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Modern kitchen with black and white cabinets
Pro Tips

7 Tips to Transform Kitchen Cabinets on a Budget

Transforming your kitchen cabinets is a great way to update your kitchen without having to go through the trouble of a major home renovation. Best of all, rather than completely replacing the cabinets, try one of these simple and budget-friendly upgrades that you can do yourself.

Photo credit: Hometown Homes

Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

A quick and budget-conscious way to refresh kitchen cabinets without replacing them is by painting them with interior paint in your choice of colour. You can paint almost any type of cabinet surface, including wood, melamine, and laminate. Wood cabinets are the easiest to work with, but melamine and laminate can also take well to the paint as long as they are deglossed and sanded first.

Refer to our step-by-step guide to learn how to paint kitchen cabinets.

Pro Tip

Save yourself some time and effort with the RUST-OLEUM Cabinet Transformations kit, an all-in-one refinishing system that includes a deglosser, scrub pads, a base coat, a top coat, glazing cloths, and stir sticks. Just follow the instructions for a complete cabinet makeover.

Photo credit: Marie-Christine Lapointe

Cover The Cabinets with Wood Veneer

Give your kitchen cabinets a completely new look by covering the front of the cabinet doors with wood veneer. All you have to do is:

  • Remove the doors along with all of their hardware (like hinges, screws, knobs, and handles). 
  • Cut the veneer sheets to fit using a utility knife.
  • Glue the sheets onto the front of the doors.
  • Complete each door with edge banding and apply a coat of varnish for a clean finish.

And there you have it! Covering your cabinets with wood veneer is an easy project that can have a big impact.

Photo credit: Laura Pigeon

Replace Upper Cabinets with Shelves

If you already have enough closed storage in your kitchen, then replacing your upper cabinets with shelves can give the space a more open and airy feel. Open shelving is easy to install, and it is a cost-effective way to dramatically transform the look of your kitchen. It also offers a fantastic spot to display your favourite dishes and cookware. You will need to start by removing the old cabinets and painting the walls. Then, just install your new shelves. This relatively easy home improvement project shouldn't take more than a few days to complete.

Photo credit: Stephanie Farley

Raise the Cabinets to the Ceiling

Many homes have extra space above the kitchen cabinets. You can create a more functional and updated kitchen design by raising your cabinets closer to the ceiling. Simply uninstall your cabinets, lift them higher on the wall, and screw them back in. It is a good idea to use a level so that they don't end up slightly slanted. You may also want to leave a small gap between the ceiling and the tops of the cabinets for some decorative moulding.

Raising your cabinets will result in extra space between the cabinet bottoms and the kitchen counter. You can leave this space for a more open design, or you can even install a shelf for some extra storage.

Photo credit : Fanny Yockell

Add Glass Doors

If your cabinet doors have a frame surrounding a central inner panel, then you can give them a sophisticated upgrade by replacing the panel with glass. You will need to remove the doors and cut out the centre panel using a circular saw. Measure the opening and cut the glass sheet to the right size as well. Finally, apply silicone to the inside edge of the cabinet door and press the glass firmly into place. Adding glass to your cabinet doors is an inexpensive way to give your cabinets a custom feel.


Install New Cabinet Hardware

In addition to making any of the improvements described above, you can further transform your kitchen cabinets with new hardware like pulls and knobs. Or, perhaps you like the look of your cabinets and a hardware upgrade is all they need. Either way, updated hardware will give your top and bottom cabinet doors an instant facelift. Cabinet pulls and knobs are available in a range of different styles to suit your aesthetic. Choose from classic and modern designs in black, white, chrome, nickel, bronze, and gold finishes.


Install a Cabinet Organizer

One of the most functional updates you can make to your bottom cabinets is to install some roll-out shelving. These handy shelving units can be pulled completely out of the cabinet, making it easy to find what you need without having to crouch down and reach all the way inside. They also make it much easier to put things away and to stay organized, cutting down on kitchen clutter. Roll-out shelving is simple to install and comes with the installation hardware included.

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