How to Update Old Kitchen Cabinets Without Replacing Them

How to Update Old Kitchen Cabinets Without Replacing Them: A DIY Guide

Are your current cabinets in your kitchen showing signs of wear and tear, but you’re not ready to invest in a full renovation? Perhaps you have questions about how to update laminate kitchen cabinets or if it’s possible to replace cabinets without replacing countertops. In this article, we’ve got you covered with a comprehensive guide on how to renew your kitchen without the need for a complete overhaul.

We’ll explore various ways to transform your kitchen space, from giving your cabinets a fresh look to considering alternative options to traditional kitchen cabinets. Whether you’re dealing with cabinets without doors or exploring cabinets with no handles, we’ll provide valuable insights and step-by-step instructions to help you refresh the inside of your kitchen cabinets and achieve a stunning kitchen makeover.

Now, let’s dive into each step!

1. Assessment and Planning

Before you embark on your cabinet transformation journey, it’s crucial to assess your current kitchen cabinets. Take a close look at their condition. Are they chipped, faded, or just outdated? Assessing their state will help you determine the extent of work needed and set a budget.

Setting a Budget and Timeline

Every successful project starts with a well-defined budget and timeline. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on this project and how long you can allocate for it. Remember, updating cabinets is cost-effective compared to a full replacement.

Gathering Necessary Materials and Tools

To ensure a smooth process, gather the following materials and tools:

  • Paint or stain
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paintbrushes and rollers
  • Screwdrivers
  • New cabinet hardware
  • Shelves or pull-out trays (if desired)

2. Cleaning and Prepping

Deep Cleaning Your Cabinets

Begin by removing all items from your cabinets. Next, mix a solution of warm water and mild dish soap to clean both the interior and exterior surfaces. This step is crucial to remove grease, grime, and years of kitchen buildup.

Removing Hardware and Doors

Use a screwdriver to remove knobs, handles, and cabinet doors. Label each door and its corresponding hardware to make reassembly a breeze.

See more: How to Decorate the Top of Kitchen Cabinets

Sanding and Priming for a Fresh Start

Sand the cabinet surfaces lightly to create a smooth base for paint or stain. After sanding, apply a primer to ensure the paint adheres well and covers any imperfections.

3. Painting or Refinishing

Choosing the Right Paint or Finish

Select a paint or finish that complements your kitchen’s style. Neutral tones like white, gray, or black are timeless choices. Consider semi-gloss or satin finishes for easy cleaning.

Applying Paint or Stain Like a Pro

Use a high-quality brush or roller for a smooth finish. Apply thin, even coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Sand lightly between coats for a professional result.

Adding Creative Touches and Patterns

Get creative with stencils or painter’s tape to add patterns or accents to your cabinet doors. This personal touch can make a big difference in the overall look.

4. Upgrading Hardware

Selecting New Knobs and Handles

Choosing new knobs and handles is like picking out jewelry for your cabinets. Opt for styles that match your kitchen’s aesthetic. Matte black, brushed nickel, and antique brass are popular choices.

Installing Hardware for a Polished Look

Carefully measure and mark the placement of your new hardware. Use a drill to create holes for knobs and handles. Ensure they are level and secure for a polished finish.

5. Enhancing Interiors

Adding Shelves or Pull-Out Trays

Consider adding extra shelves or pull-out trays to maximize storage and accessibility. This is especially useful for pots, pans, and small appliances.

Organizing and Decluttering

As you put your kitchen items back into the cabinets, take the opportunity to declutter and organize. Donate or discard items you no longer use to keep your kitchen clutter-free.

See more: How to Install Kitchen Cabinets on the Wall

6. Final Touches

Reassembling Your Cabinets

Carefully reattach the cabinet doors and hardware. Check for any loose screws or hinges and tighten them as needed.

Styling and Decorating Your Kitchen

Now comes the fun part—styling your refreshed kitchen! Add decorative items like potted plants, colorful dishes, or artwork to give your space personality.

7. Maintenance Tips

To keep your updated cabinets looking their best, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Clean spills and splatters promptly.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners.
  • Periodically inspect and tighten hardware.
  • Consider adding shelf liners to protect surfaces.


1. Can I update my laminate cabinets?

Yes, you can update laminate cabinets by following the same steps outlined in this guide. Be sure to use a high-quality primer and paint suitable for laminate surfaces.

2. How long does it take to update kitchen cabinets?

The time required depends on the size of your kitchen and the extent of the updates. On average, it can take anywhere from a few days to a week to complete the project.

3. Can I change the cabinet layout without replacing them?

While it’s possible to change the layout by removing and relocating cabinets, it’s a more extensive project that may require professional help.

4. What is the cost of updating kitchen cabinets compared to replacing them?

Updating kitchen cabinets is significantly more cost-effective than replacing them. You can achieve a fresh look for a fraction of the cost of a full replacement.

5. Should I hire a professional for cabinet updates?

While DIY is possible, hiring a professional can ensure a flawless finish. It depends on your comfort level with DIY projects and the complexity of your cabinet updates.

6. Can I update my cabinets without painting them?

Yes, you can update cabinets without painting by refinishing them. Stripping off the old finish and applying a new one can bring back their natural beauty.


Throughout the article, we’ve offered practical advice and expert guidance on how to renew your kitchen without the need for a complete overhaul. From exploring alternative kitchen cabinet options to understanding how to uplift cabinet door hardware and find cheap replacement kitchen drawers, we’ve equipped you with the knowledge to embark on your kitchen transformation journey.

So, whether you’re seeking a flat cabinet door makeover or looking for ways to upgrade your replacement kitchen cabinet drawers, you now have the tools and insights to achieve a refreshed and revitalized kitchen space. Don’t wait any longer; it’s time to bring new life to your kitchen cabinets and create the kitchen of your dreams!

Previous Article
Next Article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *