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New cabinets are a major investment. In fact, data suggests fresh cabinetry can eat up nearly 50 percent of the cost for a total kitchen makeover. If you can avoid replacing your kitchen cabinets, you can save some serious dough—and free up cash for other home renovation projects.
If that sounds easier said than done, it’s time to change the way you think about your current cabinetry. With a little imagination (and some elbow grease), there are countless ways to repair, refurbish, reconfigure, and otherwise upgrade your kitchen cabinets so they continue to suit you as your functional needs and aesthetic preferences evolve. Then of course there are times it makes more sense to go ahead and start fresh. Here are nine stellar ideas, plus signs that it’s time to fully replace your cabinets.
Add Under-cabinet Lighting
Install roll-out shelving and other organizational systems
Add crown molding or other trim
Paint the cabinets
Reface the cabinets
The idea behind refacing is to make cosmetic changes to the visible parts of the cabinets. This process can take several forms, from painting the fronts of the cabinets to installing a veneer over the cabinet fronts or replacing the cabinet doors but leaving the cabinet boxes intact.
Add glass fronts to cabinet doors
Reconfigure the layout
Moving your existing cabinets around can help you achieve a whole new look. Popular reconfiguration ideas include adding smaller cabinets above the larger ones, re-hanging upper cabinets so they’re flush with the ceiling, removing cabinet doors and converting the cabinets into open shelving, or re-hanging the uppers at a higher height to add shelving underneath. In all cases, the goal is to maximize both appearance and function.
When It’s Time to Replace Your Cabinets
Plenty of options lie between you and a total cabinet replacement. But sometimes, it really is time to throw in the towel and invest in a new set of cabinets. Here are some tell-tale signs that your cabinetry needs to be replaced:
- It costs just as much (or more) to repair as it does to upgrade. In this case, you might be better off investing in new cabinets, since they may last longer than the repaired versions.
- You want to revamp the entire kitchen layout. While it’s possible to reconfigure the layout of your existing cabinets, you’ll likely be limited in your design. If your goal is a complete kitchen overhaul, it might be necessary to invest in new cabinetry.
- The existing cabinets are damaged beyond repair. Examples include water or mold, or cabinet walls that have become soft or too worn to mount new hardware.
- The existing cabinets are poor quality. It’s probably not worth throwing money at cabinets that weren’t built to stand the test of time. If your cabinets are likely to fall apart again in a year or two, you could be better off skipping the repairs and heading straight for a higher-quality set of cabinets.
Not sure if your cabinets need to be replaced? Consult an expert before you make any repairs or knock them down.
Sometimes, there’s simply no way around the fact that it’s time to replace your kitchen cabinets. But in many cases, a few simple upgrades can transform even the most outdated cabinets from drab to chic.
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