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To Replace or Reface

Updated: Sep 30, 2019

Hello, Gorgeous! What lovely style, color, and finish you have. We’re talking about kitchen cabinets, of course!

Are your cabinets creating the overall feel you desire for your kitchen? Do they offer enough storage space and benefit the layout of your kitchen work space? If your kitchen cabinets aren’t making a bold statement or don’t improve the function of your kitchen, you may be questioning “SHOULD I REPLACE OR REFINISH?”

Kitchen cabinetry can consume up to 50% of a kitchen renovation budget. What should guide a homeowner’s decision to remove existing cabinets or to simply update cabinetry?

A homeowner needs to first think about how he or she wants the kitchen space organized or arranged. During a professional remodel, kitchen sinks and appliances can be moved. New cabinets can be designed and installed so that they benefit these changes and allow for better movement through the kitchen, for more accessible storage, and for personal culinary needs to be met. Think custom built drawer boxes with side mounted roller tracks, pull out trash bins, built in wine racks, nook and cranny cabinets for baking pans, etc… Resizing and re-positioning cabinets visually opens a kitchen, as well as customizes a kitchen to its owner. These perks of replacing cabinets all add a WOW factor to a kitchen, but cabinets can also be hiding an “Oh no!”

If your current cabinet doors have trouble shutting, or are more obviously sitting or hanging crooked, a structural problem may have developed. Over time, floors can settle, which can cause walls to shift. General deterioration due to home age can also result in cracks or the bowing of walls. The best way to correct a structural situation is after the removal of old cabinets. Having a contractor right the situation and then install new cabinetry ensures the proper hang of new cabinets.

If current kitchen layout is not of concern, and kitchen cabinetry simply needs updated, there are several DIY options. The first is refinishing. Existing cabinets and drawer fronts can be painted. Colored cabinetry makes a bold statement and can pair beautifully with metal kitchen appliances and hardware. Two-toned cabinetry in contrasting colors is seen in many modern homes. New wood, laminate, or wood veneer can also be installed over working cabinets and door fronts. If a good structure and design exist, new cabinet doors and drawer fronts could also be installed. This process is called refacing. Cabinets can also be re-hung and open shelving can be added underneath. Our Pinterest cabinetry board has many great examples of refinishing.

Whether a homeowner chooses to replace or refinish, trends in cabinetry are easily applicable. Pure white kitchens are modernizing with bright color splashes. Gray cabinet hues are “cool”, especially when mixed with unique counter top finished like concrete or black marble. Replacing upper cabinets with shelving that mimics retail spaces is also trending. This includes free standing wall mounted metal, glass, and wood shelving. Mixing materials and finishes is a strong style theme. Kitchen cabinets shape a kitchen and affect the overall look. Cabinets are a statement maker and whether they are updated or overhauled, they should be both beautiful and functional.

Shamrock Cabinet is our local recommendation for cabinet replacement.

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