Love Your Kitchen Cabinets Again

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---" /> Your cabinets are one of the main features of your kitchen. If
they're drab and boring then guess what? Your kitchen is
probably drab and boring, too! But what can you do? Changing
out or resurfacing your cabinets can be an expensive process.
Well, the good news is that there a number of quick and easy projects
that you can do to greatly enhance the look of your cabinets thus
changing the overall look and feel of your kitchen. So, even if your
cabinets are old and beat up, you have a number of options:
Paint 'Em!
" /> One of the first things you might consider is simply painting
them. The key is proper preparation of the wood before
getting started. You'll want to be sure to prepare the
surface area so that the new paint can adhere. With a palm
sander and a little primer, this is much easier than you
think. Another factor you'll want to consider is your
color choice.

Remember, this is your kitchen, so you can go with whatever color
makes you happy. But keep a couple of things in mind before choosing
your color. First off, dark colors will "shrink" the room.
This isn't a problem if your kitchen is large, or if you're
going for that cozy feeling. Since your cabinets are a prominent
feature of your kitchen you'll want to be absolutely sure they
enhance the mood of a room rather than detract from it.

Stain 'Em!

" /> You might consider re-staining the wood on your cabinets. If
you choose to go this route, be certain to remove as much of
the old stain as possible. Any new stain you apply to the
old stain will come through as dark patches on the finished
product. This will be somewhat limited if the new stain is
darker than your old stain, but it can still be an issue.
Again, a palm sander will make this job much easier. You can
also use an angled sanding sponge to get into the edges and
corners.
Add Moulding
One great addition that will really bring out the flair in your
kitchen cabinets is to add some moulding!

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There are two ways to go about this:

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1) If your cabinet doors are flat and
lifeless, simply by adding a "moulding frame" to
the face of each door can really enhance the overall
appearance. Depending on the look you're going for,
you can choose from a wide variety of styles.

This is something you'll want to do prior to painting
your cabinets. Simply purchase enough moulding to complete
the frames on each door panel. Figure out a placement on
your door panel that you're happy with, make your cuts
and attach the pieces with nails. Don't use an adhesive,
because over time, the temperature and humidity variances in
most kitchens will break down the bonding qualities and
you'll have moulding pieces cracking off. Once your
pieces are attached, use a wood putty to fill in any gaps to
insure a professional quality look.

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2) Another great moulding technique is to
add it to the underside and top of your cabinets. One
company we've tried and liked is LP Prefinished
Moulding. It comes in a wide variety of colors and wood
grain textures, is easy to work with, and chances are you
might find one that already matches your current cabinetry.

The easiest way to complete this project, is to attach a
backer board to the top (to give you something to attach the
moulding to). Be sure the backer board is far enough away
from the edge of your cabinet top so that your new moulding
will be flush with the frame of the cabinet.

Here are a few examples of the types of mouldings available:

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click for larger pic

When purchasing your moulding, you'll want to measure out the
entire surface area you intend to add moulding to and then add an
additional 10% in case of errors. Make your cuts using a compound
miter saw and attach the pieces to the backer board using a nail gun.
Use some wood putty to fill in any gaps and paint or stain your
cabinets as needed.
Cool Tool!: If you don't already own a compound miter saw, one
saw to consider is the Ryobi One+ 8 ΒΌ" 18V Cordless
Compound Miter Saw. This versatile saw is powerful enough to get any
job done quickly and efficiently. One other great benefit is that
it's cordless - meaning it will go where you need it when you need
it!
Light 'Em
" /> The overall mood of your kitchen can be dramatically enhanced
through lighting. While overhead lighting is quite
important, one area that you might normally overlook is
cabinet lighting. It's relatively inexpensive, and
it's a lot easier to install than you may think!
Ideally, it's great if you purchase and install the type
of under cabinet lighting that can be mounted to the under
(or top) side of your cabinets then hard wired into your
existing electrical wiring, which can then be controlled by a
switch on the wall. However, don't worry if that sounds
too scary: the good news is many retailers carry a great
selection of plug-in cabinet lighting, so you can simply
mount it with the provided screws, plug it in, and go!
We've always found great cabinet lighting selections as places
like Home Depot and Lowe's, or you can even try Ikea. Just be
sure its meant for installing on cabinets -- it needs to be as flat as
possible so you can hide it, and you don't want a light that's
going to heat up so much it burns a hole in your cabinets! Here are
a few examples:

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You should also keep in mind there are three types of cabinetry
lighting:

1) Ambient: This is lighting that is usually
installed on the top of your cabinets, assuming that you have at
least 5 inches from the top of your cabinets to the ceiling. This
lighting reflects upwards giving a soft glow to the ceiling and is
more of a back light. It's often a strip of rope lighting that is
installed around the interior side of the upper most portion of your
cabinets. It's a great look for parties!

" /> 2) Task: Task lighting can also be known as
"Under Cabinet" lighting, especially if it's
directional. This type of lighting is perfect for those
areas where you do your food preparation like chopping and
dicing to reading and reviewing your recipes. A bit of extra
light always helps!

3) Interior: Usually reserved for showing off the
dishes in your dining room, interior cabinet lighting has had a recent
resurgence. If you have glass panel cabinet doors, these low wattage
lights are easy to install and the perfect way to enhance your wares.
Just be sure the light fixture you purchase goes well with the decor,
since it will typically be more noticeable than under or over cabinet
lighting.

______________________
You don't have to feel like you're being held hostage by your
ugly kitchen. Just try a few of these easy to complete projects and
we know you'll love the results!

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46 comments

8
Aug

This is an awesome tip when applying polyurethane. 1. Boil a pan of hot water on the stove until it starts to boil. 2. Remove the water and pan from heat. 3. Remove the cover of the polyurethane and place the can in the water and let sit for 20 minutes. 4. Apply the poly...you will be amazed at how smooth the finish is when it is dry.
29
Sep

I would hate to think of the amount of poly I have applied over the years and have never heard of this trick can't wait to try it out
8
Oct

Just getting ready to give my kitchen a coat of polyurethane...thanks for the tip. I never thought of warming it. Have gone thru countless gallons of the stuff. I will certainly try this!
29
Sep

This article was very helpful, since this is the project that I'm currently tackling in my home. :-) Toya
5
Oct

Just in time! We're remodeling the kitchen... well, ok more like resucitating it... and are using the cabinets we inherited from Grandparents. The moulding is just what I needed!
9
Oct

The cabinets in the home I just bought are beyond cheap and just painting them won't help much. Has anyone installed the 'stock' cabinets you can get at Lowe's or Home Depot? How hard is it to do? What about DYI laminate?
20
Oct

In case no one told you at the store, like they did not tell me, after you measure where the cabinets should hang mark it and then nail a 1x4 to the wall to set the cabinets on while you are trying to screw them to the wall. The person hepling you will be very happy and you will have a better chance that they will be even! Good Luck!
24
Sep

11
Oct

my cabinets are not even real wood - they are in an ugly dated oak pattern right now. I have been thinking of painting them white but I am scared. Anyone have good luck painting these type of cabinets??
17
Oct

I just completed this project... Start with light sanding if surface uneven then paint everything with a good primer.... Zissner (? spelling) is a great one (avail at home depot & walmart) you need this primer so the paint adhers evenly to the cabinet. Take off the doors and hinges before painting and give yourself plenty of time... this process took three times what I estimated but the result is great improvement to the kitchen. good luck
11
Oct

My kitchen needs a bit of a overhaul. It is really large and just a dream, but I live in Philly, and Philly homes are notorious for having old ceramics and a lot of old metal. Now this is great on a kitchen floor or bathroom, but my cabinets are really old, like from 1960 or earlier and they are metal, with tacky wall paper on them. I just purchased this house in Feb 2006 as an investment property to rent out and eventually sell, but I think I'm going to be there for a little while and I would like to modernize some things, the kitchen being #1. Is this something that the Jane's can teach me to do myself? Sincerly, Kitchen from the 60's
11
Oct

I need help, I just move in into a new house but I will like to take carpet off the stairs and use wood, I already bought the wood, but I need help and how to go about it.please reply
12
Oct

My first reaction was "call a master carpenter"! What condition is the wood w/out the carpet? We took our stair carpet off, cleaned and polished the wood and they look great. THAT'S the easiest way. You could change the look by replacing the railing and/or balluters if the stairs are ok. You said "I already bought the wood".. meaning? You purchased precut treads, risers, etc.? Unsure of how much you want to replace but, the best source - w/out going into the great detail here - is to search the Internet. There are lots of sites w/ little and/or much detail plus sites w/ stair replacement kits for your purusal. It's a job that requires a lot of work & quite a bit of skill, I think - depending especially on how the staircase is built and the extent of the replacement(are the balusters attached to steps, etc.). And, don't forget about the structural soundness of a staircase too! Good luck w/ the project. Spunky
12
Oct

I want to change my bathroom into a lauandry room. I want to take out the tub. I would keep the sink and toilet. In place of the tub, would be the washer and dryer. If that is not possible. I would turn my linen closet into the apartment size washer & dryer the top and bottom.
19
Oct

How can I go about painting my laminate kitchen cabinets? I am currently renting an apartment so replacing them is out of the question...What is this easiest and most inexpensive way of doing this?? Another thing, in the kitchen I have tiled walls they are light beige, I would like to go dark with the cabinets, any suggestions?? Thanks!!
21
Oct

I too have laminate cabinets & furniture and one day after reaching the height of frustration looking at the eye sores. I decided they needed to go. Being one that is not known for beind wasteful I thought hey i'll try some paint. Everyone knows that you can not just through paint on laminate. It usually leaves a spotty paint job and later just peels off. So I take my sander (the lion) and just start sanding. After I sand it I wipe with a damp cloth and allow to dry over night. The next day I brought home a can of spray paint primer, the color was similar to my final paint color. Anyhow after the primer dries I take my paints and apply two coats. When that was dry I used polyurethane, glossy as a top coat. I did two to three coats. The cabinets are ready for crazy wear after a week. The reason I said a week because thats what the can said, honestly I had my doors back on in less than 12 hours (only because I went to bed).
22
Oct

hey i just sanded and refinished my wood floors and i wanted a smoother finish with the poly, i will have to do a lite sand and try the hot water with the poly, thanks
24
Oct

I want to paint these cabinbets white high gloss any suggestions?
24
Oct

we have added to our home ( a Den ) and we need some nice book shelfs these book shelfs well be the center of attention of the den I would like to build them but I need help I am not a Profesional and it needs to look good.
28
Oct

The woodwork on the outside is fine, but the plastic drawers are cracked and need replacing. Does anyone know WHERE I can buy more plastic drawers?
30
Oct

WE ARE REDOING OUR KITCHEN AND NEED A NEW STOVE AND MICROWAVE. THE FRIGE IS ONLY TWO YEARS OLD SO I DON'T NEED A NEW ONE, BUT WE ARE THINKING OF GETTING STAINLESS STEEL AND BLACK STOVE AND MICRO. ANY SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO DO WITH THE REFRIGERATOR. THANKS
31
Oct

I've heard of people painting stainless steel refrigerators with magnetic paint... you could paint your fridge with blackboard paint. It's black (duh) and easy to wipe clean, plus you can use chalk on it to make notes. Alternatively, I have bought stainless sheet metal from a local scrap yard. You might need some help cutting the stainless to fit, but depending on how much of the refrigerator's exterior is exposed, you might be able to hide it behind a stainless door? Not refined ideas, but a starting place, I hope. MH
4
Nov

Just saw on Simplify your Life today where they painted a fridge with chalkboard paint! Too cute.
4
Nov

I have a small bathroom with just a shower. The paint on the ceiling and walls is peeling and cracking due to bad ventilation. I have a bad fan and no window. Any ideas on better fans and paint?
5
Nov

I'm new here. Love the site! I am currently in the process of redoing our kitchen. Appliances are gone and kitchen is basically gutted right now. I'm painting the cabinets. Right now I'm in the stage where I'm getting ready to paint them. We cleaned them, sanded, applied Zinsser primer and am just about ready to go. I have to sand the walls from mudding, then seal them and we'll be ready to paint and lay the floor. This is the first home-improvement project we've tackled ourselves and I'm so hooked! Kim
5
Nov

hello, I'm new and fascinated with what I'm reading so far. I always had the dream of putting glass fronts in my cabinets. Is this something easy to do?
13
Nov

I believe this can be accomplished very afford ably. First pick the size of glass. I suppose you should leave at least 2" of the wood door all around. Now you will need a drill and a router. You center opening for the glass on the door. You lay the door down . it is helpful to have a couple of clamps or a router table. if you don't own items a rental store is very affordable but have you project ready so you can get at it it will save you money. Anyway you want your router opening to leave a lip so the glass panel will slide into the opening. There are glass clips you can buy to hold the glass in. Once the glass is installed I would recommend putting a trim board around the glass on the outside to give a framed look and it will hide any owies. Those things will always happen..if you look around your home you can see how a home is finished to include the base board and cove and they serve the purpose of hiding and finishing seems. The same with the molding on the outside of the door. find a door from an old cabinet and experiment. It is amazing what one can do. It is an art to have a vision and see it through..Good Luck!
9
Nov

I have a small master bath, and the walls are paneled with like the walls you see in older mobil home. I would like to take it off but too much involved no sheet rock behing. Question can i pain these walls or what can i do to update it?HELP
13
Nov

There are so many options. The cheapest is to paint a very good primer on the panels and use a good paint recommended for this purpose. There are also panels in a variety of patterns which I would recommend they even look like tiled walls. easily cleaned. The first option may not hold up where there is a lot of moisture. The second would last a life time. You could ask a girl friend to help. It is very impowering to work with other women.
10
Nov

I really want /need a new kitchen countertop. Has anyone ever done this by themselves? How hard is it? Any advice?
13
Nov

We installed laminate and it was very easy. If you have existing laminate you can try to remove it, but you can glue over the existing. Try to have as few seams as possible and don't have a seam in the middle of the sink area. We lay 1/4 plywood and glued the laminate onto the plywood so we could extend the depth of our countertops by 3 inches and cut trim out of oak and stained it for the front edge. Make sure your jigsaw has a new blade. Double check your measurements before you cut. We're also lay ceramic tile at our previous house. It's much easier than one might think. You can rent a wet saw for cutting the tile. Go for it!
13
Nov

first counter top can be purchased at your local building store ready to install with a European edge or a drip free edge. It is so affordable if you are choosing laminate. If you are choosing tile there is prep work to be done and a pattern to create depending upon the tile choice. I have found 12" sq. granite very affordable and lasts a long time. With the granite it isn't necessary to leave a grout line which for counter top is good. You should still grout though just for ceiling. As for as prepping it is plywood with cement board over that then masticing the seems, leaving no extra or as smooth as you can. then you start gluing your tiles. Using the proper mastic for the product. I find the prepared laminate the easiest and most affordable, but being creative is a good thing too. Good luck, take advantage of free literature at the store too.
11
Nov

The kitchen I have is from the 1960.s when pink appliances were in. My first question is what type of light finish were in style then. The next question is I want to place a maple stain on these and then put a chocolate glaze over the top. How do I go about this procedure? Do I just buy a glaze and mix it with the stain or what?
13
Nov

Cabinet in the 60's were just as varied as today the one major difference is they were simple by functionality. Now cabinets have come along way. The lighter finishes were white and beige paint. Most stains are oil base so mixing with a glaze which are usually latex or water base will not work. How are the cabinets finished now? There is probably prep work that needs to be done. I have painted, crackle painted and then glazed to make cabinets look aged and it has gone well. there are many prepared finishes for just this type of project today. They come with good instructions. good Luck.
12
Nov

My kitchen cabinets have warped, can i get ready made ones or wood to DIY? Help!!!!!
13
Nov

Yea you can buy them. It can get costly. Check with cabinet company retailers. Often they have doors that are over stock or been rejected for minor reasons and I have paid as little as $2.00 a door. Happy Hunting!
16
Nov

I don't know where in the country you're located but I've seen replacement doors at Home Depot here in the east.
16
Nov

We're doing a complete kitchen remodel. We had to rip up all the plywood on the floors and we're laying a new laminate floor this weekend. I chose to paint my cabinets instead of replace. I found a beautiful kitchen layout in a magazine with black cabinets and stainless appliances. Everyone says "black cabinets?" but I love it! I just painted a practice door and it came out absolutely beautiful. I can't wait to get them all done now. I'm using one of those small foam rollers and the finish is just wonderful after it dries. Very smooth and no marks from a brush. Kim
17
Nov

Last November while my husband was in Europe I took on the task of painting the kitchen cabinets. It was time consuming but they turned out beautifuly. I first sanded then primed, added two coats of a satin base color, glazed them and then put a satin sheen sealer on. Most everyone who sees them thinks that a professional did it. I was a little nervous doing this to kitchen cabinets....cuz if you ruin them it would probably hit the pocketbook harder. But with a little encouragement from a friend I jumped right in. lisa
17
Nov

We sanded and primed. I'm getting ready to add satin color this weekend. Why did you glaze and seal? Just wondering. This is the first time I've done something like this but the directions I had from DIY didn't say anything about those steps. Kim
17
Nov

We just took down our pantry cabnet cut it to 18" deep then cut top cabnet off to use a wall cabnet* the rest is just right size pantry for two* We then put new countertops on. Well, we still have the sink one to do. (He got hurt & I got sick* )All in goodtime. Our TO DO LIST just got bigger* we had bad wind took out a section of our wood fence* we to shorten that fence*
19
Nov

I have a tiny house built in the 50's. The kitchen cabinets are not deep enough for my dishes. Is there any way I can add to them to make them deeper? I can't afford to tear out and put in new.
20
Nov

I had the same problem. I just took off the doors, lined the shelves and painted the inside, and set my dishes in plain view. I plan on adding some sort of edging to the shelves to dress it up a little, when I find something I like.
21
Nov

Any ideas on how to fill in or disguise or cover the etched design on laminate cabinet doors? It's like an etched-in frame with curved edges, painted black (the rest of the cabinet is fake "wood.") I'm planning on painting the cabinets but would really like to get rid of the design because it's not in style with my Craftsman style house.
3
Feb

Our cabinets are from the 1970's & have panel doors with trim around the edges. They are somewhat dark and have some poly that has worn off in areas and down to wood especially around the frequently used doors and under the sink doors. We need advice on stripping them down, filling in the 2 large holes from the "shoe horn" pewter handles that are right smack in the middle of each cabinet door. Our counters are Bradey Bunch red/orange with matching back splash. All needs to be redone. Which should we approach first, then second? Any suggestions?
15
Apr

We are in the planning stage of redoing our kitchen, with new cabinets and counter tops. My husband wants to have natural stone or granite counter tops, but I am wondering about the laminated ones. Are they sturdy, hold up to daily use, ect? I know the cost is alot less, but I don't want to regret it a few years from now. I am also afraid the stone might chip or crack. Any comments would be welcomed. Snojean