How to Update Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting

By Martin Hart on Mon 29 November 2021

The style and finish of your cabinets contribute massively to the overall feel of your kitchen. If you're considering a remodel or refresh of your space, changing the cabinets will probably be quite high up your list of things that need to happen – but do you need to swap out your existing kitchen cabinets?

If you're remodelling a kitchen on a budget or unhappy with your outdated space but swapping out your cabinets isn't a viable option for you, you may be tempted to paint them. Unfortunately, painting kitchen cabinets is easier said than done and requires a lot of thorough preparation to achieve a professional-looking finish. If you're dealing with laminate coated cabinets, the job becomes even trickier. Luckily, there are things you can do to update your kitchen cabinets without painting them, and today we're going to discuss a few of our favourite tips.


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Give Your Wooden Cabinets Some TLC

If you like your old wooden kitchen cabinets, but they're an eyesore because they show their age and look drag and ugly, restoring the natural wood is a viable option. Not everyone has real wood in the kitchen, with many modern cabinets made from laminate-faced chipboard, plywood and particleboard. If you've got solid wood kitchen cabinets, before you rip them out, paint them or do anything to drastically alter them, consider restoring the wood to its former glory instead.

You can use a wood restorer to bring colour back to faded wood finishes, blend out scratches and blemishes and remove white heat rings. Then, treat with wood polish and conditioner and swap out the hardware for some new traditional cabinet handles or wooden cabinet handles. Your solid wood cabinets will look good as new, with no painting, stripping, or staining required.


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Swap Out Your Light Fittings

It may well be that your kitchen cabinets aren't the issue – your kitchen lighting is the real culprit. Florescent yellow lighting can make a room feel incredibly dated, so swap out your lightbulbs for ones that mimic natural daylight. You may find this improves the appearance of your kitchen cabinets.

If swapping out your lightbulbs doesn't quite go far enough, you can use your home lighting to further still to detract from your cabinets. Swap out dull light fixtures and fittings for bold statement pieces that will distract the eye from the cabinets and provide intriguing focal points. If you need inspiration on using light to your advantage, read our article on the best lighting for kitchens.


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Paint The Walls Around Your Cabinets

Painting around your cabinets is another solution that doesn't involve tampering with the cabinets themselves – other than to swap out the cabinet knobs to match your new wall colour. Changing the wall colour can either help tone down and prevent clashing colours and wood tones or lift the cabinets and help them stand out in a way they didn't before. Of course, the colour you choose for your walls will depend entirely on your cabinet door colour, but choosing something neutral like a light grey or off white is usually a safe bet. These light, neutral colours won't interfere with your cabinet colour and will allow you to introduce colour through your décor, and you can tie the whole room together with new cabinet pull handles.

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Countertop & Backsplash

Swapping out your countertop or backsplash can transform your kitchen without having to touch your kitchen cabinets. Whilst not as cost-effective as some of the other methods, it is the thing that will make the most significant impact on the feel of your space. Many older houses, particularly those built or renovated in the '90s, will have outdated laminate countertop that doesn't compliment the cabinets.

It's a big investment but worth it to transform your kitchen without having to strip it back to its carcass. Countertops are available in various materials, from luxurious quartz to natural wood, solid surface, and even modern laminate worktops are much better quality than their ancestors.

Similarly, your backsplash – or lack of one – can contribute to the style of your space. An ugly, dated backsplash in a colour that clashes with your cabinets may be the reason why you hate your kitchen cabinets. For the best results, backsplashes should be minimal and neutral in style. Retiling your backsplash with fresh and simple white subway tiles is an excellent choice; they're timeless and incredibly affordable.

If you do decide to take the plunge and revamp your countertop and backsplash, make sure to find some interesting cabinet hardware like our antique cabinet handles to pull everything together.

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Embrace Open Shelving

Suppose you really cannot stand the sight of your dated kitchen cabinets, but none of these ideas are what you're looking for. In that case, you could always remove your cabinet doors completely and embrace open shelving. It's not for everyone, but open shelving can make your kitchen feel more spacious. Even removing just one cabinet door can transform your kitchen and provide a focal point. Open shelving can function as both functional and decorative space, and if you keep hold of the removed door, you can always re-hang it if you change your mind.

We hope these ideas for transforming your kitchen around your dated cabinets helped you with your renovation project. Here at Hart Wholesale, we stock a massive range of cabinet handles for all styles of cabinet.      

Swapping out your kitchen hardware is a simple and cost-effective way to lift your space and tie the room together. Speak to us today on 01702 614044 if you would like more information about our handles or any other products we stock.


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