Updating kitchen cabinets doesn’t mean hiring a professional and spending thousands. Instead, with a few online purchases, tools you already have, and a few minutes time you’ll be able to make lasting updates.
March 14, 2020 – For those just starting to pull back and start “social distancing” with COVID-19 I wanted to share some of my best DIY tips to help you keep occupied. And as a professional cabinetmaker I’ve done most of these upgrades myself. Since updating kitchen cabinets can range from simply updating knobs all the way to tackling drawer slide replacement we’ll review a number of updates that fit your budget and skill.
Best of all: supplies can be delivered to you.
Updating Your Kitchen Cabinets Without Leaving Home
1. Install Soft Close Cabinet Door Dampers
Skill: Novice Cost: Under $5 per door
This is an upgrade I made to my cherry kitchen almost a decade ago. And the Blum Dampers have lasted incredibly well with just a few updates.
With just a few dollars a door, a cordless drill and not much time you can upgrade any concealed hinge door to soft close.
2. Install Under Cabinet LED Lighting
Skill: Novice to Intermediate Cost: Under $20-200+
Installing under cabinet lighting doesn’t mean running wires. Due to the lower power demands of LED lights you can quickly add lights.
And with this six set of remote control powered lights you can install these in minutes.
- Adjustable brightness (50%, 100%)
- Optional auto off timer
- 100 hour battery run time
- Tap the lens for on/off or use remote control
3. Install Soft Close Drawer Adapter
Skill: Novice to Intermediate Cost: $5-10 per drawer
If your kitchen is one of the millions with epoxy bottom mount slides then this is a quick and painless upgrade. Instead of replacing your drawer slides to add soft close this adapter attaches to the existing slide and provides the same function.
Let’s face it: almost all new kitchens have soft close drawers and using them makes old-fashioned kitchens seem dated.
But with 5 minutes per drawer (once you get started) you can upgrade your existing slides. Use our guide to soft close adapters for installation tricks.
How do I know if I have a compatible slide? Open your drawer and look at the bottom edge. Do you see a white/gray/tan slide edge? If you see that, remove the drawer and if you have a large wheel on the slide attached to the cabinet you are good to go. But if not check out the guide to the best soft close drawer slides.
4. Add or Replace Cabinet Knob Hardware
Skill: Novice to Intermediate Cost: $2-10 per door/drawer
If you don’t have cabinet knobs then this is an immediate visual upgrade. And with online sources like Amazon having a vast selection there’s no reason to leave home.
This upgrade will take only a few minutes per door or drawer, especially if you use a cabinet hardware jig.
5. Add a Sink Tip Out Tray
Skill: Intermediate Cost: $20-50
Want to gain more storage behind your sink drawer fronts? Well with the combination of a pair of sink tip out trays and soft close pivot hinges you can upgrade in 20-30 minutes.
Like other projects in this article, this space gaining upgrade is an update most DIY’ers can tackle.
But, to help make sure you can move ahead here’s a few things to consider:
- Look under the sink and make sure you have 2-3″ of room behind the cabinet frame.
- Validate you can remove the drawer fronts without damaging them. Most come of with 2-4 screws and short handled Phillips screwdriver might be required.
- This update works best for face frame cabinets, so check your construction.
- You’ll need a pair of soft close pivot hinges per drawer front.