How To Update Cupboards

How To Update Cupboards

Updating our cupboards can breathe new life into our kitchens and homes. Whether our cupboards are looking worn or we simply want to refresh their style, some strategic updates can make a big difference. In this post, we’ll walk through the step-by-step process to update cupboards for a more modern, organized, and inviting kitchen space.

Assessing the Cupboards

Before making any changes, it’s important to thoroughly assess our existing cupboards. This allows us to identify areas for improvement and zero in on the updates that will have the greatest impact.

We’ll want to look at the condition of the cupboard boxes and doors. Are they structurally sound or sagging? Do they have water damage or rot? Inspect hinges and pulls – are any loose or missing? Check for peeling veneers or laminates. Test doors and drawers for smooth operation and fit.

Examine the cupboard interiors too. Are the shelves sturdy? Is the storage layout optimal or can it be improved? Take notes on any issues as we go.

Consider the style as well. Decide whether the current style aligns with our vision or if we want to change the look with our updates. Take into account adjacent cabinetry and architecture so the updated cupboards coordinate.

Making a list of desired changes will help guide our update project. Focus on fixes for worn or damaged areas first. Then consider updates to style, storage, and organization.

Cleaning Cupboards

Now it’s time to clean out and clean up our cupboards before making updates. Remove everything from shelves and drawers. As we do, take stock of what’s inside and discard anything we don’t use.

Wipe down the empty shelves first with a mild detergent solution. For set-in stains or grime, use a cleaning solution formulated for kitchens. Take care not to saturate any wooden parts.

Clean the exteriors of cupboard doors and boxes as well. Pay special attention to handles and hinges to remove grease buildup. Use a degreasing cleanser formulated for kitchens on these hardware parts. For laminate surfaces, multipurpose cleaners work well. For wood, use a mild wood soap and buff dry immediately with a soft cloth.

Vacuum out cupboard interiors thoroughly. Use crevice tools to reach corners and edges. Remove all crumbs and dust before returning items. A clean start helps our refreshed cupboards stay organized longer.

Repairing Cupboards

Now we can begin making needed repairs. Address any issues with cupboard boxes and doors first. Reattach loose hinges or replace missing ones. Tighten loose pulls or handles. Replace any that are worn or damaged.

For minor surface damage, sand affected areas then refinish with comparable paint or laminate. For more extensive damage, cover with wood veneer panels or replace doors and drawer fronts entirely.

Reinforce sagging shelves with cleats or brackets beneath. Replace overly warped or unstable shelves. Ensure all shelves are properly secured within the cabinet box.

Fix drawer glides and tracks so drawers slide smoothly. Adjust doors and drawers that don’t close correctly by tweaking alignments. Lubricate old hardware with silicone spray.

Make any needed structural repairs to the cupboard boxes themselves. Securely reattach any loose joints or panels. Patch or replace water damaged sections. Rebuild as needed with appropriate materials.

Once we’ve made all necessary repairs, our cupboards will be restored to sound working order, ready for our style updates.

Style Updates

To give our cupboards a fresh new look, we can update the door style, finish, and hardware.

Door Style

Replacing cupboard doors is one of the easiest ways to update style. New shaker-style doors add warmth and crisp lines. Slab doors create a streamlined contemporary look. Cathedral-arch doors provide classic elegance. Glass-front doors open up displays.

Or give existing doors an entirely new look by applying veneers or laminates over the surfaces. Iron-on veneers come in wood grains, patterns, and solid colors to suit any decor. Professional laminating resurfaces doors for a seamless updated finish.


Refinishing cupboard door and box surfaces also updates style. Sand surfaces lightly to degloss, then apply new stain, paint, or clear finish. Stains tint the wood grain for richer hues, while paints cover wood completely. Match adjacent cabinetry finishes for cohesion.

Look for kitchen cabinet refinishing kits for simplified DIY refinishing. Or hire professionals for expert results painting or staining. Refinished surfaces protect the wood and complete the style upgrade.


Finally, replace dated hardware with updated cup pull handles, knobs, or hinges. Matte black and brass finishes are trending. Choose hardware shapes and sizes to coordinate with door style. Consistent finishes unify mixed cabinetry.

Installing new hardware is an easy DIY job. Fill old hardware holes with wood filler and sand smooth. Measure and mark new hardware locations. Use a drill guide to bore holes. Attach new hardware securely.

With all the basic repairs and renovations complete, it’s now time to organize and optimize the storage.

Storage Solutions

Improving our cupboards’ inner storage and organization transforms them from cluttered to functional. Tailored inserts, racks, trays and new layouts keep contents accessible.


Inserts customize cupboards for storing specific items. Cutlery inserts organize cooking tools in a drawer. Appliance garage inserts hide small appliances behind a door. Pantry pull-out inserts maximize food storage. DIY inserts using pegboard and bins are inexpensive options.


Mounted racks double storage space inside cupboards. Hang a pan and lid rack from the inside of a cabinet door. Mount a spice rack inside a cabinet to keep spices organized but out of sight. Wall-mounted racks in cabinets store cutting boards vertically.


Trays corral like items in cupboards and drawers while keeping them mobile. Use trays to hold pots and pans, containers, or food staples. Trays allow you to remove the entire organized section at once for easy access to items beneath. Plastic, wood or metal trays have high sides to contain items neatly.


Reconfiguring the layout creates an optimal place for everything. Place everyday dishes and glasses on easy-reach shelves. Reserve high shelves for rare-use or display items. Group like items together – mugs on one shelf, plates on another. Consider drawer dividers, tiered shelving and other smart elements to compartmentalize for efficiency.

Labeling cabinets, shelves and drawers also helps keep things orderly. Use adhesive labels, chalkboard labels or concealable under-shelf markers to designate contents. A purposeful layout with defined storage zones makes it easy to keep cupboards organized after the update.

Finishing Touches

A few finishing touches complete our cupboard transformation for a pulled-together updated kitchen. Treat renovated surfaces for protection. Add lighting inside cupboards to illuminate interiors. Incorporate new decorative elements on cupboard exteriors for personalized style.

Protective Finish

Seal refinished or repainted cupboards with a clear polyurethane top coat. Choose satin, semi-gloss, or high gloss sheens. This seals the finish and creates a wipeable, stain-resistant surface that will hold up in a busy kitchen. Follow product directions closely for successful results.


Lighting inside cupboards brightens shadowy interiors so contents are easier to see. Battery-operated LED puck lights stick onto shelves easily. Hardwired under-cabinet lighting tapes hidden beneath shelves brightly illuminate below. Handles and hinges with integrated LED lights are convenient options too.

Decorative Details

Add pretty yet functional details to refresh utilitarian cupboard exteriors. Frame doors with molding trim for defined panels. Attach crown molding to top edges for a finished look. Use decorative hardware like faceted knobs or scrolled hinges. DIY patterns or apply wallpaper inside cupboards to add pops of color.

Once we add these final touches, our cupboard update is complete! Getting organized will now be easy in our refreshed, fully-functional cupboards. The style updates and repairs have given our kitchen a coordinated, like-new look we’ll enjoy for years to come. With some strategic fixes, creative storage solutions and finishing accents, our cupboards have been transformed into a personalized part of our dream kitchen.

If you are looking to update your whole kitchen, consider a kitchen remodel by Pinnacle Building Group. We serve around North and Central Georgia. Contact us for a free quote!

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