How to Update Kitchen Cabinets without Replacing Them

Your kitchen cabinets hold a prominent place in your kitchen, creating a significant influence on the feeling of the entire room. As a favorite and well-used room in every home, your kitchen should always have in an inviting mood.

With older cabinets, you can either go for a full replacement, or spruce them up with attractive upgrades to the color, lighting, and smaller hardware . You need only employ some modern design techniques that complement the overall theme and color scheme of the room.

If you want to go big and treat yourself to a full replacement job, be sure you’re working with a general contractor who employs skilled professionals who will provide beautiful craftsmanship you can enjoy for years to come.

But if you’re in the mood for the adventure of a DIY job, we’ve got some great ideas to inspire any aspiring handyman (or woman) who wants to stretch their creative muscles:  


The fastest way to upgrade kitchen cabinets is to add a fresh coat of paint. For a pop of texture, you can employ a weaving tool, or even crumpled newspaper, to brush over the paint before it dries. Placing a rounded paint sponge over a rotating drill can help coat hard-to-reach spots like the inner edges of the cabinet that sit close to the framing.

A tub of paint, a few choice brushes, some tape, a shallow bucket, and some protective cloth should be all you need to give your cabinets a nice face lift. Be sure you practice safety by using a step ladder, rather than trying to balance on the countertops.

Fabrics and Wallpapers

Tasteful fabric or wallpaper can add texture and personality to your cabinets without the mess of a paint job. Be sure the fabric and adhesive you select are durable enough to withstand the heat and vapor of cooking. Colorful fabrics and wallpapers can be found at your local hobby shop or home repair store, where they can be custom cut to fit the dimensions you need.

If colorizing the cabinets themselves seems a bit bold for your taste, try using thinner strips to apply to the paneling between the doors. Take a pic with your phone before heading to the store, so you’re sure to pick a color palette that matches the paint or wood grain you’re working with.

Change the hardware

Changing the hardware on your kitchen cabinets is a great way spruce up their appearance with attractive accessories. This can provide a major improvement with minimal effort. For a cost-effective creative touch, you can use household cement to glue small items like sea glass or river rocks to plain knobs and handles. For a simpler solution, repainting the doorknobs and drawer handles can add a pop of color and dimension to your space.


If you’ve got glass panes in your cabinet doors, you can run some lighting through the inner partitions to add a touch of warmth. With the right tools, it’s fairly easy to drill some small holes for the wiring, then affix a few lighting huts to the “ceiling” of your cabinetry. This option is both attractive and useful, as those bowls and glasses in the back of the shelves will be easier to spot.

Plate Racks and Cup Hooks

There are many products on the market that can maximize your cabinet space while making it more attractive as well. Wire plate racks add a layer of storage, making it easier to organize your dishes. For coffee cups with handles, upholstery hooks can be screwed into the inner walls of your cabinets, further reducing stacks and clutter.

Crown Molding

Adding crown molding to the top edges of your cabinet gives your kitchen a completely different look. This renovation will visually add height to the appearance of the room, giving it a modernized and sophisticated facade. Crossheads, or strips of molding, can be found at your hardware store and are easily installed with nails or bonded adhesive.


  • Painting your cabinets is a quicker and easier way to transform your kitchen than repainting the entire room.
  • Fabrics and wallpapers can also be used to add color to your cabinets, and they can be applied in a less permanent way than a paint job. If this seems too bold, you can use strips to outline the frames.
  • Upgrading your hardware, such as new knobs and handles, can give a subtle lift to the look of the room.
  • Small lighting fixtures can brighten and modernize your kitchen cabinets.
  • Organizing your cabinet space with racks and hooks can renew their look without making a major change.
  • Crown molding along the doors or upper edges of your cabinets will provide texture and sophistication.

In conclusion, upgrading your kitchen cabinets can be a fun and easy do-it-yourself project without a complete overhaul. Try these quick and cost-effective suggestions to spruce up your space with a fresh finish of color and texture.
Read here for more great ideas on how to renew your kitchen space. 

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