5 Easy cabinet upgrades for less than $100

Sep 16, 2014 at 11:31 a.m. ET
Image: Witt Construction

Your kitchen is more than a place to gather for meals, it's a space where you, your family and friends spend time together. Outdated cabinets can give your kitchen a tired, worn-down look — so consider giving them a makeover.

Neil Kelly

Photo courtesy of Neil Kelly

1. New hardware

Swap out your old hardware with new pulls and knobs for a subtle, yet tasteful, change. Some pulls and knobs can be purchased for less than $10, although it can be easy to rack up the price if you have a lot of cabinets to upgrade. Pull together the look of your whole room by adding complementary hardware, such as stainless steel pulls for a modern kitchen. Another way to keep this project under $100 is to spray paint your current hardware a modern color or metal. You can also get creative with DIY hardware like corks, cutlery, rope, leather or ribbon.

Susannah West Interior Design

Photo courtesy of Susannah West Interior Design

2. Fresh paint

Instead of replacing dated cabinets, add a fresh coat of paint to brighten up the room. Painting the cabinet fronts is a cost-effective way to update your kitchen. You may need to put in some prep work like sanding and priming before you can start painting, but the result will be worth the work. Consider adding a pop of color to your cabinets to create an accent, like a shade of yellow against a gray background. If you don't want to repaint all of your cabinets, try a simple fix-up by refacing the cabinet doors with your favorite patterned wallpaper.

Cam Bradford Builder

Photo courtesy of Cam Bradford Builder

3. Multiple moldings

Class up your cabinets by adding molding as a border around doors or adding a top trim. Molding can create depth and dimension, transforming the look of your cabinets. Make sure to match your molding to your paint color for a smooth transition between the two. Customize your cabinetry by adding crown molding between the top of your cabinets and the ceiling, or add a decorative edge around the doors that provides support and design.

Witt Construction

Photo courtesy of Witt Construction

4. Glass alternative

Substitute your basic panel doors with glass to touch up the fronts of your cabinets. Adding glass can open up your cabinets and provide a decorative space to show off dishes or glassware. Glass can be pricey, so choose a couple of cabinets for glass or consider making a few cabinets open shelving instead.

Kristin Donovan

Photo courtesy of Kristine Donovick Interior Design

5. Enhanced lighting

Upgrading your cabinets can be as simple as adding surrounding lighting to highlight your kitchen. Without having to touch or tear down your existing cabinets, trade out old light fixtures with new functional lighting. Brighten up your countertops by applying stick-on lights under your cabinets for around $10 for a package of three, or illuminate your kitchen with LED rope lights that are flexible and can be bought for only $25.

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