10 Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

One of the most prominent fixtures in your kitchen—the cabinets—can be your quickest path to creating a whole new room. If you’re looking for a change in kitchen scenery but don’t have the time or budget to commit to a complete overhaul, your best bet is giving your cabinets a facelift. From the obvious to the obscure, there are myriad ways to upgrade your current cabinets without pulling out the hard hats. We’ve rounded up 10 options that you can implement with nothing more than a trip to the home improvement store, some careful decision making, and a weekend's work.

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  1. Put on Some Paint


    If you're on the fence (or on a budget), there’s always the old standby—paint. A change in color can have a huge impact on your kitchen and the payoff far exceeds the effort (although removing all the doors and hardware may prove a little tedious). Get out the sandpaper and pick some paint swatches, and you’re halfway there.


  2. Wallpaper the Interior


    Take the wallpaper off the wall and put some on the inside of your cabinets instead. The application process may be a little tricky, but the peek-a-boo effect will give you a reason to smile every time you reach for a glass.

    Related: Wallpaper Basics


  3. Remove the Doors


    Quite possibly the easiest change doesn’t require adding anything at all. Simply removing the doors will give your kitchen an airy feeling, but be forewarned that this look requires more maintenance than you'd think. With everything on display, you’ll want to be sure the contents of your cabinets are in order—all the time.

    Related: 11 Clever Alternatives to Kitchen Cabinets


  4. Do a Complete Overhaul


    Combining one or more of these suggested changes can give the appearance of a complete overhaul. Here, the insides of the cabinets were wallpapered, the shelves painted, and doors removed—leaving behind a kitchen that's both modern and cozy.

    Related: Planning Guide – Kitchen Remodeling

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  5. Add Knobs or Hardware


    If your cabinets lack hardware, you’ll appreciate this fix. The addition not only creates a whole new appearance, but also makes getting things in and out of the cabinets easier than before. Take some precise measurements, spend some quality time with the drill, and voilà—a whole new kitchen.

    Related: Cabinet Hardware – 10 Styles to Invigorate Your Kitchen


  6. Apply Molding


    Adding crown molding to your cabinets will give them—and the kitchen—an entirely new look. The upgrade will visually add height to the room and give the cabinets a more finished appearance. While it’s always important to measure twice, it's particularly vital with this project.

    Related: Get Trim! 9 Ways to Dress Up a Room With Molding


  7. Get Out the Chalkboard Paint


    No room benefits from chalkboard paint quite like the kitchen. You can use the upper cabinets to keep track of needed grocery items and important dates, while your children can go to town on the lower cabinets—and leave your walls alone.

    Related: How To Make Chalkboard Paint


  8. Use Paint as an Accent


    Use your cabinets’ built-in details to your advantage by emphasizing them with paint. Whether you're painting the whole cabinet or just the recessed areas, the contrasting colors will add depth and striking visual drama.

    Related: A Glassy-Smooth Enamel Finish for Old Kitchen Cabinets


  9. Construct a Plate Rack


    No longer a common kitchen element, a plate rack makes often-used dishes easily accessible. Replace an existing cabinet or find a rack that will fit below your current cabinets for an upgrade that's both visually pleasing and functional.

    Related: Get the Look—Country Kitchen


  10. Install Task Lighting


    Adding task lighting beneath cabinets can dramatically alter the look—and efficiency—of any kitchen. In addition to making countertop chores easier to tackle, the added illumination will showcase tile backsplashes and make dark cabinets appear lighter.  

    Related: How To Add Under-Cabinet Lighting


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