How Can I Update My Kitchen Cabinets Without Replacing Them?

May 31, 2023

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If you've thought about updating your kitchen by replacing your cabinets, chances are good you've experienced sticker shock. That's because replacing cabinets can be expensive, costing from $20,000 to upward of $40,000+, depending on the size and scope of the job.

But if you're still asking yourself, "How can I update my kitchen cabinets without replacing them?" well, there are alternatives you can explore that don't break the bank.

Refacing your kitchen cabinets is similar to remodeling in that you get an entirely new look for your cabinetry. The difference between the two is that refacing doesn't require completely removing your old cabinets, so it offers a practical, non-disruptive, and affordable solution for transforming your cabinets while achieving a refreshed look for your kitchen.

Let's take a look at what goes into cabinet refacing.

What Is Cabinet Refacing?

Refacing involves keeping the bulk of your cabinets intact and replacing the drawers, doors, and hardware, creating a brand-new look with few changes to your existing cabinetry.

Door Handle Options for Cabinets
Once the old components are removed, the installer sands the exposed cabinet box parts and applies veneer to match the new style and color you selected.

With refacing, you can keep or upgrade your hardware, including handles, hinges, and drawer slides. And since all the visible parts of your old cabinets get a new design, color, and style, refacing makes it appear like you have completely new cabinets.

Most cabinet refacing companies, like Cabinet Reface Direct, carry a range of popular styles, which lets consumers get the cabinets they've dreamed about. We take it one step further by manufacturing all our products in New York. When you work directly with the manufacturer, you'll save a substantial amount of money on your kitchen cabinet renovation project.

So why reface over replace?

Benefits of Refacing vs Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

We mentioned earlier that refacing cabinets instead of replacing them is a more economical option and a less disruptive process.

On average, refacing cabinets is 30 to 50% more affordable than getting all-new cabinetry. This is because of reduced labor and fewer materials needed to get the job done.

Contractors spend less time in your home when they reface cabinets versus remodeling, which can take a minimum of three weeks to a couple of months, leaving you without your kitchen for the duration. It also means having strangers in your home for many hours, interrupting your daily routine.

When cabinets are refaced, you can often have them in a few days and still be able to use your kitchen; you can leave your food, dishes, etc., in place, reducing the work you must do in preparation for the job.

For the environmentally-conscious, cabinet refacing is a more sustainable approach to remodeling. It minimizes waste by reusing cabinet boxes and using fewer materials, reducing landfill waste, energy consumption, and resource usage.

While the benefits of refacing outweigh replacing, not everyone is the perfect candidate for it.

Are Your Cabinets Right for Refacing?

Refacing is not a viable option in some situations because old cabinets may no longer be structurally sound. Cabinets can become warped, shelves can sag, and frames can split. They can also become water damaged, leaving the wood in a weakened state. Any of these factors can mean you may need to replace your cabinets.

Old Cabinet With Water Damage
Another thing to consider is storage and layout. If you want bigger or smaller cabinets, or if you need a new layout for the interior, such as more shelves or redesigned space, replacing your current cabinets is likely the best choice for you.

On the other hand, refacing is ideal if your cabinets are in great shape and all you're looking for is an update to their appearance.

If you're unsure whether refacing or replacing your cabinets is the right move for you, consult with a Cabinet Reface Direct professional. They can assess the condition of your cabinets and make recommendations on what you should do.

We're going to switch it up here and check out some other ways you can revamp your kitchen!

Alternative Ideas for Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets

While refacing is usually the most reliable way to update your cabinets without replacing them, other ways exist. Depending on your needs and desired results, these ideas may or may not work for everybody.

Refinishing Cabinets - Updating your kitchen cabinets by refinishing or repainting them can be cheaper, but it takes a lot of work.

Stripping cabinets down to bare wood before painting them is unnecessary. Still, it's usually recommended and can make the process time-consuming.

Refinishing may not be the most cost-effective or less labor-intensive approach in the long run. That's because repainted cabinets can begin to chip and peel over time. If your cabinets have damaged areas, that can accelerate chipping and peeling.

In the end, painting your cabinets might seem like an easy fix, but the work involved and the possible downfalls make this a choice we wouldn't recommend.

Painting Old Cabinets
Pick Stylish Hardware - New hardware alone is enough to give your cabinets an updated appearance. Replacing outdated handles, knobs, and hinges may not seem like a big change, but it will make a dramatic difference and stand out. There are countless hardware designs readily available, so consider selecting something bold and unique to make a statement.

Add Under-Cabinet Lighting - A unique and very simple way to transform your cabinets without actually doing anything to them is to add under-cabinet lighting. Strip lighting beneath or overhead lighting above your cabinets can give them a completely different aesthetic. Colored lights or soft lightning are just a couple of ways you can accomplish this.

By adding an adjustable light with a dimmer switch, you can utilize brighter lights when doing tasks in the kitchen and softer lighting for a more relaxed appeal. Decorative lighting can give your kitchen a classy, more modern look and serves a functional purpose too.

Adding this type of light doesn't always require electrical work. It's relatively easy to install and will typically cost you right at or under $100, depending on the size of the kitchen.

Convert Wood Doors to Glass - For smaller kitchens, consider replacing your wooden cabinet doors with glass doors. This can make a smaller kitchen space look larger, and it also allows you to showcase your favorite dishes and glassware.

Convert to Open Shelving - Why not remove the doors of your cabinets altogether and go with the open cabinet look? You can choose a great new veneer for the exposed parts of the cabinet boxes for a brand-new style while enjoying a simple, more spacious presentation for your cabinets.

Install Pull-Out Cabinet Shelves - If you want to modify space or storage in your cabinets without replacing them, adding a pull-out cabinet shelf might be the way to go. Pull-out shelves look like shallow drawers that glide out.

They're a perfect way to add space to your cabinets, and since they can be pulled out, it's easy to reach items in the back.

Install Crown Molding - Crown molding can drastically change the appearance of your cabinets, not only by adding a new color or texture but also by filling in gaps between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling, making them appear larger than they are.

They come in a variety of thicknesses and styles, so the cost varies, typically between $1 and $4 dollars per foot for synthetic materials or higher for wood materials. Crown molding is a way to add elegance to your cabinets without actually changing them.

You can combine crown molding with other suggestions we've made here to create a dramatic new look in your kitchen.

Cabinet Reface Direct Offers High-Quality Products and Professional Installation

Cabinet Reface Direct is a recognized and respected cabinet refacing and manufacturing company offering residential and commercial refacing services in the Northeast.

At Cabinet Reface Direct, we provide full-service cabinet refacing solutions that include free estimates, a wide choice of design options, and quick, clean installation at an affordable price. Because we believe everyone should be able to have the cabinets of their dreams, we even offer to finance with interest rates as low as 0% and $99 monthly.

As manufacturer and installer, we oversee every aspect of the process, allowing us to provide our customers with quality cabinet refacing services.

We offer customers a range of cabinet styles, including shaker, slab, and raised panels in various textures and colors, making it easy to customize your space. We carry a selection of handles, knobs, Dovetail drawer boxes, soft-close hinges and drawer slides, drawer fronts, and other cabinet components to ensure our customers always have options.

If you're ready to revitalize your kitchen with new cabinets, call Cabinet Reface Direct at 718-795-2721 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.

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