Inspiration > Kitchen & Bath

Eight Creative Kitchen Cabinet Upgrades

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The kitchen cabinet is usually regarded for its practical use, not for its decorative purpose. Because of this, a lot of homeowners tend to neglect remodeling their old kitchen cabinets, which is a shame because great-looking cabinets can actually improve the look of a kitchen. A simple update on shabby cabinets is one of the basic home repairs you can do easily.

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Photo Courtesy of Stacie via Flickr

Homeowners are concerned about costs, though. The good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of cash just to do kitchen cabinet upgrades in your home. A simple budget can go a long way in giving your kitchen a fresher look. Check out some of the simple but effective upgrades you can do for your old kitchen cabinets, which you should add to your list of quick and easy home repairs.

Put on several coats of paint

If you notice that your cabinets are already making your kitchen gloomy, it’s time to make some changes. It doesn’t mean you have to disassemble or extract them from the walls. Instead of installing brand new cabinets, you can just paint the old ones with colors that will stand out. Putting several coats of paint is one of the cheapest ways to brighten the look of your old cabinets. Aside from paint, all you’ll need for this project is a cleaner to remove the old paint and sandpaper to smoothen the edges.

Install a pull-out shelf

This is a great project for the base cabinets in your kitchen. A pull-out shelf is like a drawer that you can easily pull out so you can have better access to the back part of the cabinet. If you plan to redo just one or two drawers, you can go the cheapskate route and get small sheets of plywood in lumberyard or home centers. If you want to install more, then you’re better off buying a bigger sheet of plywood and cut according to the sizes you need.

Place a peek-a-boo design

This is one of the kitchen cabinet design ideas that will give your kitchen a cute and quirky look. Seal the wood by applying a coat of polyurethane. Now choose your cutout design (animals, hearts, and flowers are popular designs) and trace it into the contact paper. Cut out the pattern then press it to the front of the cabinet. Seal the edges tightly using your fingernails. Now paint the entire cabinet and let dry. Carefully remove the contact paper and you will have a cutout design that reveals the old pattern of the cabinet.

Apply wallpaper on the doors

 

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Photo Courtesy of Stacie via Flickr

If simple paint is still not enough for you, you can add more color to your cabinets by putting wallpaper on the doors. Cut a piece of wallpaper that can fit on the kitchen cabinet door’s panel. After painting the door with semi-gloss latex paint, put some spray adhesive in the back of the wallpaper, then carefully place it on the panel. Dip the paintbrush into some decoupage medium and then apply a thin coat over the wallpaper and door.

Install lighting for a dramatic look

Never underestimate the effects of good lighting. Well-placed bulbs with the right color can give a dramatic touch to your interiors. Install a bulb or two under the upper wall cabinets and you will have handy lighting that will make countertop tasks easier. If you’re going for more drama, a dimmer switch is the solution to your problems. It can give nice accent lighting to your glass cupboards or it can serve as a soft night light for those who discreetly snack during the night. If you’re not too savvy with working with wires and circuits, better enlist the help of an electrician to do this for you.

Go for a country look with beadboard panels

Give your kitchen cabinets a touch of country by inserting beaded-board panels at the center of the cabinet door. A dash of glaze, paint, or stain will finish the look of your homey-looking cabinets.

Use tiles for a sparkly look

If you don’t mind exerting extra effort in making your cabinets look pretty, then putting tiles on them should be a very interesting project. Choose your color palette then buy paint and tiles according to the shades you choose. Prime and paint your cabinets and let dry. Make sure to choose mesh-back glass tiles for this purpose. Put a generous amount of tile adhesive to the cabinet door. Adhere the tiles using the putty knife and lay out the tiles according to the design you want. Putting grout on the tiles is not necessary but if you want to grout your tiles, just make sure that the hinges of your cabinets are sturdy enough to hold the heaviness of the grout.

Transform your cabinets into a blackboard or corkboard

 

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Photo courtesy of mumbot via Flickr

If you want to give your refrigerator door a break from all the magnets and grocery notes, repurposing your cabinet doors is a great solution. Paint the door using spray paint and let dry. Use quick-release painter’s tape to tape the door panel. Using chalkboard paint, spray the center panel and let it dry. Remove the painter’s tape afterwards. You can now use the cabinet doors to scrawl grocery lists or cute doodles.

If you would rather stick notes and other stuff on your cabinet doors, you can just easily transform them into corkboards. Spray the cabinet with black paint then let dry. Measure the center panel of the door and cut cork adhesive paper according to its size. Fit the cork paper into the center panel.

This works best on cabinets made of pine and other soft wood varieties.
Since you’re spending considerable time in the kitchen, it’s important that you continuously find ways to make this part of the house look appealing and include it in your list of home repairs. A total overhaul of the kitchen is nice if you have a generous budget but if you only have limited cash to spare, upgrading kitchen cabinets is a great way to improve the look of your kitchen.

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Emily Harper
More about Emily Harper

Emily Harper is an environmental and sustainability advocate and a writer. She runs the blog SecurityOcean.com. Follow her @emilyharper80.

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