Easy Cabinet Updates

Try these easy ways to update your cabinets with paint, molding, inserts, and new hardware. These tricks work in the bathroom, too!

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    Wallpapered Door

    Paint the cabinet door with semigloss interior latex paint. When the paint is dry, cut a piece of scrap wallpaper to fit the recessed panel. Apply spray adhesive to the back of the paper, then carefully smooth it onto the panel. Use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of decoupage medium over the paper and the entire door.

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    The Basics: Painting Cabinets

    Beyond fun embellishments and personality-adding details, a good cabinet makeover often starts with fresh paint. Watch this video to learn how to master the basics of painting cabinets.

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    Peekaboo Bird

    Give old wood doors a makeover, but let a bit of their original character show through. Apply a coat of polyurethane to seal the wood. To create this peekaboo bird, trace a bird onto contact paper (we used clip art found online), then cut it out and press it onto the cabinet front. Use your fingernail to seal the edges tightly. Paint the cabinet (we used off-white semigloss interior latex paint). When dry, carefully remove the contact paper to reveal your design. Use a damp cloth to remove any paint that bleeds under the contact paper.

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    Trimwork on Parade

    Add interest to a plain cabinet door by parading pretty trimwork around the door's perimeter. Measure your cabinet door to determine how much molding you'll need. Be sure to factor in the size of the four embellishments for the corners. Use a miter box to cut the molding strips to size. Paint the cabinet, molding, and embellishments the same color. When they are dry, use wood glue to affix the molding and embellishments to the cabinet. Clamp the pieces in place until the glue dries.

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    Beaded-Board Basics

    Add country flavor to your kitchen with this technique. Beaded-board panels are inset in the cutout center section of the door. Paint, stain, or glaze gives the door any color or look you prefer.

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    Tile Style

    After you've primed and painted your cabinets, add a little sparkle with tile. Lay out and trim mesh-back glass tile to fit the door panel. Apply tile adhesive to the door with a putty knife and adhere the tiles. You don't need to grout the tile, but if you do, be sure the cabinet hinges are strong enough to hold the extra weight of the grout.

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    Sheet Metal Shimmer

    If you're looking to give your kitchen cabinets an affordable DIY update, door embellishments, inserts, and more are the way to go.

    Patterned sheet metal like this radiator cover gives a fresh yet vintage vibe to a cabinet door.

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    Cute Cutouts

    Wooden appliques (available at home improvement centers and lumberyards) can be easily painted and attached to cabinet doors with wood glue. These simple embellishments, along with a little paint, can add cottage style to your kitchen.

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    Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets

    A bamboo table runner gives cabinets an organic look.

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    Chalk-It-Up Kitchen Cabinets

    Remember your shopping list by writing it right on the cupboard. Chalkboard paint and painter's tape make the process simple.

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    Personal Touch

    A monogram sticker against contrasting background paint adds a bold and personal touch to doors. Add a crystal knob for an extra-elegant panache.

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    Stencil Chic Cabinets

    Stencils come in all shapes and sizes, making it easy to customize cabinet doors to go with the rest of your decor. Give your cabinets a coat of fresh white paint, then add a burst of color with a stenciled design.

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    Lovely Lattice

    Use electrical tape and bright paint to create a design that really pops.

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    Cork Creativity

    Applying cork to a door face is a good way to hide even major imperfections. Plus you'll have a handy place for notes, lists, and recipes.

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    Tin Touch

    The intricate designs of tin ceiling tiles make them great accents for cabinets, especially when painted.

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    Bird Watcher

    Give your kitchen a whimsical feel with a bird transfer and twig handle. Evenly spaced drill holes create the bird's outline. For kitchens or bathrooms, use two coats of gloss paint because it resists moisture and is easy to clean. For flat or eggshell finish, apply varnish or a clear coat over the paint for more durability.

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    Refined Reeds

    Stalks of prairie grass inspired this Asian-contemporary door. Sandwich reeds between the cabinet door and acrylic glass. Finish with a simple handle.

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    Photo Finish

    Turn your kitchen into a photo album by displaying your favorite photos. Affix a picture frame to the door, add a photo, and finish with a new knob. Find project tips and instructions by clicking the link below.

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    Traditional Trim

    Give your cabinets a traditional twist by adding wood molding blocks and wood trim.

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    Fabric Finish

    Add texture to your kitchen cabinets with fabric. Use a jigsaw to cut out the door center, then use a router to create a little ledge to hold the fabric.

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    Turn a boring door into a modern masterpiece by adding strips of thin molding.

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    Woven Wonder

    Bring nature into your kitchen with this wood-and-metal cabinet redo. Weave strips of wood over and under metal rods to create this design. Find project tips and instructions by clicking the link below.

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    Glass Act

    Once you've removed the center panel, order glass from a glass shop and choose from clear, frosted, seeded, or ribbed glass for a unique look. Find project tips and instructions by clicking on the link below.

  • Next Slideshow Kitchen Cabinet Details that Wow

    Kitchen Cabinet Details that Wow

    Distinctive kitchen cabinet details--from layered finishes and hip hardware to architectural embellishments--stylishly boost interest in traditional, contemporary, vintage, and cottage kitchen designs.
    Begin Slideshow »

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