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How To Make Old Wood Cabinets Look New Again


There’s nothing quite like reusing, recycling and repurposing. With many of us working hard to reduce the amount of plastic we use or making sure we compost our kitchen scraps, it seems a shame that perfectly good wooden furniture such as wood kitchen cabinets are being thrown into landfill.

and replaced with wood effect cabinets that have nothing like the longevity of the originals. A huge part of the problem is that people don’t know how to make their wood cabinets look like new again and so they prefer to start from scratch.

Our aim is to show you the best way to revive those old cabinets, and save the environment while you simultaneously save some cash. Let’s begin!

Old Cabinets: Waste Not, Want Not

The average brand new kitchen can cost upwards of £3,000 for the units and fitting and if you need new tiling and appliances, the job can easily reach as much as £10,000.

However if you are thinking about changing your kitchen, try taking a close look at your existing cabinets. Is there a chance you could save them? There are a number of ways that your old kitchen cabinets can be improved and you may find that your kitchen looks brand new and you can use that 10k on a holiday!

You may think that it is a simple task to remove your old kitchen cabinets and throw them in the skip. In fact, household DIY waste is one of the largest areas of concern for councils that have to deal with the waste in some way.

Many have brought in charges for disposal of these items and this has led to an increase in fly-tipping – especially by unscrupulous skip hire firms. Councils expect householders to dispose of their waste correctly, so you could be fined if your waste is fly-tipped.

Overall, keeping those old cabinets might be the best solution.

how to make old wood cabinets look new

Repurposing Old Cabinets: A Smart And Sustainable Solution

You may think that changing your kitchen cabinets is not going to cause too many issues when it comes to your carbon footprint, but actually it goes much further than just the disposal.

When you decide to replace your kitchen cabinets, you will need to replace them with another type of cabinet. This could be a wood veneer, a gloss veneer, a composite material, particle board or MDF. You may even decide to replace your current wood cabinets with brand new solid wood cabinets.

As you can imagine, each of these products has a carbon footprint of their own. Often the wood used has been imported, the doors and cabinets have been transported from overseas and the items have been stored in DIY shops and warehouses.

Then there is the carbon cost of getting them from the store to you. This doesn’t even take into account the manufacture of the cabinets and doors, and the processes the surfaces go through to make them suitable for purpose.

As you can see, replacing your kitchen may not be the best idea. But improving the way your current kitchen looks is a great way to make the most of your cash and help the environment. So what are your options for your current cabinets?

Repurposing Old Cabinets: Simple Clean = New Lease Of Life

Your wooden cabinets may simply have many years of grime and kitchen deposits on them. The kitchen is the worst place for dirt as the moist atmosphere means that dust doesn’t just settle, it sticks.

This dirt can become ingrained into wooden surfaces, making them look filthy and disguising the beauty of the wood.

It will take some elbow grease but you can easily clean your wooden cabinets with simple degreasing soap and a soft cloth. Try not to overwet the area as you may find the water will leave damp marks on the wooden surface.

But wiping several times with a damp cloth will remove deposits and your cabinets will come up looking like new.

how to make old wood cabinets look new

Repurposing Old Cabinets: Additional Tricks Of The Trade

Top Trick No.1: Apply A Fresh Lick Of Paint

Sometimes cleaning isn’t quite enough. Wooden cabinets that are looking past their best can be easily spruced up by adding a good kitchen-friendly waterproof paint to the surface.

A wipeable paint is best as it will make the doors easier to clean. It is important to apply the paint to a clean surface that has been sanded down to remove any old loose paint or varnish. Take care with any grooves or detail on the doors that might require a smaller brush.

Top Trick No.2: Add New Handles

If your kitchen cabinets are harking back to the 70’s or 80’s, you might find that the handles are showing their age. In fact, the handles are the one part of the kitchen cabinet door that gets the most use, therefore they start to look tatty long before any other part of the kitchen.

They are simple to replace and can easily update the kitchen doors without a huge expense or effort.

Top Trick No.3: Install New Hinges

While you are improving the look of your kitchen doors and cabinets, you should pay attention to the mechanisms. Old hinges can easily become loose leading to sagging doors and an uneven finish.

New hinges can offer soft closing mechanisms and anti-slam functions that will ensure your new upgraded doors last longer. Your kitchen will also have an overall more modern feel.

how to make old wood cabinets look new

Top Trick No.3: Update The Existing Interior

While the exterior of the cabinet is the part you see the most, the interior will quickly give the game away if you are trying to modernise your kitchen. You can update the interior in a number of ways, assuming the wooden structure is still sound.

You can add new shelves in wood or glass to replace any that are broken, missing or stained. If your old shelves are plain wood and not laminated, you can paint them in a new fresh wipe-able paint or you can use a specialist lining film to give them a modern update.

These films can be used on the back of the cabinet interior or on the shelves and you can choose from a number of colours and even patterns to get a funky look that will complement your overall design style.

Top Trick No.5: Rearrange The Cabinets

You may want to change the layout of your kitchen, without having to buy new cabinets. You can simply remove them from the wall and place them in a different configuration to achieve a new look.

This can be part of an overall update of the kitchen that includes a new worktop, new sink and new appliances. However, the most expensive part of the project can be reused, and you will feel great that you saved perfectly good cabinets from landfill.

Top Trick No.6: Accessorise The Rest Of Your Kitchen

By adding new and interesting features to your old kitchen you can improve the way the original looks. This can include replacing one cabinet with a plate rack or open shelving for books or display of attractive crockery.

You can add pelmets or kickboards that update the look or cause it to have a more built-in feel. Under cabinet lighting can add an ambience to the kitchen that highlights the cabinets and finally, simple new pots, pans and kitchen gadgets can really update the space, and bring it together in one colour theme.

You don’t need to replace your entire kitchen at huge expense as soon as your kitchen cabinets start to look a little old and worn. With a bit of hard work, some good use of paint and accessories, you can update your current kitchen ad save yourself thousands pounds.

But not only are you saving your pocket, you are also saving the planet. Those wooden cabinets are too good to throw out and really can be renewed to make your kitchen look like new.

Need further advice on how to enhance the interior of your home, without compromising your carbon footprint? Talk to our expert team today, by calling 0800 1700 636, or by simply clicking the button below!

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