Four Different Ways to Upgrade Kitchen Cabinets

Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and BeesWhen we bought our house last June, we were really excited. Though we knew we had a lot of work a head of us to transform our home into a space we loved and truly would feel like us. 

Most people would agree, a nice kitchen and bathroom is where it’s at. Especially for increasing home value, yada yada yada. When it came time to begin our home renovations, I was pretty adamant about starting with our kitchen. For two reasons:

  1. I spend a ton of time in our kitchen, so it’s pretty important to me to have a lovely space to work in.
  2. Our kitchen is the very first thing you see when you walk through our front door. I wanted our kitchen to make a solid first impression of our home.
Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees

BEFORE

And so we began! Once we rang in the new year as husband and wife, we got the ball rolling on our home, with the main focus in the kitchen. We hired our team, and completed almost everything on our list within 2 months.

We painted the two upper floors of our home a muted stone grey, had an electrician swap out overhead lighting, upgrade light switches, and move outlets around. We had a floor & tile team here to switch the kitchen floor and add a backsplash. A carpet guy to replace the basement carpeting. I bought upgraded hardware for our kitchen and installed it myself. Bought all new kitchen appliances. And had a carpenter create a built-in-bookcase, fix up a coat closet, and transform our old coat closet into a pantry.

By the time March rolled around, we were wrapping up. And while yes, it was a huge transformation, the cabinets were still bothering me. I began looking into options, and realized they are quite limited.

Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and BeesBefore and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees

FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS TO UPGRADE KITCHEN CABINETS

1. Brand New Cabinets – $$$$

Pro: This is a fantastic option for those who want to completely start from scratch. Custom cabinets, every last detail is down to your specific requests — the sky is the limit!

Con: This is the most expensive option for obvious reasons. But what they don’t tell you until your consultation, is that you can’t do this without replacing your countertops. Which is a whole other separate (and NOT cheap) cost.

2. Cabinet Refacing — $$$

Pro: You’re able to get the same benefit of customizing your cabinets and drawers from scratch without having to sacrifice your countertop.

Con: Whatever current cabinet layout you have, will remain as so. You’re literally just replacing doors and maybe upgrading what’s inside the drawers. It’s also pretty expensive. We weren’t able to find a quote for under $10K

3. Cabinet Spraying — $$

Pro: It’s a quick, un-invasive project that’s over within 3 days. If you simply wanted to change the color of your cabinets, then this is a really great option for you.

Con: Nothing other than the color changes. Some also claim the paint doesn’t hold up after a few years.

4. Upgraded Hardware — $

Pro: A super simple and ultra quick fix.

Con: You’re still stuck with the same color, design, layout, etc.

HOW WE WENT ABOUT OUR KITCHEN

As much as we would’ve liked to take a sledgehammer to our kitchen, and start totally from scratch, we really weren’t too keen on spending $40K+ to do so. With that said, replacing the cabinets was out, especially considering we actually have quite beautiful black granite countertops. It’s was literally the only nice thing in our kitchen when we moved in, and yes, we wanted to keep them. But black countertops, maple cabinets, and white appliances certainly do NOT go well together….

After adding backsplash, replacing the kitchen tile floor, swapping out appliances for stainless steel, and upgrading the light fixtures — we knew we needed to do something with the cabinets. I upgraded hardware myself, and decided to live with it for a few months and see how we felt.

Upgraded hardware made quite the difference, I was actually surprised by how many of our friends thought we replaced the cabinets based on the hardware alone. But that maple… omg that horrendous maple color… maple cabinets, stainless steel appliance, and black countertops. We were SO close, but not quite there. I wanted WHITE. I needed WHITE.

Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees

Cabinet Refacing vs. Cabinet Painting.

We were now left with two options, refacing or repainting. We do have nice cabinets, they’re decent quality, they’re just a horrendous color I never in a million years would’ve chosen to go with black granite. And dropping $10K+ for new cabinet doors just seemed a bit too excessive. Though it would’ve been nice to have a refacing company fix up some of the imperfections my husband and I notice. After some back and forth on the pros and cons, we decided to go the easier, less expensive route. I found a contractor on Thumbtack with glowing reviews and got the ball rolling. Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees

THE PROCESS

From start to finish, it took our contractor three days. While yes, our kitchen was totally out of commission for 72 hours, all things considering, it wasn’t bad at all. Doors and drawers were removed, openings were taped up and covered in heavy-duty plastic. Cabinets and framework were sanded, primed, sanded, first coat, sanded, second coat, sanded, and finishing touches. Reattach hardware and put back doors and drawers. FINISHED! And for under $1,500 my friends!

THE RESULTS
Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and BeesBefore and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees

I literally could not be happier with how everything came out. Seeing this dramatic transformation in my own kitchen has turned me into a cabinet spraying advocate. If you’re in the DC area, call Bryan with The Cabinet Guy! He was so easy to work with and I’m thrilled with the results. Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and Bees Before and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and BeesBefore and After Kitchen Photos | Peonies and BeesI still cannot believe this is our kitchen. It feels so much larger, cleaner, and open. I’m so so so happy and can finally say WE ARE OFFICIALLY DONE WITH THE KITCHEN!