Updating kitchen cabinets with paint

As long as the frames and doors are structurally sound, you can clean them up and brush on a fresh coat of paint—and within a weekend take that kitchen from dreary to sunny.

All you need to update your old kitchen cabinets is some strong cleaner, sandpaper, a paintbrush, and a little elbow grease.

"Today, manufacturers assemble them faster and more economically than we can." The goal is to take this collection of boxes and bring them together to make a beautiful piece of built-in furniture.

Both are available through woodworking companies, and some manufactures offer peel-and-stick veneer to make the task simpler. Work carefully, and your kitchen will look brand-new in no time.

And in most cases, they'll even cut the plywood to your dimensions.

If you've never attempted a woodworking project as seemingly complex as this one, don't worry.

A sturdy, high-quality one can leave a thousand-dollar dent in your finances, but as general contractor Tom Silva demonstrates, you can enhance a few stock kitchen base cabinets with molding, furniture feet, and knobs to produce a handcrafted piece for a fraction of the cost of buying one ready-made.

Opt for unfinished 15- or 18-inch cabinets fitted with doors and operable drawers (not the fake drawer fronts used for sink cabinets) and take a day to put all the pieces together.

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