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

  3. 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.

    1. How exciting, Linda! We used SW extra white semigloss paint. Everything was sanded and primed first, and then two coats were either sprayed (doors) or rolled (bases) on. I think having the doors sprayed is a good idea, but you can definitely roll the doors yourself. 🙂

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

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

  5. 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!

    1. 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! 🙂

  6. 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!

    1. 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!

  7. 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

  8. Hi,
    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 :).

    1. 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!

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

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

  10. 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!

  11. 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!

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

  12. 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!

    1. 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!

  13. 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!

    1. 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!

    1. So glad you like it! It all depends on how you tackle it, the size of your doors, whether they are custom or premade, etc. It’s been a few years, but I think this one was ~$6K for custom doors and the fridge cabinet. Our new kitchen was closer to ~$4K for the new doors (plus painting costs for the frames)… There is such a wide range, though, of possible costs. I hope this helps!

  14. So I totally understand you hired someone to make your cabinets because your cabinet sizes werent average lol! My cabinets I believe are the standard and Im thinking of buying shaker fronts online (where you can input your dimensions) and was just wondering if I should put the same width and height as my current cabinet fronts now so they open properly and have the spaces in between them like yours? Hopefully this makes sense! Thankyou, love your kitchen!!

    1. Great question, Emily! I have actually wanted to try one of the online cabinet orders myself for our kids’ bathroom, but I haven’t done so yet. I’m afraid I can’t speak knowledgeably about it, but I would think that if you measured your current doors exactly that you should be able to order online. If I were you, I might try one first (less risk!), and if it’s perfect, then go for more? I hope this helps, and thank you!

  15. Hi,

    This turned out beautifully. I am looking to replace the kitchen floors in my 110+ year old house. What kind / color / manufacturer did you use here? Our counter tops are similar and like these colors.

  16. Wow! Absolutely beautiful job! Really updates the space. So fresh and clean! I have been doing research on cabinet refacing and having a hard time finding doors. I’m wanting just a white shaker. Do you know of a good company?

  17. Thanks for sharing this Rachel! I recently moved into a new home and the kitchen cabinets needed major work. We got the cabinets refaced by a local wood refinishing company and they did really great work! I wanted to DIY it, but with all my little kids at home because of COVID-19, it would have been tricky to manage. I applaud the people that can tackle these kinds of projects on their own!!

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