Adding new cabinets or improving upon the existing ones can transform a kitchen from stale and old-fashioned to a modern marvel. Even those who are not wishing to immediately sell their homes can find a significant quality of life improvement from updates to cabinetry, be it on a large or small scale.

Installing New Cabinets

Replacing existing cabinets is a serious endeavor, and one that should be carried out by a professional or a seasoned do-it-yourselfer. Removing existing kitchen cabinets is at least a two-man job, as cabinets and countertops can be extremely heavy and bulky.

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If the cabinets or countertops are to be reused in some fashion, it is vital to take extra care so as not to damage the materials upon removal. Also, in the case of a DIY project, special care should be made so as not to damage any of the surroundings that are to be salvaged, such as flooring, trim, and walls.

When purchasing new cabinets, the decision about whether to do a home install or to have the cabinets installed professionally should be based not only on skill level and desire but also on the amount of time available to finish the project as well as the cost.

The cost of new cabinets will depend upon the homeowner’s choices. Stock cabinets that are pre-fabricated generally cost a minimum total of around $4,000 for an average 10-foot-by-12-foot kitchen. These are the least expensive, but they limit the homeowner to a small number of choices.

Semi-customized cabinets offer a higher number of choices, but can also easily be double the cost of stock cabinets. Prices of fully customized cabinetry generlly start between $15,000 to $20,000, but these prices do not factor in countertops or labor.

Refacing Or Restoring

If the cost or time commitment of new cabinetry is prohibitive, an easier and less expensive way to update a kitchen is to install new cabinet doors and fronts, a process known as cabinet refacing.

In most cases, it is fairly easy to find cabinet doors that match the wood of the existing cabinets, or unfinished doors can be purchased and then stained or painted to match what is already in place.

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Cabinet doors are available in a variety of styles. The most common are flat panel, routed panel, cathedral panel, arched panel, and framed. All of the styles of doors are offered in multiple wood tones or unfinished, which allows for a great deal of versatility.

The cost of most new cabinet doors can start at about $10 each, though the price can rise significantly depending upon the type of wood chosen and the amount of craftsmanship that is required for each door. Framed doors often require the additional purchase of glass.

Popular choice for homeowners is to choose framed glass doors for cabinets that contain glassware, bar supplies, or other items that are to be displayed to guests. Glass can be plain, frosted, or made with stained glass inlays. However, any additions to glass panels will add to the cost of the cabinet and may not be attractive to potential future buyers.

Drawers can also receive a facelift with new drawers or with drawer fronts. Prices for drawer fronts start at about $15.

Another way to give a kitchen a new appearance is to refinish, restain or restore the cabinets that are already in place. Some cabinets take well to a deeper stain, while others may need nothing more than a fresh coat of paint. Cleaning and refinishing cabinets takes time, but is far less expensive than replacing the cabinets. The cost of refinishing cabinets for an average sized kitchen can start at about $500.

New hardware can also transform the way a kitchen looks. Old, outdated handles and knobs can be replaced easily and relatively inexpensively. Cabinet doors and drawers that have no hardware only need a drill and a bit of elbow grease to allow for new hardware. The cost of knobs and drawer pulls vary significantly. Expect to spend $2-$10 per knob and $5-$25 per drawer pull.


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This article originally appeared on Angie’s List.