Many homeowners walk into their kitchen and see outdated cabinets that they wish were painted white or maybe even a bold color. Painted cabinets are on-trend, but replacing your entire kitchen cabinet system is a costly project that can take weeks to complete. So if you’re looking for a more affordable yet effective way to transform the look of your kitchen, you’ll want to keep reading.
One of the most popular ways a kitchen can be transformed is by refinishing the cabinets. It’s easy enough that any beginner DIYer could do it, and it’s much more budget-friendly than an entire kitchen remodel. You’ll also allow yourself to have the flexibility of starting and finishing the project on your own schedule. No contractors to communicate with, no craftsman in your home during your morning coffee. Depending on if you have any help and the size of your kitchen, this type of project can often be completed within a week or two.
There are plenty of easy-to-follow tutorials out there to walk you through each and every step of refinishing your cabinets, like this one by This Old House. However, here we’ll be touching on the topics we think are the most important.
Remove Before Refinishing
It might be tempting to try and refinish your cabinets while they stay hinged to the cabinet frames. This is not a good idea and will lead to more headaches in the end. First, you won’t be able to reach every part of the cabinet if they stay on the frames, and you’ll make it harder on yourself while painting or staining. Second, when the cabinet doors are laying flat after you’ve removed them, you can clean, sand, and refinish much easier while also accessing every inch of the cabinet, so you have a seamless and professional look in the end.
Don’t Skimp on Preparation
We often think we can save time or energy by skimping on things like taping off the corners or setting up protective measures for the things around the project. However, this just isn’t true, and you’re likely to regret not moving your favorite kitchen towel when you get paint on it and ruin it. You’ll also make it easier on yourself if you tape off the corners, cover the countertops, and lay down a floor protector as well. This way, you can keep your focus on the cabinets and not worry about the other areas of the kitchen getting ruined.
Clean Cabinets Before Beginning
We aren’t suggesting you’re a messy cook! But often, our cabinets are covered in a thin layer of grease, dust, and food debris. To ensure none of this gets trapped under the paint to rear its ugly head later, you’ll want to spend the extra time to deep clean the cabinets. This might mean getting out that handy old toothbrush and getting in all the nooks and crannies. It’s going to be tedious work, but you’ll be glad you did it in the end.
Sanding is an Essential Step
There are a lot of products on the market today that claim you don’t have to sand the surface of your furniture if you use them. While they might work to an extent, we recommend not skipping any steps and sanding the surface of your cabinets. This doesn’t have to be a deep sanding where you go all the way through the old finish. All you have to do is rough up the surface of the cabinet a bit to ensure there is enough “grit” for the new finish to take hold. You’ll find that the finished product is much more professional-looking and will last much longer than other methods.
It Takes Time but Saves Money
While you could easily hire this out or simply replace the cabinets with new ones, the process of refinishing cabinets takes a bit of time, but it will save you a lot of money. If you’re already renovating your whole kitchen, this might not be the best option. If you’re looking for a way to freshen up the look of your kitchen without spending your kid’s college fund on an entire kitchen remodel, this might be the best way to go about it.
An affordable way to update the look of your kitchen, refinishing cabinets is a time-consuming yet easy project. However, we think you’ll be over the moon with the results if you do it right, and you’ll love showing off your work to friends and family.
Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.