Kitchen cabinets play a crucial role in any kitchen design. Not only do they provide storage space for all your cookware, dishes, and pantry items, but they also make up the bulk of the aesthetic look of your kitchen. With so many options for cabinet styles, colors, and configurations, it can be overwhelming trying to decide on the perfect cabinetry for your space. Rather than splurging on completely new cabinetry, why not give your existing cabinets a makeover? With a few simple DIY projects, you can transform the look of your kitchen cabinets on a budget. Here are 9 amazing DIY kitchen cabinet ideas to inspire your next kitchen refresh.

Refreshing Cabinet Paint

Giving your cabinets a fresh coat of paint is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to update the look of your kitchen. If your cabinets are in relatively good condition but looking a bit dated, painting them is a great option.

What you’ll need:

  • Paint primer
  • Paint in the color(s) of your choice
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint tray
  • Sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape


  1. Remove cabinet doors and drawers from the cabinets and lay them on a drop cloth. Remove all hardware like knobs and hinges as well.
  2. Lightly sand the cabinet frames, doors, and drawers to rough up the surface and help the paint adhere.
  3. Clean all surfaces with a degreasing agent like TSP. Let dry completely.
  4. Apply painter’s tape around the edges and hardware openings. This helps create clean lines when painting.
  5. Apply a coat of high-quality primer and let dry completely.
  6. Apply two coats of paint in your desired color, letting each coat dry in between.
  7. Once fully dry, replace all hardware and reattach the newly painted doors/drawers.

With just a few coats of fresh paint, you can give tired wooden cabinets a facelift. Opt for on-trend colors like sage green, navy blue, or soft gray for a modern look. Painting the cabinet frames, doors, and drawers the same color creates a cohesive custom built-in look. For extra dimension, try painting the frames a lighter tone than the doors.

Adding New Hardware

Replacing outdated or boring hardware with new knobs, pulls, or handles is a simple upgrade that can completely transform ordinary cabinets. Ditch old rounded brass knobs for straight square pulls in satin brass or sleek black for a more modern look. Or go for a funky unique shape like askew diamond or triangular pull for a fun pop of personality.

When selecting hardware, consider the overall style of your kitchen decor. Chrome or stainless steel pairs well with a contemporary kitchen, while bronze or brass looks great for traditional decor. If you have neutral colored cabinets, bright hardware in a fun color like teal adds an unexpected punch. Make sure to measure existing holes and screw placements so new hardware will align properly. Upgrade your cabinets with new hardware for an instant style boost.

Adding Trimwork and Molding

For a quick DIY facelift, consider adding trimwork and molding to your existing cabinets. Available in various widths and styles, trim and molding add architectural detail and visual interest. Try adding crown molding across the top of wall cabinets to draw the eye up and make the space feel taller and more expansive. For a bit of dimension, attach decorative trimwork around the edges of cabinet frames.

What you’ll need:

  • Crown molding or decorative trim/molding
  • Miter saw
  • Small nails and hammer
  • Wood glue
  • Paint primer and paint
  • Caulk


  1. Measure the areas where you want to install the trim and cut molding to size with a miter saw.
  2. Attach the trim pieces with small finishing nails, pre-drilling holes to prevent splitting. Use wood glue for extra strength.
  3. Fill nail holes with caulk and let dry. Then apply primer and paint to match your cabinet color.

Adding trimwork like crown molding or narrow trim pieces gives your existing cabinetry a built-in custom look. Paint the molding in a contrasting color from the cabinets for even more definition.

Installing New Cabinet Doors

Replacing old or damaged cabinet doors provides one of the most dramatic kitchen makeovers. Simply swap out worn or outdated doors for new on-trend styles, without having to replace whole cabinets. Check local home improvement stores for ready-made or custom cabinet door options to fit your existing cabinet frames.

Trendy cabinet door styles like shaker, flat panel, glass inset, or distressed wood instantly modernize dated cabinets. Choose door finishes that complement your kitchen style, like sleek lacquer for contemporary or wire brushed wood for farmhouse. Upgrading cabinet doors lets you completely customize the look while keeping existing cabinet boxes you already have. Don’t forget to update the hardware to match your new style!

Applying Faux Finishes

For a budget-friendly makeover, apply faux finishes to liven up ho-hum cabinets with texture and depth. From wood grain to marble, faux finishes can mimic pricier high-end materials for just a fraction of the cost.

Ideas for faux finishes:

  • Whitewashed – Watered down paint creates a washed wood look
  • Wood grain – Using wood grain tools and glaze adds realistic wood texture
  • Chalk paint – Waxed chalk paint creates a timeworn distressed finish
  • Marble – Use marbleizing tools and paint to get a marble pattern
  • Wallpaper – Apply prepasted wallpaper for an eclectic patterned look

Faux finishes like glazed distressing or marbleizing gel transform the look of your current cabinetry by adding stylish texture and dimension. Create your own custom design to suit your unique taste with the right faux finish products and techniques.

Adding Glass Cabinet Inserts

Glass cabinet inserts provide a gorgeous way to upgrade your current cabinetry. Simply remove existing cabinet doors and replace with a frame fitted with frosted, patterned, or colored glass panels. This lets you maintain the function of cabinet storage while also adding a touch of transparency andshine.

Glass inserts look beautiful on upper cabinets to add depth and display attractive dishware. For lower cabinets, use frosted or patterned glass to add a decorative element while still concealing contents. DIY custom glass inserts give your cabinets a high-end customized appearance for less.

Applying New Cabinet Liners

Replacing worn-out cabinet interiors with fresh new liners is an inexpensive way to revive your existing cabinets. Peeling or worn shelving detracts from the look of your cabinets despite nice exteriors. Choose from many inexpensive and easy-to-apply options:

  • Removable wallpaper – Just peel and stick to add fun patterns
  • Contact paper – Adheres directly to cabinet surfaces for easy application
  • Liner rolls – Come in wood grain, marble, and more stuck directly to shelves
  • Vinyl tiles – Peel and stick tiles create a backsplash look

With a variety of color, pattern, and texture options, new cabinet liners allow you to customize your cabinets. Try pairing bold graphic liners with neutral cabinet colors for visual interest. Or mimic expensive marble with marble-look liner rolls and contact paper. Refreshing the interiors takes tired cabinets from drab to fab!

Refinishing With Stain or Paint

For wood cabinets that are structurally sound but looking a bit worse for wear, refinishing with stain or paint restores them to their former glory. Lightly sanding, filling any holes or imperfections, then applying stain or paint gives you beautiful “new” cabinets for a fraction of replacement cost.

What you’ll need if staining:

  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Stain in desired color
  • Rags
  • Polyurethane

What you’ll need if painting:

  • Sandpaper
  • Wood filler
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Paint brushes and tray

Refinishing makes sense if your current cabinet boxes and doors are solid wood and just in need of cosmetic repair. Sand lightly, fill imperfections, then apply your choice of oil or water-based stain, letting each coat fully dry. Protect with a coat of polyurethane for a shiny finish. For a painted look, follow with primer then paint. Choose a rich hue like navy for a custom built-in look.

Adding Organizational Features

Enhance your current kitchen cabinets with organizational features designed to maximize storage and efficiency. Consider adding:

  • Pull-out shelves – Roll-out trays in base cabinets keep items accessible.
  • Lazy susans – Spinning trays in corner cabinets hold spices and more.
  • Under cabinet racks – Mounted wine glass racks or pot lid holders save space.
  • Drawer dividers – Customizable dividers organize cooking utensils.
  • Cabinet door racks – Mounted racks for cutting boards, cookie sheets, etc.

-Tiered riser shelves – Stacked shelves double storage in cabinets.

With the right organizational accessories, you can optimize unused cabinet space. Custom features tailored to your particular storage needs reduce clutter and make everyday items easy to access. Get organized with smart cabinet upgrades.

Lighting Upgrades

Don’t underestimate the power of lighting when it comes to kitchen design. Swapping out dim outdated overhead fixtures for bright modern LED lights makes a huge difference. And the right lighting inside cabinets shines a spotlight on your updated space.

Lighting ideas:

  • Under cabinet lighting – Strip lighting illuminates countertops
  • Motion lights – Lights up when cabinets open
  • Cabinet toe kicks – Low lighting strips along base of cabinets
  • Glass shelves – Lit shelves create a glow inside glass cabinets

Strategically placed lighting illuminates tasks, adds drama, and shows off your DIY kitchen makeover beautifully. With advanced lighting features like motion sensors, timers and dimmers, it’s easy to customize. Let there be light for a gorgeous kitchen!


With ample inspiration from these DIY kitchen cabinet makeover ideas, you can entirely transform the look of your existing cabinetry. Get creative with faux finishes, hardware swaps, new lighting and more without the expense of full cabinet replacement. A few beginner-friendly upgrades make a meaningful impact. Always start by removing doors, drawers, and hardware to simplify projects. Focus on visible surfaces like doors and trim for high visual impact. Mix paint, stains, hardware and lighting for lots of style at little cost. With the right DIY kitchen cabinet makeovers, you can fall in love with your kitchen all over again!