Refacing kitchen cabinets can provide a cost-effective way to update the look of your kitchen without a full remodel. By replacing just the exterior surfaces while keeping the existing cabinet boxes, refacing achieves an updated aesthetic at a fraction of the cost of new cabinetry. Here we look at 6 kitchen makeover projects where refacing the cabinets was key to achieving a beautiful, modern result without breaking the bank.

Introduction to Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Refacing involves replacing the doors, drawers, and visible surfaces of existing cabinets with new materials and finishes. This provides a facelift for worn or dated cabinets for 20-50% of the cost of full cabinet replacement.

Some key benefits of refacing kitchen cabinets include:

  • Cost savings – Refacing preserves existing cabinet boxes so you only pay for new surfaces. Much more affordable than new cabinets.
  • Faster timeline – Refacing takes just a few days, while cabinet replacement can take weeks. Less downtime in your kitchen.
  • Custom look – Refacing allows you to change door styles for a unique, custom look.
  • Eco-friendly – Refacing avoids landfill waste by reusing boxes. It’s a greener option.
  • Improved storage – Old cabinets can be retrofitted with new storage-optimizing inserts and accessories.

For homeowners seeking a budget-friendly kitchen makeover, refacing provides a fast track to a fresh, updated look. Here are 6 examples of kitchens that benefited from a clever refacing project.

1. Farmhouse Kitchen Gets a Modern Facelift

This dated 1990s kitchen was transformed into a bright, modern farmhouse space thanks to refacing. The homeowners wanted a lighter, more open feel without removing walls or replacing cabinet boxes.

To brighten up the space, the existing medium oak cabinets were refaced with crisp white shaker-style doors and drawers. Matte black hardware amplified the farmhouse vibe.

Crown molding trim along the top of the cabinets added height and polish. The white perimeter cabinets contrast beautifully with the new wood-look tile backsplash.

Replacing the old countertops with sleek white quartz tied the whole new look together. The homeowners saved tens of thousands by refacing instead of replacing the cabinetry. This affordable kitchen remodel took just over a week!

Key Takeaways:

  • Refacing dark wood cabinets white opens up a kitchen
  • Contrasting refaced cabinets with a wood-look backsplash is on-trend
  • Matte black hardware suits a modern farmhouse style
  • New countertops modernize the whole space

2. Refacing and Painting for an Eclectic Mix

This outdated kitchen was transformed into a lively, eclectic space with a mix of refacing and repainting. The homeowners wanted to work with the existing cabinet layout but craved a colorful, cheery aesthetic.

The lower cabinets were refaced with glossy white shaker doors, while the uppers were repainted mint green. This playful color blocking creates visual interest.

Open shelving, new hardware, and a patterned tile backsplash finished the fun, lively look. By creatively refacing and repainting, the homeowners achieved a custom look for a fraction of the price of all new cabinets.

Key Takeaways:

  • Refacing lower cabinets and repainting uppers allows color blocking
  • Glossy white doors keep things fresh and light
  • Open shelving introduces personality
  • Patterned tile backsplash complements the eclectic vibe

3. Outdated Oak Cabinets Get a Modern Makeover

These traditional 1990s oak cabinets had seen better days. The large kitchen felt dark and closed-in. To create a lighter, cleaner look, the homeowners opted to reface the existing cabinetry.

The aging oak cabinets were transformed with crisp, bright white shaker-style doors and drawers. Sleek modern bar pulls in brushed brass updated the hardware. New under-cabinet lighting illuminated the workspace.

Fresh white quartz countertops and a subway tile backsplash finished the light and airy look. With strategic refacing, this outdated kitchen now feels open, modern, and refreshed.

Key Takeaways:

  • Refacing dated oak cabinets white helps lighten up a kitchen
  • Shaker-style doors offer a clean, versatile look
  • Brushed brass hardware suits transitional spaces
  • New countertops and backsplash complete the transformation

4. Classic Craftsman Style from Refaced Cabinets

The homeowners loved the layout of this kitchen but wanted to move away from the heavy cherry wood look. Refacing offered a budget-friendly update to lighter, classic Craftsman-style cabinets.

The existing cherry cabinets were refaced with knotty alder doors and drawers featuring visible wood grain. New satin nickel hardware and open shelving added to the Craftsman appeal.

Refinishing the wood flooring in a lighter stain helped brighten the whole space. The new stone tile backsplash coordinates perfectly with the new cabinet finish. With smart refacing choices, this kitchen was reinvented with a classic, timeless style.

Key Takeaways:

  • Refacing dark cherry cabinets with knotty alder lightens up a traditional kitchen
  • Visible wood grain doors suit a Craftsman look
  • Open shelving creates a casual, laid-back feel
  • New tile backsplash complements the refaced cabinet style

5. Refacing and Repainting For Cottage Charm

To inject charming cottage style into this builder-basic kitchen, the homeowners got creative with refacing and repainting. The existing cabinet layout and dual-height uppers were kept to maintain storage.

The bottom cabinets were refaced with crisp white shaker doors and drawers to maximize the light. The upper cabinets were painted a light sky blue, contrasting attractively with the white lowers.

Vintage-style hardware, beadboard backsplash, and open shelving added charming accents. By blending refacing and repainting, this kitchen was completely transformed into a cozy, inviting cottage space.

Key Takeaways:

  • Refacing lower cabinets white helps bounce light
  • Painting uppers blue makes them a focal point
  • Contrasting colors add charming character
  • Vintage hardware suits a cottage aesthetic
  • Open shelving introduces cottage personality

6. Dark Cabinets Brightened Up With Refacing

The homeowners loved the layout and storage of this kitchen but wanted to transition away from the dated dark wood cabinetry. Refacing offered an affordable, eco-friendly solution.

The existing maple cabinets were transformed by refacing them with bright white shaker doors and drawers. Sleek modern hardware amplified the refreshed look.

New white quartz countertops and a geometric tile backsplash completed the light, airy new aesthetic. With minimal demolition, this formerly dark, closed-off kitchen became open and inviting thanks to strategic refacing.

Key Takeaways:

  • Refacing dark wood cabinets white visually expands a small kitchen
  • Shaker-style doors offer a clean, versatile look
  • Sleek modern hardware keeps the aesthetic contemporary
  • New countertops and backsplash finish the transformation

The Benefits of Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

As seen in these inspiring kitchen makeovers, refacing offers homeowners an affordable path to revitalizing their kitchen’s style. Key benefits include:

Cost Savings

The ability to refresh just the cabinet surfaces saves homeowners 20-50% compared to full cabinet replacement. Refacing also takes less time and avoids demolition waste.

Customized Look

Homeowners can choose new cabinet door styles, stains, paints, and hardware to create their dream custom aesthetic.


Refacing reuses existing cabinet boxes, avoiding landfill waste from demolition. It’s a more sustainable option.

Preserved Layout

The existing cabinet footprint and storage amenities are kept intact, saving homeowners from an intensive re-layout.

Express Makeover

Refacing takes just a few days, unlike full cabinet changes which can take weeks or months. The kitchen has minimal downtime.

With the right cabinets and approach, refacing can provide striking transformations like the inspiring makeovers seen here.

Frequently Asked Questions About Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Many homeowners considering a budget-friendly kitchen refresh have questions about the refacing process. Here are answers to some common FAQs.

Does refacing kitchen cabinets update their look?

Yes, refacing is an excellent way to update worn, dated kitchen cabinets on a budget. By replacing door fronts and visible surfaces you can give cabinets a fresh modern or even classic look.

How much does it cost to reface kitchen cabinets?

Refacing existing kitchen cabinets costs 20-50% of full cabinet replacement. The exact cost depends on factors like kitchen size, door materials, and hardware. Most homeowners pay $5,000 to $12,000 to reface.

Can you change the color when refacing cabinets?

Absolutely! Refacing lets homeowners switch to any color cabinet doors they desire. Popular options include crisp white, light grey, navy, black, and wood tones.

Should I reface or replace kitchen cabinets?

If your cabinet boxes and layout are structurally sound, refacing is generally the more affordable option. Replacing makes sense if cabinets are damaged, layout needs change, or you want a more modern cabinet style.

Will old cabinets look new if refaced?

Refacing can make well-built existing cabinets look brand new again. The key is paying attention to details like sanding boxes, adding trim, updating hardware, and choosing durable door materials.

Does refacing kitchen cabinets increase home value?

Yes, refacing kitchen cabinets is a smart investment that can boost a home’s value. Updated cabinets make a kitchen look fresh and well-maintained. Refacing costs less than replacement but still improves appeal.

How long does it take to reface kitchen cabinets?

The refacing process typically takes 2 to 5 days from start to finish. New doors are built offsite at a workshop. Installation in your kitchen is quick since existing boxes stay in place. Minimal demolition downtime.

Replacing just the surfaces of your kitchen cabinets through refacing can provide a gorgeous, like-new look in less time and for less money. Consider refacing if your layout is sound but your cabinets’ look is worn out. With the right refacing approach and materials, your dream kitchen makeover can be within reach.


These 6 kitchen makeovers demonstrate the dramatic yet affordable transformations possible by refacing cabinets rather than replacing them. Taking this budget-friendly approach allowed the homeowners to renew their kitchens with updated styles and custom details that reflected their unique tastes.

From modern farmhouse to cheery cottage, refacing achieved beautiful results. Key takeaways include:

  • Refacing can transform kitchen aesthetic at 20-50% of replacement cost
  • Lighter cabinet colors help make small, dark kitchens feel more open
  • Mixing refacing, repainting, and open shelving creates charm
  • New countertops, tile, and hardware finish the refreshed look
  • The process takes just days without significant demolition

If your kitchen layout is sound but the cabinets feel outdated, consider refacing before taking on a full remodel. As these inspiring makeovers show, you can give your kitchen a completely fresh look with strategic refacing and cost-effective updates. With some creativity, refacing can help you achieve your dream kitchen style on a budget.