How to Freshen up Your Kitchen Cabinets

A few simple upgrades to your kitchen cabinets can make a big difference to the overall look of your home

Credit: Flickr/picksnoz

Updating simple things like your kitchen cabinet doors and hardware can have a big impact

Rather than a complete kitchen overall, refinish your faded cabinets for an updated look

Kitchen cabinets are the focal point of a kitchen and will age a home as soon as they start to look worn or dated. Rejuvenating wood cabinets will make a big impact for little cost. You can do it yourself, or get some help from a pro.

Clean the Cabinets

To clean away dark, sticky build-up, nicks, scratches, and watermarks on older oak cabinets I often recommend using BRIWAX

First, remove the cabinet doors and wipe them down with contact cement solvent to remove any grease and grime buildup. Do this in a well ventilated space.

Next, apply BRIWAX, in the appropriate colour, using a white nylon scrubber pad or #0000 oil-free steel wool. Apply to a small area, let dry and buff with a clean lint-free cloth. Always go in the direction of the wood grain, and repeat until entire surface is clean.

Note: Briwax is usually available through IRLY Building Centres, Windsor Plywood, Home Hardware stores and Rona stores. BRIWAX is available in colours to match most wood cabinets. Make sure to follow the instructions on the product label closely.

Hire a Professional

There are companies that specialize in restoring wood cabinet doors to their original condition. This project requires time and patience so it may be worth hiring a professional. Make sure the contractor has the proper insurance, WorkSafe BC coverage if required, and be sure to get customer references before signing a contract.

Replacing Cabinet Doors

Another option is replacing the cabinet doors fronts, which is more economical than having the entire cabinet structure replaced, and will really have an impact on your kitchen. It’s less messy than doing a complete overhaul and usually only takes a few days to complete. The process involves removing the old doors and drawer fronts. The cabinet frames, doors and drawer fronts are re-surfaced with the new finish and new hardware is installed.

To begin, contact a cabinet re-facing company to give you an in-home estimate and to find out what types of finishes are available.

Other Easy Upgrades for Your Kitchen

Consider a few other inexpensive upgrades to such as adding crown molding and replacing worn or dated hardware, kitchen faucets and light fixtures. These small upgrades can make a big difference.

You may also want to install some sliding drawers, dividers or Lazy Susans to help with kitchen organization and clear away any messy areas. Finishing it off with new countertops and tile backsplash will complete your newly renovated kitchen at a fraction of the cost of a complete renovation.

For more home improvement information, go to