Kitchen cabinet ideas please * UPDATE*

Updated picture: Here is the progress so far...white cabinets with red interior and checkered shelf liner! I guess if I'm gonna update, I'm gonna be bold!

Hello all! We just bought this kitchen (came with the house) and the cabinets are very old and tired as you can see. We don't really want to replace the cabinets as the budget we have would be better spent elsewhere (I think). I am considering painting them white or possibly an antique looking Chalk paint off white but what to do with the doors? Right now they are plain wood, no trim, nothing. I thought about either adding trim myself or possibly getting new doors. What do you all suggest? Sorry for the mess in the pictures but we are doing work all over, cleaning etc and this is the place to put everything!
q kitchen cabinet ideas please, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
q kitchen cabinet ideas please, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
q kitchen cabinet ideas please, kitchen cabinets, kitchen design
  72 answers
  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Oct 28, 2013
    There are many great makeovers in Hometalk with painted cabinets. I love my oak cabinets in my kitchen, but re purposed some of the old cabinets from our remodel in our bathroom and painted them. Also removed the upper cabinet doors and love the open look. I painted them a shade of gray darker than the bathroom, and it is unbelievable the difference it made. It's like having a brand new bathroom. So start a clipping board of things you like, and find what appeals to you. I also found that the colors I thought I liked, weren't the ones I ended up loving for this project. Instead I started paying attention to how I felt being around rooms in various colors (pale gray won for calm and peaceful feeling). Hope this helps.
  • Laura Laura on Oct 28, 2013
    hi, A nice update would be to add molding to doors and end panels for a high end look and than paint cabinets. White will give a very clean look if you like the antique look you can add a stain over the paint and wipe off excess try scrape piece to get desired look and add a copper backsplash. I would also change the hood over the range to stainless steel to match other appliance or can also spray paint it if the budget doesn't allow a new hood. new hardware on doors spray paint hinges to match hardware. Good luck ... looks like a fun project. Laura.
  • Matina V Matina V on Oct 28, 2013
    Thank you ladies! I am currently checking Hometalk as we speak for ideas. It's so intimidating because people do such amazing remodels on here. I am leaning towards adding molding to the doors instead of getting all new...for now anyway.
  • I would paint them ~maybe even make your own chalk paint and paint them a shade of white or gray (as you stated). and will be inexpensive fix. Taking off all hardware and spray paint them with hammered spray paint in a chrome or rubbed bronze. This makeover could be done for under $100 since you are watching your budget. Trimming them out with simple molding would also look great and you could find small quarter round for under $3 a piece. I think painted the doors flat and plain might look great too. Be sure to seal the doors with poly for easy clean up. On the walls you need a color (are you keeping the floor?) If so then find a complimentary color to the floor so the floor is not the focus but the walls. Your kitchen has great potential!
  • The Shabby Nest The Shabby Nest on Oct 29, 2013
    I painted mine and bought new hardware and have never looked back! I just did them in a soft cream color no distressing ( which is weird cause I'm usually the queen of distressing) They were just oak cabinets very dated! I would add moldings to yours and paint like you said .If you like bead board how about adding some with molding around it? Here is a pic of mine painted. Good luck!
    • Matina V Matina V on Oct 29, 2013
      @The Shabby Nest Nice! Bead board is definitely in my thought process but no final decision yet.
  • Matina V Matina V on Oct 29, 2013
    Definitely not keeping the floor! It has worn places that are almost to the underboard. I just read a post about DIY wood countertops and I know Ikea has some nice, fairly inexpensive butcher block that you have to cut yourself so I'm leaning towards that for the tops. Chalk paint would be great with that on top.
    • See 1 previous
    • Matina V Matina V on Oct 29, 2013
      @The Garden Frog with C Renee Wow those are some amazing deals!
  • Monday West Monday West on Oct 29, 2013
    Browse through some of thebeautiful online showrooms by cabinetry makers.Consider finding great deals online.You can find different styles of cabinets at home improvement stores, anythingfrom traditional to contemporary cabinetry.It is better to take advice from an experienced installer first who can tellyou about the nuances of cabinet installation.
  • Custom Service Hardware Custom Service Hardware on Oct 29, 2013
    I'd say definitely paint them and then look for some new hardware to spruce up the cabinets! You can find pretty cheap but cute knobs or pulls, and antique looking cabinet door hinges if that's the style you want.
  • Lisa Lisa on Oct 30, 2013
    Wow! I saw your picture and thought I was looking at my kitchen! Almost identical. Must be a Washington thing. For myself I was leaning toward painting them and then adding some moulding to the door to dress them up a bit. I haven't decided on color yet... Please keep us posted on what you decide to do!
  • Terri Brodfuehrer Terri Brodfuehrer on Oct 30, 2013
    at the very least paint and add new hardware.. do a DIY back splash (lowes can show you how to DIY) and perhaps new counter tops.. but keep in mind that if you were to sale it, the HUGE money makers are the kitchen and bathrooms.
  • Beth Beth on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint (or whitewash)!
  • Geri Irwin Geri Irwin on Oct 30, 2013
    Decorative moldings, paint and new hardware will do wonders!!
  • Dawna T Dawna T on Oct 30, 2013
    Many years ago we had a kitchen that looked the same. We took the doors off and ran them through the table saw giving the doors grooves that made them look like they were made of tongue and groove pieces of wood. Painted them white and added wrought iron hardware. Very cottage looking and very nice. We enjoyed that kitchen so much we did it again later to another kitchen with lovely flat no character doors.
  • Tina Wickham Tina Wickham on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint them and take picture frames(painted same color) and attach to cabinets for some interest
  • Kath D Kath D on Oct 30, 2013
    I painted our nasty Oak kitchen cabinets when we moved in. I cleaned and primed everything, then did 2 coats of white. Then used Valspar Antiquing Glaze. brush or wipe it on, and wipe it off. It will darken as it dries, in all the crevices. I didn't know it would get darker, so I left a little on, when I was wiping off. I have had more compliments on those cupboards than any other project I have ever done!!
  • Missy Missy on Oct 30, 2013 Here's a link to my blog....I redid our cabinets when we mocked here.....HUGE difference!!
  • Missy Missy on Oct 30, 2013
  • Marcia Taylor Marcia Taylor on Oct 30, 2013
    I would not add groves...that just makes it an easier spot for paint to chip or smoke from grease to accumulate in. Paint them and add new hardware.
  • Kerrie Harrigan Kerrie Harrigan on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint them! I just painted my cabinets black and love them. Also you can now buy beadboard paintable wallpaper. I saw on Pinterest kitchen cabinets that had beadboard wallpaper on the doors with trim around it. Looked really nice. Here is the link .
  • Sandy H Sandy H on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint them gray.... A timeless color that is hugely popular this year in particular. A nice soft yellow looks awesome with it and there are oodles of fabrics with yellow and gray available.....
  • Eileen Eileen on Oct 30, 2013
    sand them and paint them black! Modernize!
  • Dee McMahon Dee McMahon on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint them out white and change the hardware, go to Restoration hardware web site they have an awesome collection.
  • Cheryl P Cheryl P on Oct 30, 2013
    One color on top different on knobs ,pulls,maybe some trim. I would take out the valance over the sink very dated.
  • Nora Q Nora Q on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint of course. Just choose a theme! And some new hardware.
  • Lindsay Jackson Lindsay Jackson on Oct 30, 2013
    You could add trim and/or Martha Stewart Paintable beadboard wallpaper and then paint with your choice of color/type of paint. I saw a recent post about this here on Hometalk not too long ago
  • Jannette Daly Jannette Daly on Oct 30, 2013
    paint them, add new knobs. You can always get frames to go on them before you paint to make them not so plain...and get rid of that ugly piece of wood over the sink.
  • Lindsey Harlan Welch Lindsey Harlan Welch on Oct 30, 2013
    Old white chalk paint, add onlays to front of cabinets, change the hardware, molding to the tops...
  • Lynne Saunders Lynne Saunders on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint them and had new hardware (very reasonable on eBay). Paint the kitchen another color.
  • Judy V Judy V on Oct 30, 2013
    I would do the ASCP in French easy to use and no sanding or preping unless there is a big dent of drip . Then I would dry brush Old White very lightly in places to make it look like another color showing through. Get new hardware. Distress if you desire that look. I would also remove the two side cupboards by the window. and put shelves, would open up the room. Looks like you have room for a chopping block. If you don't remove the two cabinets I would at least paint the bulkhead over the cabinets the same color as the cabinets to give the illusion of the cabinets going all the way up.
  • Jan 3 Boll Jan 3 Boll on Oct 30, 2013
    Sand and paint. Or, I did this to a neighbor's kitchen cabinet doors after he saw what I did to my hood to the stove: put contact paper on his plain white doors (it was a mix of mini-colored squares in brown tones) - looks good and it brought attention to the white knobs that you could barely see previously.
  • Sheila Sheila on Oct 30, 2013
    Absolutely paint them!!!!! Two toned treatments are very happening right now. Change out the hardware; I would keep the upper cabinets lighter, and paint the soffit the same color to visually heighten the room. Good luck!
  • Suzzie Vanheusen Suzzie Vanheusen on Oct 30, 2013
    if you could remove the soffit from above the cabinets, that would help lighten the feel of the whole kitchen. I would paint them but add decorative molding to give cabinets more of a custom look. New cabinet hardware to finish off the "new" cabinets. Need new backsplash, you can get self stick mirrors ( they feel like heavy vinyl) cut into smaller squares and adhere to the wall or you can do mosaic backsplash ( I used old dish plates)...the options are endless and fun.
  • Sharon Leach Sharon Leach on Oct 30, 2013
    They look alot better than the 1940's miss matched cabinets I have the way they are.
  • Pam Pam on Oct 30, 2013
    Check out Chalk Paint by annie sloan. you do not have to sand or prime before using this paint. I did my kitchen cabinets and they turned out fantastic. Good luck!
  • Tammy M Tammy M on Oct 30, 2013
    I would add pieces of trim to give them more visual interest then paint them a beautiful creamy white. Either use chalk paint or antique them with a bit of stain.Then add vintage looking black hardware and black countertops. If you can't afford granite, faux granite is just as pretty.
  • Mary Mary on Oct 30, 2013
    Yes paint and I would peek inside the soffits to see if they are empty. If so I would remove the soffits and add lighting under and over the cabinets.
  • Z Z on Oct 30, 2013
    Personally I'd try Old English Furniture Polish or at most Restore A Finish (which isn't much more work than polishing the wood) and replace or paint the dated hardware before I started a major project of sanding priming and painting the cabinets. They look to be good quality in the photos. Stained kitchens are making a come back and since you mentioned having a whole lot of other projects I'd do as little here as possible. Why add to your workload if you don't have to?
  • Shannon Provence Shannon Provence on Oct 30, 2013
    well there are so many good ideas here i am not sure i should add anything, but, here goes : Cut the the centers of the doors out leaving a frame like door, then back the doors with glass, or chicken wire (if you are into a cottage look). Paint the cabinets a solid opaque color and ad a string of LED lights on the interior back corner of the cabinets. If you don't have nice tableware that you want show cased as such you can use frosted glass. a friend of mine even used little tiny curtains inside which made her cabinets look like tiny french bistros. It's a little bit of work but the end result is really unique and modern. i am cheap and used frosted plexiglass and it looked just as nice.
  • Diane C Diane C on Oct 30, 2013
    trim, paint, new hardware
  • Peggy Pfahler Peggy Pfahler on Oct 30, 2013
    just sand them down and paint them white and put on some nice handles.
  • M M on Oct 30, 2013
    I had the same problem....Solved it by having contractor take off doors and replace with glass..When that was done,we painted all the cabinets colbart blue.The glass makes the kitchen appear larger,and i can see everything i have in each cabinet...Placed pretty dishes and serving plates in 3 cabinets and foods in the others....The color looks great and the glass doors added some class !
  • Linda Lemiere-Zile Linda Lemiere-Zile on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint them for sure! I have not used the ASCP but there are recipes online to make your own and it looks easy to do and then change out the hardware and have fun it will look great when you are done.
  • Laura Fenley Laura Fenley on Oct 30, 2013
    If you remove the soffits, you could build some open "cabinets" and paint them the same color that you choose for the upper cabinets (or all the cabinets). Short of doing that, paint the soffits the same color that you paint the upper cabinets. You could remove the scalloped valance over the sink and go sort of "mid-century" with your paint color choice. Or, paint the uppers white and the lowers a solid blue, green, orange, eggplant or red. It will depend on what colors your like (or DON'T like). You might want to paint the inside of the cabinets a bright color (or a good, solid white). The cabinets you have are likely very dark inside. A good cleaning and solid paint job will really liven up your kitchen. You could use metal stick-on tiles, perhaps, or a clean white subway tile (with white, gray or brown grout, depending on what paint you choose for the cabinets ... white would be nice and bright). Looks like a very fun project.
  • Greedith B Greedith B on Oct 30, 2013
    What style do you have the rest of the house. I would definitely paint them. The color will depend on your style.
  • Doris Flynn Doris Flynn on Oct 30, 2013
    I would paint them white and use new hinges and hardware
  • Cyndi Moore Tippett Cyndi Moore Tippett on Oct 30, 2013
    I didn't read all the suggestions, but mine would be to use a degreaser and clean them real good and sand lightly, restain and polyurathane them. Add new hardware. You might be surprised how beautiful they turn out. You can always paint....
  • Karen Saiers Karen Saiers on Oct 30, 2013
    Paint walls and cabinets, new hardware, remove scallop board over sink, put in pendant light, new flooring.
  • Jessie Jessie on Oct 30, 2013
    I would add decorative moulding to the doors and paint, take down the moulding over the sink and add a pretty light. New drawer pulls at a later date.
  • Carole P Carole P on Oct 30, 2013
    distress the cabinets and add a pop of color with bamboo flooring
  • Susan Humphrey Susan Humphrey on Oct 30, 2013
    I think pain would really brighten them up. I really like the scalloped wood trim above the sink. Maybe you could incorporate that into trim on the cabinets.
  • CindyD CindyD on Oct 30, 2013
    We have similar old looking cabinets and have been trying to figure out whether to paint them or not and what color.I can't wait to see what you decide to do. Post pics when you finish your project. Good Luck.
    • Matina V Matina V on Oct 31, 2013
      @Mamateach4 I will post pics, if I ever get done! Just joking I must get this done and soon.
  • Definitely Paint!! Maybe remove some of the top doors and let the shelving show. Also buy some great handles. You can get a good deal at Hobby Lobby. You don't have to change all of them. It's ok to mix and match. You can also spray paint the original handles.
  • Tod M Tod M on Oct 30, 2013
    Trim the face of each door with molding to look like raised panel, then paint the cabinets and the doors a soft brown.
  • Jeulia H Jeulia H on Oct 30, 2013
    Remove doors, paint all cabinets same color of choice, paint inside of cabinets a complimentary color, hen you have the money put up glass doors.
  • JeDonne M JeDonne M on Oct 30, 2013
    I agree, paint them! I just updated a, I kid you not, 50's kitchen in a ranch style house. I painted the lower cabinets a charcoal grey and the upper cabinets I took apart and made into open shelving, then painted them a soft grey. I used an adobe red along one wall behind the shelves to add a fun accent. Haven't finished the doors and drawers yet, but decided to leave them flat and just added new hardware. I like the clean lines and love the open shelving.
  • Barbara C Barbara C on Oct 30, 2013
    I would get some of the glass fronts for some of the larger doors and maybe add some trim and paint to the others. You could show off your dishes and hide the groceries Most home depot or Lowes have different types of trim to choose from. Give the doors some character.
  • Pamela C Pamela C on Oct 30, 2013
    I would sand, put wood molding around the doors, and stain a lighter wood color then change the hardware to like nickel put in a nice tile back splash it would be hard work but look awesome and pretty cheap if you buy the tiles and hardware at a 2nds shop. Or make it easier lighten it up with white paint.
  • Terri Wardell Terri Wardell on Oct 30, 2013
    Depending on what color you plan to put on the walls, there could be a variety of decorative ideas for the cabinets if you plan to keep them. First off give them a thorough cleaning. Then decide if you want to paint them, put a wash on them, route the cabinet doors to place glass in them or stencil a design on the doors. You will want them to go with your other kitchen design decisions.
  • Nadine Draves Nadine Draves on Oct 30, 2013
    Choose a color to paint the cabinets then find paper napkins that coordinate and decoupage the doors. I did that with my cabinets they came out beautiful.
  • Jean Jean on Oct 30, 2013
    I would clean and paint and maybe add some molding to make them more interesting.
  • Karan Karan on Oct 31, 2013
    It looks like a small kitchen. I would put a microwave with fan above the stove. That will free up your counter. Take the sink scallop down, that's old style. Add a pendant light above sink. Paint your cupboards. Add some tiles to the backsplash, it's easy to do. Have fun.
  • Bethany W. Bethany W. on Oct 31, 2013
    Unless the cabinets are solid wood, I wouldn't bother putting any type of trim on them. Take that scalloped thing over the sink down, then paint. You can either use the same hardware/paint it/or replace it. If you're going to replace hardware, do it now, because you're going to have to putty holes and re-drill new ones. Hardware rarely matches up with what was already there. New light over the sink, and definitely some new flooring. If you're watching your budget, there are some great new vinyls out now.
  • Jean Jean on Oct 31, 2013
    I have seen it done. I believe wisdom is to use an oil based primer first so you don't loosen the glue. In the cases where I've seen it, it would have been better to use a flat paint so the underlying ribbed design didn't show .
  • Gayle Brewster Gayle Brewster on Oct 31, 2013
    I would paint! I would use an off white & distress it! The lighter color would make the kitchen appear larger & cleaner! We have done this in our own kitchen & it works!
  • Robin K Robin K on Oct 31, 2013
    remove the doors and paint contrasting color - maybe beaded wallpaper inside and a lighter color paint to lighten up the kitchen since it is small
  • Marsha Marsha on Oct 31, 2013
    Add beadboard to the fronts, paint and put clear coat on top. Beautiful. I did mine like that, which looked like yours. They came out awesome!!
    • See 3 previous
    • Matina V Matina V on Nov 01, 2013
      @Marsha Those are fabulous! Wow!
  • JeDonne M JeDonne M on Oct 31, 2013
    Thanks Matina, I'm enjoying it and looking forward to getting it finished....after my 3 craft shows this month. Looking forward to seeing what you decide to do with yours.
  • Terri Wardell Terri Wardell on Nov 01, 2013
    Here is an idea. If you use floor wax and just the top layer of pretty napkins, you can put the top layer of the napkin or tissue paper on the cabinet and brush on the floor wax. It can be cleaned with light soap and water or removed completely with an ammonia cleaner. You can make temporary changes until you have just what you want.
  • Kat Davis-Moran Kat Davis-Moran on Nov 03, 2013
    light sanding, prime with kilz premium sealer, then repaint, i myself since it looks like a small kitchen i would use a light color to make the kitchen seem larger, If you like the french country look you could paint it a white color then sand here n there for a warn look,
  • Matina V Matina V on Nov 04, 2013
    I had no idea you could do that. I could change the look every season if I was that kind of person! Too much work for all that. If I liked the look would I then use some kind of more permanent cover like polyurethane or something?
  • Jan 3 Boll Jan 3 Boll on Nov 04, 2013
    Personally, I LOVE the 'scalloped thing' above the sink - it helps hide light fixtures in the ceiling above the sink and adds a bit of interest to the cabinets and sink.
  • Jan 3 Boll Jan 3 Boll on Nov 04, 2013
    Just remembered, for a bit more interest, check in hobby places for small wooden flowers, etc. Paint them in a slightly contrasting color (or stain) than the 'scalloped thing' and glue them on it. You could even add them or larger versions to the sides of the cabinets to bring it together.