If you’ve got a kitchen wishlist, chances are “new cabinets” is close to the top. But if you’re years away from affording new cabinets, or are living in a rental space where a kitchen redo is not an option, there are still ways to inexpensively tweak your cabinets to make them work — and even look — like brand new.
Reconfigure the Interiors
While many newer stock cabinets feature adjustable shelves, few people actually take advantage of this feature. If your cabinets do have adjustable shelves, first try reworking the shelf configurations to create space that works better for you. Don’t forget that adding more shelves is as easy as picking up a few shelf pins from a home improvement store, and have wood or MDF cut to your cabinets’ dimensions — simply paint or stain the new shelves to match the existing ones. Even if your existing cabinets don’t have adjustable shelves, adding or removing new ones is a job an experienced handy person or professional carpenter can do in a day or two.
Sometimes it’s not the shelves themselves that need adjusting, but the way the cabinets work. If you’ve been dreaming of cabinets with roll-out drawers for pots and pans, or a lazy susan that can make a corner cabinet more functional, don’t assume that you’ll need a complete kitchen redo to make those dreams come true. Most home improvement stores stock after-market drawers and other add-ons that can easily be added to existing cabinetry. Even less expensive are the small wire shelves found in the kitchen section of your local home improvement or big box store; these shelves can doubt the storage space in a cabinet, creating totally new storage options for less than $10-$20.
If your kitchen cabinet concerns are more cosmetic than storage-oriented, consider removing the doors from a few upper cabinets, or taking them down altogether and replacing them with storage shelves. Removing doors or cabinets opens your kitchen up visually, making the space instantly lighter and brighter, while also giving you ample place to store your best-looking kitchen wares, such as pretty dishes or a set of vintage mixing bowls.
Big Changes, Little Cash
Another way to give your kitchen a whole new look by making a small investment is by painting or refinishing your cabinets. Repainting kitchen cabinets is not a quick job, and not one for the faint of heart, but if you’ve got the time and the know-how, or a little more cash to hire an experienced painter, it’s the quickest, easiest way to give old or outdated cabinets a whole new look without replacing them entirely. Add new hardware, and you’ve got all new cabinets for a fraction of the price of a kitchen redo.