kitchen cabinets

DIY: Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

We’ve talked a lot about remodeling kitchens, whether it be giving your cabinets an upgrade for a quick kitchen facelift, or redoing your entire kitchen. If you don’t have the budget to hire a contractor for your kitchen, consider a DIY kitchen cabinet project for a quick and inexpensive update! If you have the time and don’t mind putting in some elbow grease, you can drastically change the way your kitchen looks. This Old House has some great inspiration for kitchen cabinet color schemes.

Tips and Tricks for a DIY Kitchen Cabinet Upgrade

kitchen cabinets

Stay Organized

Before you start dismantling your kitchen, determine a system that will track which cabinet doors go to which cabinet openings, and where each drawer goes. You think you’ll remember, but you won’t. As you take your plates, glasses and utensils out of the cabinets, keep track of where everything goes (unless you’re planning to reorganize your kitchen).

Prep Your Workspace / Tools

Doing a DIY kitchen cabinet project can take some time, so make sure you have a great space set aside to work on this. It might take you a couple of weekends, so a pick a space that will let you spread out and leave everything behind when you need a break. AKA your dining room probably isn’t a good place for this. Set up in a garage, basement or attic. Gather the tools you’ll need for this project; screwdriver, sand paper, wood putty, 1″ putty knife, primer and paint, paint brushes.

Clean Everything

Give your cabinets a thorough cleaning before you starting doing any work to them. If there’s any grease caked on, it will impact the paint or stain that you put on later. Grab a sponge and wipe down every surface that you’ll be working on. After you sand the sides of the cabinets on the wall, make sure you clean the inside of the cabinets as well to get rid of any dust.

Prepare The Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Once you’ve removed the cabinet doors and drawers and brought them to your workspace, prep them to be painted or stained. Take off the hardware and give those a scrubbing if you plan to put them back on. If you’re not going to re-use them, you’ll want to fill in those holes (and any nicks) with wood putty.

If you’re painting your cabinets, all you’ll need to do is give them a light sand before painting. You may need to prime them if you’re changing to a lighter color. If your cabinets are stained but you want to change the stain color, you’ll need to sand the current stain off. If your cabinets are currently painted but you’d prefer them to be stained, be aware that this is a difficult project that you may not want to take on. You’ll need a chemical stripper, or a heat gun, or a LOT of sanding to get the paint off and get down to bare wood. It’s very difficult to get paint completely off.

Putting It All Back Together

Once you’re done painting or staining, you’ll be ready to replace the hardware on your cabinetry and put everything back together. Hopefully you remembered to stay organized and this will be an easy process! Think about adding felt dots inside the cabinet doors to keep them from banging when you close them.

That’s it! You’re done with your DIY kitchen cabinet project. How does it look?