Easy Updates for Kitchen Cabinets

Revamp your kitchen for less with a kitchen cabinet makeover. Better Homes and Gardens' contributing editor Danny Lipford shows you how.

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    Update Your Existing Kitchen Cabinets

    Make a big difference in the look and style of your kitchen without going to the trouble and expense of a major renovation: Update your existing cabinets. There are several different ways to upgrade your cabinets, and each has its advantages.

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    Option 1: Replace Hardware

    One of the easiest upgrades you can make to your cabinets is to replace the existing knobs and hinges with hardware in a different style or finish. Hardware prices range in price, so add up the number of hinges and knobs you will need and decide how much you can spend in advance.

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    Remove Old Hardware

    Start by removing one of the existing handles and hinges. A low-speed cordless drill equipped with a screwdriver bit and variable clutch is best for removing and replacing cabinet hardware.

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    Buy Hardware

    Take the old hardware with you to the home center or hardware store so you can match the existing mounting holes. Also, note how the cabinet doors fit on the cabinets and buy hinges that have the same type of overlay (half lap, full overlay, or inset). Consider bringing samples of several different styles and finishes of hardware; try them on your cabinets before making a final decision.

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    Replace Hardware

    Finally, remove the existing hinges and knobs and replace them with the new hardware. Some cabinet hinges have screws that allow you to adjust the fit of the door after they are installed.

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    Option 2: Replace Cabinet Doors

    Another popular option to revamp a kitchen: Replace just the cabinet doors while reusing the cabinets themselves. While this is more expensive than replacing the hardware, it is still much less than installing all new cabinets.

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    Ordering New Doors

    Begin by carefully measuring each cabinet opening. Then order new doors to fit from a home center, local cabinet shop, or online. The existing cabinet doors don't need to be removed until the new ones arrive, resulting in very little downtime for the kitchen.

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    Option 3: Paint Cabinets

    Giving your existing cabinets a new coat of paint can be a labor-intensive project. But if you have the time to do the work yourself, the actual material expenses are minimal.

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    Paint Preparation

    Painting kitchen cabinets requires preparation for the new paint to adhere properly. Start by cleaning the cabinets thoroughly to remove any grease and grime.

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    Sand Cabinets

    Once the cabinets are clean, fill any imperfections and sand them lightly with fine sandpaper. Sanding smoothes any rough spots on the surface and dulls glossy finishes so paint will adhere properly. After sanding, use a damp cloth to remove any dust.

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    Prime Cabinets

    If the cabinets haven't been painted before or you are changing from an oil-base to a latex paint, they will need to be primed before applying the finish coats.

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    Paint Conditioner

    To reduce brush marks and give the cabinets a smooth finish, add a paint conditioner to the paint before finishing.

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    Stir Paint Thoroughly

    Stir the paint thoroughly to mix the conditioner into the paint. Now you're ready to begin!

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