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Modern Makeover for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Modern Makeover for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Modernizing existing kitchen cabinets can seem daunting, especially considering the cost and time involved in a full renovation. However, if you want to make your kitchen cabinets look more modern without breaking the bank, cabinet refacing might be the perfect solution. This process can transform your kitchen cabinets, giving them a fresh, modern look while saving you time and money. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore how cabinet refacing works, choosing the perfect modern kitchen cabinets, the benefits of modernizing your cabinets, and why this approach is a smart choice for your kitchen makeover.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing involves updating the exterior of your existing cabinets without replacing the entire unit. This process includes:

  • Replacing Cabinet Doors and Drawer Fronts: The most visible part of your cabinets gets a complete makeover with new doors and drawer fronts. This step is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire kitchen’s aesthetic. Whether you choose sleek, slab cabinet doors for a contemporary look or go with classic shaker-style cabinet doors, this update will instantly make your existing cabinets look more modern. By selecting high-quality materials and finishes, you ensure durability and a premium appearance.
  • Matching Cabinet Boxes to the New Doors and Drawers: To create a seamless and cohesive look, the existing cabinet boxes are updated to match the new doors and drawers. This often involves going to your local paint store to color-match a cabinet sample for paint or applying a new veneer or laminate to the exposed parts of the cabinet boxes. The veneer is carefully selected to complement the new fronts, ensuring that the color and texture are consistent throughout. This step is essential for achieving a polished, professional look that makes the entire kitchen feel brand new. Follow our guide for How to Color Match New Cabinet Doors to Existing Cabinets.
  • Hardware Update: Replacing old handles, knobs, and hinges with modern, stylish options is a small change that has a big impact. Modern hardware not only enhances the overall aesthetic but also improves functionality. Soft-close hinges, for example, can add a touch of luxury and convenience. Choose hardware that complements the style of your new doors and drawers—whether that means sleek, minimalist handles for a contemporary kitchen or ornate knobs for a more traditional space.

By refacing, you keep the existing cabinet structure, which reduces waste and preserves the overall layout of your kitchen while making the overall appearance of your cabinets look more modern.

Door Styles To Make Cabinets Look Modern

modern kitchen cabinets

With proper materials, cabinet refacing can make your existing cabinets not only look more modern, but brand new. To achieve a modern look, consider these tips:

Choose Sleek, Minimalist Designs

cabinet styles to modernize cabinets

Opting for flat-panel doors and drawers with clean lines is a hallmark of modern kitchen design. Here are some specific styles to consider:

  • Shaker Style:
    • The Shaker style features simple, clean lines and a timeless look that will never go out of style.
  • Modern Shaker Slim:
    • For a sleek shaker look with slim rails and stiles, the Modern Shaker Slim is a great choice. It combines the classic shaker style with a modern twist, perfect for contemporary kitchens.
  • Slab Doors:
    • Slab doors are flat and smooth, providing a sleek, minimalist appearance. This style is perfect for a contemporary kitchen with a streamlined look.
  • Turino Modern Thermofoil Doors:
    • The Modern Turino cabinet door style is available in popular finishes like cream, sage cream, or dolce vita for a wood grain look, these doors offer durability and a high-end appearance.

Select Modern Hardware

cabinet hardware to make cabinets look more modern

Updating the hardware can instantly modernize your cabinets. Consider the following options:

  • Brushed Nickel or Gold:
    • Brushed nickel or gold handles and knobs add a sophisticated touch without being overly flashy.
  • Matte Black:
    • Matte black hardware is sleek and modern, providing a striking contrast against lighter-colored cabinets.
  • Stainless Steel:
    • Stainless steel handles and knobs are classic and versatile, fitting well with most modern kitchen designs.

Go for Soft Colors or Natural Wood Finishes

cream modern kitchen cabinets

Modern kitchens often feature soft color choices or sleek, natural wood tones. Here are some ideas:

  • Soft Colors:

Soft colors can create a calming and inviting atmosphere in your kitchen. They offer a subtle elegance and timeless appeal that works well with modern designs. 

  • Neutral Tones:
    • Shades like beige, taupe, and light gray provide a sophisticated and versatile backdrop for a modern kitchen. These colors pair well with both contemporary and traditional styles. Great options for neutral soft colors to make your cabinets look more modern are CabinetNow's Cool Grey Suedette or Morning Dew SuperMatte for a creamy beige color. Explore all color options on our material page.
  • Soft Whites and Creams:
    • Opt for soft whites or creamy tones like CabinetNow's Cream shade to create a clean, airy feel. These colors reflect light well, making the kitchen appear larger and more open. 
  • Pastel Shades:
    • Light blues, soft greens, and gentle pinks can add a touch of color without overwhelming the space. These hues work well in combination with white or neutral tones. Opt for CabinetNow's Sage Green SuperMatte for a perfect pastel shade that blends soft neutral with a subtle pop of color. 
  • Natural Wood Finishes

Natural wood finishes bring warmth, texture, and a sense of nature into your kitchen. They are perfect for creating a modern yet cozy atmosphere.

  • Walnut:
    • Walnut has a rich, dark finish that adds depth and luxury to your kitchen. Its smooth grain and warm tones make it an excellent choice for a modern aesthetic.
  • Maple:
    • Maple offers a lighter, more neutral wood tone with a smooth grain. It is versatile and pairs well with various color schemes and styles.
  • Oak:
    • Oak’s distinctive grain and range of finishes—from light to medium tones—make it a popular choice. It adds a classic, natural look that complements modern designs. White Oak is a popular choice among interior designers to make kitchen cabinets look more modern. 
  • Make a Statement

navy blue modern kitchen cabinets

To make a bold and stylish statement, consider incorporating deeper, more vibrant colors into your kitchen design. These colors can add a dramatic flair and create focal points in the space.

  • Deep Blues:
    • Navy or cobalt blue cabinets can bring a sophisticated, modern look to your kitchen. These colors work particularly well with metallic hardware and light countertops.
  • Rich Greens:
    • Dark green hues, such as forest or emerald green, can add a touch of luxury and elegance. These colors pair beautifully with natural wood finishes and gold or brass hardware.

Two-Toned Cabinets

two-tone modern kitchen cabinets

Two-toned cabinets are a modern trend that adds visual interest and depth to your kitchen. By mixing different colors or finishes, you can create a dynamic and stylish space.

  • Cream and Natural Wood:
    • Combining cream cabinets with natural wood elements adds warmth and a modern touch. The natural wood breaks up the monotony of the gray and introduces a natural element into the design. CabinetNow’s valued customer, Kata, designed a modern kitchen using Turino’s slab cabinet door and drawer fronts in Cream and Dolce Vita.
  • Navy Blue and White:
    • Pairing navy blue lower cabinets with white upper cabinets creates a chic and contemporary look. The contrast highlights the different areas of the kitchen, making it more visually engaging.
  • Bold Color and Neutral:
    • Pairing a bold color, such as deep green or vibrant red, with a neutral shade like white or gray can make the bold color pop without overwhelming the space. This approach allows you to experiment with color while maintaining balance in the kitchen design.

By incorporating soft colors, natural wood finishes, and bold statement pieces, you can create a modern kitchen that is both stylish and functional. These choices allow for personalization while ensuring your kitchen remains contemporary and inviting.

Incorporate Glass Inserts

glass modern kitchen cabinets

Glass-front doors can add a touch of elegance and modernity to your cabinets. Here are some ways to use them: 

  • Clear Glass Inserts:
  • Clear glass inserts can open up your kitchen and showcase your dishware, adding a sophisticated element to the design.

  • Specialty Lite Cabinet Doors:
  • Frosted Glass Cabinet Doors:
    • Frosted glass provides a modern look while offering some privacy for the contents of your cabinets. Please note CabinetNow does not provide the glass.
  • Textured Glass:
    • Textured glass inserts can add interest and a contemporary feel to your cabinet doors.

By incorporating these elements into your cabinet refacing project, you can achieve a modern, updated kitchen that feels brand new. Whether you prefer softer colors, sleek finishes, or a combination of both, these tips will help you create a contemporary kitchen that fits your style.

Why Choose Cabinet Refacing?

Refacing your cabinets is an effective way to modernize your kitchen cabinets for several reasons:


  • Significantly Cheaper Than a Full Cabinet Replacement:
    • Forbes says you can save roughly up to 50% by refacing cabinets instead of a complete replacement. Cabinet refacing costs anywhere between $1,350 and $12,500 depending on size of kitchen, material, and finish you choose for new cabinet doors and drawer fronts. You save on materials since you’re only replacing the exterior parts.
  • Saves on Materials and Labor:
    • By reusing the existing cabinet boxes, you reduce the need for new wood or composite materials. Labor costs are also lower as the project is less labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Less Disruptive

  • Can Be Completed in Just a Few Days:
    • The entire refacing process typically takes 3-5 days, compared to weeks or months for a full remodel.
  • Hiring a Professional:
    • Ensures the job is done efficiently and correctly, reducing the risk of mistakes that could extend the timeline.
  • Minimizing Disruption:
    • Since the kitchen remains largely intact, you can continue to use it during the refacing process. This means less inconvenience for your daily routines.

Environmentally Friendly

eco-friendly refacing

  • Reduces Waste by Reusing Existing Cabinet Framework:
    • By keeping the cabinet boxes, you prevent them from ending up in landfills. This significantly reduces the amount of waste generated.
  • Uses Sustainable Materials:
    • Many refacing materials, such as veneers and laminates, are made from sustainable resources. This further reduces the environmental impact compared to full replacements that require new wood.

Read all about CabinetNow’s eco-friendly practices.

Customization and Versatility

  • Wide Range of Styles, Colors, and Finishes:
    • You can choose from a vast array of options to match your desired aesthetic, from modern high-gloss finishes like the Anaheim in White High Gloss to classic wood grains like the Shaker in White Oak.
  • Tailor the Look to Your Personal Taste:
    • Whether you prefer contemporary designs with sleek, flat-panel doors or traditional styles with raised panel cabinet doors, refacing offers the flexibility to achieve your vision however that looks to modernize your cabinets.

Preserves Existing Layout

  • Keeps the Current Kitchen Layout Intact:
    • If you’re happy with your kitchen’s current layout and functionality, refacing allows you to keep it while still achieving a fresh, updated look.
  • Avoids the Need for Redesign or Reconfiguration:
    • There’s no need to alter plumbing, electrical, or structural components, which can be costly and time-consuming.

Quick and Efficient Process

  • Professional Installers Can Complete the Job Quickly:
    • Skilled professionals streamline the process, ensuring each step is completed swiftly and accurately.
  • Less Labor-Intensive:
    • The project involves fewer tradespeople and less coordination compared to a full remodel, reducing complexity and potential delays.
  • Having an Extra Hand:
    • Ensures precise installation and proper alignment of new doors, drawers, and hardware. This helps in achieving a high-quality finish that DIY projects may lack.

Minimal Construction Mess

  • Generates Less Mess and Dust Compared to a Complete Replacement:
    • Since there’s no demolition involved, the process is much cleaner. Dust and debris are minimized, making post-project cleanup easier.
  • No Need for Demolition or Extensive Construction Work:
    • The existing structure remains intact, avoiding the need for tearing down old cabinets and disposing of large amounts of waste.
  • Professional Installers Ensure Minimal Disruption and Thorough Cleanup:
    • They take care to protect your kitchen and home during the process, cleaning up thoroughly after the job is done, so your kitchen is ready to use immediately.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cabinet Refacing

  1. Planning and Measuring: Start by measuring your cabinets and deciding on the new style and color.
  2. Removing Old Doors and Hardware: Carefully remove the old cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware.
  3. Preparing the Surface: Clean and sand the cabinet boxes to ensure a smooth surface for the new veneer.
  4. Painting the Cabinet Boxes or Applying the Veneer: Cut and apply the veneer to the cabinet boxes, ensuring a seamless finish.
  5. Installing New Doors and Drawers: Attach the new doors and drawer fronts, making sure they are aligned properly.
  6. Updating the Hardware: Install the new handles, knobs, and hinges to complete the look.

Benefits of Modernizing Your Cabinets

Increase Property Value

Strategic renovations, like cabinet refacing, can significantly enhance your property’s value. This improvement not only makes your home more attractive to buyers but also:

  • Assists in Selling: A modern kitchen can be a major selling point, helping your property stand out in the market.
  • Leverage Equity: Improved property value can increase your home’s equity, providing financial flexibility.

Money-Saving Upgrades

Refacing your cabinets is a budget-friendly way to give your kitchen a fresh look. By focusing on the most visible parts of your cabinets, you can:

  • Maximize Your Remodel Budget: Save money on materials and labor compared to a full cabinet replacement.
  • Achieve a High-End Look for Less: Get the look of custom cabinetry without the high price tag.

Tips for a Successful Cabinet Refacing Project for Modernizing Your Cabinets

modern two tone kitchen cabinets

To ensure your cabinet refacing project is successful and achieves a modern look, keep these tips in mind:

Hire a Professional

  • Ensure a High-Quality Finish:
    • Professionals bring expertise and precision, ensuring your refacing project results in a flawless, high-quality finish. Their experience with modern styles can help you achieve the sleek, updated look you desire. Check out Task Rabbit to find a local handyman near you. 
  • Save Time:
    • A professional can complete the job quickly and efficiently, reducing the downtime for your kitchen. They can handle unexpected issues and ensure the project stays on schedule.
  • Access to Specialized Tools:
    • Professionals use specialized tools and techniques, which are often not available to DIY enthusiasts. This ensures precise installation and a polished final result.

Choose Quality Materials

  • Invest in High-Quality Veneer:
  • Opt for Durable Hardware:
    • Select high-quality handles, knobs, and hinges. Modern hardware such as brushed nickel, matte black, or stainless steel not only enhances the look but also withstands daily use.
  • Select Matching Finishes:
    • Ensure that the finishes of your veneer and hardware complement each other and fit the overall modern style of your kitchen. Consistency in finishes can elevate the look of your cabinets.

Plan Your Design

  • Consider Modern Aesthetics and Functionality:
    • Take the time to plan your new cabinet design with a modern aesthetic in mind. Consider clean lines, minimalistic designs, and functional features like soft-close hinges and pull-out shelves.
  • Visualize the End Result:
    • Use design software or consult with a professional designer to visualize your modern kitchen. This can help you make informed decisions about colors, styles, and layouts.
  • Take Accurate Measurements:
    • Accurate measurements are crucial for ensuring that new doors, drawer fronts, and veneers fit perfectly. Double-check all measurements before ordering materials to avoid costly mistakes.

Stay Consistent

  • Match the New Cabinet Style with Your Kitchen Design:
    • Ensure that the style of your new cabinets matches the overall modern design of your kitchen. Consistency in design elements creates a cohesive look and enhances the visual appeal of the space.
  • Harmonize Colors and Textures:
    • Choose colors and textures that complement the rest of your kitchen. For a modern look, consider sleek wood finishes, soft colors, or two-toned cabinets.
  • Coordinate with Existing Elements:
    • Consider the existing elements in your kitchen, such as countertops, backsplash, and flooring. Make sure your new cabinet design coordinates well with these elements to create a unified look.

DIY Refacing

diy refacing

  • Assess Your Skills and Tools:
    • If you decide to tackle the project yourself, ensure you have the necessary skills and tools. DIY refacing can be rewarding but requires precision and patience, especially for a modern look.
  • Follow Detailed Instructions:
    • Research and follow detailed instructions or tutorials. Many online resources and videos can guide you through the process step-by-step, specifically for modern designs.
  • Take Your Time:
    • Rushing the project can lead to mistakes. Allocate ample time to complete each step carefully to ensure a professional-looking, modern finish.
  • Consider a Trial Run:
    • Practice on a small area or a single cabinet door first. This will help you get a feel for the process and make any necessary adjustments before tackling the entire kitchen.

Additional Tips

  • Budget Wisely:
    • Set a realistic budget for your refacing project. Include costs for materials, labor (if hiring professionals), and any additional features or upgrades you plan to incorporate.
  • Prepare Your Kitchen:
    • Clear out your cabinets and protect your kitchen surfaces before the refacing project begins. This will make the process smoother and protect your belongings and countertops from dust and debris.
  • Communicate with Your Installer:
    • If you’re working with a professional, maintain clear communication throughout the project. Discuss your expectations, timeline, and any concerns you may have. Good communication helps ensure that the project meets your needs and stays on track.
  • Review Samples:
    • Before making final decisions, review samples of veneers, finishes, and hardware. Seeing and feeling the materials in person can help you make more confident choices.
  • Plan for Contingencies:
    • Be prepared for unexpected issues or delays. Having a contingency plan and budget can help you manage any surprises without undue stress.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your cabinet refacing project successfully modernizes your kitchen, resulting in a beautiful, contemporary space that meets your needs and enhances the value of your home.


Cabinet refacing is a smart, cost-effective way to modernize your kitchen cabinets. By updating the doors, drawer fronts, and hardware, you can achieve a sleek, modern look without the expense and hassle of a full renovation. Whether you’re looking to boost rental income, save money on upgrades, increase property value, or improve tenant satisfaction, cabinet refacing offers numerous benefits. Consider this approach for your next kitchen makeover and enjoy a stylish, updated space in no time.


How Long Does Cabinet Refacing Take?

The cabinet refacing process typically takes 1-2 days to complete, depending on the size of your kitchen and the complexity of the project.

Is Cabinet Refacing Durable?

Yes, when done correctly with high-quality materials, cabinet refacing is durable and can last for many years.

Can I Change the Layout of My Cabinets with Refacing?

Cabinet refacing does not involve changing the layout of your cabinets. If you want to change the layout, you’ll need to consider a full cabinet replacement or additional modifications.

How Much Does Cabinet Refacing Cost?

The cost of cabinet refacing can vary depending on the materials used and the size of your kitchen. On average, it costs about half as much as a full cabinet replacement.

Can I Reface the Cabinets Myself?

Yes, while it’s possible to reface cabinets yourself, it’s recommended to hire a professional to ensure a high-quality finish and to avoid potential mistakes.

By following this guide and considering cabinet refacing for your kitchen makeover, you can enjoy a modern, stylish kitchen that meets your needs and enhances the value of your property. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to update your space or a property manager aiming to increase rental income, cabinet refacing is a practical and effective solution.

Where Do I Get a Free Quote?

Fill out CabinetNow’s Free Quote for Refacing Cabinet Doors to get connected with a representative for a free quote and design consultation. We are happy to help you through your entire cabinetry journey!