How to Upgrade Builder-Grade Cabinets for a High-End Custom Look

Affordable Kitchen Images

Give your kitchen a low-cost makeover by upgrading your builder's cabinets with custom details starring paint, new hardware, and more surprising ideas.

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Paint Plus

white and gray kitchen

Paint is a go-to option for cabinet makeovers. Take it to the next level by going two-tone: paint the lower cabinets a darker shade than the uppers. Keep your colors within the same family, but two or three shades different. Consider choosing one of the bottom colors on a paint strip and the very top color.

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6 Easy Steps to Paint Your Cabinets

Get a pro look when painting your cabinets by following these 6 steps.

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Paint the Island

blue island

If painting all of your cabinets sounds like too much, focus your effort on just your island. Paint the central figure a striking color and add in a few accents of the same hue for a fresh facelift.

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Open Up

Convert cabinets to open shelves and lighten the look of your kitchen, no remodeling required. Watch and see how easy it is.

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Add Molding to the Soffit

white and gray kitchen

Give cabinets a custom look by adding molding to the soffit above the cabinets. Just be sure the new molding doesn't interfere with opening and closing the cabinet doors.

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Hardware Help

kitchen sink

Swap out existing hardware or add hardware where there was none before and you'll give you kitchen a fresh face without much of an investment.

Go to the next slide to see how it's done.

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How to Install New Hardware

Watch and see how to install new hardware on your kitchen cabinets.

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Back It Up

Cottage Cabinets

Add a little visual interest to the back of open shelves or glass front cabinetry with beaded board or wood paneling, which will lend a rustic quality. Or give wallpaper a go.

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Add Glass Fronts


Change up your cabinet game by retrofitting one or two sets of existing cabinets with new glass fronts. The owners of this kitchen swapped out two solid doors for glass doors to the tune of about $70.

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Chalk It Up


Paint the panels of cabinet doors with chalkboard paint and add an instant message center to your kitchen.

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Retrofit Storage

white kitchen cabinets with lazy susan

Customize the inside of your cabinets with after-market storage add-ons. Shop home centers and organization stores for options. Be sure to take good measurements to ensure you'll get add-ons that fit like a glove.

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Pattern Play

Bring a little pep to your cabinets with pattern. Watch and see how to stencil a design on your cabinet doors.

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On Hand

Affordable Kitchen Images

Add a strip of wood with cup hooks to the inside of a cabinet door and you'll never go looking for a measuring cup or spoon again. Include a conversion chart for quick reference too.

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Lighten & Brighten

Undercabinet lighting doesn't require a pro. Watch and see how you can easily add undercabinet lighting.

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