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Kitchen Cabinet Upgrades Don’t Have To Be Costly: Cabinet Refacing & Cabinet Refinishing

Updated on July 6, 2015
Lily Rose profile image

In my next life, I want to be an interior designer. I love decorating and home decor, taking on projects, and helping others do the same.

Creating a custom kitchen doesn’t have to be costly. One of the tricks of the trade is professional cabinet refinishing.

Unlike painting, refinishing strips and then stains your cabinetry with a fresh new color. The beautiful wood grains come through, adding depth and dimension, providing the original wood is one with grain and not and MDF or pressed wood.

The process is really quite simple. Your cabinet doors are removed, stripped, sanded and stained. Then the actual body of the kitchen is sprayed to match. The end result – refinished cabinetry that could rival any piece of fine furniture.

kitchen cabinet refinishing - before
kitchen cabinet refinishing - before
kitchen cabinet refinishing - after
kitchen cabinet refinishing - after

The beauty of refinishing is that you can create a custom cabinetry look without the custom cabinetry price.  High-end features such as rich wood finishes, warm glazes, furniture detailing and carved moldings can all be achieved through refinishing.  This process works providing there are no changes in the layout of the existing cabinetry and that the wood lends itself to staining.  Otherwise, a lacquer finish is an option for wood without grain and mica cabinetry, which can also be updated with a faux finish.

Honey, I want new cabinets!

refinishing - darker island
refinishing - darker island
dark glaze on cabinets
dark glaze on cabinets

One custom kitchen trend that can easily be accomplished with refinishing techniques is mixing and matching. You can create the look of different wood species or add impact with contrasting color tones. Page through any home design magazine and you’re sure to see kitchens with lighter cabinets on top and darker ones on the bottom, or even an island set off in a different, complimentary color.

One of today’s hot trends is glazing. With glazing, you can be as bold or as subtle as you want and create a look to suit your style. To create a rich look, add depth with black glaze along the molding or groove on cherry cabinets.

You could also enlist the help of a designer to add touches to truly create a custom kitchen. Decorative legs on an island can transform it from functional workspace to an exquisite piece of furniture.

Crown molding can add character to your cabinetry, while also adding height to your room by drawing your eyes upward. Molding along the base of the cabinets can hide under-cabinet lighting elegantly.

Knobs and/or handles add that final completeness to your kitchen.

light kitchen cabinets with glazing
light kitchen cabinets with glazing
kitchen cabinet crown molding
kitchen cabinet crown molding

The best part about cabinet refinishing is that the whole project can be completed in about a week to ten days.  A traditional kitchen remodeling project can take up to a month, or longer.  In many cases, that means you’ll be eating out all that time and that just adds to the cost of the project.

Another benefit of refinishing is cost.  You can give your kitchen a fabulous facelift for a fraction of the cost of remodeling.  Professional refinishing can cost you around $5000 for a smallish kitchen to around $7000 for a large kitchen, providing the existing cabinet doors are useable.  Things such as decorative hardware, plumbing issues, carpentry changes, lighting fixtures and electrical work, of course, are added expenses if they are necessary.


Submit a Comment

  • AllSuretyBonds profile image


    7 years ago

    Great Hub Lily! We refinished the cabinets in our bathroom. It's doesn't take much to do, just a little bit of time and the results are great! Plus its cost effective!

  • Lily Rose profile imageAUTHOR

    Lily Rose 

    8 years ago from A Coast

    Thank you, GmaGoldie!

  • GmaGoldie profile image

    Kelly Kline Burnett 

    8 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

    Great Hub! You are the money saver with fantastic photos. Rated it up! Keep up the great work!

  • aleida_77 profile image


    8 years ago from Los Angeles

    Anything that lets you get the look of custom at a fraction of the price is wonderful. Nice hub.


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