Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Start with new cabinet doors -- and then?

by Shannon Lee
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

It's the same story with almost every remodeling job: When the job is done, you start looking at other things that seem dated or out of place. Once your new kitchen cabinets are complete, you might sit back and enjoy them for a while, but soon the nagging questions start to pop up:

  • That kitchen countertop doesn't really match anymore, does it?
  • Should we paint the walls?
  • The lighting -- it could use some improvement, right?

Many homeowners choose to replace the one thing in their kitchen that is a glaring problem, like those dated cupboard doors, but then find that everything else looks a little off-kilter.

Remodeling cabinets and the rest of your kitchen

Before you jump into a cabinet refacing project, it pays to look at the big picture. You might be very happy to get rid of those old cabinet doors, but keep in mind that the most livable and likable kitchens have a look that ties all the elements together. Before you spend your money on the kitchen cabinets, consider the total picture from a design perspective.

  1. How much money do I have to spend? It can be easy to put all of your money into those dream cabinets and then have nothing left over for the other things, like painting the walls or replacing the appliances. Focus on turning your kitchen into the total package by factoring in the "extras" before you choose your cabinets.
  2. What is most important? Remodeling kitchen cabinets might be in the forefront of your mind, but is there something your kitchen needs more? Is the paint peeling and fading? Is the floor a little too scuffed to be suitable? You might need to tackle something else first.
  3. How much time do I have to devote? Any sort of remodeling job is going to put your kitchen into serious downtime. Resurfacing kitchen cabinets might take only a few days, but painting adds another few, and putting down a new floor requires even more. Will it be best to plan your remodel all at once, or in stages?
  4. How much can I do on my own? You might be able to handle several of the smaller jobs on your own. For instance, painting the walls is something you might be able to do in a weekend, but installing a new countertop might best be left to professionals. Factor in how much money you can save by doing the little things on your own.

Scrutinizing your kitchen design plans can help you decide if now is the right time to remodel, and if so, where you should begin. It can also help you budget appropriately so that you can afford all the upgrades, not just one or two. A complete kitchen overhaul can enhance even the most beautiful kitchen cabinets.

About the Author
Shannon Lee has written professionally for two decades on a wide variety of topics, including medical and health issues, home repair, education and relationships.

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