EASY DIY CABINET UPGRADE

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When Matt and I were first house hunting, we had several things on our “perfect house” list we were looking for. One of the items on our list was a bright kitchen preferably with white cabinets (or at least cabinets that could easily be painted white.) 

We totally lucked out and found a home with a great bright, white kitchen that we love! However, the countertops were pink… and not just pink.. mauve. NOT exactly the look we were going for. 

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle

THE COUNTERTOPS 

Being the project girl I am, I did some research on easy DIY countertop re-do’s. We considered for a while painting the formica but I was concerned with the epoxy or polyurethane top coat fumes in our house as well as in our food.

 I realized we’d have to clear out of the house for about a week to let the counters cure and the fumes dissipate. With a 3 year old, 2 dogs and 2 cats, that was too big of a hassle.

Luckily, the director of the show I was currently playing in was an amazing DIY house project gal herself. She told me about vinyl countertop “contact paper” (so to speak) that you just rolled onto your countertop to look like marble or granite! 

After researching a bit, we decided this was definitely a good route to go! We ordered a roll or two off Amazon, and got to work! (I plan on doing a full countertop post down the road! Be sure to check back here and follow me on Instagram and Pinterest!)

It was… let’s say… a “process” to get the countertop film on but I’m so glad we did! The vinyl looked SO much better than the pink!

 

NEEDED A CHANGE

 

About a year after settling into our home, I was at a friend’s house while her cabinets were being repainted. She had the top cabinets painted a soft while and the bottom row a dark, rich taupe color. It was BEAUTIFUL! This, of course, got my creative juices flowing!

When I got home and started looking at my kitchen, I started to realize how painting the bottom cabinets would probably look strange. I hadn’t thought about how my cabinets were just a plain, flat service with no design, panels or trim. (Basically just a board with a handle on a hinge…) 

BUMMER! For a few days this really had me “bummin”. The project kept “gnawing” at me though and I quickly started thinking outside the box. After a mulling it over a bit, I started to think of ways to “upgrade” the front of the cabinets so they weren’t so “blah”. 

 

NEW IDEA!

 

This led to some Pinterest research! I came across some pictures of kitchen cabinets that had a simple, wood trim framing the border of the cabinet face. 

After seeing how these cabinets were made, I knew this was the best route! Now to convenience the hubby! Finally, (after a few days of arm twisting!) Matt was on board and we were to get to work!

 

THE PLAN

 

We ran to the hardware store and picked up the paint colors we wanted, as well as the wood slats. (Make sure you have putty, nails for the nail gun that aren’t longer than ½ inch, and deglosser/liquid sander.)

While I was thinking about how to attach the frame on the front of the cabinet, I realized that wood glue would be a pain to work with. Having to glue and clamp every single wood slat to every single cabinet door would take a TON of time and a TON of clamps! (Which, of course, we didn’t have!)

Luckily, my friend (the one who had her cabinets I admired at the beginning of this post!) also is very handy and was kind enough to lend me her nail gun! This saved us a lot of time and was definitely the best way to go 

I wanted to be sure and only take 1-2 days to do my kitchen “revamp”. So the night before our “big work day”, I decided to do all I could to prep. 

One of my close friends from church was kind enough to come over and help me measure and label each cabinet door. She also marked up the wood so we would know where to cut as well as which wood piece went to which cabinet door (my cabinets are all different widths). 

In order to give the correct “look”, I chose wood slats that were 2 inches in width and about 1/4 thick. That way they weren’t super hard to nail to the front of the cabinet nor were they too heavy or hard to saw through. 

 

IMPORTANT!

 

Be sure to LABEL your cabinets AND label the hinges! Have a system! I made a diagram of our kitchen and labeled each door with a letter in my little picture. I then put tape with the “letter” assigned to each cabinet on the inside of every door. 

When I removed the doors, I put the screws and hinges in their own little bags with their matching door letter too. This is because the hinges, over time, hang differently on each door so mixing them up can mess up how the door hangs.  

STEP 1:

The first step was to use a degreaser as well as a liquid sander or deglosser. I wiped down the cabinets and “deglossed” them so the new paint would adhere better. 

 

STEP 2:

Once I was done cleaning and deglossing the cabinets, in order for our work to go smoother the following day, I decided to remove the cabinet doors and hinges so I could paint the cabinets/cabinet frames themselves first. Like I said above, I labeled each hinge set too. 

Also, I needed to paint the door handles and hinges as well. I just gave them a coat or two of Rustoleum’s Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. We decided to upgrade our 3 drawer handles to the farmhouse bin pulls. 

(Update: I did this project in June 2018 and the spray paint has held up well on the hardware!)

easy diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle

 

(In this picture you can see our dining room table before we refinished it! See how I did it here!)

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle blog
STEP 3:

After painting the cabinet hardware and the cabinets themselves (not the doors yet) the night before, it was time to attach the wood slats! Since we had already measured and assigned  each board to a cabinet, this made the sawing and nailing process much smoother. 

If you read my first post, you’ll know I choreograph/direct/teach at my high school. I’m very close with the students I work with so I invited a few of them to help Matt and I with the project! 

 

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle

 

 

My husband sawed the boards while my student helped him nail them to the front of the cabinet door. 

We decided to have the two vertical pieces of wood be flush with the top and bottom of the door and have the horizontal pieces fit in between them. 

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle

STEP 4:

Once the boards were nailed in place on the cabinet door, we painted! We found they dried better and were easier to paint when we had them resting on top of a small box or paint can. Each door needed about 2 coats of paint. 

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle

 
STEP 5:

Once the cabinets were dry (they should be fine after an hour so), we took the doors back inside and paired them up with their matching hinge. Lastly, we hung the cabinets doors and put their newly painted handles back on. 

 

Voila! A BRAND NEW kitchen! 

 

BEFORE:

 
AFTER:

 

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle

diy cabinet upgrade lisa michelle blog

 

 

 

We are SO pleased with how it turned out! It’s amazing what some paneling on the front of the cabinet doors will do! The kitchen has a great farmhouse look! 

The two-toned cabinets look so nice and definitely upgraded the look of the kitchen! 

I’d love to hear if you tried this project or one like this! Comment or Email me to tell me all about it! 

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If you liked this post, check out my DIY dining room table and DIY drop cloth headboard posts! Be sure to check back here for more projects and DIYs as well as follow me on Instagram and Pinterest!

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