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How To Update Your Kitchen Cabinets
Without Replacing Them

Kitchen Cabinets are arguably the most prominent feature in your kitchen. If your cabinets are showing their age, either in wear & tear or just in their style, there are some options to replacing them. New cabinets can be a budget buster, but they don't have to be. You can revive your cabinets with a fresh look using our ideas below.

One of the simplest and cheapest ways to freshen the look of your wood cabinets is to clean and shine the finish. We aren't talking about hard work here either, this can be done in a couple hours. There are a variety products such as Murphy's Oil soap, lemon oil and orange oil that will remove years of grime and impart a new shine to your cabinets. The process is quick and easy. It is usually involves moistening a clean soft cloth with the cleaner, rub the doors and frames, then use second clean cloth to remove any excess liquid. Follow the instructions provided with the product you use. The result can be brighter, shiny wood cabinets with minimal cost and effort.

Another surprisingly effective and easy way to update your kitchen is to simply replace the door pulls and knobs. The knobs alone can change the style of your cabinets from country, to mission, to contemporary. Simply replacing the hardware can have a huge impact. It isn't necessary to replace the hinges, although in some cases it might be worth the added effort. The expense for this project may be a bit more, but it is still a huge savings over replacing the cabinets themselves. This is an easy project that may require nothing more than a screwdriver. One important consideration is to choose handles and pulls that will align with the holes for the existing pulls. If the pulls you choose won't fit in the existing holes, make sure they will cover the old holes when installed. In this case, you will also need a drill in order to create some new holes.

If you don't like the color of your old cabinets, you could have them refinished; but it won't be cheap. Refinishing cabinets is a big job and probably best left to a professional. On the other hand, you might consider repainting them. Many homeowners change the look of their old cabinets by painting. It is still a big project and requires some skill to ensure a smooth, even finish. The doors will have to be removed, sanded, primed and painted. Spray equipment will help to avoid brush strokes and will yield a smoother finish. The cost will be low, but be prepared to invest a fair amount of time and elbow grease.

Finally, replacing the doors and possibly the face frames is another option. You can choose from a variety of door styles through home and remodel centers. Simply order the style, color and size of doors you desire. The doors will be delivered and you install them with your existing hardware or use new hardware. One problem may be matching the color to your face frames ( the wood you see between and around the doors). Refinishing the face frames may be a possibility. It is certainly easier than refinishing the doors. However, matching the color can be a challenge. An alternative is to hire a company to replace the face frames along with the doors; this is usually advertised as "cabinet refacing". They may replace the face frames or simply refinish them with the same finishes they use on the doors they sell. Replacing the doors saves on the cost of the cabinet itself (sometimes referred to as the casework) and the cost of installing the cabinets. Replacing the doors is the most expensive option we've discussed here, but it is still far cheaper than completely replacing the cabinets.

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