Due to the outrageous cost of paying someone to come in and replace or even refinish your cabinets you can do it yourself for significantly less. We own an older home that had a hideous kitchen inside. The walls were 1980’s blue with the ever festive goose plaid wallpaper. It was truly nauseating. Once we stripped all the wallpaper and painted over the blue paint we knew that something had to be done with the cabinets. They were dark and dreary, and made the kitchen a depressing place to be. They were the old dark wood that was stylish and modern in the 1970s. However, that look was no longer stylish in the modern decade and had to go!
So we pondered several ideas as to how we would change the look of our kitchen without going broke doing so. We started by removing the cabinets and cleaning everything. Our kitchen cabinets like in many homes did not reach the ceiling. This was problematic in many ways. We wanted to install a microwave under the cabinet above the stove. If we were to do this at the cabinet height as it stood, we would be at great risk for a dangerous distance between the stove and microwave. So we decided to do something drastic, we planned to not only refinish the cabinets, but to also lift them. This in itself was a big job.
First we started by refinishing the cabinets. We removed the doors from the cabinets and set up a work space in the garage. We had to sand the cabinets first so that the primer and paint would adhere to the wood successfully. Removing the layers of stain and years of grime was not too bad. This can easily be done a few different ways. You can use an electric hand sander or sheets of sand paper on a sanding block. It depends on your budget and time constraints. Once this step is done, you can apply the primer. Make sure to use a primer that adheres well to wood. Check with your local hardware store if you are unsure. Once you have applied a coat or two of primer, and it has dried you can begin painting the cabinets. Let me mention that you do not need to use primer if you plan on re-staining the cabinets. You will want to still remove the excess stain by either sanding or chemical stripping agents.
Once we finished painting the cabinets we realized that we wanted to add some extra touches. Besides lifting the cabinets all the way to the ceiling, we added decorative trim. In this case we added dental trim which I will warn you now; it is a tedious trim to paint, so you may want to paint it before attaching to the wall. We also added some decorative trim to the cabinets themselves. Keep in mind that adding the trim to the cabinets will add extra weight to the cabinet door and will impact the way that the door hangs, and therefore will need to be adjusted accordingly.
We also knew that our hinges did not match the updated hardware we added to the cabinets. Our cabinets actually did not have any knobs on them; they were simply dark stained doors. So we added brass arched handles to give the cabinets a more modern look. As for the hinges we had planned to replace them originally until we went to the hardware store to do so. It was unbelievable how expensive it would have been to replace all of the hinges in our kitchen. It would have been several hundred dollars. Hinges can range from $10.00 a piece and up. So instead of replacing the hinges, we purchased a metallic spray paint and refurbished them with a brass color. In order to keep the hinges from looking poor it is important to spray in a gentle back and forth motion to keep the paint smooth and avoid air bubbles. The hinges sit far enough back behind the cabinet that they do not need to be perfect.
The re-facing of our kitchen cabinets cost us less than $200.00 and that estimate is on the high side. We paid for the primer, the paint, spray paint for the hinges, and hardware and trim pieces for the cabinets. There are of course many alternatives to even saving more money than this. However, I suggest that with a room as important as the kitchen that you do not skimp on the details or the paint, because cheap paint will look cheap, and the same goes for hardware as well. You should buy the best you can afford within your budget to give your kitchen a modern look.