Does your kitchen give off the appearance of days gone by? Is it missing the features you need? Maybe it’s time for a facelift. A kitchen’s appearance can take on a dramatic change by just sprucing up the cabinetry. And, whether you’re on a tight budget or money is no object, there are many options available for a fresher, more updated look.

The look of the cabinets can be as drastic as tearing them out and starting over or as simple as refinishing them. Tiffany Gomes, owner of Classic Design Floor to Ceiling, said there are two main aspects of a cabinet, including aesthetics and it’s capacity for storage and organization. When deciding whether to replace or refinish, she feels it is important to first evaluate whether the cabinets have the most necessary features.

“Make sure you like the layout of the cabinets,” she said. “If you don’t have pullouts or drawers next to the stove, I highly recommend replacing the cabinets.”

She also said to pay attention to the age of the cabinets. If cabinets are over 15 years old, they may be made out of particle board and lack the strength for proper support. In that case, it would be more cost-effective to change out the cabinets rather than just changing out the doors, she said.

Mark Weber, owner of Weber’s Cabinets, feels that re-facing the cabinets works well if that is all the work being done in the kitchen. If the floor and counters are being replaced, it’s just as easy to change out the cabinets.

Some of the least expensive ways to update kitchen cabinets are to replace drawers and doors, re-face or add new drawer guides. If the fronts are lacquered, Weber suggests painting over them.

It is important though, to pay attention to the type of wood it is. For example, oak is a hard grain wood. It is a little tougher to paint over, he said. There are not many bright colors used but off-white is most generally the color of choice. To add a decorative touch, oftentimes the drawer is stained in a light color and the frame is done in a darker brown.

“You get a good contrast. It looks good,” he said.

Weber said oak used to be the most popular wood for cabinets, but today there are more hickory, maple and cherry.

Handles are another way to change the look of the cabinets. Gomes said there are a variety of different styles and about 10 different types of metal including bronze, brushed copper and antique copper.

“You name it, it can be used as a knob,” she said.

She said there is a knob for door and a pull for drawer and that people tend to mix and match them.

Weber feels the choice of handles are a personal decision and never puts them in the bid. He will usually order three different kinds and have the customer take them home to put up to the cabinet.

Gomes said cabinets become more elaborate when organization components are added to the inside or when glaze or fancier molding is added. Weber said he has seen lazy Susan’s, pull-out trays, or pull out cookie sheets. Some of the more high-end designs include a big carved post or a wood rope design in the door.

“Although you don’t usually get that elaborate when doing a typical remodel,” he said.

The cabinet process takes about six to 10 weeks, said Weber. It begins by going out to measure the kitchen and then hand-sketching what the customer wants. The floor plan is then set up in the computer to get the face view, the top view and a 3D view. Once he gets approval, it all goes to the shop to be built.

“It’s like a big puzzle,” he said.

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