3 Effective Ways To Update Old Kitchen Cabinets [Under $100]

The kitchen is one of the main attractions when you will buy or sell a home. So the cabinets play a very important role in enhancing its look.

Your old 70’s or 80’s cabinets now look boring, and you want a new look without breaking your bank.

There are various ways to update the old kitchen cabinets. You can either completely change the cabinets or simply change the doors or paint the old ones to look new.

If you have a good budget then you can completely change it or if not, then consider only changing the doors or color it.

The best way to update old kitchen cabinets is to remove all the doors and hinges first, rub the doors and cabinets properly with sandpaper, color them, and finally, attach all the doors and the new hinges back. It’s that simple and affordable.

Let’s check how to do all these things…        

How Can I Update My Kitchen Cabinets Without Replacing Them?

You can easily update your kitchen cabinets without replacing them (either by painting or refacing them).. It is the cheapest and effective way to change their look from old to modern.

You can also replace the handles to give them a more attractive look and change the hinges for smooth operations of doors.

How To Update Old Kitche Cabinets

Below I have written the step-by-step process and materials required for your project.

Materials Required

  1. Hinges
  2. Sander or Sand Paper (180-220 grade)
  3. Driver-Drill or Screwdriver
  4. Primer
  5. Paint
  6. Brush or Roller
  7. Painter’s Tape
  8. Painter’s Pyramid Stands or Wooden Blocks (For keeping the doors elevated)

All the materials are easily available in Amazon. You can also search in your nearby store or home depot.


Step 1: First, unscrew or remove all the doors and hinges with the help of a driver-driller and keep them aside.

Step 2: Now, put the painter’s tape to all the areas where you don’t want any mess while painting the cabinets. Seriously, it will save hours while cleaning.

Step 3: Take the sander or sandpaper and rub all the doors and cabinets properly. Don’t skip this process else you can’t paint them properly due to their glossy finish.

Step 4: Now, apply the first coat of primer to all the doors and faces of the cabinets and let them sit on the pyramid stands for a few hours to dry. Don’t forget to coat both sides of the doors.

Step 5: When they will dry then apply the second coat of primer and let them dry again.

Step 6: Now, paint all the doors and faces with your desired color, and let them sit to dry. Try to give two coats of paint for a better look and smoothness.

Step 7: Finally, attach all the doors and hinges back to your kitchen cabinets and your update is done.

With these seven steps, you can change your old-style cabinets to modern style. These are very easy and basic steps. You don’t need any level of expertise to perform this DIY.

If your countertop is dark in color, then you should paint the cabinets white, or if it is a light color, then paint it black. This is just a suggestion to enhance the look. 

How To Update An Old Kitchen Cabinet On A Budget (Under $100)?

Yeah, you heard it right. You can change the old look to a new one for under $100. 

The DIY which I have mentioned above is also cheap. You will need only the paint and the primer for that, and all the other materials required are available in most households, if not, then it will cost you only $100-$150.

So, how to update your cabinets at such a cheap price?

There is a cabinet transformation kit by Rust-Oleum that will cost you below $100 on Amazon or you can search in your nearest store or home depot wherever you get that product just purchase it.

It is a complete transformation kit so you don’t need any other paint or primer. They provide everything along with a DVD that you can watch before doing your painting.  

How Can I Make My Old Cabinets Look Better Or Modern?

By coloring the cabinets properly it will change the look to a extend but, if you want something extra or want it to look completely modern, then you will have to make some changes.

You can follow the exact steps that I have explained above and in addition to that, you can add new handles, hinges, or some pieces of wood to change its look.

If your cabinet’s door surface is plane then you can fix four wooden pieces to one door to enhance its look. You can check the below video to get the idea.

How To Make The Kitchen Cabinets From Scratch?

If you want a completely new look then you can make it from scratch. There are three ways to make it from scratch.

  1. The first one is to hire a company or builder who will handle everything from materials to labor which will be costly but will have less headache.
  2. The second is to hire a carpenter who will build the cabinet according to your design and charge only for labor. It will be cheaper than the first one but here you have to manage all the materials.
  3. The third one is to do it yourself (DIY). It is the most interesting and creative option among the three and also the cheaper one. Here, you have to buy only the materials and just DIY.

You have two options in DIY, either you can buy the stock one and assemble it, or you can purchase all the materials and customize it according to your needs.

If you don’t know how to custom build or how to design it, then you can check out this step-by-step guide having 16000 plans design from chairs to kitchen cabinets. This will seriously help you in your DIY and also saves money because custom build kitchen cabinets are expensive.

You May Like: Why Are Kitchen Cabinets Expensive?

Materials Required For Your DIY:

  1. MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard) or Plyboard.
  2. Wooden Pieces
  3. Measuring Tape
  4. Wood Cutter or Jigsaw
  5. Nail Gun
  6. Heavy Duty Adhesive
  7. Driver-Driller
  8. Hinges
  9. Sander or Sand Paper (180-220 grade)
  10. Primer
  11. Paint
  12. Brush or Roller
  13. Painter’s Tape
  14. Painter’s Pyramid Stands or Wooden Blocks (For keeping the doors elevated)


Step 1: First, measure your kitchen space and decide how many base cabinets and wall cabinets you want.

Step 2: Now, follow this video tutorial to build your custom kitchen cabinet.


Can You Reconfigure Existing Kitchen Cabinets?

Yes, you can reconfigure your existing cabinets. Most of them are made with standard sizes so configuring them will not be a problem. If your budget allows then it’s always better to invest in new cabinetry than to reconfigure it. 

Can You Put New Countertops On Old Cabinets?

Definitely, you can put new countertops on the old cabinets. But, before doing that make sure to check underneath your countertop to see if any screws, adhesive, nails, etc are holding it. If it is held by a screw then unscrew it and carefully lift it. 
If additional protection like adhesive is there then take a putty knife or cutter then carefully remove or pry the adhesive until it becomes loose to lift the countertop.

Final Thoughts

You can update the old kitchen cabinets to a modern look in three ways:

  1. By changing the color or paint them properly, which will be the cheapest option.
  2. By making some changes like changing the handles, hinges, or fixing some wooden pieces, etc.
  3. By custom build it. This will be the most efficient as well as the costliest option.

So, based on your budget you can build or modify your existing cabinets. If you like to DIY then I recommend you to go for the first two options as they are cheap and fun to do activities. If you like our article then please share it with your friends and family.

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