Affordable Kitchen Remodel Using Existing Cabinets

Partnership with Fast Cabinet Doors

If you follow me on Instagram, you know the lengths we’ve gone through to build our kitchen. Pretty severe lengths, like completely removing the old kitchen, only to install a new one in an entirely different room. You can see the progression from the dining room to our kitchen below.

We’ve needed to be careful with our budget since we have more projects in the future. Saving money by doing about 90% of the work ourselves certainly helps. Never in my life did I imagine I’d be installing my own kitchen, but I did. But probably the wisest decision we made for our new kitchen was buying new cabinet and drawer fronts from Fast Cabinet Doors, saving us thousands of dollars. Fast Cabinet Doors makes it easy to modernize your kitchen design for a fraction of the cost. If your kitchen has good bones but needs some help, you’ve got to investigate this. Keep reading to see how we upgraded our stock cabinets into a modern, shaker style kitchen.


First Step to DIY an Affordable Kitchen Remodel

First thing you need to do is figure out how many doors and drawers you need, along with their measurements. Most of my cabinetry already had doors and drawer fronts, so I just used those measurements. However, I had built a custom cabinet that didn’t have doors, so I needed to measure my cabinet opening instead, and then add 1/2 inch on all sides.

Why did I add 1/2 of an inch? Because there are three types of cabinet doors – ½ inch overlay, inset, and full overlay. Most of all kitchen cabinet doors and drawers are ½ inch overlay, which means the entire door is ½ inch larger than the opening of the cabinet.

My cabinets were purchased from Home Depot. They’re what’s called “stock cabinets” because they’re always in stock. They’re sturdy but basic. So, I measured corner to corner horizontally, which was 16 inches. Then, I measured vertically from corner to corner, which was 22 inches. I needed 16 ½ in x 22 ½ in the final door size.

It’s as simple as that. I ordered 27 doors and 9 drawer fronts.

What Will I Receive in My Fast Cabinet Doors Order?

Delivery day was exciting. Like Christmas for weirdo DYIers. I chose Unfinished, Paint Grade, Shaker Style cabinet doors. The doors came pre-bored which means Fast Cabinet Doors cut a hole into the door for the inset soft-close hinges, which were also sent to me. They’re a one-stop-shop!

What Color Should I Paint my Kitchen Cabinets?

My go to cabinetry color is usually Accessible Beige by Sherwin Williams. It’s the perfect in-between of white and beige. Since I like the way two-toned kitchens look, I also created a custom color for the island. Here are the details you can take to Sherwin Williams and they can create the exact color match for you.

I painted the stock cabinets a few months ago to test my color choices, and I was sold.

Fast Cabinet Doors offers paint color options if you don’t want to paint them yourself. If a painted kitchen isn’t your thing, they also build doors and drawer fronts out of thirty-five different species of wood, and there are hundreds of door styles to choose from.

What’s the Easiest Way To Paint Kitchen Cabinet Doors?

After my DIY Christmas morning, the next step was paint prep, and here’s where it’s your lucky day. I’ve perfected my method for painting cabinet doors. I’ve done it so many times, and each time I tweak things here and there. But this time, I think I’ve found THE BEST WAY to paint cabinet doors.

The first thing I did was identity and match up my new doors and drawer fronts to the correct location. Set them out in a way that won’t be confusing to you, making sure they’re facing the correct way. Your goal is to figure out the top and bottom of each piece.

Then I drilled holed into the doors.

To hide the holes, I figured out the top and bottom of each drawer and cabinet front. For the lower cabinets, I drilled holes on the bottom, and for the upper cabinets, I drilled holes on the tops.

Then I twisted hooks into the holes. The holes were lined up so the hooks would hang evenly on the hanger.

What’s the Best Way to Paint Cabinet Doors?

If you’re painting your kitchen, I urge you to invest in a paint sprayer. This is my favorite. First, I found an open space to spray my cabinetry. I purchased a spray tent from Amazon, which was easy to set up and prevented overspray. Stuart built a stand out of scrap wood and a pallet we had in the garage. If you don’t want to build a stand, I’ve hung my doors off a sturdy rod in between two ladders to spray them. Just make sure whatever you use can remain stationary.

The doors hang on a screw at the top of the stand, which allows me to spray both sides, and I don’t have to wait for the sides to dry before I can continue painting.

Here’s my process for getting a smooth, professional finish: Primer first, always. If you skip primer, you’ll regret it, always.

Then, I test out my sprayer on some cardboard or scrap wood to make sure the paint is flowing nicely, and the settings are correct. I always start and stop spraying off the door, especially when I’m changing directions. You must keep the sprayer moving, and don’t ever start or stop while you’re on the wood or you’re more likely to get splatters and drips. I do a quick coat on all the edges first, then come at the top at an angle to make sure I get under the lip. Then I work my way down, side to side. Last, I turn my hanger around, and do a coat on the other side.

After everything was primed, I hung them up on a rod in the garage and let them dry overnight.

The next day, before spraying the color, I used a 180 grit sanding sponge to very lightly sand the primer. Primer sometimes leaves a texture, and a light sanding removes all the little bumps and imperfections. I have an air compressor that blew the dust off, but otherwise I would use a tack cloth to make sure the wood is clean. Then I used the same spray method as before and hung them to dry overnight.

The morning after, I checked the doors, and not all were perfect. A few had just a bit of dripping or imperfections here and there.

I lightly sanded the imperfections, just till the wood was smooth, but not enough to take all the paint off.

Then, I blew off the dust, and sprayed a super light coat over the areas I sanded. Then they were perfect! Look at that finish I got from just one coat of paint!

Is a Foam Roller Just As Good As A Paint Sprayer?

So, I’m not going to lie and tell you that using a foam roller to apply paint is just as good as using a paint sprayer. A paint sprayer will give you a more professional finish. BUT, if a paint sprayer isn’t an option, then use these foam rollers and frame, thin out the paint with Floetrol, and apply VERY light coats, sanding in between each coat.

Consider this paint sprayer by Graco. It’s easy to use, and one of the more affordable sprayers. If I were to calculate exactly how much time I spent spraying the wood, sanding between coats, and cleaning the paint sprayer, I would say it was no more than 3 hours. This doesn’t include drying time, but I was sleeping then anyways. Check out my video on how to clean a paint sprayer. It’s easier than you think.

Do I Need To Apply A Top Coat To The Kitchen Doors?

I didn’t apply a top coat because the paint I used was Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Enamel. It dries hard, and can easily be cleaned with a rag. Just don’t use a magic eraser because that will remove the sheen.

How Do You Attach The Cabinet Doors?

Attaching the doors is straightforward, but may be easier with help from someone else, however I was able to do it myself without much trouble since I had my trusty foot.

I installed all the doors first using the screws and hinges that were included. The soft close hinges fit snugly into the bored hole, and then the hinges were screwed into the cabinetry.

How Do You Attach The Drawer Fronts?

After the doors were attached, I lined the edge of the drawer fronts up with the edge of a door below and used a level to make it sure it was perfectly straight. Then I used two brad nails to secure the front into the actual drawer. These are just to keep the front temporarily secure until I could screw it into place. I tried to place the nails where I knew the hardware would hide the holes since I didn’t want to fill any holes with wood filler.

Then, from the back of the drawer, I screwed in two screws on each side of the thickest part of the drawer front. For example, shaker doors have a wood frame around the entire door, so the thickest part of the door is around the edges. I made sure the screws were situated where they wouldn’t poke through. After the screws were in, I pulled the nails out through the back side of the drawer since they weren’t needed anymore.

The last thing to do was attach the hardware, which is another straightforward task. For the drawers, I just inserted the screws into the preexisting holes.

You can see where the nail hole is not hidden by the hardware. I’ll probably touch that up with a bit of paint.

I’ve seen all the fancy hardware installation tools, but I just used a tape ruler, a pencil, and my eyeballs. Also, these were just knobs, so I didn’t need to worry about anything needing to be straight.

The Big Reveal!

The cabinets were about $1000 from Home Depot, and the custom shaker style doors and fronts were only (need this amount for final post). New doors from Fast Cabinet Doors were an easy and inexpensive way to achieve a beautiful upgrade to our existing cabinetry. If your cabinets are in good shape, and you’re okay with the layout, seriously consider just refacing them. Honestly, everyone will think they’re brand new!

If you’re a visual learner, all of my stories for my projects can be found in my highlights on my Instagram account @crystelmontenegrohome.

Please leave a comment and let me know if you’ve ever attempted to re-face your kitchen cabinets. I’d love to hear what worked for you, and what you wish you’d have known.

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  1. Stacey says:

    I love, love your kitchen! Would you happen to have a more detailed video/post about your cabinet upper cubbies that you built? I have 12 ft space above my cabinets that I want to fill in but thought it was too small to add open shelving and do crown but you’ve done it and with the flat molding that I wanted to do which looks awesome and not scrunched up like I thought it would at all.

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