Updating your kitchen can be expensive, and it’s unlikely that you’ll regain 100 percent of your investment. Minor kitchen modifications, on the other hand, can generate larger returns and cost less in the long run.
A simple kitchen makeover that includes changes such as replacing the front of your cabinet doors and drawers with new wood panels has a return on investment (ROI) of 72 percent, according to the 2021 Cost vs. Value study from Remodeling. While a basic kitchen redesign might be expensive (about $26,200), upgrading your cabinets can give your complete kitchen a facelift for a fraction of the price.
“Not only do you get a new look, but it’s also a more economical alternative when remodelling the kitchen,” says Adam Graham, a renovation site’s industry expert. “Kitchen cabinet design has a tremendous impact on the overall decor of the space—keeping them current and on-trend gives the entire room a lift.”
Furthermore, your cabinets may only only a general touch-up rather than a complete replacement, which can cost a lot more money and effort. “If you have a limited budget and can’t afford to replace your cabinets, updating, improving, or refinishing them is a terrific choice,” explains Andra DelMonico, head interior designer at home design site Trendey. “Why change the layout of your kitchen or the arrangement of your cabinets if you like it? Simply improve their appearance.”
Here are some low-cost alternatives to replacing your kitchen cabinets that will make them seem new without breaking the bank.
- Start by painting your cabinets.
A fresh coat of paint can make a big difference. “Paint is your best friend when it comes to updating your kitchen cabinets on a budget,” says Joey Olsen, CEO of kitchen design firm The Kitchen Guru. “All you need is some elbow grease and some excellent paint to give your cabinets a facelift.”
Painting kitchen cabinets yourself, according to Olsen, costs between $250 and $500 for paint and materials for a small to medium kitchen. It could cost $2,000 to $6,000 to hire someone to do it for you. Cabinet painting kits are another option to investigate. “At Lowes and The Home Depot, they have all-in-one kits that make it easier than ever,” says Olsen. For example, this Rust-Oleum cabinet painting package costs about $80.
If you’re going to do it yourself, make sure you do your homework. The prep work accounts for the majority of the cost of hiring someone to paint. DelMonico warns, “Plan to complete the extensive prep work yourself or the new paint will not appear professional or last.”
- Remove the paint off the wood cabinets.
Stripping and sanding your cabinets is another alternative that costs even less than painting. Cabinet stripping and sanding costs $1 to $8 per square foot, according to Fixr, while painting them costs $3 to $12.
“Kitchen cabinets can be restored to their former state by stripping and sanding them down,” Graham adds. “It will give them a fresh look, especially if the cabinets are constructed of an attractive material like solid wood.”
For a boho aesthetic, DelMonico suggests putting starched paper cloth to the cabinet doors. “Work with the architectural design of the door to know where to position the fabric if you have Shaker, raised, or inset doors,” she explains.
- Remove the doors completely.
You might also remove the doors from your kitchen cabinets for a more cost-effective makeover. “You might remove the doors completely and replace them with fabric curtains to give your kitchen a country atmosphere,” DelMonico suggests.
She recommends covering the back wall of the cabinet with starched fabric, paint, or peel-and-stick wallpaper. “To keep your kitchen feeling fresh and large, choose a darker design and paint your cabinets white,” DelMonico suggests. Alternatively, DelMonico proposes covering your cabinet door with a stamped metal panel.
Upgrading your cabinet doors is a more cost-effective approach to give your cabinets a fresh look—after all, the doors are what you notice the most in a kitchen.