DIY Makeover Ideas for Redoing Kitchen Cabinets


Kitchen cabinets play a huge role in the overall look and functionality of your kitchen. Over time, they can start to look dated, worn down, or just not suit your style anymore. Instead of undergoing a full kitchen remodel, refacing or repainting your existing kitchen cabinets can give them an affordable makeover. With some DIY projects and clever tips, you can redo your kitchen cabinets and give your kitchen a fresh, new look without breaking the bank.

Assess Your Existing Cabinets

Before undertaking any DIY kitchen cabinet makeovers, thoroughly examine your existing cabinets to determine their condition.

  • Are the cabinet boxes structurally sound or do they need repairs? Look for sagging, warped or water damaged areas.
  • Do doors and drawers open and close properly? Check for broken hinges or hardware.
  • Is the cabinet layout suitable or do you want to reconfigure them?

Making a few layout changes like removing upper cabinets for open shelving can significantly impact the look of your kitchen.

Knowing the construction of your cabinets will also help determine the best makeover options. Quality wood cabinets with solid doors can be refinished, while laminate cabinets will need new doors or a coat of paint.

Clean Cabinet Interiors and Exteriors

Thoroughly clean inside and outside of cabinets before starting a makeover. Remove all shelf contents and wash all surfaces.

  • Use a degreaser to cut through dirt and grime.
  • Lightly sand cabinets to help paint or new finishes adhere.
  • Fix any nicks, dents or scratches that will be visible after makeover.

Proper prep work helps ensure your makeover results will look their best and last longer.

DIY Makeover Ideas for Redoing Kitchen Cabinets

Refinish Existing Cabinets

Refinishing wood cabinets through staining, painting or re-laminating allows you to drastically change the look while retaining the cabinets boxes and hardware.


  • Staining offers affordable update while showing off wood grain.
  • Consider gel stains which apply evenly.
  • Lightly stain first for more control over final color.
  • Use painters tape to avoid staining nearby surfaces.
  • Polyurethane provides durable protective topcoat.


  • Painting allows for endless color options like white for an airy look.
  • Use a high-quality primer suited for cabinets.
  • Opt for semi-gloss or gloss sheen for easy cleaning.
  • Lightly sand between coats for smooth finish.
  • Add decorative details like brushed metal knobs.


  • New laminate covers surface damage or dated wood tones.
  • Use peel-and-stick laminate sheets for easiest application.
  • File down edges so they don’t peel up.
  • Cut holes for handles, hinges and hardware.
  • Get a sleek new modern look in just a weekend.

Reface Kitchen Cabinets

Replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts transforms the look without removing the boxes. Refacing keeps existing cabinet layout but has a bigger impact than painting or staining alone.

  • Order new doors and hardware based on cabinet measurements.
  • Hire a carpenter for custom doors if desired.
  • Save money by keeping usable shelving and interior storage.
  • Use slow-close hinges and soft-close drawer slides.
  • Opt for shaker-style doors for a timeless classic look.

Add New Hardware

Installing new knobs, pulls or handles provides affordable update to style and function.

  • Brushed nickel and oil-rubbed bronze finishes modernize cabinets.
  • Bold black hardware makes high-contrast statement.
  • Glass or crystal knobs add a touch of elegance.
  • Update functionality with soft-close hinges and slides.
  • Ensure correct sizing based on existing holes and layout.

Tips for DIY Kitchen Cabinet Makeovers

  • Work in small sections for manageable project size.
  • Label cabinets to ensure organized reinstallation.
  • Use painters tape and drop cloths to protect floors and surfaces.
  • Sand existing finishes helps paint or stain adhere properly.
  • Primer formulated for cabinets creates ideal surface for painting.
  • Apply thin coats of paint slowly to avoid drips. Allow proper drying time between coats.
  • Gel stain offers more control over color and provides deeper penetration.
  • Add molding above upper cabinets or trim details to refreshed cabinets.
  • Update lighting fixtures and change out dull cabinet hardware.
  • Add pull-out shelves or organizational inserts for improved storage.

FAQs About DIY Kitchen Cabinet Makeovers

How much does it cost to redo kitchen cabinets?

Depending on size of kitchen and materials selected, budget $2,500-5,000 for DIY makeover with refacing or repainting. Full cabinet replacement averages $8,000-12,000.

What is the easiest kitchen cabinet makeover?

Replacing hardware and painting existing cabinet boxes are more manageable DIY projects versus refacing or replacing cabinets.

Can you stain over existing stain?

Sanding to bare wood first gets best staining results. Light stain can go over existing color but may require multiple coats for full coverage.

How long does it take to reface kitchen cabinets?

Full DIY reface takes 2-3 days with proper prep work. Hiring a professional can be completed in 3-5 days depending on size.

What color cabinets are in style?

White kitchen cabinets remain popular for their clean, airy aesthetic. Gray, navy and natural wood tones also top trends. Mix painted and stained finishes.


With some DIY commitment, you can transform the look of your kitchen cabinets without undergoing a full remodeling project. Proper prep work and using quality products help ensure your makeover will last for years. Refinishing, refacing and updating hardware offer budget-friendly ways to redo your cabinets and give your kitchen a fresh facelift. With strategic updates in phases over time, you can customize your dream kitchen.