Getting New Life Out of Your Cabinets – Discover the Decorative Possibilities

Those possibilities are limitless, so let’s narrow things down. If the cabinets are not outdated in style but could use sprucing up, an obvious answer is paint. From there it gets interesting, because paint can be supplemented with glaze effects. There are little touches that go a long way, like a different color on the doors. Or a crackle finish.

The overall look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom can undergo complete transformation just by revitalizing the current finish or refinishing with paint or stain. Refinishing kitchen cabinets is one of the most popular and cost effective home improvement projects for both homeowners and professional painters.

Keep in mind, especially if adding an antique look to your cabinets, you may go over-budget. Not from the actual cabinet refinishing, but from what you may want to do to the rest of the kitchen once the cabinetry work is done. In other words, if the cabinets will look dramatically different after refurbishing, they may no longer match the rest of the kitchen.
Beautifully painted and antiqued kitchen cabinets.
So you have to be careful. Plan for your refreshed cabinets to not have a radical departure from the current look, especially color. If there will be a giant mismatch after the cabinet work is done, plan to do more extensive work like re-doing countertops to match. Of course if you can’t afford to do everything at once that’s fine. Cabinets are a great start, and the rest can be tackled as budgets allow.

If you plan to stain a lighter cabinet with a darker stain, for example, first decide on a color that will blend with the decor of your entire kitchen. Doing this in the beginning of the process can eliminate the need to do the entire kitchen over to match your newly renovated cabinets.

While planning your cabinet refinishing don’t forget new hardware, like knobs and handles on the cabinet doors. This is actually expensive but will make a big difference, especially when combined with the surface refinishing.

Specific ways outlined on these pages will help you achieve antique or other rustic looks; tin finishes, distressed looks and wood grain finishes. Old looks are best known as ‘distressing,’ or ‘antiquing.’ These general terms apply to a wide variety of unusual effects that are possible.

  • Painting cabinets will add a new look and style to otherwise dreary kitchens and bathrooms, and the finish can last a long time with minimal maintenance. This is due to the tough and scratch-resistant finishes which are now available. All of this costs a fraction of what a new set of wood cabinets would cost.
  • Glazes for a decorative effect are a great way to highlight details while giving cabinets a unique look. Glaze over paint can add an aged look to newly painted cabinetry. Or, already painted cabinets can be given a faux wood grain for an entirely new look.
  • A crackle finish on cabinets has become a popular way of creating a new look. Crackling can be a bold statement or a subtle change, depending on paint color-choices. Crackling and glazing combined can create the look of very old cabinetry.
  • Revitalize your current finish if you like the overall look of your kitchen or bathroom. For instance, stained cabinets can be brought back to life with just a little elbow grease, good tools and proper materials.
  • Re-staining over existing finish is one option that could be an excellent alternative to replacing or re-facing cabinets. This typically involves using a gel stain. The technique can produce dramatic color changes, especially with light stained cabinets. It can also save time by being an alternative to stripping and sanding down to new wood.
  • Distressing is an appropriate technique when you are aiming for a country kitchen feel.
  • Add New Doors and Drawer Fronts with refinishing. The combination can offer a truly new design, and bridge the gap between a full refinish and re-facing. So, you’ll still have a new look while at the same time saving money.

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