When faced with builder-grade or dated cabinets, the first impulse of many new homeowners is to rip them out and start fresh. Then comes the sticker shock, which is usually followed by a trip down the paint aisle. While painting existing cabinets is always a great option for an inexpensive cabinet face lift, replacing the cabinet door inserts is another way to get a new look for less.
The Family Handyman has a great tutorial on how to remove your plywood cabinet door panels and replace them with a decorative metal grille. While the steps involved are fairly simple, it does require a router with a specific bit called a 'pattern bit'. If you are not used to using a router, definitely get in some practice runs, or better yet, bring the doors to a friend who is versed in the art of routering. Routers are an unforgiving and potentially dangerous power tool, although extremely handy for tasks just like this one.
While they decided to use a metal insert, there are any number of materials you can use: glass, fabric, and acrylic are just a few. New cabinet door panels may be just the accent your kitchen never knew it needed.
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(Images: The Family Handyman)