How can I upgrade my kitchen cabinets without having to buy new ones?

I love the look of the new cabinets, but they’re just totally out of my reach financially. What are my options?
Submitted by BHGPhotoContest

You have three good options: paint, reface, or replace. Each of these approaches can transform the look of your kitchen without the expense of new cabinetry. 

Painting kitchen cabinetry is the least expensive way to go if you do it yourself, but be forewarned: it’s a time-consuming job where meticulous preparation and execution are the key to success. Every trace of residue must be removed or the paint won’t stick. Consult a professional painter or paint store owner for advice about primer and topcoat.

Refacing kitchen cabinets involves gluing a thin wood veneer over the existing cabinet fronts and edges. The cost of materials is comparable to paint, perhaps somewhat higher. This is also meticulous work, but it pays off immediately with the look of new wood.

Replacing cabinet door and drawer fronts can be accomplished either by a professional or a do-it-yourselfer. Careful measuring and high- quality materials will produce an effect next to new. This is also the most costly method. Check out our video and slide show for more ideas and information.


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Probably the most cost effective thing you can do is reface your cabinets. It's remarkably easy, and really just requires measuring your current doors, removing them, ordering new doors with a new style and design, finishing them, then adding the hardware and hanging them back up. Some people do this themselves, and some hire a contractor. You can buy doors a few places online, ,, and to name a few. Good luck!
Submitted by thecabinetguy11