Reface, Don't Replace: How Cabinet Refacing Can Transform Your Kitchen on a Budget
A 3d rendering of a modern kitchen with grey panels, a white marble counter top and splashbackReface, Don't Replace: How Cabinet Refacing Can Transform Your Kitchen on a Budget


The average major kitchen remodel costs over $25,000 and involves contractors tearing out old cabinets right down to the studs. For most homeowners, that astronomical price tag puts a full kitchen overhaul out of reach. Luckily, there's a budget-friendly alternative for reviving your worn-out kitchen - cabinet refacing. Refacing allows you to transform the look of your existing cabinets for a fraction of the cost of ripping everything out and starting from scratch. In this article, we'll explore the many benefits of refacing over full replacement and show you how refacing your outdated or boring kitchen cabinets can give your space a dramatic new look without demolishing your wallet. Whether you want to boost your home's value before selling or simply give your family's gathering space an overdue style upgrade, read on to learn why when it comes to renovating your kitchen, you should reface, not replace!

Benefits of Refacing Over Replacing

The biggest advantage of refacing over replacing your kitchen cabinets is cost savings. Refacing comes at a fraction of the price of ripping out your existing cabinets and installing all new boxes. On average, refacing costs anywhere from 30-50% less than full replacement. For example, for a 10x10 kitchen, new mid-range cabinets can cost $10,000 or more. Refacing those same cabinets may come in around $5,000 - $7,000, delivering huge savings. Along with affordability, refacing is much faster than full replacement. Installing brand new cabinets is labor intensive, involving removing old cabinets, reconfiguring the layout, installing new boxes, and more. Refacing simply replaces doors, draws, and hardware, leaving your existing cabinet box frames intact. This streamlined process can be completed in as little as a few days versus the several weeks a full remodel takes. Minimal demolition also means less disruption and dust in your home. Further, reusing existing cabinet boxes through refacing is an environmentally-friendly choice, generating significantly less landfill waste. And while replacing cabinets limits you to off-the-shelf options, refacing allows total customization with near endless combinations of door styles, finishes, and hardware. For budget-conscious homeowners seeking a convenient kitchen update with personalized style, refacing delivers on all fronts.

The Refacing Process Explained

The refacing process involves replacing old doors and drawer fronts, resurfacing cabinet boxes, and installing new hardware to transform the look of your existing cabinets. First, old doors and drawers are removed and taken away. Then, any surfaces of the cabinet boxes visible after installation are refinished by sanding, repairing defects, and applying fresh paint or laminate. New doors and drawers tailored to your selected style are installed along with upgraded hardware like knobs, pulls, and hinges in your choice of finish. The old interiors like shelves and dividers remain. You can certainly take on refacing as a DIY project, which cuts costs, but allows more room for error. Hiring professional kitchen cabinet refacers ensures an expert, flawless transformation, but comes at a higher price. Whether DIY or contracted, the process typically takes just a few days and does not require demolishing your existing cabinetry down to the studs like a full replacement remodel.

Material Options for Refacing

When refacing your kitchen, you'll choose new materials to cover the visible cabinet box surfaces. Popular options include wood veneers like oak or maple which offer a traditional, stylish look for a higher price point. Laminates come in hundreds of colors and patterns for great customization at lower cost but less durability. Thermofoil has a vinyl coating over wood and resists scratches well. Painting gives you total creative freedom to match any color scheme affordably. Prioritize your budget, desired aesthetics, and how much wear-and-tear the material can withstand in your family's kitchen when picking the right refacing materials to realize your unique vision.

Transforming Your Kitchen with Refacing

Refacing offers one of the most dramatic kitchen transformations possible without full demolition. Take a kitchen with old, dark wooden cabinets dating back to the 80s. While structurally sound, their dreary oak styling looks dated and absorbs light. Simply by refacing with new shaker-style maple doors, glossy white paint, and nickel pulls, the space becomes infused with breezy, contemporary charm. For a darker, more traditional overhaul, dated cherry veneer cabinets could be refaced in rich mocha laminate and topped with crown molding for a stylish, upscale look. Whether creating a bright, airy space or a cozy, classic kitchen, refacing provides an affordable route to achieve your dream aesthetic. With creative door styles and colors combined with modern or traditional hardware, you can give your kitchen an entirely fresh feeling that looks like a full makeover took place – all without the huge headache and cost of ripping out and replacing cabinet boxes.

Budget Tips for Affordable Refacing

Refacing kitchen cabinets delivers gorgeous transformations without replacing your existing boxes, making it inherently budget-friendly. You can further reduce costs with smart choices. Opt for painted or laminate doors over pricier wood veneers. Reuse your existing cabinet hardware like hinges and pulls for major savings. Compare bids from refacing contractors and don’t assume you need to work with the same company that originally installed your cabinets. Modular cabinet sizes like 12”, 18”, and 24” widths streamline the process and minimize trimming compared to custom-cut sizes. With some savvy decisions, you can make over your kitchen beautifully while sticking to your budget.


Whether you desire a budget-friendly update or seek to customize your kitchen without the mess and expense of full demolition, refacing is the savvy route to go. Refacing delivers stunning transformations at just a fraction of the price of brand new cabinets. With near-endless combinations of stylish door styles, materials, finishes, and hardware, you can tailor your space to match your unique taste. By simply replacing doors, drawer fronts, and hardware, it’s incredible how refacing can breathe new life into worn, dated kitchens. Don’t demolish – reface! For affordability, convenience, and customization, refacing offers the key ingredients for your dream kitchen makeover.