A Place for Your Grill

5 Ways to Freshen Your Kitchen Cabinets Without a Full Remodel

If you want to update your kitchen but do not have the time or money to invest in a full remodel, there are several small things you can do to make your cabinets look and feel new. A partial remodeling project, such as refinishing your wood cabinets or installing new countertops can cost much less than a full remodel while making your entire kitchen look new. 


Refinishing is a low-cost option to refresh the look of your cabinets if you have solid wood cabinets. Refinishing consists of sanding the surfaces of the doors and faces of your cabinets and adding new stain or paint. This can make worn cabinets look new again. It also allows you to change the color of your cabinets to match new kitchen decor. 

If you want to continue using your kitchen during the remodel, the doors and drawers of your cabinets can be removed and your contractor can work on them remotely. Then, only the faces of your cabinets will need to be sanded and stained or painted at your home. 


If the doors of your cabinets are made from a material other than wood, such as a laminate, you may have to reface your cabinets rather than simply refinishing them. Refacing involves removing the doors and replacing them with new doors, often with an upgraded material such as solid wood. You will also have to re-skin the faces of the cabinets, which involves removing the exterior layer and adding wood veneer or specialized paint to the surfaces. 

Even if you have wood doors, refacing may be a better option than refinishing if you want to drastically change the look of your kitchen. New doors can have new new designs engraved in them or a different handle placement than your current doors and drawers. 

Upgrade Your Countertops 

The color and material of your countertops can drastically change the look and feel of your kitchen. While laminate countertops are a popular economical choice, you may want to explore how your kitchen will look with stainless steel, wood, or marble countertops. If your cabinets are in good condition and you like the appearance of the doors and finishes, then you might want to invest your remodeling money in a high-quality, unique countertop. 

Upgrade the Interior

If you like the appearance of your cabinets and countertops, you can still refresh the feel of your kitchen by adding custom features to the interior of your cabinets. A lazy Susan can make it easier to organize your cabinets and reach your rarely used items. A drying rack installed in your upper cabinets can give you more counter space while your dishes dry. Also, electrical outlets hidden inside drawers or cabinets can create a place to charge personal electronics or plug in seldom used kitchen appliances. 

Customize Your Shelving 

Another simple way for you to upgrade the usability of your cabinets is to customize your shelves to better fit your small kitchen appliances, dishes, and cookware. Raising or lowering shelves can make them more comfortable for you to use. You may also want to install vertical dowels or spacers to create individual compartments for storing baking dishes and pans. This will allow you to get the items you need out of your cabinets without having to lift out and reorganize other items every time. 

While these smaller remodeling projects can be a good way to update your kitchen, if you find you want to complete more than one of them, you might want to consider a full remodel instead. You should consult with a contractor to discuss the possibilities for updating your kitchen without upsetting your life or your pocketbook.