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Spruce Up Your Cabinets Without Breaking the Bank

Lail Hossain shares seven inexpensive ways to reface your existing cabinetry.

Splendid cabinets are great to look at and aspire to and refacing cabinets is more convenient and affordable than replacing them. Whether it is a tiny kitchen, spacious bathroom or worn-out laundry room, these easy makeovers make any cupboards prettier and more functional. Working on a tight budget? No problem! The list contains seven affordable options to spruce up cabinet doors without breaking the bank.



Before you start to spruce up your cabinets with any of these ideas, say goodbye to dirty fingerprints, splattered oil and food, soap scum and whatever else is making the cabinets in your kitchen, laundry or bathroom look dirty. Use a firm brush and wood cleaning product to clean the cabinets and get them looking as good as new.



Fresh colour
Bring colour and interest to cabinetry using paint, stencils or fancy stickers. Ensure your chosen colour does not overwhelm a small space. Other choices to add colour and pattern are by framing the cabinet doors with wallpaper or fabric.



A fresh coat of paint or stain creates an unbelievable transformation for old, worn-out cabinets. Add unique stenciling to cabinet door fronts. Select one simple design or letter to give a professional look. Easy-to-use peel and stick adhesive monograms are bold and personal and help add your own signature to cabinets.



Good lighting doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Good lighting adds atmosphere, functionality and style. There are many beautiful and versatile under-cabinet fixtures with dimmers that work as a task light, dramatic accent light or a nightlight.



Rope lighting is flexible and comes in a selection of colours. Fluorescent and halogen lighting comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be easily installed under cabinets. There are many battery operated under-cabinet light fixtures that add drama to a room. Be sure to keep the light installation shock-free by turning off the main breaker box first.


Mirror the doors
Adding mirrors to cabinetry makes a room appear larger and more open. Solid or tiled mirrors will add space to any room.  Depending on the number of cabinet doors you have, decide whether you want to cover the entire cabinet door, solely the bottom part, or in a way in which mirrors appear to be framed by the cabinet doors, showing the wood on all sides of the mirror.



You’ll have to take out the doors and lay them flat on the surface to attach the mirrors to them. You can use special glass glue or liquid nails to attach custom-cut mirrors to cabinets.  Sandpaper the portion of the door that is going to be covered with the mirror to allow the adhesive to penetrate the door. Sandpapering helps the mirror stay attached to the cabinet door.



Once you take out the cabinet doors, apply a generous amount of liquid nail to the door and to the back of the mirror. Take your mirror and gently place it on the door using a little pressure to ensure it will stay attached. Be sure to centre the mirror in the door panel while the adhesive is still wet. Allow the doors at least 24 hours for the adhesive to dry before reinstalling the cabinet doors.



Stylish Knobs
Stylish pulls are inexpensive and the easiest way to perk up old cabinets. Elegant and trendy knobs lend a personalised look to new cabinets as well.  Add new life to cabinets without donning a tool belt by adding knobs that complement the style of your home.



Artful Enclosure
Frame your artwork, children’s artwork or picturesque photo memories on your cabinet doors.  To do this, remove all the hardware from the back of a photo frame and insert your photo.  Affix the photo frame to the door from the back of the cabinet door panel using screws.



Style in Details
Crown moulding transforms cabinetry into a seamless design. They add a touch of class, extra personality and scream, “I spent lots of money on custom cabinets!” Trim moulding is available in various lengths and widths. They can be plain and simple or intricate in design. Cut your chosen mouldings into pieces at a 45 degree angle using a mitre box. Use glue to add the trim pieces to the existing cabinet doors. You may want to use clamps to hold the glued moulding overnight to set them in place. Then, stain or paint the trims to match your home décor and existing cabinet colour.



Convertible Corner
Movable cabinetry turns hard-to-reach areas into more accessible ones. A full-extension lazy Susan provides easier access to an otherwise awkward corner space.



Lail Hossain is a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, management consultant and the founder and publisher of www.withaspin.com, a blog that shares insight on how to tackle and celebrate everyday life through food, creativity and family.  She writes and photographs various topics that include family and raising kids, DIY projects and recipe development.