Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets

Category Kitchen
Updating your kitchen cabinets is one way to freshen up the room without the cost of replacing the cabinets. This is a page about updating your kitchen cabinets.


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June 17, 2010

I would like some ideas on up dating oak cabinets?

By tbone


June 18, 20100 found this helpful
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Sanding and painting can be a good way to update. Just take the doors down so you can work on them outside. However, if you do not like the doors, you can just replace them with new ones. Changing hardware to something more modern will make a huge difference. Plus, to me what dates kitchen cabinets are the hinges. Adding the hinges that are hidden on the inside would really make a difference. You would have to fill the holes left on the outside and fine a stain to cover it.

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June 19, 20100 found this helpful
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You've gotten great ideas all ready. I would add that it is popular to use open shelving, leaving off the doors or even adding glass panels instead of the oak panels would give them a more undated look.


Also painting an island a different color is popular or adding bun feet to the cabinets make it look like a separate piece of furniture, you could also paint this a different color than the cabinets.

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I am looking to update my kitchen cabinets. They are high quality oak cabinets, but from the 70s. I don't want to paint them. Any suggestions would be very helpful. I will be changing the knobs. These same cabinets are in my bathrooms and laundry room.


August 16, 20190 found this helpful

How about put on peel off adhesive stickers. They appear to have a stencil look that's not forever, because these are removable. many different designs!

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August 16, 20190 found this helpful

What look are you going for? You could have a professional (I would not attempt this on my own) to either bleach them for the farmhouse chic look or stain them darker for the classic neutral look.


Be sure to read reviews of the places carefully and get references before you let anyone do the work. See if you can see their actual kitchen/work so you get a feel for their work.

Post back with updates! Have fun with the reno!! It is so much fun to get a new look!

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August 16, 20190 found this helpful

Change the knobs first and then decide if you want to do more. Our kitchen looked entirely different when we invested only $200 for new knobs.

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August 17, 20190 found this helpful

For the Oak Kitchen Cabinets:
This is what I did to our kitchen cabinets, 1 Cabinet at a time: First things first: Remove EVERYTHING from your cabinets. Including any old liners.


Step 1. Clean, clean clean the inside and outside to remove any dust, grease, dirt or grime that may be hiding. (Or any pests that may have made their way in...sorry, but it does happen at times, even in the cleanest of homes)
Step 2: Take off the doors & hardware!! Very important, whether painting with Polyurethane or paint.
Step 3: Lightly sand doors, inside and out and the cabinets, inside and out.
Be sure to vac any dust left behind.
Step 4: Wipe down with clean, lightly dampened cloth.(again) Let dry completely.

(I would consider painting. There are great colors that are 'in' and makes a great statement that looks great!
I would suggest any of the following, depending on your wall color & back splash: 1. Denim or Slate blue, especially with a Butcher Block type or black counter top, it looks like a 'Modern Country' 2. Medium to light Grey or a Dove grey. 3. If you are really an adventurist, try a medium to slightly toned down (not bright) Red.


Step 5: Lightly "paint" inside/outside with a clear coat Polyurethane,(Or paint) using about a 3" soft (I mean, really soft) detailed, angled brush, using light, even strokes. (Don't forget the inside corners or underneath cabinets!)
Let dry 24 hours.
(You can also use Satin Finish Modge Podge..works great & is less expensive)
Step 6: Replace doors & hardware*.
Step 7: Line the cabinet 'floors' with your favorite contact paper OR (as I did) the 'Spongy', airy type liners.

TIP 1:
*HARDWARE: Instead of replacing your old door hinges, if they can be seen, you may would like a clean, updated look by using the hardware door hinges that are 'invisible'. You can get them at most hardware stores, especially your 'big box' stores.


They would have a larger selection, at a great price. Sometimes you can watch for their sales, and get a great bargain.

TIP 2:
Also, change your door knobs & drawer knobs. You can update with all "pull" type or use a combination of both. Depending on your paint selection, should you had decided to paint, I'd go with a 'brushed' nickel look. Or stay with the ever bright & shiny 'chrome' look.

TIP 3:
If you don't have a 'Shaker Style' cabinet, you might try adding the extra wooden pcs to go around the facing of your doors. They are always popular and adds style to older cabinets. OR buy new doors already made.

TIP 4:
If your budget allows, think about topping off your upper cabinets with a 'trim' or cornice pieces, that makes your cabinets really POP!
Especially if you painted your cabinets. I choose black paint on mine. I'm extremely glad I decided to add these "toppers" to the top of the cabinets, as well as a complementing accent color. Depending on your cabinet color choice, black or white will make your new cabinets POP with 'Flavor'!

I took mine a step further. Once my cabinets were done, the rest of the kitchen looked "old" and "wrinkled".

I went to work tiling the backsplash in ceramic small brick-like tiles. Over the stove, I made a "pattern" of the small brick-like tiles, with 5 - 4" square copper tiles and rounded tiles as a border. Came out great! I have to give my husband "Kudos" on the final pattern used!

As always, you can go to the following on How-To's for refinishing or restoring old kitchen cabinets:
and more tips and tricks to update old kitchen cabinets.
More great tips online. Just enter into your browser, "how to update old kitchen cabinets".

Enjoy your new kitchen!

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November 28, 2009

I need to update my kitchen and I do not want to replace the appliances. I currently have the old 70s dark walnut cabinets and doors have been painted white. The floor is white and I just removed all the wallpaper so the walls need painted. What should I do with the cabinet doors? What is a good color to paint the walls? Thanks for all your help.

By tracy from Big Lake, AK


Updating My Kitchen Cabinets

I would go with white. You can always hang up decorations to make your walls look festive.

As for the kitchen cabinets: you could update them by getting thin plywood made to measure, and then glue it on, carefully. Then you can do anything you want to the cabinets, paint them, or decoupage them (love that technique on serving trays, too). Just cover the paper up with three coats of varnish and you are good to go. (07/05/2009)

By syl_ver

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July 2, 2009

I need other ways to update my kitchen cabinets. I made the mistake of painting them brown. I will welcome any ideas.

Iliana from Chicago, IL


Updating My Kitchen Cabinets

I'd think twice about trying to cut designs into them. Have you thought about how hard they'll be to keep clean? My cabinets in the house we have now have an inset finish with a lip all the way around. I have to brush/scrub with a tooth brush to clean the little ledges.

We bought a house with very old cabinets that were also cracking and bubbling (had been for a long time!) so I removed all the doors, stripped and refinished them. You have to do the facings also. I used the same pulls and knobs but you could get others to match your decor. You could paint rather than refinish. I prefer the wood look to ANY paint but that's just me. (03/16/2009)

By Judi

Updating My Kitchen Cabinets

You don't say what color of brown and whether you are able to repaint. If it is a dark brown, you could do a light coat of white over it and sand edges lightly for a distressed look. Or if you want to redo, remove doors, strip completely, sand and stain lightly with a washed oak stain (my personal favorite) that will lighten up the cupboards, seal with a good clear coat after though to repel dirt and stains or just repaint with a lighter color.

Test in an insignificant area first before committing. What kind of wood are they? That will determine how stains or glazes will show up. Also if they have a center panel, you could just strip that area, paint it a light color and add a stencil or rub on decal to each one. (03/17/2009)

By Mary Lou

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March 16, 2009

These are my kitchen cabinets. They are at least 30 years old and have sort of a grayish pickled-look veneer, which is cracked, bubbling, and chipped in some places. I'd love to add trim, paint, glaze or otherwise accent them, but I'm stuck on where to begin. I like Tuscan and French Country designs. What type of saw would I need to get to cut basic lattice trim to frame the edges? And what type paint would be best -- oil or latex? Thanks everyone.

Melody T. from Arkansas


Updating My Kitchen Cabinets

When I refinished my kitchen cabinets I took off the doors, removed the hardware, sanded the doors, and used a latex primer and paint. I would suggest a latex enamel, it is durable and can stand up to cleaning. Many of the shows that I watch on television actually remove some of the doors entirely and paint the inside of the cupboard, and then display some nice dishes, or glass containers filled with all sorts of dry food items. I think that may look very cute in a Tuscan style kitchen.

Have you ever thought about cutting out the centers of some of the doors and replacing them with glass or some fabric? I have seen some cabinets with cutouts and they used chicken wire to block the cutout and lined the back with a country fabric. I think that you really need to replace the hardware on the cabinets, just that small change alone will make a real difference. Just be prepared, there are SO many choices in hardware anymore that it is next to impossible to choose! Please take pictures of before and after to share with us when your project is all finished! Best of luck to you, Paula (06/18/2008)

By Paula

Updating My Kitchen Cabinets

This is what we did to our kitchen cabinets. They were really out dated. We took them off, glued bead board to them, framed around them with some corner pieces. I painted them then sanded around the edges then stained them (love the old antique look). Here is a picture of the remodel in progress. Also, for the drawer fronts we just used 1 inch pine painted the same and added the hardware. (they don't look as good in the picture, but you get the ideas) I couldn't have been more happier with the way they turned out. (06/18/2008)

By christy

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