What to Do with Old Kitchen Cabinets?

Kitchen cabinets are one of the most aesthetically pleasing and functional aspects of a kitchen.

However, what are you supposed to do when the cabinets you once loved turn old, and you’re tired of looking at them?

What you do with your old cabinets depends entirely on whether you want to replace them or refurbish them.

So, let’s explore what to do with old kitchen cabinets!

Assessing Your Old Kitchen Cabinets

Before deciding what to do with your old kitchen cabinets, it’s essential to assess their condition and determine their usability.

By inspecting the quality and checking for any damage, you can decide whether to reuse, recycle, or dispose of these cabinets.

Determining Usability

When assessing the usability of your old cabinets, consider the following factors:

  • Material: Cabinets can be made of wood, laminate, or other materials. Wooden cabinets can often be sanded and refinished, while laminate cabinets may only require a fresh coat of paint to look new again.
  • Style: If your cabinets have a timeless design, they may be worth repurposing. If their style is outdated, you might want to consider recycling the materials or donating them to a local organization.
  • Functionality: Make sure the cabinets are still functional, such as being able to support weight and having working hinges. If their structure is compromised, it might be best to recycle them or dispose of them properly.

Inspecting for Quality and Damage

To assess the quality and any damage present on your cabinets, follow these steps:

  1. Examine the overall structure of the cabinets. Look for signs of wear and tear, such as chipped paint, loose hinges, or broken hardware.
  2. Check the materials used in the construction. Wood cabinets may show signs of water damage or rot, while laminate cabinets can have peeling or warped surfaces.
  3. Look for any damage to the cabinets’ interior, such as water stains, mold, or warping.
  4. Inspect the cabinet doors and drawers. Make sure they open and close smoothly and are in good condition.

By assessing your old kitchen cabinets, you can better understand their potential for reuse or recycling.

Being thorough in your evaluation ensures that you make the best decision for your home improvement project, while also being environmentally responsible when disposing of these cabinets.

What to Do with Old Kitchen Cabinets?

Here are some ways in which you can make use of your old kitchen cabinets:

Donate Them

You can donate kitchen cabinets that are in usable condition. Many charitable organizations gladly accept old cabinets and other such furniture.

You can reach out to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity to give away your cabinets. Habitat for Humanity will accept kitchen cabinets with or without countertops.

You can get in touch with them to discuss the logistics.

Their volunteers will come to your home, dismantle your cabinets in a professional manner, and leave you feeling good about your actions.

After all, donating useful items is beneficial for your local community and the environment as well.

Sell Them

If your cabinets are in great shape and you’re looking for a change, you can simply sell them to get new ones.

Online market-places, such as Craigslist, have whole sections dedicated to old furniture, including a wide array of kitchen cabinets.

You can look at the market value of the sort of cabinets you have and sell them accordingly. Be prepared to have the buyer come to your place to take the cabinets off your hands.

Alternatively, you can have a yard sale for the cabinets or sell them to your neighbors.

Either way, selling the old cabinets is an excellent way for you to squeeze a bit of extra cash for your remodeling plans.

Repurpose Them into New Furniture

If you’re not yet ready to give away your old cabinets, you can use them to create new furniture for your home. There are so many things that you can create with old kitchen cabinets.

Just make sure that the cabinets are free of water damage. Otherwise, your furniture won’t last a long time and all your effort will be in vain.

Here are some items that you can make with old kitchen cabinets:

Built-In Bed

You can turn your old kitchen cabinets into the most incredible bed that appears as if you’ve built it directly into your wall.

You can use the cabinets to support the bed and use its panels for the side support.

Such a bed has ample storage space due to the cabinets. It’s the perfect bed for a kid’s room. Plus, you can use the storage space as a closet to store your kids’ clothes.

Shoe Storage Bench

You can repurpose the cabinets into a handy shoe storage bench for your entryway. It’s the ideal solution to prevent muddy shoes from entering your pristine house.

You can use the top of the bench to sit comfortably to take off your shoes.

Alternatively, you can put such a shelf in your bathroom to store shoes that won’t fit into your closet.

It’s one of the easiest and quickest pieces of furniture to make with old cabinets.

Cabinet Dartboard

Are you looking for a cool piece of furniture that features a hidden dartboard inside of it? You can make it with an old kitchen cabinet. It’s the perfect accessory to add to your kids’ room or family game room.

All you have to do is install a dartboard on the back panel of the cabinet. Paint the inside of the cabinet doors with chalkboard paint to keep score while playing.

You can use the cabinet space to store the darts.

Mudroom Bench

You can also create a functional mudroom bench with old kitchen cabinets.

If you have the space for a longer bench, use at least two cabinets to increase the storage space.

It’s the ideal DIY project to keep your mudroom organized.

You can keep things such as coats, wet clothing, and muddy shoes inside this space before entering the main room.

Craft Desk

Take a piece of plywood and a couple of base kitchen cabinets to fashion a DIY craft desk for your craft room.

The cabinets provide you with ample storage space to keep all of your craft items.

Moreover, they don’t even take up a lot of space. You can also install such desks in your kids’ rooms so that they can use them as their individual study spaces.

Wine Rack

Have you always wanted a fancy wine rack in your home?

Add some basic chicken wire to your cabinet doors and some sturdy legs to your cabinet to create a functional and attractive wine rack.

If you want to take this DIY project up a notch, cut grooves into the racks to assign individual spaces for all your wine bottles.

You can also install hangers at the top of the rack to hang your wine glasses.

Kitchen Island

Do you want to kill two birds with one stone and remodel your kitchen completely? Save some money and repurpose your old kitchen cabinets into a fancy kitchen island.

It’s a simple remodeling hack that will help you transform the layout of your kitchen frugally.

You can add a countertop and even a stovetop to the cabinets for a neat, functional look.

Console Table

You can also repurpose your old kitchen cabinets into an attractive and compact console table for your hallway or entryway.

Join a few cabinets together to create a functional console table with ample storage space.

It’s the perfect place to store your mail, keys, umbrellas, and even books. You can also decorate the cabinet top with your favorite décor items.

Play Kitchen or Workshop

You can surprise your kids with a small play kitchen made of your old kitchen cabinets. Alternatively, you can use the cabinets to create a small workshop for your kids.

It’s a creative and fun way to repurpose your old cabinets, and as a bonus, it will keep your kids busy!

Garage Cabinet Storage

Do you need more storage space in your garage?

Repurpose your old kitchen cabinets to create storage cabinets for your garage. You can use multiple cabinets to create a neat workshop unit and storage space.

The best part is that the top of the cabinets will work perfectly as the ideal workspace, without taking any additional space.

Window Seat

Have you always wanted a dramatic, Victorian-era style window seat in your room?

Now’s the time you can DIY one with your old kitchen cabinets. Combine two to four cabinets together, depending on how many adjoining windows you have in your room.

Paint the cabinets in a color that goes well with your room’s décor. Use old pillowcases and latex foam to make a comfortable seat.

Throw in some comfy pillows, and voila, you have your very own window seat.

You can use the seat for sitting by the window and reading books.The best part is that once you’re done with your book, you can store it in the cabinet underneath the sea.

Also read: Why Are Kitchen Cabinets So Expensive?

How to Update Old Kitchen Cabinets without Replacing Them

If you are tired of looking at your old kitchen cabinets but don’t have the budget to replace them, you can try refurbishing them.

Here are some ways in which you can refurbish your old kitchen cabinets so that they look as good as new:

Paint Them

A great way to change the look of your old cabinets is to paint them.

As long as your cabinets’ doors and frames are structurally sound and your cabinets haven’t suffered any water damage, you can paint them any color you want.

Just clean them up and apply a fresh coat of your favorite paint, and your old cabinets will look fresh and new.

If you want to look beyond simple color to change the look of your cabinets, here are some unique finishes you can try:


The best part about a high-gloss finish is that it will keep dirty fingerprints at bay. Plus, it’s easy to wipe clean. When applied correctly, it gives the look of a glass or metal finish.

To add a modern, classy touch to your cabinets, paint the final coat with a high-gloss clear acrylic varnish.


A new color will surely change the look of your old cabinets. However, if you add a little flair to it, it will completely transform your kitchen cabinets.

If you want your cabinets to have a modern, rustic, shabby chic look, try the weathered, crackling glaze finish.

You can apply this glaze over a dry base coat. Make sure to brush in one direction only. If you want fine cracks, apply a thin coat.

However, if you want large, visible cracks, go for a thick coat.

Let the glaze dry, and then cover it with a flat top coat of your chosen base color. Make sure to brush it perpendicular to the glaze stroke.

The paint will form cracks as it dries. It might take around an hour.


Are you looking for a more provincial look that evokes the look of a surface that’s aged over the years?

Dip the tips of a paintbrush in a hue that is lighter than the color of your cabinets.

Dab the excess paint onto a cloth until the paintbrush is almost dry. Lightly graze the surface of the cabinet corners, seams, and detail trims.


You can prepare this unmatched rustic finish by layering colors and spattering dark paint on the coat.

When your chosen paint has dried, distress the finish by hitting it with a chain.

Lightly sand in the spots where your cabinets get the most used. It will reveal the color underneath the fresh coat of paint.

Reface Them

If your old cabinets have scratches and grease marks on them, you can reface them instead of buying new cabinets.

If you need to add some new elements to the cabinets, you can look for new doors at woodworking companies. They will brighten up your old cabinets.

You can also reface them with a new veneer.

Some companies offer a peel-and-stick veneer, which makes the refacing task simpler.

Just make sure to measure the cabinet surface meticulously and then cut the veneer that you want to paste on it.

Otherwise, if the cutting is even a centimeter off, it will ruin the look of your cabinets.

Refresh the Look of Your Cabinets with Undercabinet Lighting

You can truly transform the look of your kitchen by adding more lights to brighten it up.

The best way to do that is to retrofit task lighting underneath the top-level kitchen cabinets.

You can also install them at the top of the kitchen cabinets fitted in the upper wall portion.

These lights will bathe your countertop and kitchen island with bright white light. You can also connect the fixtures to a dimmer switch and add dramatic accent lighting.

Install Fancy Crown Molding On Them

Crown moldings combined with a fresh coat of paint can truly transform the look of your old kitchen cabinets.

Mount your molding on a hardwood frame that will sit above your cabinets.

Choose a molding that complements the overall aesthetic of your kitchen and goes well with your chosen cabinet color.

Professional Restoration Services

When to Call the Experts

Sometimes, old kitchen cabinets can be brought back to life with professional help. If your cabinets are structurally sound but look outdated or worn, it might be time to call in the experts. Professional cabinet restoration services can help you:

  • Restore the original beauty of your cabinets by refinishing the wood.
  • Repair any damage, such as dents, scratches, or peeling laminates.
  • Update the hardware to improve functionality and aesthetics.

Here are some signs that it’s time to consider professional help:

  1. Peeling or chipping paint or laminate.
  2. Outdated hardware affecting the functionality.
  3. Dull or scratched surfaces that cannot be easily fixed with cleaning or polishing.
  4. Loose or damaged hinges.

Comparing Costs and Benefits

Before deciding to restore your old cabinets, it’s essential to compare the costs and benefits of different options.

Below is a table presenting three possible choices for dealing with old kitchen cabinets:

Cabinet RefinishingFraction of the cost-Restores original appearance of cabinets
-No demolition required
Cabinet RefacingMid-range cost-New look with less expense
-Quicker than a full replacement
Cabinet ReplacingMost expensive option-Completely new cabinets
-Opportunity to redesign your kitchen

Choosing a cabinet refinishing service can be a cost-effective option, restoring your cabinets to their original condition without the expense of a full replacement.

Additionally, if only certain parts of your cabinets are damaged, restoring them professionally can save you money, as you’re only paying for the necessary repairs.

In conclusion, if your old kitchen cabinets are still functional and structurally sound, professional restoration services could be an excellent option.

Not only will your space look refreshed, but you’ll also end up saving money compared to a full replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are effective methods for refinishing kitchen cabinets?

Refinishing kitchen cabinets can be done in a few different ways:

  • Sanding: Remove the old finish by sanding the surfaces, then apply new stain or paint.
  • Paint or Stain: Applying a fresh coat of paint or stain can instantly update cabinets.
  • Veneer or Laminate: Add a new layer of veneer or laminate to give your cabinets a fresh look.

Remember to prepare the surfaces correctly before applying any new finish.

Can old kitchen cabinets be repurposed, and if so, how?

Yes, old kitchen cabinets can be repurposed in many ways:

  • Built-in office space: Transform the cabinets into a custom work area in your home.
  • Garage or workshop storage: Use cabinets as storage for tools and equipment.
  • Bathroom storage: Adapt cabinets for linen storage in your bathroom.
  • Bookshelves or display cases: Create a unique bookshelf or display case.

What cost-effective strategies can be employed to update kitchen cabinets?

There are several affordable ways to update kitchen cabinets:

  • Change hardware: Updating knobs and handles can make cabinets seem new.
  • Paint or stain: A fresh coat can give an entirely new look.
  • Add molding: Decorative molding can customize and upgrade the appearance.
  • Reface the cabinets: Apply veneer or laminate for a new surface finish.

Is it feasible to relocate and reinstall kitchen cabinets in a new setting?

Yes, it is possible to relocate and reinstall kitchen cabinets. Dismantle the cabinets carefully, preserving their integrity. Plan the new layout and any necessary modifications before reinstallation. Be prepared to make additional adjustments to ensure proper fit and function in the new setting.

What techniques can help to rejuvenate aged wood cabinets?

Aged wood cabinets can show wear and tear, but there are methods to rejuvenate them:

  • Cleaning: Remove grime and dirt with a wood-safe cleaner.
  • Reconditioning: Applying wood oil or conditioner can restore shine and depth.
  • Sanding and refinishing: Sanding and applying a new finish restores the original appearance.
  • Patching minor damage: Fill in scratches, dents, or nail holes using wood filler.

How should unwanted kitchen cabinets be properly disposed of?

When disposing of unwanted kitchen cabinets:

  • Donate or sell: Offer cabinets to friends, family, or online auction sites.
  • Recycle: Contact your local recycling center to see if they accept the cabinet materials.
  • Repurpose: Transform cabinets into other functional items for your home.

The Bottom Line

Cabinets are an essential part of every kitchen. They help you improve the functionality of your kitchen and also add to its aesthetic beauty.

However, since you see and use them every day, there might come a point when you just want to get rid of them or change the way they look.

If you have gotten tired of your old kitchen cabinets, you can shake things up and sell or donate them to buy new cabinets.

Alternatively, you can repurpose your cabinets into a wide array of household furniture, such as desks, consoles, window seats, storage units, etc.

However, if you don’t want to get rid of your cabinets, you can simply change their look by refurbishing them.

Use fresh paint, new finishes, mounting, veneer, and lighting to transform your old kitchen cabinets.

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