How to Renovate Your Kitchen Cabinets

We’re sharing a few useful projects from “DIY Home Repairs: 100 Fix-It Yourself Projects,” a book by Sarah Beeny, that will help you update your home while saving money.
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You can make a huge difference to the look of your kitchen with just some simple renovations to the cabinets. By repainting doors and updating the handles, you’ll refresh the heart of your home without the need for a full redesign.

By repainting doors and updating the handles, you’ll refresh the heart of your home without the need for a full redesign.

You'll Need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Steel tape measure
  • Drop cloth, newspaper, or old cloths
  • Respirator or dust mask
  • Safety goggles or glasses
  • Fine- and medium-grade sandpaper
  • Soft cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • New door handles, hinges, and hardware, as desired


  • Power sander


  • Sanding block

Getting Started

If you find it easier, use a screwdriver to remove your cabinet doors, drawer fronts, hinges and handles, and move them to your work space.

If you are replacing handles, take your old ones with you to the hardware store to ensure that you choose something with the same-size fittings. Remember to note down how many you’ll need.

Also, if any of the handles were held on by more than one screw, note the distance between the two screws, since you will need to find replacement handles with the same distance between them. Otherwise, be prepared to fill and drill new holes.

It’s a good idea to buy one sample first to check the fit before investing in a full set.

What to Do

  1. Lay down a drop cloth, newspaper, or old cloths to protect your floor.
  2. Put on your respirator/dust mask and protective goggles or glasses.
  3. Using medium-grade sandpaper, sand down the front and edges of wooden, painted, or varnished doors or drawer fronts with power sander (­A)‑ or sanding block ­(B)‑. No sanding or priming is needed for melamine doors, but you do need to use the right paint. Wipe off dust and give the doors a good clean.
  4. Paint on a coat of primer, leave it to dry, and apply another coat.
  5. When dry, rub down surfaces with fine-grade sandpaper. Wipe off any dust.
  6. Apply the first coat of paint and leave it to dry overnight. Repeat with another coat of paint for a more durable finish. Replace any old handles with new ones, if desired.
  7. Replace doors and drawer fronts using a screwdriver to tighten the hinges. 

How to Nail It!

  • If you have a number of cabinet doors to remove, label them on the back so that you can easily find the right place for the right door when you have finished.
  • If your cabinet doors and drawer fronts do not completely cover the front of the cabinets, you can prepare and paint those surfaces in the same way. A good time to do this is while the cabinet doors are drying.
  • To save time, buy a combined undercoat and primer and eliminate one of the stages.
DIY Home Repairs: 100 Fix-It-Yourself Projects
Everyday projects that will make any home as good as new. Blocked sinks, scratched floors, noisy pipes—no more! DIY Home Repairs teaches readers how to tackle all those common household issues themselves.

Excerpted from DIY Home Repairs: 100 Fix-It Yourself Projects Copyright © 2014 Sarah Beeny and published by Quadrille Publishing Limited / F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Design and layout © 2014 Quadrille Publishing Limited.


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