Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

This Christmas, she wants cabinet refacing instead of diamonds  

by Shannon Lee
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

The holidays are here, and that means it is time to give your significant other something extra special. This year, will you give her something she already expects? Or will you surprise her with something that makes her eyes shine like the North Star?

For holiday gift ideas that are sure to be cherished for years, consider cabinets instead of cashmere, and breakfast nooks instead of baubles.

Both men and women seem to prefer a little sawdust over a lot of glitter. A 2009 survey conducted by Kilz paint company found that a whopping 85 percent of women would opt for a $5,000 room makeover and forgo the $5,000 diamond earrings, while 88 percent of men would exchange a luxury watch for a home improvement project.

Home improvement professionals are observing that trend in their showrooms. A 2011 survey by "Professional Builder" found that nearly 75 percent of respondents said they sold more upgrades for the kitchen than for any other room in the home. The most common upgrades included kitchen cabinets, countertops and appliances.

New kitchen vs. same ol' predictable: 7 holiday gift comparisons

Not sure you can afford a full kitchen remodel? That's okay, a little goes a long way. Since even the smallest upgrades can make a huge difference in how a kitchen looks, you might be surprised at just what minor remodeling elements can fit into a tight budget.

Let's compare that kitchen upgrade with the other options you might be considering for Christmas cheer:

  1. Cashmere robe. For the $200 you might spend on a cashmere robe, you can give her custom hardware for the kitchen that makes those cabinets pop.
  2. Another pair of heels. Those $500 Bruno Magli pumps might look great, but so does a nice kitchen paint job in her favorite color.
  3. High-end perfume. Joy Perfume by Jean Patou has often been called the most expensive perfume in the world. At $800 per ounce, a bottle can cost more than the $210 to $900 you might expect for a laminate countertop.
  4. A designer suit. You can drop $1,200 on a Dolce and Gabbana suit, or you can spend the same amount on high-quality hardwood flooring.
  5. Weekend getaway. A nice bed & breakfast, airfare for two, a few tourist attractions, some souvenirs. That $2,000 spent on a weekend getaway could cost about the same as a high-end Energy Star refrigerator.
  6. Flat screen TV. For between $1,000 and $3,000, you can install a 70-inch LCD flat screen in your house, or you can get a laminate kitchen cabinet refacing.
  7. Diamond earrings. When it comes to diamonds, the sky is the limit. Those $8,000 earrings will make her smile, but so will that cabinet refacing with real wood veneer and a nice granite counter top.

Kitchen redesign: The holiday gift that keeps on giving

The benefits of a kitchen redesign don't end with that warm and fuzzy feeling of a beautiful home. "Remodeling Magazine's" Cost vs. Value Report for 2011 found that a minor kitchen remodel, complete with cabinet refacing and new appliances, can return an average of 72.8 percent of investment when resale time rolls around.

Rather than purchase a new pair of earrings that will sit in a jewelry box, or a nice new robe that will hang in the closet, consider something everyone in your home will see, use and enjoy every day. A kitchen that looks new for the New Year: Now that's a way to make a girl merry.


About the Author
Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.

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