Kitchen Cabinets...Old or New?

In a kitchen or even a bathroom renovation, you may have to decide what you can keep and what you should replace. If you’re trying to save money, you may have to salvage as much as you can. Cabinets are one thing that can be salvaged in order to save money. Also, many old houses may have original cabinets that you might want to keep to maintain the charm of the home. However, they may still need some freshening up.

Painting Old Cabinets

Painting cabinets is a great way to refresh the appearance and modernize them without spending as much as you would spend by replacing them with new cabinets. Most likely, you’d be looking at some custom cabinetry as well, which is even more pricey. If you do paint the old cabinets, it’s quite a job. You may want to hire it out. It takes a long time to sand the old finish off and repaint. Spraying the paint on looks really nice and you might not own that kind of equipment. Most likely if you have someone paint your cabinets, they’ll take off the doors and drawers and bring them to their shop. You might be able to save money by not painting the insides of the cabinets. At any rate, you’re looking at having to move a lot of your kitchen utensils and dishes out of the kitchen in order to get the job done. It’s a big job. But if your cabinets are in good shape and you like the style, painting is a great option to save money.

Picking a Color

White cabinets are definitely a classic look and something you can keep for a long time. If you want to paint them another color, you are opting for a trendier look over a classic look. Take a look at my blog on trendy vs. timeless to help you decide. One color that’s trendy now is gray. It is a neutral color, which means you’ll probably be able to keep it for a while. Check out my board on gray cabinets on Pinterest to see a variety of shades and gray colors before heading to get some swatches. You can see what other materials look good with the color you prefer. I’ve seen cabinets painted other colors as well. Just last night I saw an episode of HGTV where the designers painted their kitchen cabinets a seafoam green. It looked great with black hardware. Check out my Pinterest board on colored cabinets for some fun ideas. I’ve also seen white cabinets on the perimeter of the kitchen and a bold color on the island (like royal blue). There are some pictures of this style on the Pinterest board as well. Some people like this two-toned trendy style. I for whatever reason prefer all my cabinets to be the same.

Refinishing Old Cabinets

If your cabinets are a nice shape and you like the rustic wood elements to show through and prefer not to paint them, you can always refinish them. However, good luck finding someone who will do that for you. You’d probably get estimates from painters, who also stain and refinish. This is pretty pricey and labor-heavy. You’ll pay quite a bit to refinish your old cabinets. You might want to compare the price of doing this vs. replacing them with all new cabinets. You can, however, get colored stains (like a gray stain) that look fabulous as well. My board on gray cabinets (link above) has some pictures of cabinets with gray stain.

Replacing Old Cabinets with New

If you choose to paint or stain your cabinets, get estimates for that as well as replacing them so you can compare. Just remember that if you replace your cabinets altogether, you’ll want to pick something timeless (as this is a big expense) and something that fits the character of your home. A shaker style cabinet is a good bet, for example (see photo below). Its clean lines and basic shape is classic. Ornate cabinetry tends to go out of style. I’d visit Lowe’s and other kitchen and bath showrooms for some ideas. Then, ask Lowe’s and the kitchen and bath designers for estimates. You could also see if there are certain types in stock or ask the showrooms if they have any discarded cabinetry that you could use to save money. Remember that when you replace your cabinetry, the old cabinets could be used elsewhere. You could use them in your garage or basement, or they can be donated. 

Shaker Cabinet
Shaker Cabinet

There are many things you can do to refresh your old cabinets. This can save you a lot of money and still make the space look new. Research your options before making a decision. If you really want new cabinets, maybe you paint the walls yourself, use a cheaper countertop option, or pick a luxury vinyl for the floor instead of tile. Decide what’s most important to you and invest there.

    1 Comment

  1. Michelle Storbakken November 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    I have two toned cabinets in my kitchen and I love it!