7 Ways to Upgrade Boring Builder Grade Cabinets


Builder grade cabinets get the job done. But they don't necessarily look beautiful while doing it. Should you rip them out and install customized cabinets? That's certainly one option that will ensure you get exactly what you love. But in some cases, you can take what you already have and upgrade it yourself. Here are 7 ways to do that.

Paint Your Builder Grade Cabinets

Paint dramatically changes the appearance, mood, and even energy of a room. Painting your builder grade cabinets is an effective way to take them from boring to wow. Painting cabinets is a big project, so make sure you know what you're doing before you get started. Prep work is just as important as smooth application. This guide will walk you through the process.

Does the thought of painting all your cabinets seem too daunting? Start with just the island. Give it a striking color that stands out, and carry that color throughout your kitchen with matching accents. This can make a big visual statement.

New Hardware -- A Small, but Impactful, Change

Builder grade cabinets often come without hardware. While still functional, cabinets without hardware create a lack of visual interest in the room. You'll be surprised at the dramatic visual change some stylish hardware can add to your boring builder grade cabinets.

Molding and Finials

Make your basic cabinets appear taller, customized, and more impressive with decorative molding applied to the soffit above the cabinets. This will give your cabinets a one-of-a-kind look.

A few finial feet at the base of your cabinet adds a visual upgrade to your cabinets. This works especially well on a kitchen island, but can work in other areas as well.

Take the Doors off

Open shelving is beautiful and modern, and definitely gives your kitchen a customized look. While the project isn't as simple as removing the doors, it is a DIY project you can handle. Watch the video below for the steps.

Adding glass-front doors is also a beautiful way to add a unique touch to your kitchen cabinets. Patterned, colored, etched, glass (and more varieties) give you plenty of options for adding your own custom look.

Add Adhesive Backing

Add some pattern to your cabinets by applying peel-and-stick adhesive backing to the back surface of your cabinets. If you have also chosen to remove the doors of your cabinets, this will create an instant pop of interest to the room. 

Open Shelving

Replace your upper cabinets with open shelving for a breezy, open, updated feel in your kitchen. You can adjust the look of the room frequently by changing out what you choose to store and display on these shelves. Display your brightest dishes and pitchers, your grandmother's teacups, or keep it simple with white dishes.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

LED lighting under a cabinet instantly adds a touch of class, while also adding practicality to your kitchen. Take it one step further and install dimmable task lighting so you can not only control the light for food prep, you can also adjust the mood of the room.

Install the light toward the front of the cabinet. If you don't have an outlet near the cabinet and you can't wire for lighting, consider a battery-operated light. 

You can adjust the impact and design of your kitchen, even if you opt not to get custom cabinets. A few small changes -- or some big adjustments -- can take your boring builder-grade cabinets to beautiful and stunning. At New Life Bath and Kitchen, we can help you take your boring builder grade cabinets to stunning. Give us a call at (805) 639-5433 or contact us online for an estimate.