Lesso Home

Shop By Category

Kitchen Cabinets: Re-furbish or Replace?

The kitchen is one of the more costly rooms to fit out in any home or residential property, mainly because of the density of fittings, appliances and services required to make this space work. It makes sense then to consider carefully what kind of work you want to have done, when the time comes for that all important upgrade. For those on a budget, re-finishing or re-facing their kitchen cabinets can be a cost saving alternative* to buying a completely new kitchen suite, especially as they can account for around 50% of your total kitchen budget.


*see Pros & Cons


What’s involved


There are 3 ways in which kitchen cabinets can be given an update: Re-staining - where a new surface coating or timber stain is applied to the external faces of the cabinets; Re-finishing - a new veneer or other finishing material is fixed to the doors and other external surfaces and Re-facing - where the existing doors, drawer faces and side panels are replaced with new ones. It’s probably no surprise that these three methods come at different price points, with re-staining being the lowest and re-facing the highest.


Here we provide some good examples of each







Before you decide


One of the main considerations in your kitchen upgrade will be indeed be your budget. With kitchen costs being roughly split between labor and materials, saving on one half of the equation by refurbishing can certainly make a difference, but this may not always be the only issue. Much depends on the current state of your existing cabinets and their functionality. Old cabinets that have a lot of wear and tear will not be good candidates for an update. Similarly are cabinets that have already been damaged or affected by water or constant moisture from plumbing fittings or other environmental intrusions. In both cases, the cabinet material will have become weak and may fail in the near future or when any new finish is applied to it.


The other aspect is functionality. Kitchen cabinets today have wider, deeper dimensions than those built in earlier years and are designed to fit modern appliances which older kitchens may not be able to accommodate. As well as often being simply too small and shallow, they may not be able to accept a dishwasher or multi-hob cooktop. Plus you may want to add other features like a vented extraction fan (rangehood) and benchtop lighting, and this may require some costly adapting of the cabinets themselves.


Good candidates for a refit are kitchens that have not been built too long ago, so have plenty of life left, have not been significantly degraded and are suitably proportioned to function as you need them to.


Age can be good


Surprisingly, the age of some kitchens can sometimes be an plus. Depending on your location, some earlier cabinet designs used thick, robust materials that stand up well over time and can handle refurbishing or reworking without problems. The doors and outer panels may need new hardware or even replacing but the cabinet shells and shelves may be in solid condition and offer years more use. If you’ve assessed your kitchen and feel its suitable for a refit, you can move onto the next step.


Remember the finishing touches


It’s important to remember the accessories that are part of your cabinets, and these should be allowed for in your upgrade budget. With a brand new finish to your cabinets, you will likely want to install new door handles, drawer pulls and even hinges.


Modifications may also be needed to your doors and cabinet faces to accommodate the new hardware or patch up old fittings that have been removed. Refurbishing the inside of your cabinets may also be an option, but note that this will often be a separate upgrade item.


You should also keep in mind that you may want revolving shelves in your corner cabinets, drawer trays, wine bottle holders and other inserts or add-ons that are common in today’s kitchen. All of these will have an impact on your budget.



Decision Time


When finally deciding on whether to refurbish or replace, it is essential to consider the overall functionality of the kitchen - how it is being used now and how it may need to be used in the years ahead, when changing needs or family numbers place different demands on the space. Even where cabinets are well built, they may not be what you need. Be sure you will be happy and satisfied with the layout and operation of your kitchen, after your upgrade and in the future.


Re-furbishing Pros & Cons




Saves time - refurbishing offers a shorter time frame to completion

Less stress - no need for demolition, preparation or extensive installation work

Less hassle - no need to decommission and remove existing appliances

Convenient - your kitchen can often be used while it is being upgraded

Potential savings - can be 50% of the cost of brand new cabinets




Risks - depends on the condition of existing cabinets

Lifespan - overall, kitchen life may be shorter

Adaptability - may not be able to accommodate new appliances or fittings

Functionality - may not fully suit your lifestyle and daily routine


For home renovators and building industry professionals looking for a new kitchen, Lesso Home’s collection of timeless designs bring a modern elegance to any residential project. Discover our kitchen range and more by going to www.lessohome.com.








Leave a Reply