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5 Best DIY Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Ideas to Try

5 Best DIY Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Ideas to Try

If you hate the look of your cabinets but want to avoid the cost and inconvenience of having entirely new cabinetry installed in your kitchen, you may want to consider cabinet refacing. Today, I am sharing five of the best DIY hacks to completely transform the appearance of your cabinet faces.

As far as a kitchen renovation is concerned, nothing will gobble up your budget faster than the steep a$$ expense of brand new cabinets .

With cabinetry costs averaging between $10,000-$25,000 depending on the quality of materials you choose, if you like the basic footprint of your existing cabinets and there are no structural problems with your existing cabinet frames, in the interest of saving a buttload of money, I highly encourage you to explore all of the clever refacing options now available to the basic DIY-er.

diy kitchen cabinet refacing ideas to try

How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets:

There’s an outdated misconception among the general public that refacing cabinets is limited to only two methods: wrapping your existing cabinet doors with a new veneer finish or replacing your old doors with entirely new doors. To the contrary, there are actually a number of ways to reface dated, old kitchen cabinets.

At the end of the day, “refacing” simply means that the appearance of your cabinetry is altered, while the basic structure of your original cabinet framing is left intact.

So now that I have explained the basic concept of this strategy, I am now going to share with you five DIY hacks to reface your cabinets and ultimately breathe new life into your kitchen (no professional contractor required)…

1. Paint or Stain Old Cabinets-

diy hacks for cabinet refacing

If your existing cabinetry is in good shape and the detailing on your door panels aren’t blatantly dated or obnoxious, staining or painting your old cabinets will be your best option ( especially if budget is a concern).

cabinet reface for diy kitchen remodel

As demonstrated by my former 1980’s kitchen makeover (pictured above), a fresh coat of paint and some new hardware can dramatically improve a space.

Even better, with all of the recent advances in cabinet paint technology, if you are comfortable with beginner-level DIY projects, there really is no reason to splurge on a professional cabinet painter.

Tip: If you love the look of natural wood grain but don’t like the dated stain on your cabinetry(like orange hues commonly found in an older home like this), you can always stain your cabinet doors with a more modern and aesthetically pleasing tone like I did with my bathroom vanity.

2. Add detail to your cabinet doors with wood trim-

how to reface kitchen cabinets

If your cabinets are in good condition but just a little blah, adding decorative wood trim or molding to your cabinet doors is a cheap and easy way to elevate the look of your kitchen. In a recent DIY tutorial, I shared how I added wood dowels to boring, flat faced cabinet panels…

diy cabinet refacing easy

For just $30, I was able to add add a slim shaker design detail to my cheap plywood cabinet doors.

Not to worry though, if a modern, micro- shaker cabinet is not your vibe, you can also add wider pieces of wood trim for a more traditional shaker style…

easy diy cabinet door refacing

Depending on the thickness of you cabinet door panels, you will either have to use wood glue and clamps to adhere the wood pieces to your door or , if the panel is thick enough, you can also nail the trim with a 16 gauge nail gun from the back of the panel (so that there are no visible nail heads).

how to reface cabinet doors the easy way

If you are looking to cover up dated cabinet detailing, you can also use this method. However, the width of the design you are trying to conceal will also dictate what type of wood trim you can use. In some cases, the existing cabinet detailing may be too wide to cover up with molding alone.

TIP: If you do decide to add any sort of trim or molding to your cabinet doors, you may need to replace your hinges to accommodate for the increased thickness (this way the door can open the entire way).

3. Conceal Dated Cathedral Cabinet Doors with Hardboard-

how to reface cabinets to look modern
Almost Makes Perfect

If new cabinet doors aren’t financially feasible but you long to modernize your dated Cathedral cabinet detailing, run to your nearest Home Depot and buy you some cheap hardboard panels!

Longing for the look of a modern, flat face panel door, Almost Makes Perfect glued hardboard to her existing door panels to conceal the dated cabinetry detailing. To see the entire process, be sure to check out the tutorial on her blog!

4. Create the Look of Custom Cabinets for a Fraction of the Cost-

diy cabinet door and drawer reface
Jenna Sue Design Co.

In case you have been living under a rock, you have probably noticed that fluted furniture is all the freakin’ rage right now. Want to know what this observation has to do with cabinetry? Well..

Oftentimes what sets apart a bland, builder-grade kitchen from an elevated, showstopper of a space is the incorporation of an island design which mimics that of furniture (something that truly distinguishes the island from the perimeter cabinetry).

Utilizing fluted panel moulding and liquid nails, Jenna Sue Design applied captivating millwork to very old and boring carpentry(don’t they look like entirely new drawer fronts?). I am so obsessed with this clever DIY hack and know it will instantly take any kitchen to next level status!

5. Build DIY Cabinet Doors to Replace the Old-

cost-effective diy cabinet refacing

If simply covering the existing surface of your door fronts doesn’t appeal to you (but you still need a cost-effective way to update your kitchen cabinetry), you could always build DIY cabinet doors yourself.

For only $2.62 a square foot, you really can’t beat sanded Birch plywood as a legitimate albeit affordable cabinet door material. In fact, back at my old fixer upper home, I was able to build all new shaker-style cabinet doors for under $200 .

As long as you stick with a relatively simple design (like shaker-style or flat face door fronts), this is a totally doable endeavor for the savvy DIY-er.

Tip: If you aren’t comfortable using a table saw just yet, there are several online retailers offering entirely new cabinet doors at a pretty competitive price. Don’t ever underestimate an Ikea kitchen!

Even if you only DIY the actual install, you are still coming out way better off than if you were to completely outsource the job.

ideas for diy kitchen cabinet refacing

I hope today’s post opened your eyes to all of the other cabinet refacing solutions that exist beyond your typical veneer wrapping options.

Thank you so much for stopping by and spending some time with me.

It would make such a big difference to this small business of mine if you could share this post with a friend or on social media…

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diy cabinet refacing hacks for kitchen makeover

Now get out there and design some good vibes along with a fabulous life!



My journey in interior design and home improvement began with transforming my first fixer-upper home, all while managing a budget and raising two young boys. My work, a reflection of my passion for creating beautiful, uplifting spaces, has been recognized by top publications like Better Homes and Gardens Magazine, HGTV, and more. I invite you to explore my site and witness the transformation of my home and the vibes we've designed.Read more...


Wednesday 30th of August 2023

Erica- Thank you for so many great ideas. I think it’s about time for a cabinet facelift at my house. As always- you never disappoint! Have a great holiday weekend.

Designing Vibes

Thursday 31st of August 2023

Thank you so much, Donna! I hope you have a fabulous holiday weekend. :)