What to Do with Mismatched Cabinets at Grandma's House?

What to Do with Mismatched Cabinets at Grandma's House?

Regina Yunghans
Sep 30, 2013

Q: My grandmother is planning to sell her house in the next year or so, and we're trying to slowly get things in shape while not spending too much money. She still has the original kitchen cabinets from her 1964 Ranch home. But 30 years ago, my grandfather built this taller pantry and a matching island to add storage and prep space (which was sorely lacking). Unfortunately, they are not the same material and do not match:

The original cabinets are cheap, with thin doors and a glossy finish over a slightly textured wood (it feels a bit like wood paneling in terms of texture to me, but is thicker). The cabinets papa built are much thicker, lighter in color and have a smooth texture with no sheen. Replacing them is not in the budget, and houses are hard enough to sell in this dying town, so we are hoping to make the existing cabinets look as though they belong together.

I need ideas for improving the look, making sure it's something affordable and something I could do with little or no help. I do have a lot of very handy family members who are more than willing to assist in this project.


  • The wallpaper you see is being removed.
  • The appliances are white.
  • The countertops may or may not be replaced
  • The kitchen is part of an open area including a dining and living room, both of which have beige carpet and walls.
  • The cabinet and drawer pulls are original and copper. She may want to keep them, but I am hoping to take them with us when the house is sold, so replacing is an option.

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