We used wood filler and less than $100 in wood trim to completely transform and update old kitchen cabinets. Learn how to do a kitchen remodel on a budget and how to update routed cabinet doors quickly and easily.
Last week I revealed the kitchen makeover we’d been working on. One of the most drastic changes we made was to update old kitchen cabinets for our kitchen remodel on a budget. Doing your own shaker cabinet doors is a great way to update the look of your kitchen.
We would have loved to gut the entire kitchen and start from scratch with brand new kitchen cabinets or even just new doors, but like a lot of people out there, a project on that scale just isn’t in the budget. Instead we used wood filler, new hardware, and less than $100 on wood trim from Home Depot to completely transform these dated kitchen cabinets. Because these cabinets were in good shape, we were able to give a new look to this entire room pretty easily.
How to Update Routed Cabinet Doors
The first thing we did was sand down the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
I read a lot about painting kitchen cabinets and there are all kinds of recommendations. Instead of cleaning and using a deglosser, we used an electric buffer with 80 grit sandpaper to cut through EVERYTHING. That saved a bit of time, and got us to the bare wood with no problems.
After the doors were sanded, we used wood filler to fill in the 1970’s decorative design on the cabinet fronts. My brother does auto body work and he filled in like 10 doors in the time it took my mom and I to do two!
This took two rounds. You fill in the design with the putty (thickly) and let dry. Then you sand off the excess and fill in a second time. After the second round is dry, sand again. Be sure you allow it to dry between rounds, otherwise you just move the putty around.
After the last of the wood putty had been sanded, we primed the cabinets and moved on to one last step. We wanted to add something to our now flat/smooth front cabinets so we trimmed them out for a faux shaker style cabinets or a craftsman style cabinet doors. Attach with wood glue and a nail gun.
After adding the trim pieces, we used wood filler to fill in the cracks and also the nail holes. We then sanded to make sure sure we got a smooth finish.
Don’t miss our inexpensive wall art project – it uses cheap wood shims to make a giant statement piece! You can also get creative with these super easy, and fun to make, DIY Cricut crafts and home decorating ideas. There are 28 different projects to see!
This step right here is what made all the difference! By redoing these cabinet door fronts, we were able to update old kitchen cabinets and completely changed the look of this kitchen! Preparing the doors in this way probably added an extra day to our work load but it was worth it! The trim cost around $100 but compared to the price of brand new cabinets – I think this is a great alternative!
When you update old routed cabinet doors you can bring your kitchen up to date and go from an old or traditional look to a modern look. Instead of a light color, we went with a dark color. Here’s a link to several dark color paint options!
We made this project even easier by using a paint sprayer. I was able to get several coats of paint done and it didn’t take a long time at all. Be sure you paint both the front and back of the door. I also used a small foam roller on the cabinet face frame. This gave our paint a nice, professional look. It’s a good idea to use a paint sprayer if you can. You can get one for about $100 bucks and you’ll thank yourself for investing a little bit here!
Here’s another example of how to update routed cabinet doors. My mom had a few in her bathroom she wanted to change but didn’t want to do the shaker cabinets we’d done in the kitchen. For these, she took the old doors and added a 1/4 inch plywood panels and glued them right on front. She also sanded, re-stained to keep the wood grain look, and added new hardware. This is another simple way to update the cabinet faces.
This is a relatively easy home improvement project. Whether you’re updating old cabinets in your kitchen, bathroom or even laundry room this tutorial should help you save a ton of money!
Check out the full kitchen makeover reveal HERE.
You may also enjoy this post:
Love DIY projects? We have 100s of projects to inspire you!
View our collection of kitchen related posts!