The Kitchen Zone



Take Your Kitchen from Frumpy to Fabulous

(ARA) - Updating your kitchen might seem like a formidable task, but giving one of the most important rooms in your house an extreme makeover doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.

If you have an outdated, tired-looking kitchen, one of the simplest and most rewarding fixes is refacing your cabinets with veneer and adding new door and drawer fronts. By also adding new hardware and painting the kitchen walls, you can literally transform your entire kitchen without a lot of hassle and expense.

"The vast majority of today's homeowners can update their kitchens with a few simple procedures, such as adding some hinges and hardware, new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, or by refacing existing cabinetry and casework," says Stacy Lemmer, a product manager at Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. She adds that homeowners should first decide on the scope and magnitude of the update they want.

"If you decide to reconfigure existing cabinetry to a new layout, the best solution is often replacement. However, if you are happy with your existing cabinet layout, refacing your cabinetry is a time- and cost-saving solution. Either way, you'll have a new, updated look," she said.

"Cabinetry is typically the most expensive component of a kitchen," says Herrick Kimball, author of "Refacing Cabinets: Making an Old Kitchen New." "By making some simple changes to improve the efficiency of your existing cabinet layout and then refacing those cabinets, you can have a beautiful new kitchen for a fraction of the cost of ripping everything out and replacing it," he says.

Kimball added that with some basic woodworking tools and skills, homeowners can easily reface their own cabinets.

According to Kimball there are four basic steps to refacing cabinets:

1. Remove and discard existing door and drawer fronts. They will be replaced with new custom-made and sized door and drawer fronts.

2. Resurface cabinet sides with hardwood or veneered plywood in the same species as the new doors that will be installed.

3. After the face frames are properly prepped, apply a flexible peel-and-stick wood veneer and wrap it around the front and edges of the face-frame rails and stiles.

4. Install new doors, hinges and knobs and pulls.

Refacing your cabinetry can give you any look you want thanks to the countless wood species, door and drawer styles, and hardware options available.

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware, for example, offers a custom door and drawer front program that lets you choose the size and style in red oak, maple, ash, cherry, hickory or white laminate. You can also match those species or laminate in custom cut-to-fit cabinet end panels and veneer sheets.

"The best part about our program is you don't have to build your own door," says Lemmer. Simply choose your style, width and length and wood species, and you'll receive the door in two weeks.

To make the installation of veneer a snap, Lemmer recommends Rockler's 3-in-1 laminate pressure tool and veneer trimming guide. The laminate pressure tool helps you smooth out, roll flat and apply edging, while the veneer trimming guide is designed for trimming off excess veneer so that it is flush with the face frame.

To add the finishing touches to your cabinet project, selecting new hardware will further personalize and add distinction to your kitchen space. Knobs and pulls are available in a wide variety of finishes and styles, from cast copper Mission style to contemporary polished chrome. You may also want to add brass grille or textured and leaded glass panels to your cabinetry. These accent pieces are typically custom made and sized, and are available in numerous styles.

Whatever design you decide on, updating your kitchen doesn't have to be time-consuming or expensive. For a small kitchen (eight doors and six drawers), the price of custom door and drawer fronts, cabinet end panels and veneer sheets in oak should be around $500.

For additional information on how to makeover your kitchen, call Rockler Woodworking and Hardware toll-free at (800) 279-4441, or visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

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