9 Affordable Ways to Update Your Kitchen with Eco-Friendly Cabinets

Affordable Ways to Update Your Kitchen with Eco-Friendly Cabinets_blog

I’m starting to think about updating or replacing my kitchen cabinets, and wanted to share with you the options I’m considering.

It’s a pretty big undertaking. Updating kitchen cabinets can be expensive, which is why most homeowners wait until their existing kitchen is falling apart before they invest in a new one.  I hate the thought of tearing out all my old cupboards and dumping them in a landfill, especially since they can still be used. I also worry about buying new cabinets, because so many of them are glued together with formaldehyde or some other toxic chemical that could pollute your indoor air.

Superior Stone and Cabinet Company is helping me explore my options for eco-friendly cabinets by sponsoring this post. I hope you find the suggestions on ways to save with new kitchen cabinets or updated cabinets helpful.

Kitchen_cabinet_hardware_in_2009Repair Not Replace

Consider whether you need to replace all your cabinets or just the fronts. These usually suffer the most wear and tear, so if your interior cabinets are sound with no major damage, remove the doors and smarten up your kitchen with some shiny new doors, drawer fronts, and knobs or pulls.

Paint Cabinets

Consider painting the fronts of your cabinets before you replace them. Solid wood doors can be sanded, then painted with primer and topcoat, which will give your kitchen a smart new look. Painting is easy as long as you remove the doors and hardware before you start. Here’s a video tutorial on how to paint your cabinets that I’ve found helpful.

Donate Your Old Kitchen

Donate the cabinets you tear out to a group like Habitat for Humanity, which sells them to people to refurbish. Or, find other spots in your home or garage to use at least some of the old cabinets. The first time I renovated my kitchen, I moved some of the cabinets that were still in good shape down to a new bathroom we were updating. Alternatively, offer the cabinets to a local sports club or community group. Advertise the availability of your cabinets on Craig’s List or Freecycle, or ask around to see if any of your friends or neighbors can use the cabinets.

Kitchen_cabinet_display_in_2009_in_NJSolid Wood Cabinets

Choose solid wood cabinets over laminate, as laminate is often glued together using formaldehyde, which can releases noxious gas and cause headaches, nausea, and worse. Solid cabinets are more expensive, but they tend to last longer and can be renovated with paint or wood stain if you subsequently decide you want a different look in the kitchen.

Add Pull-Out Shelves and Drawers on the Bottom

When choosing a new cabinet design, opt for as many slide-out drawers as possible, especially for lower cabinets. This will make it easier to keep track of the food you put in the back. You’ll reduce food waste that way and also enjoy greater convenience when you’re trying to retrieve items from the back of the cupboard. Most modern kitchens offer a range of storage solutions. Be creative and pick the ones that best suit your kitchen.

Add a Recycling Drawer or Bin

Make it easier to recycle cans, bottles, and paper by installing a bin either in a drawer or under the counter. Don’t miss these additional ideas for a plastic-free kitchen. 

image-dark-stained-maple-cabinets-throughout-dark-maple-kitchen-cabinets-planEasy Clean Finishes

When choosing a finish, look for a door style that is easy to clean and will not require harsh chemicals to maintain in tip-top condition. Keep in mind that dark-stained cabinets will last longer than bright white ones, which are harder to keep clean. Avoid Shaker styles or other designs that create a frame on the cabinet that traps dirt and grease.

Standard Fit Cabinets

Choose kitchen cabinets that are pre-made in standard sizes to reduce waste. Bespoke kitchen cabinets are attractive, but they take more time and effort to fit.

Use Recycled Materials

$_1Look for old, antique door handles and knobs for your cabinets to give your kitchen character. A random selection of quirky knobs will bring your kitchen cabinets to life. Or, clean up the existing handles on your current cupboards if you’re repainting and keeping the cabinets you have.

Have you repainted your kitchen cabinets, replaced just the doors, or replaced all the cabinets? Please share your experience, and share pictures to our Pinterest page. We’d love to see what worked for you.

NOTE: Sponsors like Superior Stone and Cabinet Company allow us to share our expertise at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions are always our own. Thanks.

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4 Responses to 9 Affordable Ways to Update Your Kitchen with Eco-Friendly Cabinets

  1. Lorie Durfee June 21, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

    Great ideas Diane. We painted our cabinets white and bought some new hardware. In order to make them look more expensive, my husband put some decorative molding on some of the cabinets. It looked great. (I would have put a picture but they need to be repainted)!

    • Diane June 22, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

      Thanks, Lorie. Did you sand the cabinets before you painted them? I will need to paint the doors and drawer fronts as well as some of the sides that are exposed.

  2. Lorie Durfee June 22, 2016 at 2:49 pm #

    Yes we had to lightly sand them. We also used a spray paint gun on the doors when it was possible. The rest we had to use a brush. Good Luck, I hope it works out well for you.

    • Diane June 22, 2016 at 3:32 pm #


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