How to Restore Old Cabinets in 4 Easy Steps

Tired of looking at your old boring kitchen cabinets? Maybe you know that it’s time for a makeover. But it was just so expensive! You know what? You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get your old cabinets restored. There are cheaper and better ways. Wanna know about them? Keep reading, guys! 

Repair or Replace?

Of course, before you decide to restore your old kitchen cabinets, observe whether it needs to be replaced or repaired.

In some cases, if the damages are low, then you can get away with a small fix.

On the other hand, if the damages are severe, you need to think about buying new cabinets. In this situation, you have to use your own judgment.

Give a New Life to the Old Cabinet

restore old kitchen cabinets

Old cabinets can look lifeless, especially if you’ve had them for a long time. There are so many ways you can restore old cabinets without spending too much. Scroll down to get to know ‘how’!

Related article How to Restore Old Cabinets in 4 Easy Steps

Install a Pull-Out Cabinet Shelf

Set up a new pull-out cabinet shelf either by asking a carpenter to do it or by yourself. If you choose to DIY, building a pull-out cabinet shelf only requires basic woodworking skills. So you can do it with a little bit of help.

Put in Undercabinet Lighting

Under-Cabinet lightings are available in different sizes. For kitchens, warm white or bright white will look the best under your cabinets. To install this, you will need a power drill, drill bit set, and hammer.

Here is a video tutorial to set up under cabinet lighting. If you want something easier, use strip lights under the cabinets.

Place Plate or Glass Rack Below

Having a plate or glass rack below the cabinets can be a smart organizing strategy. Well, of course, you can keep them inside. But, a wine glass rack outside can give more space for storing other glasses inside the cabinets!

At first, measure the area where you want the rack to be. Count all the wine glasses you have so that they can all fit under the cabinet.

I’m recommending this below cabinet wine rack. Steel screws and a manual guide are available.

Add Storage with More Cabinets

Adding more storage to your existing cabinets can help you store more stuff. Now, it doesn’t have to be extra cabinets, but simple, organizing tools. Some of my favorites are basket organizer drawer, box organizer, food containers, and rack organizer.

Expose Open Shelves 

Are there any open shelves in your kitchen? Utilize them!

If you have enough space for storage already, use the open shelves for decorations. Decorate them with flowers, plants, mason jars, candles, and anything beautiful you can think of!

Here are some amazing ideas to stylize your open kitchen shelves.

Use Beautiful Wallpaper

Old cabinets may present small cracks and scratches that may be insignificant but weighs down the overall appearance of the kitchen. What you can do is get some beautiful wallpapers to cover the flaws!

The benefit of applying wallpapers is that you can use versatile designs. Match the contrast of your kitchen decor when you’re browsing for wallpapers.

Decide on a theme, but don’t rush. Some wallpapers are self-adhesive which is easier for you to work with. Or, you can hire an expert to install them as well.

Roll on with New Paint

The last resort to cover up marks and scratches on old cabinets is to paint them. It’s quite easy. All you need is some nice paint color, a brush, and a roll-on.

If you’re painting them, you may want to stick to plain solid colors. Make sure that the color matches the concept of your kitchen.

How to do the Painting

Have you set your mind to paint to restore old wooden cabinets? Don’t worry! I’ve prepared an easy guideline to help you with it.

Set up the Workplace

Remove all the utensils, pots, and pans from the kitchen before starting to paint. Cover the areas beneath the cabinets with newspaper to prevent spillage.

Remove Doors and Drawer 

The door and drawers of the cabinets must be painted separately. So, remove them from the mainframe, and keep them away.

Clean and Repair

Don’t rush into painting straight away. See if there are any areas that need mending. For example, cover up holes and cracks with putty. Also, fix loose screws.

Check out this tutorial on how to properly clean kitchen cabinets before painting them.

Sanding and Apply Primer

It’s always best to sand the area and apply some primer beforehand. The sanding and primer will ensure that the paint sits nicely and stays on longer.

Apply Color and Re-Coat

Open all the doors and windows for ventilation, then start applying the first coat of paint. Let the first coat sit for about 2 hours. Then, begin applying the second coat.

Don’t accidentally get in contact with raw paint on the cabinets. Fixing that will take more time and energy.

Reattached Everything

Let the paint sit on the cabinets, their doors, and drawers for a day. Put them back together the next day. And you have brand new cabinets!

Protect Kitchen Cabinets from Water

Now that you know all the old cabinet repair techniques, how can you make sure that your newly renovated cabinets won’t get damaged easily? Here are some tips!

Get Them Laminated

Water damage is costly to fix. It can make your freshly renovated cabinets look dull and old again. What you can do is to get the cabinets laminated!

Laminating the cabinets may cost you around $5000 to $8000. Purchasing laminated kitchen cabinets will cost you less though. Just about $4000.

On the other hand, you can paint the cabinets with laminate paint, which is more cost-friendly.

Use a Water-Proofing Varnish

Another great option is to use water-proofing varnish all over the cabinets. This will protect them from dampness and also molds.

Get Better Ventilation

Keep the doors and windows of your kitchen open during the day to allow ventilation. Your kitchen needs fresh air and sunlight to thrive.

Install Leak Sensor 

Have you considered getting a leak detection sensor to prevent your kitchen from flooding? These sensors monitor the flow of water in the kitchen either with ultrasonic wavelength or mechanical turbine. If your pipe is leaking, this sensor will pick up immediately and alert you before it’s too late.

Don’t Ignore Any Odor

Smell something funny in the kitchen even though all the dishes have been washed and the garbage bin is empty? The strange smell may come from damp walls or floors, and you shouldn’t ignore this sign

Investigate every corner of the kitchen to find out the source of the problem. You may end up discovering a leaky pipe or faulty appliance.

Fix the Leak ASAP

Don’t let a leaky faucet sit there for ages. Fix it as soon as possible before your walls, floors, and carpets are damaged. Worse off, you have to deal with molds, fungi, and other weird elements if you delay restoration.

Seal the Sink Area 

Afraid of sink water ruining your precious cabinets, floors, and walls? Use a high-quality to seal the sink area to prevent molds and scum from forming in the gaps.

This process will also prevent water from leaking onto your floor and reduce its longevity. Check out this video for a tutorial.


With my clever ideas and helpful tutorials, restoring your old cabinets should be a piece of cake by now! Moreover, there are so many things you can do to the cabinets to bring them back to life. You can paint, spray paint, and put wallpaper (self-adhesive and non-self-adhesive). Change the arrangement around the cabinets, add some plants here, and some flowers there. The possibilities are endless!

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