The Fine Art of Cabinet Facades

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There are several ways to change your cabinets without making real changes, perfect for renters and others who want to preserve their existing cabinets. Cabinet facades and careful DIY projects will allow you to change your cabinets — just not forever.

The Secret Life of Veneers

The Fine Art of Cabinet Facades, veneer

Maybe you can’t replace those cabinets, but you can make them look like new with veneers. Get yourself some thin sheets of plywood, 1/8-inch thick or less, and cut it to the exact size of your cabinet doors. If there is molding or some other decorative edging in place, cut the veneer to fit the space inside this edging.

First, sand both sides of the veneer. Choose the best side to refinish. With veneers, your cabinet options are practically limitless. Prime and paint them in any color you like to give your kitchen or bathroom area a fresh, bright look. The plywood can also be stained if desired, though you may wish to upgrade your wood if you plan on staining. Many people do not find plywood grain attractive, and stain does not cover the grain but enhances it.

Typically, veneers are applied with adhesive, but that's a permanent application. For a reversible look, trim the back of the veneer and the front of the cabinet with velcro tape. When you're ready for a new look, or need to go back to the original, peel off the veneer and clean the tape off the cabinets.

Molding can be applied in the same way as veneers. Get it in the appropriate size to attractively outline the cabinets. Cut it to length at 45-degree angles to make a frame all the way around doors and drawers.

Today's Wallpaper Options

The Fine Art of Cabinet Facades, wallpaper,

Wallpaper was once a permanent design element, applied with messy paste. But you can see what one DIY blogger did with contact paper. Also, today there are new versions made of vinyl that you simply peel and stick. Not only that, but they can just as easily be removed. Choose a paper that contrasts against the cabinet frame, or one that complements it, to give your kitchen or bathroom the look you want.

For an even more dramatic statement, these new wallpapers come printed with images of all different types, so you can create a mural across your cabinets. Reversing the look requires nothing more than peeling away the paper.

Who Needs Doors?

The Fine Art of Cabinet Facades, open cabinet

Want to really make your cabinets look different? Remove the doors and hinges to create open cabinets. Line the interior of the cabinets with fabric or colorful paper to create a dramatic effect. Store the doors somewhere safe until you need them again, or you change your mind about the look.

Lights Give a Glow

The Fine Art of Cabinet Facades, drawers, LED strip lights

Sometimes, even a little change can create a huge difference. Use stick-on lights to brighten up your cabinets inside or out. Place the light on the underside of the roof of the cabinets and the bottoms of shelves to brighten the interior. Put lights on the underside of the cabinets to light them up from the bottom, and create a dramatic look.

Extra lighting can really change the look of cabinets, and it's easy to install. Peel and stick LED strips can go almost anywhere, and there are even battery operated options, so you don't have to worry about finding an outlet, let alone hard wiring. Of course this option goes well with the open cabinet concept.

Even changes that aren’t permanent can make a huge difference to your cabinets. Use your DIY skills to give your kitchen or bathroom an affordable upgrade, and completely change your space. Don’t forget to complete the look by updating your kitchen hardware.