DIY Kitchen cabinets less than $250

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover for less than $250

You don’t have to spend a ton of money on new kitchen cabinets to get a new updated look.  When I first bought my house one of the things I didn’t like at all was the kitchen.  I lived with the orange colored oak cabinets and vinyl flooring for a while before I decided to add hardwood floors.  I also bought new appliances, added crown molding to the cabinets, added new hardware and used permacil tape on the walls to make the walls look like stripes (not something I would recommend.  When I removed the tape a few years later it pulled chunks of drywall off the walls I had to skimcoat the walls before I could re-paint them.  You can read more about that fiasco and the wrong color paint I used here).   I lived with the kitchen like that for a few years.  I didn’t love my kitchen but it was better then how it looked originally.  You can see my previous updates to the kitchen here.

A while ago I decided to continue working on the kitchen to make it look more like what I had been imaging.  First on the list of things to do was painting appliances, I painted my refrigerator and the stove hood with appliance paint to give them a new clean look.  Then I got to work on the cabinets! One of the easiest ways to make a kitchen look more updated and custom is to build the cabinets up to the ceiling and add a refrigerator surround.  This cabinet project cost me roughly $230.00.  Not a huge hit to the wallet if you ask me for such a dramatic new look!

Materials I used:
(3) 1 x 6 x 12′s (3) 12′ pieces of crown molding
(3) 10′ pieces of thin 1″ molding
(2) 4 x 8 MDF Sheets
New Hardware & Hinges
Paint (Sherwin Williams Wool Skein)
Left over wood and Union Jack Sheet Metal

Step 1: I started out attaching some scrap blocks of wood to the top of the cabinets  and ceiling.  Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of these step but you can see where I placed these blocks in the photo below.


Step 2:  After installing these blocks I attached a 1 x 6 piece of wood to the front of these blocks around the cabinets and build a refrigerator surround.  Since I was using pretty wide crown molding I didn’t need to have the new wood go up to the ceiling if you are using smaller crown you would probably want your wood to go up to the ceiling so your crown has something to bite into.


For the surround, I made a box around the refrigerator, one sheet of MDF on the left and right side of the refrigerator, a piece of 1 x 6 wood in the front.  I had some left over union jack sheet metal from my DIY air return vent and left over 1 x 2 pieces of wood that I used for the new door for the refrigerator surround, I installed a shelf made of plywood above the refrigerator inside the surround to give me more storage space.  For the surround I had one of my friends hold the sheets of mdf up while I attached them to the wall.  Once I got both sides up I installed a shelf to go above the refrigerator then I attached the front 1 x 6 piece.  Then I made a frame with the union jack sheet metal for the door and attached it to the front top of the surround.


Step 3:  The next step was to add molding.  A very thin band where the new lumber meets the old cabinets and the crown molding.  Luckily one of my neighbors was able to help me get the crown cut right and he installed it for me!  For some reason this crown was not as easy to cut as the previous crown I did on the cabinets.


Step 4: Caulk and paint the cabinets.  I removed the doors and sanded both the boxes and doors, used one coat of primer and two coats of paint.  The paint I used was Sherwin Williams Wool Skein this paint is one of the 2014 color trends!

Step 5:  Add new door & drawer pulls and hinges then reinstall the doors.

Some other things I did to update the look of my kitchen was to add board and batten on one wall (the wall opposite the door to the deck) with a custom DIY air return vent.  I also built a plumbers pipe bench! I also made my own stain for the bench which you can see here “How to oxidize wood“.

What’s next on the kitchen to do list?  New counters and back-splash!  The back-splash will be marble subway tiles, the counters will be either marble or maybe quartz.

Before & After:


Kitchen when I put an offer on the house to purchase it (previous owners decor)


And how it looks today with updated DIY Cabinets!

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Makeover for less than $250

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Makeover for less than $250

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Makeover for less than $250

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Makeover for less than $250



113 comments for “DIY Kitchen cabinets less than $250

  1. May 11, 2017 at 1:22 am

    awesome article and i love to do in my house

  2. sara
    November 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

    I was wondering how you anchored the mdf panels on the sides of the fridge to the wall. Also are the mdf panels anchored to each other with any brace bars running width wise on the backside of the fridge?

    • Dria
      December 29, 2015 at 11:22 am

      I anchored them onto the back wall, ceiling and the floor, if you don’t want to go into the floor you could use braces.

  3. November 12, 2014 at 2:14 am

    Did you repaint the ceiling too? It is the same color as the walls or something different? Looks awesome.

    • Dria
      November 12, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Heidi, Thank you so much. nope I didn’t paint the ceiling the same as the walls, it could just be the time of day / lighting when I took the photos.

  4. Ruth Gaskins
    July 27, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    I Love your kitchen but have heard white turns yellow. How is your kitchen held up?

    • Dria
      July 28, 2014 at 4:49 am

      Hi Ruth,

      My cabinets aren’t white they are a greige color (they look gray in some lighting and beige in other lighting) the appliances are white. The stove and dishwasher are both over 8 years old and have never yellowed, the stove hood and refrigerator are both over 10 years old and have yellowed I used appliance paint on the refrigerator and the stove hood to make them look bright white again.

  5. Bayli Greenlea
    June 24, 2014 at 11:10 am

    This is BEAUTIFUL! I am amazed. I was looking around for how to redo a kitchen (My brother is redoing his and I am helping him) and this is exactly what I needed. His kitchen i kid you not looks identical to this, so saying that I was curious where you put your microwave when you finished? idk if i am just missing it in the pictures or if you moved it. Thank you 🙂

    • Dria
      June 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Thank you so much Bayli! 🙂 I don’t use a microwave, I never had one in this house. If you want to use one you could move the cabinets above the stove up higher and install one under those cabinets, or use a low profile one and install them under the cabinets where the range hood is. My previous house and the microwave over the stove where a range hood would go, it had a build in exhaust to act as a range hood. Please send me photos of your brothers kitchen I’d love to see his before and after!

  6. June 18, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Gotta love a white kitchen! The added height makes them look so much more custom and expensive! Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Ahn
    June 10, 2014 at 8:30 am

    What kind of brush for the cabinets, or did I miss that ? What would be a good color with stainless appliances but still make the room lighter ? If there would be prints would the primer cover them ? Thanks first time on your page.

    • Dria
      June 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Hi Ahn, I just used a 2.5″ Nylon/Polyester brush. I’m not sure on the best color for your kitchen, since colors can look very different depending on how much lighting the room gets etc and it depends on your personal taste, my favorite colors are greige (a combination of gray and beige) and gray. I also love bright white and off white with stainless steel. If you want the room to look lighter then white is probably the best way to go! What type of prints? A pattern like wallpaper or finger prints etc? Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Deon
    June 3, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Hi – I hope that you also checked your refrigerator’s manual to ensure that there is appropriate clearance on the sides as well as above/behind. Inadequate ventilation will reduce the lifespan of the appliance. Definitely something that anyone else attempting a fridge enclosure should consider!

    Overall, lovely results! Very inspirational to my own kitchen woes.

    • Dria
      June 3, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      Hi Deon, the union jack metal “grate” on the door above the refrigerator was used for ventilation purposes! The shelf above the refrigerator only goes half the depth of the surround, the back of the shelf also has union jack metal sheet to allow for ventilation!

      • Deon
        June 4, 2014 at 4:57 pm

        Great details! Thanks!

  9. June 2, 2014 at 8:11 am

    I would love to know what type of primer and paint you used for the cabinets! Thanks in advance!

    • Dria
      June 2, 2014 at 4:17 pm

      Hi, The primer on the cabinets is Bin the paint is Sherwin Williams Pro Classic, Eggshell finish in the color of Wool Skein!

      • June 3, 2014 at 6:06 am

        Thank you so much for the quick response, Dria!! Our cabinets are from 1970, and while they are still in relatively good shape, we want to update. Problem for us, is that we have (are you ready for this??) 31 cabinets!! That includes our pass through from the kitchen to the dining room. Our kitchen is pretty big, but 31 makes it sound huge…it’s that pass through! I’m not sure if I’m ready to tackle all that work, but it’s great to know the products that you used! Thanks for sharing!

        • Val
          June 3, 2014 at 11:59 pm

          Sounds like a good reason to rent and experiment with a paint sprayer….

  10. Bea
    June 2, 2014 at 7:10 am

    -very impressed with your diy know-how! Stupid question: does the ‘surround’ above the fridge double also additional storage space? You may have given this info. in your post. Sorry, if I have missed it!

    • Dria
      June 2, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      Hi Bea, yes the fridge surround doubles as extra storage the door above the fridge opens up to reveal a very deep shelf!

  11. May 22, 2014 at 9:47 am

    It always amazes me what a can of paint, a few pieces of wood and trim and a little elbow grease can do to a room. It came out beautiful!

  12. May 22, 2014 at 9:37 am

    Wow,, little changes make a big difference

  13. May 22, 2014 at 12:37 am

    Your skills and the after are both very impressive! Love the new look.

  14. May 21, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    Beautiful kitchen – you really did a nice job!

  15. May 21, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Seriously Amazing! Love your beautiful DIY kitchen! HUGE difference!

  16. May 21, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I am so in love with this DIY!! I have to share it with my husband because I want this kitchen too!!

    • Dria
      May 21, 2014 at 7:41 pm

      🙂 I hope you get it Amy! It’s easy enough to do that’s for sure!

  17. May 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Wow! What a huge difference! These are beautiful! I can’t believe this was so cost effective!

  18. The New Classy
    May 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I can’t believe what a difference those little changes made! It looks so high end!

    • Dria
      May 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      😉 thank you so much, my favorite projects are the ones that cost very little to do with a big impact!

  19. May 20, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Wow. I’m super impressed. We’re just finishing a bathroom remodel, and my kitchen is next on my list. If I could finish it like yours, I’d be thrilled!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Thank you Wendy! I bet you can make your kitchen look fantastic!

  20. May 20, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I really love hoe your new kitchen looks I’m trying to update mine in a budget as well and had no clue where to start now looking at your post I think I might start with the cabinets.

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      Aww I love comments like this Marie! My favorite thing about blogging is seeing what others create (myself included) by being inspired by someone else! Please shoot me an email to let me know when you have done your cabinets I’d love to see them!

  21. May 20, 2014 at 9:01 pm

    Oh my goodness, how amazing. Your kitchen looks wonderful. We remodeled our kitchen a bit ago and I never thought of crown. We actually have it over the other wall but may have to think about over the cabinets, as well.

  22. May 20, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I wish I had the patience to tackle a project like this. It turned out beautifully. I have some cabinets that could really use a makeover!

  23. May 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Awesome Job Now If I Could Just Get Myself To Do It You Make It Look So Easy!! LOL

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Aww 😉 it wasn’t super hard but it wasn’t the easiest, I do not enjoy sanding wood or painting any type of trim (I only like painting walls) but I took my time with it worked on a few doors a day on the weekends etc. You can do it just don’t try to do it all in one weekend, I started this project a long time ago but just finished it this past weekend!

  24. May 20, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    This is incredible, well done! I have been wanting to work over my kitchen cabinets for a while now. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 6:03 pm

      Thank you so much Danielle, when you do yours let me know I’d love to see it!

  25. claire
    May 20, 2014 at 5:26 pm


  26. May 20, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Awesome job on your kitchen. Total new look.

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      Thank you Debbie! Can’t wait to get started on some other rooms!

      • May 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm

        May I send my address. I love what you did and needed to see that it is possible to do a makeover for less money. This is an answer to an old woman’s prayer. Thank you.

    • May 20, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      yes looks like a whole different kitchen!

  27. May 20, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Just beautiful Dria!!! 🙂 You did a fantastic job!!!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 5:24 pm

      🙂 Thank you so much Nancy!

  28. May 20, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    This is beautiful. I painted my kitchen cabinets and I know how much work it is. But worth every minute I spent on it. I am sure you feel the same way. Gorgeous!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:59 pm

      Thank you so much Emily! I knew I wanted to paint my cabinets for years but just never got around to doing it because I knew how much work it was going to be so glad I finally did it!

  29. Doug Johnson
    May 20, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Maybe I missed it but is it regular latex pain you used or some special cabinet paint? BTW, it looks great!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      Hi Doug thanks for stopping by! The paint is Sherwin Williams Pro Classic enamel finish for trims and doors, it was the paint they recommended to me for the cabinets, it has some sort of self leveling in it to make the brush strokes nearly invisible. I had to do very little sanding between coats with this paint.

      • Doug Johnson
        May 20, 2014 at 2:17 pm

        Thanks Dria! I will check out my local SW store.

      • beth
        May 21, 2014 at 10:47 am

        Thanks for the paint info; I absolutely love the color you updated with. May I ask the name of the color?

        • Dria
          May 21, 2014 at 3:53 pm

          Hi Beth, it’s Sherwin Williams color is Wool Skein!

      • Rachel
        June 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm

        Is the paint holding up? I am worried about chipping, scratching, etc.

        • Dria
          June 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

          So far the paint on the cabinets has held up without any chipping! I also painted the wood trim on my counters (until I can replace them) that is the only area where the paint has chipped a bit but that counter edge gets a lot of abuse.

  30. Janet
    May 20, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I just love the color of the cabinets. I’ve been wanting to paint my cabinets. You are very talented!!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      Thank you so much Janet! You should do yours it just takes a little time and the cost of the paint!

  31. May 20, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    I love the way the way your kitchen looks now. My cabinets definitely need some updating so I am bookmarking your post for when we get around to it.

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:42 pm

      I would love to see yours when you do them Jen!

  32. May 20, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Beautiful job! We also have white appliances and are getting ready to do a similar “facelift”, would you mine sharing your cabinet color??

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:40 pm

      Hi Pamela, thanks so much, the paint is Sherwin Williams Wool Skein!

  33. May 20, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Wow, these are stunning and exactly what I woudl want in a beautiful kitchen! the price is right up my alley too!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks so much Amy, my kitchen is not that big so the price was very inexpensive for me to bring the cabinet height up, the new hardware is not expensive stuff I got it at my local hardware store and the paint didn’t cost much either!

  34. May 20, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Oh my gosh! Great job! It’s such a major transformation. I love that it just looks roomier and more light!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

      Thanks so much Lexie I love how much brighter the room is now, the room feels so much taller now too with the height of the cabinets brought up to the ceiling that was a huge thing for me since I went from a house that had 12′ ceilings to a house with 7.5′ ceilings!

  35. May 20, 2014 at 10:47 am

    What a big difference! It’s amazing what a little work can do!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      I so agree Annie! Wish I had done this years ago!

    • May 20, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      It is! Cabinets are such a big part of the kitchen, changing them out can make the whole thing look better!

  36. May 20, 2014 at 9:43 am

    Wow! Gorgeous! Wanna come do my kitchen? 🙂

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Kitchens are my favorite I wish I could do yours!!

  37. May 20, 2014 at 9:41 am

    Can you please come and do my kitchen?

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 10:08 am

      haha I would love to!!

  38. May 20, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Beautiful job. I went from black to white and what a difference it’s the world of light entered. 🙂

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Thank you so much Laura, oh that must have been a huge difference in the brightness of your kitchen when you went white from black!

  39. May 20, 2014 at 8:51 am

    This looks BEAUTIFUL! I love how light and bright it looks now. I would like to try this in my own kitchen!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Oh you should def do it, you will be amazed at the difference a little paint makes!

  40. May 20, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Wow, that’s amazing! I can’t believe you did that yourself — you could have a whole new career!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 8:59 am

      😉 Luckily my dad taught me a lot about home improvements when I was growing up!!

  41. May 20, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Wow that looks totally awesome!!! I love the color choices and how you finished the cabinets up to the top! Great job!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 8:31 am

      Thank you so much Allyson!

  42. lovebargains
    May 20, 2014 at 8:24 am

    I love the color of your kitchen cabinets. I have searched all over your site but can not find the color that you painted them. My husband and I are getting ready to paint our kitchen cabinets so can you please tell me the brand and name of the color on your kitchen cabinets, I have been going back and forth between a gray or cream off white color. I absolutely love your cabinets. Please share the color.
    Thank you

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Hi Debbie, The color is Sherwin Williams Wool Skein, it changes color from a beige to gray depending on the time of day and lighting.

  43. May 20, 2014 at 8:14 am

    I love this but, to be totally honest, I got completely lost when reading about the fridge surround.

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 8:29 am

      🙁 aww sorry Amanda, it’s just two pieces of mdf on either side of the fridge with a 1 x 6 across the front.

  44. May 20, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Love it, Love it!! White color is amazing !
    I need a new kitchen!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 8:29 am

      Thank you so much Diana, I can’t get over how much brighter the kitchen is now with the wood cabinets painted!

  45. May 20, 2014 at 8:07 am

    You certainly dressed those standard oak cabinets up with this treatment…awesome job.

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 8:28 am

      Thank you so much Robin!!

  46. May 20, 2014 at 7:58 am

    I wish I had the ability and tools to do things like this. It came out so nicely!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 8:07 am

      Thank you so much Liz! It really didn’t take much to do, the hardest part is getting the angles for the crown cut right esp when things aren’t square!

  47. May 20, 2014 at 7:21 am

    Wow beautiful! I love the light cabinets. Ours our very dark and our kitchen dark green so it can see small in there, I’d love to lighten up the room and put up molding!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 7:34 am

      You should do it Cherise! It’s cheap enough and easy enough!

  48. May 20, 2014 at 7:17 am

    Your kitchen is beautiful, Dria! I love the roman shade too! I was all set to get started painting my cabinets (have all my supplies all set to go!) a couple of months ago and then we had freezing weather and rain for what seemed like forever. I need to find my motivation again and get started! The difference in your kitchen is amazing! XO

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 7:34 am

      I can’t wait to see your cabinets Christy! I love kitchen transformations they are my favorite room makeovers!

  49. May 20, 2014 at 7:07 am

    These look amazing. We are currently in the process of planning our new home that will be built next summer. I’ll have to keep projects like this in mind to save some money.

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 7:35 am

      So lucky Dwan it must be so much fun to build your own home!

  50. May 20, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Lovely kitchen – you did a great job! VERY nice!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 6:52 am

      Thank you so much Debbie!

  51. May 20, 2014 at 6:21 am

    That is amazing that you were able to do it for so little money! Great job!

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 6:30 am

      Thank you so much Robin! Best projects are the ones where I don’t spend much money 😉

  52. May 20, 2014 at 12:50 am

    WOW oh my WOW can you do my house next?

    • Dria
      May 20, 2014 at 6:14 am

      😉 lol I’d love to!

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