How to Redo '70s Old Kitchen Cabinets to Look New

The ‘70s were a groovy time for a number of reasons, including home decor. So groovy, in fact, that vintage colors like avocado green and harvest gold have marked a triumphant return to the kitchen design palette. But if you have wooden or wood laminate kitchen cabinets that have been around since those hues first hit the scene, you might not feel so nostalgic.

Ready to ditch the look of your disco-era cabinets without the hassle and cost of a full-on kitchen renovation? Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to turn the beat around for your kitchen.

Replace Cabinet Hardware

New drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, and even hinges can make quite the impact on your tired old kitchen cabinets. Just unscrew those white enamel ones you’ve got and attach the new ones—after you given those cabinets a good cleaning, that is. Keep in mind that you might need to touch up the old screw holes if the new hardware doesn’t cover them up. Cost: Under $100 Complexity: Beginner DIY

Paint Them

If you’re ready to flex your DIY muscles, consider painting your cabinets a fresh new color. Your prep work will vary depending on the condition of your existing cabinets, but at the very least you’ll have to remove the doors and hardware and give everything a coat of primer before painting. Can’t decide on a color? Choose one for the top cabinets and a different one for the bottom for a striking look. Cost: Under $100 Complexity: Intermediate DIY

Cover Cabinets in Contact Paper

Not ready to commit to another long-term color choice or the lengthier timeframe that painting entails? Consider swathing your cabinets in contact paper instead. You might know this peel-off/stick-on solution for its patterns, but it also comes in solid colors that can truly transform your cabinets in a single afternoon. Like wallpaper, you might struggle a bit with applying contact paper at first. But stick with it and you’ll love the results. Cost: $7 for a 17.7 x 118-inch roll Complexity: DIYable, but requires some patience

Add Glass Inserts to the Doors

Instead of going all-in on cabinet replacement, go partially in by redoing the doors with glass inserts. Depending on the type you choose, glass sheets cost between $5 and $20.Don’t trust your organization skills to keep up with clear glass? Choose frosted glass instead, or pick one or two cabinets as accents only. If your DIY skills are too shaky to insert the glass yourself, consider hiring a contractor. Expect to pay between $300 to $500 per day, plus the cost of materials. Cost: $5–$20 per glass sheet Complexity: Intermediate DIY; might be better to hire a pro

Remove the Doors

Yes, the beauty of kitchen cabinets is that mismatched mugs are kept out of sight behind a door. But if your disco cabinets are just a bit too much for your liking, take the doors off completely for a fresh look. Sure, you’ll want to level up your organizational skills to keep the content of your cabinets neater, but even if you splurge on a new set of mugs, you’ll spend far less time and money this way. Cost: $0 Complexity: Beginner DIY

Replace Cabinets with Shelving

Replacing cabinets with new ones is a pricey endeavor—anywhere between $2,000 and upwards of $10,000, depending on the size of your kitchen and whether you get premade or custom cabinets. Replacing them with floating shelves, on the other hand, will liven up the look of your kitchen without killing your budget. You’ll have to refinish the walls behind the cabinets to remove the screw holes and repaint, of course, but consider this an opportunity to add a pop of color to your kitchen. Cost: $2,000 to $10,000, depending on the type of shelving you choose Complexity: Beginner/intermediate DIY

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