Simple Ways to Update the Look of Your Old Cabinets

Simple Ways to Update the Look of Your Old Cabinets

Easy Cabinet Updates

Wallpapered Door

Paint the cabinet door with semigloss interior latex paint. When the paint is dry, cut a piece of scrap wallpaper to fit the recessed panel. Apply spray adhesive to the back of the paper, then carefully smooth it onto the panel. Use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of decoupage medium over the paper and the entire door.

The Basics: Painting Cabinets

Peekaboo Bird

Give old wood doors a makeover. but let a bit of their original character show through. Apply a coat of polyurethane to seal the wood. To create this peekaboo bird, trace a bird onto contact paper (we used clip art found online), then cut it out and press it onto the cabinet front. Use your fingernail to seal the edges tightly. Paint the cabinet (we used off-white semigloss interior latex paint). When dry, carefully remove the contact paper to reveal your design. Use a damp cloth to remove any paint that bleeds under the contact paper.

Trimwork on Parade

Add interest to a plain cabinet door by parading pretty trimwork around the door’s perimeter. Measure your cabinet door to determine how much molding you’ll need. Be sure to factor in the size of the four embellishments for the corners. Use a miter box to cut the molding strips to size. Paint the cabinet, molding, and embellishments the same color. When they are dry, use wood glue to affix the molding and embellishments to the cabinet. Clamp the pieces in place until the glue dries.

Beaded-Board Basics

Add country flavor to your kitchen with this technique. Beaded-board panels are inset in the cutout center section of the door. Paint, stain, or glaze gives the door any color or look you prefer.

Tile Style

After you’ve primed and painted your cabinets. add a little sparkle with tile. Lay out and trim mesh-back glass tile to fit the door panel. Apply tile adhesive to the door with a putty knife and adhere the tiles. You don’t need to grout the tile, but if you do, be sure the cabinet hinges are strong enough to hold the extra weight of the grout.

Sheet Metal Shimmer

If you’re looking to give your kitchen cabinets an affordable DIY update, door embellishments, inserts, and more are the way to go.

Cute Cutouts

Wooden appliques (available at home improvement centers and lumberyards) can be easily painted and attached to cabinet doors with wood glue. These simple embellishments, along with a little paint, can add cottage style to your kitchen .

Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets

Chalk-It-Up Kitchen Cabinets

Remember your shopping list by writing it right on the cupboard. Chalkboard paint and painter’s tape make the process simple.

Personal Touch

A monogram sticker against contrasting background paint adds a bold and personal touch to doors. Add a crystal knob for an extra-elegant panache.

Stencil Chic Cabinets

Stencils come in all shapes and sizes, making it easy to customize cabinet doors to go with the rest of your decor. Give your cabinets a coat of fresh white paint, then add a burst of color with a stenciled design.

Lovely Lattice

Cork Creativity

Applying cork to a door face is a good way to hide even major imperfections. Plus you’ll have a handy place for notes, lists, and recipes.

Simple Ways to Update the Look of Your Old Cabinets

Tin Touch

The intricate designs of tin ceiling tiles make them great accents for cabinets. especially when painted.

Bird Watcher

Give your kitchen a whimsical feel with a bird transfer and twig handle. Evenly spaced drill holes create the bird’s outline. For kitchens or bathrooms. use two coats of gloss paint because it resists moisture and is easy to clean. For flat or eggshell finish, apply varnish or a clear coat over the paint for more durability.

Refined Reeds

Stalks of prairie grass inspired this Asian-contemporary door. Sandwich reeds between the cabinet door and acrylic glass. Finish with a simple handle.

Photo Finish

Turn your kitchen into a photo album by displaying your favorite photos. Affix a picture frame to the door, add a photo, and finish with a new knob. Find project tips and instructions by clicking the link below.

Traditional Trim

Fabric Finish

Add texture to your kitchen cabinets with fabric. Use a jigsaw to cut out the door center, then use a router to create a little ledge to hold the fabric.


Turn a boring door into a modern masterpiece by adding strips of thin molding .

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