Kitchen Cabinets: Reface or Replace?

Kitchen cabinets

The kitchen is a busy room in many homes. That popularity likely has something to do with why so many homeowners spend sizable sums renovating their kitchens.

According to the 2022 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, the median spend on major kitchen remodels grew by 14% from the previous year, and minor remodels increased by 25%. Spurred on by increased time spent at home during the pandemic, the main impetus for kitchen re- models according to the study was that homeowners wanted to make these improvements all along and finally had the time and means to do so.

There are many aspects of a kitchen that homeowners can change. Houzz found that 94% of renovators either fully or partially replaced cabinets in their improvement plans. Cabinets help to establish the aesthetic of a kitchen and serve a useful function, providing necessary storage space to ensure the room does not appear cluttered. Homeowners have different options when it comes to cabinet renovations, and they may need to decide if they need to replace or reface their cabinets.


Cabinet replacement involves removing all of the existing cabinets before new cabinets are leveled and installed. According to home improvement resource The Spruce, homeowners can expect to pay between $13,000 and $30,000 for contractor-grade cabinets. Cabinet replacement is a good idea when homeowners want to add more cabinet space or create a new layout in the room.


Cabinet refacing is less messy and less disruptive than replacement. All cabinets remain the same size and in the same location. The cabinet boxes must be in good shape to facilitate a refacing. The process involves installation of new drawer fronts and cabinet doors, as well as veneering of the cabinet boxes. New hardware typically is installed as well. The insides of the cabinets typically remain the same. The Spruce says cabinet refacing can be 30%–50% less expensive than a replacement.

Most people call in professionals to change their cabinets. Homeowners who choose to reface their cabinets themselves may opt to paint or restain. Wood veneer or a new door and drawer panel installation can be complicated and is best left to qualified contractors.

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