Ideas for Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Ready for a change? Discover the difference refacing kitchen cabinets makes.
original_brian-flynn-kitchen-cabinets-step2_4x3

original_brian-flynn-kitchen-cabinets-step2_4x3

By: Melissa Webster

Refacing kitchen cabinets, also known as resurfacing, is the process of giving your existing kitchen cabinets what is essentially a facelift, for a fresh, clean new look.

Kitchen Cabinet Inspirations

See All Photos

Contemporary Kitchen with Glass Backsplash

Yellow Kitchen Cabinets and Stainless Steel

And

John Colaneri

Contemporary Kitchen

RS_Designer-Debe-Robinson_h

From

Debe Robinson

Photo By: DANNY MITCHELL ©Danny Mitchell Photography

White Traditional Kitchen

Tuscan Style Kitchen

Photo By: Photographer: Harvey Smith © Photography by Harvey Smith

Contemporary Kitchen with Green Granite

Cream Color Country Style Kitchen

Modern Stainless Steel Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Subway Tile Backsplash

Kitchen with Pendant Lighting

Kitchen with Island and White Cabinets

Red Kitchen Cabinets

From

Kim Alexandriuk

Photo By: Edward Addeo ©Gibbs Smith, Farrow and Ball, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo

White Cabinet Kitchen with Stainless Steel Backsplash

Contemporary style kitchen

Stove Top and Backsplash with Blue Gray Cabinets

Photo By: Eric Rorer

Black and White Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen Design

Photo By: Picasa

Retro Yellow and Green Kitchen with White and Brown Cabinets

Photo By: Peter Rymwid

Modern Kitchen with Red Pendants

White Contemporary Style Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen with Antiqued Cabinets

Photo By: Peter Rymwid

Large Kitchen with Island

From

Celebrity Communities

Photo By: Courtesy of Denver Parade of Homes; Photo by Jeffrey Aron Photography © Denver Parade of Homes

Kitchen with Island Seating

Photo By: Photo Credit: HDR Homes ©Denver Parade of Homes

Brown Contemporary Kitchen

RS_Designer-Nomita-Joshi-Gupta-Spruce_h

From

Nomita Joshi Gupta

Rustic Kitchen Island

White Traditional Kitchen Cabinets

White transitional kitchen

Island Seatinv in Blue Gray Kitchen

Photo By: Eric Rorer

Urban Oasis Kitchen

Neutral Kitchen

White Kitchen

Creamy Kitchen Cabinets

RS_designer-Ben-Herzog_h

From

Ben Herzog

White Kitchen with Dining Table

White Kitchen with Wood Island

White Cottage Kitchen Cabinetry

White traditional Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Red Hood

Kitchen with Blue Backsplash

Cottage Kitchen with Black Cabinets

White Glass Front cabinets

Blue Kitchen Cabinets

Blue Kitchen with Glass Countertops

Stainless kitchen with white cabinets

Photo By: Peter Rymwid

Black Cabinetry

Contemproary Kitchen with Large Table

Transitional Kitchen with Blue Cabinets

Large Kitchen with Island

RS_Designer-Cheri-Wentworth_h

From

Cheri Wentworth

Orange Kitchen Cabinets

Contemporary Kitchen

Contemporary Kitchen with Elaborate Display Cabinetry

Black Cabinets in Galley Kitchen

White Cabinets

Kitchen Cabinets

Learn more about beautiful, efficient kitchen cabinets.

With laminate or wood veneers laid over the existing cabinet boxes, you can change the style, color, wood type—even the associated historical era. Those avocado green cabinets so popular in the 70s can be transformed into the contemporary sleek white of the 21st century. Those light, bright oak cabinets can become the regal dark of cherry wood, and vice versa. Within days your kitchen can take on the look of a complete renovation without the hassle, cost, mess and inconvenience of a full remodel.

Though you keep the existing cabinet boxes, you will need to replace the doors, drawer faces and side panels for the best overall match. While you're at it, you might want to consider replacing the hardware as well. A new style and look for the handles, moldings and hinges can be simple and inexpensive, and it will make a huge difference in the overall feel of the room. You can find new hardware at any home improvement store or your local mom and pop store that specializes in refacing. Although you can have the job done professionally, refacing your kitchen cabinets is generally a good DIY project. You will need to decide whether or not you want to do the job with laminate, rigid thermofoils (RTFs) or wood veneers.

Laminate is a highly processed, super-hard plastic that sticks to existing cabinet boxes with adhesive. You can buy this in sheets already coated with a self-stick adhesive; this is slightly more expensive, but also much more convenient and easier. As an alternative, you can apply the adhesive separately. Laminate is hard and durable, so it doesn't mold easily and can really only be used practically on very plainly styled cabinet boxes.

Rigid thermofoils (RTFs) are pressure-molded vinyl foil and are more malleable than laminates. As such, they can cover more intricate designs, such as cathedral doors and arches. The wood grains are very realistic-looking, though the solid colors are more limited.

Wood veneers are actual, real wood, and they come in different sheet sizes. With wood veneers, you can change the wood type while maintaining the integrity of all-wood cabinets. Like laminate, wood veneers can also be bought with the adhesive already applied to the back, or you can apply the adhesive yourself.

Sometimes refacing requires the veneer to be nailed to the old finish, but usually adhesive is all that is needed. You will have to cut and measure with all three options. As the saying goes, measure twice and cut once. When measuring, leave room for overlap, and then trim the edges, very, very carefully, a little bit at a time for the smoothest cut.

Next Up

Catch Up With Our Blogs

We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, DIY projects, clever entertaining tips & more.

Follow Us Everywhere

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