Photo by Ben Snider

Update: There are a number of ways to remodel your kitchen without breaking the bank. Instead of ripping everything out and starting again, a popular way to give your kitchen a facelift is to replace your kitchen cabinets. You can buy stock cabinets which are designed to fit most standard kitchen measurements, or you can spend a bit extra and have your cabinets made to measure. This also allows you the option to choose materials, colors, patterns and designs to suit your taste.

Home remodeling is at an all time high. In fact, remodeling bathrooms and kitchens has almost become a national obsession. A significant cost factor in remodeling or adding on to a house can be the cost of cabinets. Whether remodeling or adding a kitchen, home office, family room, hobby room, play room, child’s bedroom or bathroom, your design might include new cabinets. In a kitchen remodel, cabinets can account for as much as half of the total cost. So it seems important to think carefully about new cabinets and remodeling.

If you happen to have the luxury of planning a remodel with no budget constraints, and you want new cabinets, you have two options: stock cabinets or custom cabinets. Custom cabinets are built to your specifications for your room. These might be built on site, or they might be built elsewhere and installed when complete. This option certainly gives you the greatest flexibility with your kitchen design and in getting the cabinets you want. If, however, you want to complete your remodel faster or you want to save a little bit of money, stock cabinets are a very good option. Stock cabinets are available in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, made of most any kind of wood you could want, with various kinds of moldings on doors and glass panels. You can purchase these completely built, or in precut and pre-finished pieces that you assemble.

If your existing cabinets don’t measure up to your needs or expectations, you might need to buy new cabinets. If your cabinets are showing significant signs of wear and use, if they are made of composition board, or if they simply make things inaccessible, new cabinets are probably a good idea. Choosing the stock cabinets that will fit your remodeling design should be reasonably easy. If you need new cabinets and your budget is limited you might want to look for recently discontinued cabinets or buy very plain cabinets to which you can add decorative moldings. This could save a lot of money.

If your cabinets are functional, in good shape, and of good quality, there are many other things you can do to revitalize old cabinets into a style that accents your new room design while saving money. Particularly in older homes, you may have solid wood cabinets that are far better than many economy cabinets available today.

One option would be to “reface” your cabinets. Re-facing cabinets is a matter of putting a new exterior “face” on existing cabinets and keeping the existing frames and cabinet boxes intact. Cabinets can be refaced with laminates, veneers, or high-quality wood to give the appearance of new cabinets for a fraction of the cost. The cost savings come from lower cost for both materials and labor.

Painting existing cabinets is another option, particularly if the cabinets are functional but need to be lighter and brighter. White cabinets are very popular. Yet another option is to remove the cabinet doors, sand or strip all surfaces and refinish/re-stain them. This gives you an opportunity to repair damage and put a fresh face on what you already have. Yet another option is to refinish flat cabinet doors and add matching moldings to create the look of finely molded woodworking.

If you want to work with existing cabinets and give them a facelift, you can also consider adding decorative trim with paint. For example, you can add a design on white cabinets to give them pizzazz, or you can paint trim on stained cabinet doors.

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If you are working with existing cabinets, remember that they can also be resized as necessary to accommodate new appliances. This may take a little bit of work, but it can certainly be done if you like the cabinets you have.

Finally, consider the difference new hardware can make. Changing the hinges and door/drawer pulls can give older cabinets a very fresh appearance. If, for example, you have pine cabinets with black hinges and door pulls, you can create an entirely new look by painting the cabinets white and changing the hinges and door pulls to brass or brushed nickel.

As you renovate, you might also want to consider adding features that make the items in your cabinets more accessible. There are many items available that can be placed in existing cabinets or built into new cabinets that will make them more accessible, such as lazy Susans, drawers, drop-down shelves, and the like.

The possibilities for new cabinets and remodeling are limitless. Just use your imagination to find ways to achieve the highest quality with the available budget. The rest is a matter of creative thinking and some effort.