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So you’ve added a splash of color to the walls in your kitchen and upgraded the appliances, but it’s not quite enough. Those cabinets still seem drab, bringing down that fresh look you were going for. Or perhaps you’re looking to sell your house, but the kitchen is not a selling point because of worn-out cabinetry. Your cabinets need a pick-me-up, and professionals usually opt for one of three ways to give your kitchen a facelift: replacing, refacing or refinishing.

Replacing is self-explanatory; you are replacing everything and going for something totally new. A company comes in, guts your kitchen and gives you brand new cabinet doors, drawers and boxes. This can make the most dramatic changes. You can go from a very traditional look to a modern, European style, change the wood, add doors with glass panes, or even restructure the kitchen layout. This is great for old, rundown cabinetry that’s been chipped, cracked and worn. Keep in mind you won’t have access to your kitchen at all, so you’ll be checking out new restaurants in the area or enjoying picnics in the back yard for a while.

For a little less drastic and more economical kitchen renovation, refacing is the next option on the list. It also doesn’t take as long to finish. You pick out new doors and drawer fronts to replace the ones you have, and the existing cabinet boxes are covered with a veneer to match your new doors/drawers. There is a wide variety of colors and finishes to choose from, even wood finishes. For those who want to update their kitchen look without changing the layout, this is a great option. And since the doors and drawer faces are being replaced, they don’t have to be in mint condition.

But what if your cabinets are in great shape and you like the style, but the color is all wrong, that’s where refinishing comes in. Refinishing is the most affordable and usually the quickest way to bring life back into dreary cabinets. It’s vital that the cabinets are in good condition since refinishing includes paint stripping, sanding, and staining or painting. Staining your wooden cabinets can give the illusion of any type of wood you want. You can go from white washed to a deep cherry wood color. It is, however, hard to go from a very dark to very light. Painting is another option, with colors limited to any under the sun. You can easily match your cabinet color to that perfect shade of blue on the dishes.

Of course you can do some mixing and matching. Stain the cabinets to that beautiful oak color, but have a door or two replaced with glass panes to show off the fine china and crystal. Revamp the kitchen and reface the cabinets in the bathroom. Giving your cabinets a total-body makeover or just a facelift can make the whole house seem to come back to life.


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