3 DIY Kitchen Renovations That You Can Do!

By Jenni Wileman, Writer for the Home décor and Home Improvement Markets

Update or remodel? Can you truly increase your home’s value without dumping tons of money into it? 

The answer is yes!

Remodeling almost always involves hiring a professional and dealing with people coming in and out of your home. Plus, you’re on the contractor's schedule and timeline. Not to mention the expense. Do you really have the budget for a full remodel? If you do, great, stop reading now. This article is for people who want to reap the rewards of a remodel. And not hand off thousands of dollars to an expensive contractor. YOU CAN DO IT! 

Here are a few things to consider first. 

1950 Ranch House or 1980 Suburban Home

Really consider the period and the style of your home. Letting your home’s original features guide you in your decisions can save you a ton of money and end up looking very intentional.

It’s also a good idea to consider the layout of the home. If it’s an open concept, keep in mind that the design must also flow from room to room. So when choosing paint and accessory colors make sure to choose complementary colors.

Think about current trends in hardware, paint colors, windows, floor coverings, furnishings, and accessories. Each choice you make can either give your update a fresh look or date it even more. 

GET CREATIVE! Don’t hold back. Bold choices will let your personality shine through and give your project originality. 

 

TIP: Pinterest is a perfect place to surf for inspiration. There are thousands of photos and projects real people have completed in many styles of homes. So get pinning!

Consider How Long You Will Stay at That Property

If you’re renovating to sell the home, this changes everything. You should make completely different decisions. And it might not benefit your resale value to do any renovations. (see, 10 Updates Proven to Sell Your Home Quickly

If you’re considering staying at the property for years to come, decisions can be made on a more personal level. You can be bolder with your choices. And you know exactly what you need to change to truly fall in love with your home. 

Can you imagine having a completely retro kitchen? Or are modern cabinets more your vibe? Can you rock that pink tile in the guest bath and bring it back to life or is it time for it to retire?

These choices are very personal and either way, it’s possible to pull it all off on a budget.

TIP: Make a list of your needs, wants and lastly, if there is money left over in your budget, the extras you would love.

Now It Is Time to Get Rocking!

We all know that the kitchen is where we gather and create memories. So updating it will not only increase your home’s resale value. But, it will also add to your quality of life. 

So are you still thinking, hmmm, replace or reuse? Let's look at some options. 

First take a look at the configuration. Often-times moving cabinets around or using open shelving can make a big impact. Consider the cabinet space and the must-haves in your kitchen arsenal. If your ice-cream-making phase has passed, then now’s a good time to find that space-sucking appliance a new home.  Or if you think you may embark on another cookies-and-cream adventure then you need to be sure you keep all of your cabinet space. 

After making these decisions you’ll know where you can get creative and edit, remove or move some of your upper cabinets. 

 

TIP: Keeping plumbing and electrical where they currently are is important. If you choose to reconfigure the kitchen you are embarking on no-lay-mans territory and should consult a licensed professional. 

1.   Revitalize The Cabinets You Have 

There’s a misconception that to get real impact a complete gut-job is necessary. Reusing what you already have is often an overlooked option. This can be the best choice by far for budget and style.  

Staining or painting your cabinets can go a long way. The most important part of DIY-ing is to make sure everything looks brand new, so get ready to put in some elbow grease!

Whether you decide to go with staining or painting, the process is very similar: 

     

Step 1:  Remove all the doors and hardware from the cabinets. 

Step 2:  Fill any remaining holes with wood filler and then sand away!  

Step 3:  Using a small electric hand sander can help you get more professional-looking results. Start with medium-grit sandpaper and end with fine-grit. In rare cases, you might need to use paint or stain strippers.  (Depending on the amount previously applied and the condition of the cabinets.) 

 

Step 4:  Use a fine bristle professional paintbrush for an ultra-smooth finish. For detailed directions refer to our step-by-step guide to help you through it. 

 

Step 5:  Enjoy your kitchen’s new look!

While making your color and accessory choices, always consider current trends. It’s a good idea to add a mix of your home’s style with some well balanced modern touches. 

 

Never underestimate the power of bling and don’t be afraid to mix the old with the new.

In this 1958 kitchen, the original cabinets are not only charming but lend themselves to the mid-century modern style found throughout the home. The designer chose to keep them as original as possible. She added contemporary gold accents and natural wood shelving to bring in some modern touches.

TIP: Always prime cabinets and use exterior paints and stains for added durability. Another handy tip is to wrap wet brushed and open paint trays in plastic bags. Then place them in the refrigerator they will stay fresh for several days in between coats.

2.     Shazam! New Cabinet Doors… New Kitchen… Well, Almost.

If you’re longing for a brand-new kitchen but on a DIY budget. Then this might be your solution. And it is still at a fraction of the cost of a full renovation.  Get ready to fool your dinner guests and hear “Oh, when did you remodel your kitchen?” a hundred times over. 

 

Keep in mind your cabinet bases must be good and sturdy. Then remove all the doors. Keep them stored in a cool dry place until the remodel is completely finished. 

There are several companies that make custom cabinet doors, like Cabinet Door World or Fast Cabinet Doors. You can purchase pre-painted or stained doors from either company. If you choose this option, you’ll need to make sure you can get the same color to paint your bases. Or for a better match, choose unfinished and paint everything yourself. This way you know your paint or stain will match perfectly. 

Now that your doors have all been removed it’s time to measure. The more of the base cabinets that are covered the better. This will make your kitchen appear newer. Each company's measurement requirements might be slightly different. So please refer to the directions from the manufacturer you choose. But generally, you will measure the opening of the door as follows:

       

  • Measure the drawer and door fronts with a ½” overlay on each of the 4 sides. So a 24”x24” would be 25”x25” for a single door. ​​

  • For double-doors, you’ll use the exact same formula as above, measure the door fronts with a ½” overlay. Remember that where the cabinet doors meet in the center would be ½” for both doors combined, so ¼” each door. So a 24”x24” would be 25”x24.5” for each door. 

To simplify things, many of the companies provide a door measurement calculator, like this one from Fast Cabinet Doors. 

 

The doors can come pre-drilled for hidden hinges too. Which means you don’t have to learn how to do it! Definitely an added bonus. Not to mention, that most companies will sell you the hinge you need and hardware for competitive prices. So you get a one-stop-shop!

“This Was A Kitchen Remodeling Project Where The Kitchen Cabinets Were Refaced. It Was Done With Custom Raised Center Panel Doors With Routed Rails. The Stain Was Done In A Mediterranean Stain.” Kitchen Solvers of Kansas City

Before
After

TIP: Don’t always choose the least expensive company. They are all reasonably close in price. Call and ask some questions, if you don’t get quick and easy answers then move on to your next choice. When DIY-ing, you’ll have questions and getting good clear answers is priceless.

3.     Replace Everything!?! Yes, Everything.

Replacing your entire kitchen might seem a bit daunting. But, it can sometimes be easier and faster than other options. 

 

To keep costs down and keep the project DIY-friendly, don’t move any of your plumbing and appliances. So keeping the same configuration of your cabinets is probably best. 

DIY-ing home renovations are now so popular that there are a variety of discount cabinets available directly to home-owners.

 New Kitchen Cabinets That Won’t Break The Budget

New cabinets are easier than ever before to install. And budget kitchen and cabinet companies are now everywhere online. Here are a few that stand up to the reviews.

 Local Home Improvement Stores

Your local home improvement store will stock contractor-grade cabinets. Most of these are good quality and styles that you see in some of the budget new builds and tract homes. 

These choices aren’t what you’re seeing in the new issues of Architectural Digest or Elle Decor. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make them look spectacular! 

Working with contractor-grade cabinets gives you the extra budget and flexibility to really get creative. The cabinets themselves don't need to be the focal point of the kitchen, so once again don’t hold back. Bold choices in the backsplash and accessories can go a long way.

Here is a great example of drawing attention away from the cabinets and onto the fun backsplash. Check out the use of color and pattern in this traditional kitchen from Houzz, by Buckminster green LL interiors. LL.

Tip:   Both Home Depot and Lowes will likely have these in stock. The unfinished basic cabinets start at $51 for the smallest cabinet. Both stores have designer choices for a higher price. The cabinets will come assembled.

This is an example of an affordable Ikea kitchen, starting at $2,199 for a 10’x10’ layout. Keep in mind that the countertops, appliances, lighting, and accessories are not included in that price point. But, even if you add all those extras and do it yourself, you’re still at a fraction of the cost of a full remodel. 

TIP: Ikea kitchen cabinets do not come fully assembled and are not custom. So take good measurements before heading off to the store. There will be plenty of designers on staff to help you choose the best kitchen for you and your space.

Then there are companies like CliqStudios that make custom cabinets for you.  And they come fully assembled and ready to install...woot woot! Starting at around $2,900 for their least expensive kitchen. So although, a bit more expensive they are a company to watch! 

On their website, they have a questionnaire to get you started. And they walk you through step-by-step how to measure and plan the layout. And they have over 1,900 reviews with a 4.5-star average, you can't go wrong giving this company a try.

 

Take a look at these white shaker cabinets and some great design choices made by this homeowner.

TIP: CliqStudio does have professionals available to answer questions and assist with your design. Or you can do the layout, choose your cabinets and produce your own quote online. So there is no pressure to buy.

Featured on The Food Network’s Fantasy Kitchen Show, HGTV Smart Home, and Extreme Makeover Home Edition. They were also the cabinets chosen for the HGTV Dream Home 3 years in a row. 

This bright, beachy  HGTV Dream Home 2020 kitchen features their Charleston Driftwood cabinets.

The inspirational photos on their website are a dream and the price is too. For under $5k you can get a complete 10x10 kitchen including countertops. Pricing does vary and they do run promotions. So if you’re not in a rush you can join their mailing list and wait for a big sale to save a few extra bucks.

TIP:  They also sell backsplashes, hardware, countertops, fixtures, and even coordinating floors. You can buy online or visit one of their many showrooms. Either way, there are professionals on staff to answer your questions and help you with your design.

You Got This!

At first, DIY-ing can feel intimidating. But, with all the information and home-owner friendly companies out there, almost anyone can do it. Bringing your personal style into each room of your home is an ongoing project and takes time. So choose one project at a time and complete it from start to finish before moving on. Before you know it, you'll have finished all your dream rooms one at a time.  

 

So... now that you’re armed with some guidance and your screw gun. It’s time to start your dream kitchen. 

TIP: Repurpose any cabinets you removed by using them in your laundry room or even the garage. If they don’t match, paint them, another DIY project you can handle!

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