Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Give Your Kitchen a Makeover with New Cabinet Doors

Gabriela Connell
5 minute read

Is your kitchen stuck in a style rut? Do you dream of walking into a fresh, modern space but cringe at the high cost of a full renovation? Updating your existing cabinetry with new doors provides an affordable way to give your kitchen a whole new look.

Replacing tired cabinet doors lets you customize the style and finish to match your tastes without the investment of tearing out perfectly good cabinets. With some strategic upgrades, you can make your kitchen feel bright, airy, and up-to-date.

Assessing Your Current Cabinets

Before choosing new doors, take time to evaluate your existing cabinetry. Carefully check for any structural damage or wear and tear. Test doors and drawers to ensure they open and close smoothly. If the underlying cabinet boxes are sturdy and functional, they can be successfully updated with new fronts.

replacing kitchen cabinet doors before and after

Also measure your current cabinet configuration to determine if you want to make any layout changes. This is a good time to rework storage solutions and improve workflow. Just be aware that relocating cabinets or openings for appliances will increase the scope of the project.

Make notes on the condition of the current finish as well. Do you want to change the look with paint or stain? Identify any repairs needed to prepare surfaces for the new finish.

Door Styles

When selecting a replacement door style, you can match your existing aesthetic or take the design in a completely new direction. Clean-lined Shaker or recessed panel doors offer a versatile and timeless look. For a more dramatic impact, introduce glass-front doors to open up display cabinets.

Keep in mind how new doors will coordinate with your cabinet boxes. A contrasting style paired with an existing box can look disjointed. Aim for cohesion in finish and detailing.


Solid wood doors offer beauty and durability but come with a higher price tag. Engineered wood products like plywood and medium density fiberboard (MDF) provide cost savings while still taking paint and stain well. Thermofoil doors with a plastic laminate finish resist chipping and stand up to moisture.

Weigh the pros and cons of each material against your budget and kitchen usage. Keep in mind ease of installation and cleaning along with aesthetic appeal.

Finish and Color

When it comes to finish, both stained and painted cabinets are trending in kitchen design. Stains in deep espresso or warm gray tones accentuate the beauty of wood grain. Painted finishes, often in shades of white and light gray, feel fresh and airy.

Be sure to coordinate your cabinet color with countertops, backsplash, flooring and other finishes to achieve a cohesive look. Don’t be afraid to get creative with two-tone schemes or unexpected pops of color on an island.

Hiring a Contractor vs. DIY Install

Installing new cabinet doors involves carefully removing existing doors, filling holes, cutting and fitting the new doors, then drilling for hardware and hanging them. This process requires precise measurements and attention to detail.

For kitchens with complex cabinetry or an extensive redesign, hiring a contractor provides expertise that can save time and headaches. They have the skills to modify and install custom cabinetry and offer full project management.

However, DIY installation can yield big savings for straightforward cabinet layouts. With some handyman skills and the right tools, new doors can be hung one weekend at a time. Just be realistic about your DIY abilities before committing.

Remove Existing Doors and Hardware

The first step is taking off the old doors, drawers, and hardware. Remove hinges carefully and label each door so you can reinstall in the original location. Fill any leftover holes or damage on cabinet face frames in preparation for new doors.

Clean boxes thoroughly and make any repairs to ensure an optimal bonding surface. Proper prep prevents future problems hanging new doors.

Cut and Fit New Doors

With fresh cabinet boxes prepped, dry fit and test new doors before installation. Use a filler strip if old and new doors are different widths. Cut doors allowing 1/8″ clearance on all sides and room for hinge hardware.

Work slowly and double check measurements. Precise cutting prevents costly gaps or misalignments. Have replacement doors on hand in case of any mistakes.

Drill Holes for Hardware

Mark hinge locations on new doors and drill pilot holes for screws. Mimic existing hinge configuration or make adjustments for ideal door clearance. Drill knob and pull holes with the same precision.

Carefully review door and cabinet box alignment before drilling. Measure twice to be sure holes line up accurately when doors are mounted.

Install Doors and Hardware

With pilot holes drilled, attach door hinges to mount replacement doors. Use shims to adjust and align doors properly on the cabinet face frame. Test thoroughly for smooth operation, adjusting as needed.

Finish by adding knobs, pulls, and handles in a style that complements your new cabinetry. Stand back and admire your successful kitchen upgrade!

Customization Options

Beyond a simple style and color change, you can customize your new cabinetry in creative ways. Swap some upper cabinets for open shelving to create an airy, minimalist look. Integrate glass fronts on select uppers to add depth and display valued dishware.

Try a two-tone color scheme for contrast, like navy lower cabinets with crisp white uppers. Paint the island a bold accent color for a customizable focal point. New hardware offers an easy upgrade for a modern twist.

Get inspired browsing magazines and websites to find ways to uniquely reflect your personality in the new cabinet style.

The Cost of Replacing Cabinet Doors

So what does a cabinet door makeover cost compared to a budget-busting full remodel? There’s a wide range depending on materials and quality.

Stock ready-to-assemble doors cost $2,000-5,000 while custom doors are $5,000-15,000 on average. Factor in installation costs or DIY labor time. The total for refacing with new doors can run $10,000-30,000 – still less than full replacement.

While not cheap, you can strategically spread upgrades over time. Eventually you’ll have a kitchen transformed without opening up walls or moving appliances.

Tired of staring at the same old cabinets? Upgrading your doors allows you to reinvent the look, storage, and style of your kitchen within your budget. Refreshing an existing space is an eco-friendly and economical alternative to building new.

Have fun planning your new color palette and design full of personal touches. Then look forward to showing off your innovative, on-trend kitchen when the project is done!