Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Crazy, Crafty, Clever, Cool: Three unique ideas for cabinet refacing

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Your cabinets may not be the most exciting things around the house -- but they certainly don't have to be boring. You can jazz up cabinets with a fresh coat of paint or some artistic accents. If you really want to go all out and make your cabinets a true conversation starter, it's time to start thinking outside the box about your cabinetry.

  • Mood lighting: A little bit of task lighting is good. Ambient light shining out of glass-front or open cabinetry is pretty nice looking, too. But you can kick this design idea into high gear by installing color-changing LEDs. There are a variety of different kinds available in strips or rails that make installation easy. You'll likely need to drill a few holes to run wires and make some space for a control unit of some kind (whatever your kit comes with). If you're really gung-ho, you can use a router to carve out a strip and make the light recessed under each shelf. Once you're done, you can have a pulsating rainbow kitchen dance party -- or just keep it mellow, like a glowing mood ring you cook inside of.
  • Artsy kitchen: There are oodles of different ways to paint your kitchen cabinets, from the classic look of plain white to wild, colorful distressing and antiquing. While these can certainly make your kitchen cabinets look like a work of art, they stop short of the full monty: making your cabinets into actual works of art. You've got a few options for this one. If you have lone cabinets that are set into the wall, refacing with a painting can make them feel like secret wall safes. For regular wall-mounted cabinetry, replace the doors with a nice flat wood and paint a beautiful landscape or other panoramic design of your choice. If this is a bit too permanent, try the same thing with chalk-board paint and change it up every weekend!
  • Super secret hidden island: A kitchen island is a wonderful thing when you need it, especially in a kitchen where counter space is at a premium. When you don't need it, though, a kitchen island is little more than a great way to stub your toe. The coolest way to solve this eternal conundrum? A hidden kitchen island that looks like the rest of your cabinets -- until you wheel it out from under the counter to the amazement of your guests, anyway. When you need it, it's there. When you don't, it isn't, and you have a nice, open kitchen that facilitates unimpeded dashes from the sink to the fridge.

If you aren't feeling up to making any of these changes yourself, talk to your contractor (or a local artist) about adding some flair to your kitchen. Don't be afraid to bounce your ideas for cool cabinet upgrades off contractors -- that's why they're there.

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