DIY, Home Improvement

How Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Can Create a Big Impact on a Tight Budget

Once you’ve purchased your home, it’s time to make it your own. Hopefully, your new abode won’t require a ton of renovations, but whatever you decide to do you’ll need to set up a timeline, and most importantly, a budget.  Some projects may be major undertakings while some could just mean a minor facelift which could be a simple as a change in paint, stain, or even a little modification. For our last two homes, it’s been the kitchen that’s needed the most attention. We were still able to drastically change the look of our kitchen by simply painting our cabinets or refacing them.

Before we did anything, it was important to ask ourselves two questions: what potential future buyers will say and will the change bring the return on investment (ROI) that we were hoping for? According to Cincinnati, OH-based Realtor Bonnie Overbeck of 3B Realty, whether you should repaint or reface your kitchen “depends on the price point of the house.” In the Cincinnati market, “anything under $150,000 can get a fair return on a quality paint/resurface job if the cabinets are good and the finished product of the paint job looks professional.”  Ms. Overbeck also went on to say that as the price point of the homes increase, those buyers “are looking for new cabinets or beautiful original cabinets in clean condition.”  Therefore, knowing and understanding the price point of your home should definitely weigh in on how you approach any modifications.

In our last home, the cabinets were a honey oak color. The cabinets themselves were in great condition, but the color made the kitchen feel very dark and dated. Instead of ripping everything out, I opted to paint them White Dove by Benjamin Moore in the satin sheen. This would allow everything to be cleaned without impacting the finish. First, I cleaned everything with a degreasing cleanser.

Starting with the back of the doors, I painted a couple of coats of bonding primer. The purpose of the bonding primer is to seal the wood and allow the paint to adhere to the surface. After plenty of drying time, I flipped the doors over and painted the front.  By painting the back first, it allowed for the front of the doors to have ample drying time without potential blemishes. After the bonding primer dried, I repeated the painting process with the White Dove. I did the same cleaning, bonding primer, and paint on the cabinet boxes as well.

It’s crazy how much just paint changed the look of the kitchen and for less than $150.00. Since these cabinets were real wood, there was the option to strip and stain them, but for me, painting was the better option.

For our current home, I liked the color of the kitchen cabinets, but they were MDF with a plastic coating that was peeling off.

Thankfully I was able to pull the plastic off without any issues.  I also wanted to modify the design and make the cabinets look like a shaker style. I added 3/4” MDF around the edge of the door and to the drawer front.

This time I used an oil-based bonding primer because a water-based primer would ruin the MDF. I followed the same steps as above in regards to painting. The change was subtle but was just enough to give a more updated look to the kitchen for less than $200.00.

Even if you don’t want to tackle this project on your own, check with local painters or your local home improvement store. Obviously, if you pay someone else, the cost will be more because of their labor and may take longer based on their schedule. However, the positive is that a professional may be able to deliver better quality based on their skill and available equipment. Good luck and share your projects or experience with us in the comments section!

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Brooke has a lifestyle blog called Cribbs Style and currently lives in Charleston, SC. This wife, mom of two almost tweens, and mom of three fur children enjoys all things DIY and organizing. When she’s not helping others tackle the chaos of life, she’s either working out, at the beach, or just enjoying time with family and friends.

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