Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Bigger, better, faster, newer… Sometimes I feel like I must have those things.  That I must get rid of all the old things and start over.  And don’t get me wrong, new is sometimes nice.  Even wonderful.  But if all we ever did was start over, we’d miss the  beauty of restoration.  Of revival.  And that can be beautiful, indeed.

Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |

Now I realize that some people might not see this as restoration.  And I get that.  I’ve restored a stunningly worn Swedish workbench, refreshed my great grandmother’s antique dining set, and breathed new life into a 100+ year old farmhouse dresser… I know what restoration can look like.  And even though this is definitely a different kind of beast, I think there’s some beauty in working with what you have to create something beautiful once again.  So in an effort to save a little money and redeem some of the original kitchen cabinetry, we decided to reface our cabinets instead of replacing them.  Remember how they started (you can see the full before here):

basic plans to facelift a dated kitchen |

And here they are now (you can see the full new kitchen tour here):

gorgeous classic white kitchen renovation |

So what is “refacing” cabinets versus replacing them?  Refacing cabinets essentially includes new doors, new paint, possibly new trim, and new hardware.  Taking something dated…

basic plans to facelift a dated kitchen |

And giving it a face lift, if you will.

Gorgeous butlers pantry and kitchen makeover with affordable sources |

The truth is, barring gutting the entire kitchen and butler’s pantry area and opening it to the dining room (which was a consideration before we found out we were moving), there was no better place for cabinets than the existing layout.  So we saved our cabinets (and a lot of money) by refacing them.  We started by removing all the old doors and having new trim installed.

Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |

We did have a new cabinet built to enclose the refrigerator and a couple of awkward and non-functional drawers rebuilt.

Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |

Then new doors (which had to be custom made because there are no standard sizes in this 75 year old house) were built and installed.

Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |

And it all was carefully caulked and painted.

Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |

This gorgeous new hardware finished it off with a classic look.

Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |

Due to our necessary timeline (since my husband had already started his job in another city and we needed to get the house on the market so we could join him!), we hired out much of the work, but I do believe that most of this could be tackled by weekend warriors with great success.  We did all the demo, and we installed the hardware, but the rest was done by professionals.

gorgeous classic white kitchen renovation |

Even so, it was a much more affordable option than having new custom cabinets built and even significantly less expensive than ordering pre-made cabinets to fit the space.  If I ever have the option again, I would definitely make the same choice.

What do you think?  Do you have any questions about refacing cabinets?  Don’t hesitate to ask!

Disclosure: A special thanks to D Lawless Hardware for providing the cabinet pulls!  You can read my full disclosure policy here.

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Awesome budget idea - how to reface cabinets |


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  1. It turned out beautifully, Rachel! I love that you went with glass fronts on some of them. Don’t get me started on that gorgeous backsplash. Haha Smart move in going with a pro. You are one brave mama for taking that on with a hubby gone and all those little ones running around in the midst of the makeover. I don’t know how you do it all. :) Pinning!

  2. Love love love your white kitchen! The cabinets look great!

  3. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Oh, that is a good idea. I need to do something to my own kitchen and that would be an idea,thanks.

  4. Maggie M says:

    Beautiful! The cabinets came out great! Your kitchen is lovely.

  5. We are repainting in the next month. What brand and quality of paint did you use? I’m considering painting the cases myself, but taking the doors to be professionally sprayed.

  6. Your kitchen is absolutely stunning! Love the refaced cabinets!!!

  7. Gorgeous!! So fresh and clean looking! Loveee it!

  8. I missed this post somehow til now. Wow! Looks great! Thanks, I love the pictures of the hardware!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Oh, that was my fault, Derrick, I forgot to email you! So sorry, but thank you; the hardware is perfect!!

  9. Rachel,

    Found this as I am doing research for our upcoming kitchen remodel. This looks amazing! Have a questions….can you share what the tile is you laid on the floor? This is exactly what I am looking for.

    Thank you!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Hi Sarah! I’m so glad you found this helpful! The tile is Classico Travertine Taupe in 12×24 from Lowes. I’m actually posting a full source list tomorrow morning (long overdue, sorry!), so come back for links and details! :)

  10. Jessica says:

    The kitchen looks beautiful. Did you by chance have a carpenter make the doors or did you buy them from a cabinet door website? I’ve been looking at a few cabinet door websites but one of them does not have the best reviews. Any input would be greatly appreciated!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Thank you so much, Jessica! We actually did use a local carpenter through our contractor. The doors were not standard sizes at all, so a carpenter made the most sense to us. :) Hope this helps!

  11. Great job! I hope mine turn out as well as yours. If you don’t mind what counter top did you use?

    Thanks so much

  12. Catherine Berou says:

    Thank you for sharing! The kitchen looks very nice.
    It looks like you also replaced the counter top? How it works? We have an old cabinet with old tile counter top :). We have been wanted to reface the cabinet doors but not sure what to do with the old counter top… didn’t want to have new doors with the old counter top as they may not go so well together :).

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      I’m so glad you like it! We used azul platina – a bluish gray granite – for the countertop. You can see more details here. Hope this helps!

  13. Kathy krohn says:

    I love the movable island. Where did you get it?

  14. Looks very nice. What did you use for the counter tops? That looks just right for our kitchen redo.

  15. This looks amazing! Can I ask how you got the door hinges to be hidden? I would love to do this to our kitchen!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      So glad you like it. :) They make special hinges that go inside. I believe they call them European hinges. I hope this helps!

  16. Ginny braun says:

    Absolutely love your kitchen, looks great. Could you share the wall color? Beiges and grays can be tricky, and you nailed it!
    Thank you for sharing!

  17. Cathy Brown says:

    Love the re-do!! I was wondering if the new doors were made with plywood or an MDF product? We are planning to do our kitchen in the next year and are using you as inspiration!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Great question, Cathy. Ours were real wood edges with a plywood center. I hope this helps and good luck with your renovation!

  18. Did you spray the cabinet doors yourself, or did the carpenter do that? If you did the spraying, what kind of sprayer did you use?

    This looks amazing!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      Thank you so much, Darla! We hired a painter to do it because we only had a few days to get them painted and get the house on the market. 😉 He used a big, fancy airless sprayer. Hope this helps!

  19. Joy White says:

    Would you mind sharing how much you spent on your cabinet doors? I am about to start helping my mom renovate her house—and I think refacing is going to be the better option to save money. My mom is retiring and looking to sell her house—so I am just hoping to do some stuff to help her maximize her selling price. Thanks for any help!

    • Rachel Paxton says:

      That’s a good question, Joy. It’s a little tough to nail down because we went through a general contractor for most of the work on the kitchen (as we found out we were moving with my husband’s job and had only two weeks to get it done and put the house on the market). We also had him build a cabinet for the fridge, a cabinet in the laundry room, and add crown molding and other accents to the cabinetry. Plus, we had the butler’s pantry (with the custom glass doors) to do as well. If I remember right, all this added up to 5-6K. It really is something that can vary significantly depending on the contractor you use and the choices you make. I hope this helps!

  20. Looks so great!!

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