Distressed Kitchen Cabinets
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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