Love Your Kitchen Cabinets Again

Associated Expert
---Image removed." /> 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! Image removed." /> 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. For more on this project, click here! Stain 'Em!

Image removed." /> 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!

Image removed." />
There are two ways to go about this:

Image removed." />

Image removed." /> 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. Image removed." />

Image removed." /> 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:

" target="top"> Image removed." border="0" />
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 ¼" 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

Image removed." /> 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:

Image removed." /> Image removed." /> Image removed." />

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!

Image removed." /> 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!

Article DIY Projects Reference
Article Lifestyle Reference
Article Basics Reference