Whether you’re planning a simple kitchen spruce-up or a complete overhaul, deciding what to do about your cabinetry is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make.New cabinets can take up nearly 50% of your total budget for a kitchen or bathroom renovation, and functional cabinets can mean the difference between a kitchen that works and one that doesn’t. But what if you can’t afford to buy all new cabinets with the latest storage features and styles?

Many homeowners today are saving money by “refacing” rather than completely replacing than completely replacing their exisiting cabinets. There are three primary ways to reface cabinets:

  • Refinish or paint existing cabinet and drawer fronts.

  • Install new wood laminate veneer over existing cabinet and drawer fronts.

  • Install completely new cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

In all three cases, new hardware such as hinges and pulls helps to complete the update. The interiors of the cabinets can also be sanded, painted or stained for a completely new look.

Even with the potential cost savings, however, refacing isn’t right for every kitchen or bathroom remodel. Before making the decision to reface, rather than replace, homeowners need to consider a number of factors, starting with the bones of their existing cabinetry.

If they are not high quality cabinets to begin with, it usually makes send to replace all of cabinets. Therefore, don’t spend money to reface products that are truly worn out. Do not put more money into installing new countertops and backsplash materials on top of old worn cabinets that are not of high-quality material that will last over time. In addition, if the functionality of your old cabinets is not there, even more of a reason to have all new cabinets installed.

Cabinets built prior to the 1980s were generally built of better materials than newer ones. Back then, 3/4 inch plywood was actually 3/4 inches thick and particle board was used for floor underlayment.

Another alternative for homeowners with older cabinets in good condition is to remove the doors altogether and convert their existing cabinets to open shelving. Interior shelves can be removed or reconfigured inside the existing cabinet frames for a thoroughly modern and updated look.

If your kitchen or bathroom cabinets are in good condition then it makes sense for you to invest in an updated countertop material, as well as a beautiful backsplash. Put the “Wow” into those two elements to make your kitchen or bathroom uniquely yours. This will also help raise the value of your home, since the two most important areas of your home that should be updated is your kitchen and bathroom, it’s the first thing buyers look for.

There are so many material options to choose from today. Options for countertops include granite, quartz, marble, limestone, laminate, and even glass. Backsplash options are endless and you can use just about any material because it doesn’t get the wear and tear like the countertop space. Keep your cabinet style simple and timeless, but make it unique with a beautiful countertop, enhanced by the backsplash materials.

You don’t have to break the bank to update your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. But do be choosy in your material selections. This is where a professional interior designer comes in. Hiring a designer is a small investment in the grand scale of a remodel project expense. Getting it done right the first time around saves you time, money, and energy in the long run. Your project will run smoother, be within budget, and will get done faster, so you can relax and enjoy your beautiful new space. For more information, go to my website to learn more about my services.

Best Wishes, Audra Wrightson, CID, ASID Website – Facebook Page – -  Phone – (714) 904-7431


Audra Wrightson, Certified Interior Designer

Over the last two decades, Audra has become one of the most sought-after interior designers in Southern California. Named one of Orange County’s top 5 Interior Designers by CBS News and the recipient of many design awards, Audra has gained local recognition for her work, and enjoys being active in giving back to local charity organizations in Orange County, California.