Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

A touch of glass: ideas for glass refacing

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Refacing your cabinets with glass can really go two ways. You can pick the clean, ultra-modern look of tempered glass doors, or the beautiful, antique look of panes in cabinet doors. Either way, refacing with glass can brighten your kitchen and give things a classy look.

Ultra-modern glass

Tempered glass is glass that's been strengthened through a chemical or heating process. It's a lot more difficult to break, which makes it ideal in a kitchen situation that could occasionally include slamming doors. You can go with big, framed panels of glass or throw wood out all together and just have panels mounted in place of cabinet doors. Either way, wood frames and drawers should be updated to match the modern look with crisp angles and lots of natural grain.

Choose a glass that isn't perfectly clear to hide a little messiness in the cabinets.

  • Frosted: Glass that's frosted lets ghostly outlines of your glasses and bowls show through, but not much else. It doesn't pick up fingerprints easily, which makes cleaning less frequent.
  • Reeded or fluted: Glass with rounded, vertical or horizontal ribs obscures less than frosted glass. It looks great, still hides a little mess in the cabinets and provides an open feel.
  • Textured: Textured options can really add pizzazz to a kitchen's look.

Think about using tempered glass shelves to allow light to pass through your cabinets. And for even more light, add LEDs to the inside of your cabinets. They're small enough to fit almost anywhere, and with glass-front cabinets, you can use them as a nice, ambient light for your kitchen.

The antique look

Got a set of beautiful old windows you don't know what to do with? Old stained glass? Put that character on display in your cabinet facings. If not, use tempered glass for longevity and durability.

This look is less about the large panels and more about ornate use of smaller panes of glass. Think about older, antique windows -- that's what you're going for. Try one of these ideas:

  • Leaded glass panels: The classic look of glass panes separated by lead muntin can be achieved with old glass or new textured glass panels. Work in occasional panels of stained glass to match and accentuate the look.
  • Ornamental wood muntins: Sweeping curves, arches and patterns made with wood muntins (the trim separating panes of glass) make your cabinets look fancy and formal.

Specific glass might require custom doors. Talk to your contractor first about what you've got in mind.

About the Author
Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. With an eye for design and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.

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