold approach.

If you choose to paint, don't be shy about color. Try a bold approach.

Kitchen cabinets make a strong style statement, but if you've thought about replacing yours, the project may seem daunting. A lengthy kitchen renovation usually requires a big budget and often more time than money. But there are lots of ways to freshen up your cabinets and save on both.

Quick changes

Sometimes, simply sprucing up the look of your cabinets is all it takes to give your kitchen a whole new feel. Easy ways to update always start with paint. If your cabinets are already painted, why not change the color?

And don't be shy; try a bold approach with bright shades like orange, robin's egg blue or yellow. If those colors seem a little too loud, other stylish options include all shades of gray, mossy greens and steely blues. Or you could simply try painting only the top or bottom cabinets a different color to create a contrast.

Still more choices include pulling out select cabinets, such as an island or a sink cabinet for painting.

Other quick changes include mixing up open and closed cabinets. Removing a few doors to create an open display cabinet can give your kitchen a new focal point and can make the room seem larger. Of course, door insets can also be removed and replaced with glass for a lighter, brighter look.


If you have a little larger budget, resurfacing will give your cabinets a new look without a complete tear out. You can hire out the work or replace doors and drawer fronts yourself by ordering online.

If you're ready to move on from cabinets altogether, consider replacing with them with open shelves. Yet another way to shake things up is to do a minimal tear out and just replace one bank of cabinets with open shelves.

If you'd like bold style and want a big, graphic print or design on your cabinets or even a picture of your favorite vacation spot, it's all possible with Custom Cupboards Facets cabinets. Virtually any design, color or picture you can imagine can be imprinted on your cabinets. Love plaid or geometric designs? Even these are available.

Jazzy options

Still another option is tricking out your cabinets. This can include installing roll out shelves and organizers, interior lighting, under cabinet lighting and painting or wallpapering the cabinet interiors. New hardware always adds interest.

Retro style is making strides, too. Try adding arched framing around a kitchen window or rounded corner cabinets that were once so popular.

If your cabinet fronts are flat, interesting molding and accents like bead board can change up the appearance. Even small, simple additions can have a big impact.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website.



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