How To Update Wood Kitchen Cabinets Without Painting Them

Wood kitchen cabinets are timeless, eye-catching, and can look completely different with just a few updates. You may be interested in a complete remodel of your kitchen, or you may just want to upgrade your current look. For those leaning more towards the latter, the below tips will help you save money while creating your dream kitchen.

In just a few simple steps, you can take your wood kitchen cabinets from dull and neglected to modern and sleek. Painting the cabinets isn’t the only answer when looking to upgrade. You can change the hardware, paint the room, update the backsplash, and more. When it comes to your kitchen, there are several options that will guarantee a new look and create a whole new vibe. 

update kitchen cabinets

Change the Hardware 

Most of the time, wood cabinets, whether they're made of oak, maple, or pine, come with standard round knobs. Just the knobs alone can make the cabinets look outdated if you try to go for a modern look. To get a more sleek aesthetic, you can move from round knobs to cabinet pulls. Pulls, which come in various colors such as bronze, silver, and matte black, can make your cabinets seem of higher quality and refreshed. 

Cabinet hardware updates don’t just have to be pulls either. If you like the round knob look, they come in many different colors and even crystal for those looking for a more elegant look. A bar knob is similar to pulls, only thicker. These can give your kitchen a more industrial look. 

Update the Backsplash 

In any kitchen, the backsplash can make or break the look that you’re trying to go for. With wood cabinets, the backsplash is usually a generic tile that blends into the cabinets. You can choose a stylish tile or classic brick that never goes out of style to update the look. 

Popular options are subway tiles, honeycomb tiles, and herringbone tiles. For brick, there are many different types that will give off a different feel. You can go the industrial route, vintage route, or even do limestone. 

Create a Different Vibe 

While you may not want to paint the wood cabinets, you can still update them and add value to your kitchen. Adding glass doors to show off the inside of your cabinets can make your kitchen look more luxurious. You can choose a few doors to do this with and showcase items like wine glasses and coffee cups. To upgrade these cabinets, add a design to the glass or frost them if you don’t want a see-through look. 

New Countertops 

New countertops can completely transform your kitchen without having to touch the wood cabinets. If it’s in your budget, you can remove the current countertops and fully replace them. If you are looking to save money, you still have the option to get a new look! Using adhesive film, you can peel and stick the film to the countertops once you have the correct measurements. 

There are many textured options for the adhesive film, such as marble, granite, oak, and stone. All of these options will make your kitchen look like it got a refresh but without the price of a full upgrade. To keep them looking new, you can also seal countertop surfaces like marble to help protect them.

Paint the Walls 

Instead of painting the cabinets, you can paint the walls in your kitchen a bright, neutral, or dark color to revamp the space. This painting project is much easier since it doesn't require sanding any wood. Your kitchen can start light with neutral colors, and with something as simple as a paint job, it can turn into a bright and unique kitchen. If you’re adding a paint job alongside new countertops, new backsplash, and other features such as glass cabinets, the heart of your home will be admired by all your visitors. Read this guide if you need to paint over silicone caulk.

Upgrade the Lighting 

Lighting in a kitchen is more important than you may think. Installing light fixtures above your island will give it a modern look while adding ambiance. Another major upgrade to any kitchen is under cabinet lighting. At any time of the day, your kitchen will glow and look up to date. It also adds a special touch that can attract future buyers. 

These are all great options when you want to save money while upgrading your kitchen and don’t want to paint the cabinets. With a few small investments, your wood kitchen cabinets will look brand new in no time.

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Keith Melanson

Keith Melanson is Project Manager of RenosGroup. RenosGroup is a family-owned and operated renovations team that is dedicated to making your house feel like home. Specializing in interior renovations, mobility renovations, and hand-holding the nervous homeowner. With 35 years of combined industry experience, they offer a full line of turn-key interior renovation projects.