Distressed Kitchen Cabinets

This timeless antique look for your kitchen cabinets is all the character your kitchen needs.
TS-90365795_distressed-kitchen-cabinets_4x3

TS-90365795_distressed-kitchen-cabinets_4x3

Elegant Kitchen

Photo by: Gordon Swanson

Gordon Swanson

By: Melissa Webster

Distressed kitchen cabinets are achieved by a quick and easy faux finish technique you can do in a matter of hours. Transform your basic builder cabinets into something timeless that looks custom-built and stylish.

Kitchen Updates for Any Budget

See All Photos

Update Hardware

A very affordable update is to replace your cabinet's hardware with one of today's popular options: vintage-look glass, burnished bronze, antiqued copper, pewter and shiny or matte nickel. This quick and easy change can make dated cabinets look new. Tip: To ensure that new pulls and knobs match the existing holes, remove one of each type and take them with you when shopping.

Replace Sink Faucets

Sink faucets have come a long way in recent years. Current models offer detachable sprayers, hidden soap or lotion dispensers and touch-sensitive, knob-free operation. Faucets also come in a wide variety of finishes and styles, from formal Victorian to ultra modern, making it easy to coordinate the faucet with your home's decor.

Paint Cabinets

Painting your existing cabinets is an inexpensive update that even a newbie DIYer can handle. Some sandpaper, paintbrushes and a few gallons of primer and paint are all you need to give your kitchen a fresh, new look. Design by Beth Haley

Add Hidden Storage

Every kitchen could use more storage. This cleverly concealed drawer, designed by Dave Stimmel, provides the perfect place to keep cooking necessities within easy reach of the stove. Built-in storage like this can be a costly addition. To keep costs down, check your local hardware store for pull-out storage kits and drawer organizers that will fit your existing cabinets.

From: Dave Stimmel

Add Sufficient Lighting

In addition to improving the overall look, the right lighting also makes a kitchen more functional and appear larger. Brighten up by adding under-counter illumination, task lighting above work surfaces and ambient lighting, such as recessed lights. This kitchen, designed by Beth Haley, uses all three to great effect.

DIY Tile Backsplash

Adding a tile backsplash, even trendy glass tile, is a relatively simple DIY project. Many home improvement and tile supply stores offer free, hands-on classes to teach you the basics. Kitchen design by Erinn Valencich.

From: Erinn Valencich

Replace Flooring

New flooring can change the feel of your kitchen. Hardwoods lend a warm, traditional look while natural stone, such as marble or travertine, adds a polished vibe. This kitchen, designed by Kristin Barker, mixes the two for a modern finish.

Add an Island

An island provides additional cabinets, a handy location for a sink or stove and the perfect spot for a casual meal or keeping an eye on the kids while they finish up homework. This cottage-style kitchen, designed by Thomas Conway, beautifully combines vintage-style details with a modern, open-concept layout.

Update Countertops

New countertops will give any kitchen an updated look. Laminate remains the least expensive option while granite and marble are the most desirable. More trendy choices are concrete and metals such as pewter, copper or stainless steel. Design by Trish Beaudet.

From: Trish Beaudet

Upgrade Appliances

Appliances are more than just your kitchen's workhorse, they also add to the overall look. Professional-grade stainless steel continues to be the most desirable. Also hot are retro-look appliances from the '20s - '50s. Design by Erinn Valencich.

From: Erinn Valencich

Replace Cabinets

Replacing the kitchen cabinets offers a great opportunity to customize them based on your lifestyle. This built-in hutch and buffet, designed by Beth Haley, provides an attractive space for displaying treasured dishware in the glass-front cabinets while the countertop below can be used as a buffet when entertaining.

Total Remodel

If your budget allows, a complete kitchen remodel is the way to go. New flooring, electrical, cabinets and plumbing allows the opportunity to create a more functional layout. Although it can be costly, removing walls separating the kitchen from adjacent living spaces is a popular option for those desiring an open floor plan. Design by Gail Drury.

From: Drury Design

From the fun and flirty, relaxed and casual cottage style of white to the more formal and traditional, regal sophistication of black, distressed kitchen cabinets add character and charm to give the most popular room in the house a lived-in look that conveys an aura of comfortable warmth and age.

There are many ways you can achieve a distressed look for your cabinets, depending on how "distressed" you want them to come across. If you simply want your cabinets to lose the brand-new look, try creating something that's just a little worn around the edges through well-placed layers of paint, followed by strategic sanding in places that would naturally be rubbed and worn over time, and then finished off with a protective seal at the end. This is especially effective with black cabinets.

For a look that is a little more extreme, try hitting the cabinets with hammers and chains or denting them with a nail or an equally hard tool. This, along with sanding to reveal the various colors or wood underneath in seemingly random spots, works to age your cabinets as well by making them look as though the paint has worn over time. Just be sure to hit them gently so as not to actually destroy them, and only strike them in random places. Too much distress and you'll just make your kitchen cabinets look shabby (and not in the intentionally cool, chic way).

You can use an antique glaze rubbed all over and then sealed, or try several layers of varying paint that's then battered and sanded. You can distress every surface or only wear down the corners and raised surfaces that would be likely to get the most traffic. A distressed finish looks good with any color depending on the look you're trying to achieve, but black and white tend to be the most popular. Blue works really well for a worn country look, and white works best for an antique traditional look. Black and red are great for an in-between transitional look that bridges the classic with contemporary and modern. This is a fun and easy project, and it's inexpensive to pull off, even for a DIY dabbler not used to tackling major projects.

Go Green With a Recycled Kitchen
Keep Reading

On TV

Living Alaska

7:30am | 6:30c

Flip or Flop

12pm | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30pm | 11:30c

Flip or Flop

1pm | 12c

Flip or Flop

1:30pm | 12:30c

Flip or Flop

2:30pm | 1:30c

Flip or Flop

3:30pm | 2:30c

Flip or Flop

4:30pm | 3:30c

Flip or Flop

5:30pm | 4:30c

Flip or Flop

6:30pm | 5:30c

Flip or Flop

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Flip or Flop

8pm | 7c

Flip or Flop

8:30pm | 7:30c

Flip or Flop

9:30pm | 8:30c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Flip or Flop

12am | 11c

Flip or Flop

12:30am | 11:30c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Flip or Flop

3:30am | 2:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.