Full kitchen remodel vs cabinet makeover [2023]

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If you don’t like the look of your current kitchen, you might consider altering a thing or two to get a fresh new look. The common ways for many homeowners to achieve a new look in the kitchen are through a complete remodel, refacing, or refinishing the cabinets. Let’s compare the full kitchen remodel vs cabinet makeover.

full kitchen remodel vs cabinet makeover

While a full remodel involves taking down all the cabinets and is an effective way to alter the kitchen layout, a cabinet makeover only gives your existing cabinets a new look while maintaining the same kitchen plan.

The budget is the most vital determinant when deciding whether to remodel your kitchen or touch up your cabinets. Although refacing kitchen cabinets is cheaper than buying new ones, there are other factors to consider before making your choice. We will help cover each option’s cost, pros, and cons to assist you in making a choice you will not regret.

Here are the key points to follow:

  1. Consider the pros and cons of both refacing and replacing kitchen cabinets.
  2. Take into account the number of cabinet doors and drawers, the choice of finish, and other factors affecting the cost of kitchen cabinet refinishing.
  3. Understand the definition and cost of cabinet refacing, and its suitability for wood cabinets.
  4. Familiarize yourself with the differences between refacing and full cabinet replacement.
  5. Consider the design costs, hardware, accessories, kitchen size, and other factors affecting the overall cost of a kitchen remodeling project.
  6. Take action by evaluating your kitchen needs and determining whether refacing or replacement is the best option for your budget and desired outcome.

A Cost-Effective Way to a Kitchen Remodel; Don’t Sacrifice Quality

A kitchen remodel project can be expensive depending on the areas you want to alter in your space. However, you can save money in the long run by opting for good-quality materials to use during a remodel. The trick is determining the elements of your current kitchen that are a must-have in your updated kitchen. You can then go all out to buy the best in the market.

Quality accessories and furniture in the kitchen make your space appear classy, and it also improves your home’s value. You get to enjoy every moment you spend working in your updated kitchen.

Important Decision to Make: Reface or Replace?

Cabinets are the main face of a kitchen, and their appearance affects the overall look and feel of your kitchen. Gone are the days when painting cabinets was the alternative to cabinet replacement. Instead, cabinet refacing and replacement are the ideal options to make them look as good as new.

full kitchen remodel vs cabinet makeover overall

The cost of replacing cabinets can be 50% less than new replacements. So, if you’re working on a budget, a reface is a better way to save money.

The condition of your cabinets should also determine your decision. If your existing cabinet boxes are in solid shape, you can reface them to give them a fresh look instead of replacing them.

If you want to increase the functionality and storage of your cabinetry, replacing the old set should be the way to go.

Kitchen Reface Pros

  • A kitchen refacing project is less expensive than a total replacement. You get to achieve a sleek look in your kitchen and save money at the same time.
  • Cabinet refacing is an environmentally friendly option; you maintain the existing cabinets instead of sending them to landfills.
  • Kitchen refacing projects are less messy since you are not demolishing your whole kitchen to alter the kitchen layout.

Kitchen Reface Cons

  • Kitchen refacing does not change the size of the cabinet boxes.
  • For you to reface kitchen cabinets, they must be in good shape.
  • Kitchen refacing does not involve a change of the layout.

Kitchen Remodel Pros

  • A kitchen remodel allows you to alter the kitchen layout; therefore you get to customize it to your style and add more space like base cabinets.
  • With a kitchen remodel, you can improve the resale value since the kitchen is a major property selling point.

full kitchen remodel vs cabinet makeover space

Kitchen Remodel Cons

  • A remodeling project destroys functional cabinets.
  • Kitchen remodeling is more expensive than refacing.
  • Kitchen remodeling disrupts your normal use of the kitchen.

Total Amount of Cabinet Doors and Drawers

The number of kitchen cabinet doors and drawers depends on the design and size of the cabinetry. Experts suggest that a kitchen can have at least one stacked drawer cabinet for every double-door cabinet.

Choice of Finish

You can apply a new finish on new or old kitchen cabinets to give them a fresh look. The most popular cabinet finishes to choose from include paint, melamine, varnish, laminate, stain, and glaze.

4 Factors Affecting the Cost of Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing

  1. Customization: Cabinets with custom colors and finishes cost more than stock and semi-custom cabinets since they are made on order.
  2. Painting new cabinets: adding a fresh coat of paint to kitchen cabinets takes more labor and material, so their prices tend to go up.
  3. Material: wood finishes are more expensive than veneer finishes. Oak, mahogany, bamboo, ash, and walnut cabinets cost more than pine, birch, maple, and beech cabinets in hardwood or veneer form.
  4. Size: the size of the kitchen determines the number of cabinets to be installed. Depending on the homeowner’s finishes, the cost tends to be higher for larger kitchens.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is the replacement of the external body of the cabinets. Refacing cabinetry involves removing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and applying a new veneer on the surface of the body of the cabinet. Worn-out hardware also gets replaced during refacing.

full kitchen remodel vs cabinet makeover fronts

Since not every cabinet qualifies for a reface, consider evaluating your cabinetry before settling for refacing. Consider face frames of solid hardwood, smooth and sturdy cabinet boxes, and internal storage, and make sure they are in good shape for refacing.

What are Refacing Costs?

Cabinet refacing is less expensive than removing and replacing the cabinet boxes and can cost you 25%-50% less. The average cost of cabinet refacing is $6,518. Most homeowners spend around $4,000 to $8,100 for a typical 10’x12′, while a smaller kitchen can cost between $1,000 to $3,000 to reface with laminate. The total cost of large kitchens with high-quality wood veneer on the cabinets can range from $8,000 to $10,000 or more.

Refinishing Works Well for Wood Cabinets

A fresh coat of paint can go a long way to give your kitchen a new look. Painting is simple and easy to DIY, and it’s also less expensive. Paint adheres well on true wood cabinets with a bit of sanding if the cabinets are stained or have a glossy finish. Wood veneers, MDF, and laminate cabinets require skills and knowledge to pick the correct type of paint to fit on them.

What is Full Cabinet Replacement?

A full cabinet replacement job involves removing all components of your cabinetry structure, including cabinet boxes, drawer fronts, doors, shelves, frames, hinges, and cabinet hardware, and replacing them with new doors and an entire body. A kitchen cabinet replacement project is more complex than cabinet refacing and can take up to two weeks to complete. Experienced installers are ideal since they take less time and achieve a clean job.

full kitchen remodel vs cabinet makeover replacement

Your cabinets are candidates for replacement if the boxes are old, damaged, or structurally unstable. Also, consider a full replacement if you want to alter the interior setup of your cabinets. Lastly, if you want to change an impractical kitchen layout, then a full cabinet replacement is the way to go.

Affordable Than Cabinetry Replacement

If you’re on a tight budget and cannot afford new cabinets for replacement, refacing is the way forward for you. Cabinet refacing involves less material and less labor than replacing cabinets. Expect to save up to 50% when refacing rather than replacing.

Design Costs

The cost of cabinets differs depending on the design, size, and materials. You can expect to spend around $5,000 to $6,000 to replace cabinets. Ready-to-assemble cabinets are much cheaper than the custom variety since custom-made cabinetry takes more time and labor.

Hardware and Accessories

Replacing the cabinet hardware and accessories, like doorknobs and handles, can significantly impact the overall look of your kitchen. If you cannot reuse the old hardware, buying new ones is the only solution. Purchasing and installing hardware can impact the overall budget by $100 to $10,000. Ornate hardware adds new energy to your kitchen, improves its style, and adds value to your home.

Kitchen Size

The size of your kitchen affects the cost of the cabinet replacement project in that it determines the size and number of cabinetry you get to install. If your space is 70 square feet, you won’t install as many cabinets as a homeowner with 170 square feet. Consequently, your overall cost won’t be high even if you decide on a complete remodel project.

Cost of a Kitchen Remodeling Project

A basic small kitchen remodel project can cost around $60,000 to $80,000 for basic layout changes, new cabinets, appliances, lighting fixtures, and solid surfaces. However, this cost can shoot up depending on custom-made fixtures or reconfiguration of the entire space. An entire kitchen replacement can cost between $80,000 to $150,000.

My Kitchen Needs a Makeover, What Now?

After weighing the cost of a complete makeover and cabinet refacing and refinishing, the decision narrows down to your needs, style, and budget. A refacing can make your kitchen look brand new at a lower cost than a total remodel. You can also consider partial replacement of the old cabinets if you feel a full replacement will cause a strain on your pockets.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar photo

    In my personal experience, I have found that a full kitchen remodel can be a major undertaking, but the results can be well worth it. When I remodeled my kitchen, I replaced the old, outdated cabinets with new ones, as well as made changes to the layout and finishes. The process was time-consuming and expensive, but the end result was a completely transformed kitchen that was more functional, modern, and aesthetically pleasing.

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      Thank you for sharing your experience with a full kitchen remodel! We agree that the results can be well worth the time and effort, as a remodeled kitchen can be a more functional, modern, and aesthetically pleasing space. One tip that we would add is to carefully plan the layout of your kitchen, considering the workflow and the placement of your major appliances and storage areas. This can help to ensure that your remodeled kitchen is both functional and efficient. Thanks again for your comment!

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