Tips for getting the most out of your kitchen cabinet makeover

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You might not have the funds for a new kitchen. But so long as your units are in good condition, you should be able to do a thorough cabinet makeover. Replacing doors and upgrading hardware can transform the space and make it look brand new without the hefty price tag.

Of course, any improvements you do will have some costs involved. So, ideally you want to get the best result for the money you spend. With that in mind, here’s some tips for getting the most out of your kitchen cabinet makeover.

Paint your cabinet doors

One of the easiest places to start a kitchen cabinet makeover is with the doors. If your doors are in good condition, you can simply give them a fresh lick of paint and some new handles.

But when you do this, take your time with the prep. Skipping stages does affect the finish and durability. Unless your paint is self-priming, you will need to do one or two coats of primer first.

Even if you’re not priming, you’ll still need to clean doors thoroughly and give them a sand. Sanding ensures the paint has a surface it can stick to and it will save you from having to touch-up paint chips in the future.

It’s likely you’ll need to apply two or three coats of paint for an even finish and you may need to use a clear topcoat to improve the ruggedness of the paint. When you’re painting, use a roller where possible, to avoid annoying brush marks.

Or replace the doors completely

If your existing kitchen doors have seen better days, it might be best to replace them completely as paint is unlikely to cover up major defects. For instance, water damage can swell and warp wood and MDF doors and it’s not a good idea to sand doors that are covered in mould and mildew.

Yes, replacing kitchen cupboard costs can be high but a new set of doors typically comes in at a reasonable £450. And you might only need to replace one or two doors, so you needn’t pay more than £90 to £180 to improve your kitchen’s condition. You can reduce these costs a little by choosing unfinished doors and painting them yourself.

Change the look and layout of cupboards

Before you embark on any cabinet painting, it’s a good idea to step back and ask yourself if you’re happy with the layout of the cupboards. Perhaps it would be better to remove the wall cabinets to open out the space more or maybe adding a glazed unit on top of the worktop will create a nice display for your kitchenware? You could use a second-hand piece for this and simply paint it to blend in with your cupboards.

You could also consider changing the look of your doors before painting them. Adding MDF strips is a great way to turn plain doors into shaker style ones.

Don’t forget the hardware

New cabinet door handles can not only help to update your old kitchen but they can improve its functionality too. If small handles are fiddly or hard to reach you could reposition them or switch them out for longer bar style handles.

It’s not just door handles that you can upgrade. Going for soft-close hinges will make your old kitchen feel more high-end and will put an end to doors banging shut.

Improve the inside as well as the outside of cabinets

It’s not just the outside of cabinets that you should consider making over. Upgrading the inside will help your kitchen to feel like new. And it could make it considerably more practical to use.

Cabinet inserts including pull-out baskets, carousels and drawers are easy to add to existing cupboards, helping you to stay more organised. And drawers can be fitted with new runners to make them soft close. These cost from as little as £6 for a pair, so it’s a cost-effective upgrade.

Go further than the doors with cabinet updates

It isn’t simply the doors and internal fittings that you can change to makeover your kitchen cabinets. You can tidy up and change the look of your old kitchen by adding new end panels, cornices and plinths. So, the cupboards are made over from top to bottom.

You can also improve the overall look of your kitchen makeover by boxing in your boiler and extractor fan and then painting them to match your cupboards for a seamless finish.

Don’t limit your makeover to the existing kitchen units

You may not have the funds to buy new cupboards but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring in extra kitchen storage. You could upcycle an old dresser to create a more country style kitchen while giving yourself more cupboard and shelf space. Or you could repurpose an old wardrobe as a pantry cupboard or coffee station.

If there’s no space for extra furniture, you could use old scaffolding planks or floorboards to create open shelves. Or put up a brass rail to hang pans and utensils from. You can buy ready-to-hang rails with brackets and hooks for around £30 but you can easily customise your own by buying the separate pieces of hardware from your DIY store.