DIY Network

How to Reface Your Cabinets

These step-by step instructions demonstrate how to give your kitchen cabinets a facelift with framed fabric panels.

More in Kitchen

  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Plan the Design

Use masking tape on the cabinet doors to outline the potential picture frame size each door can take. Tip: Smaller cabinet doors are good locations for different decorative items, like wooden trivets.

Stand back, review and readjust. You're looking to create a consistent line with some of the frames and provide a variation point as well. For example, one larger cabinet door could have two smaller frames instead of a large one. This creates visual interest in a run of cabinets. Keep border sizes constant for similarly sized doors, but allow for one variation.

Make a drawing of the cabinets and frame placements, listing how many frames will be needed in each size category.

Arrange the frames before attaching them to the cabinets.

Clearly review the design elements present in the kitchen, especially those you don't like. Use that design element to your advantage in this project. Crisp, white laminate cabinets provide good contrast to dark wooden frames.

Determine the materials you want for your frames and decorative elements. Make a list or pull photos from a design/kitchen magazine to take to the store.

Step 2: Go Shopping

Make a detailed list of how many new handles you'll need for the cabinet doors. Tip: Note whether the handles run horizontally or vertically.

At your local home store, review the selection of frames available. Select different frame styles for each size category, but keep the frame color consistent.

At the home store, review a selection of "design elements:" carved wooden trivets, interesting serving trays or platters. Anything flat, decorative and drillable can be considered. Refer to your drawing and measurements list to keep the decision making process easier.

Select a large print that will go above the sink.

Select a style of kilim carpet that accents the colors in the print.

Select new handles for your cabinets. Keep in mind the wood tones of the picture frames. Dark metal handles work well with dark wooden frames.

Step 3: Choose the Design Layout

Lay your frames against the cabinet, step back and review.

Take apart the frames and use the cardboard backs as guides for determining where you'll cut the carpet.

Readjust and rotate these guides until you're happy with the design elements you're highlighting. This is an important step. Think it through and experiment.

Step 4: Cut the Tapestry

With a magic marker, outline the cardboard guides on the carpet.

Cut out the carpet pieces following the marker outlines.

Run glue along the backside of the carpet to adhere it to the cardboard.

Reassemble each frame with the carpet as the piece of artwork. Do not use the glass inserts when you reassemble the frames. You don't want reflections to interfere with your design, and you'll need the extra space within the frame to accommodate the carpet.

Step 5: Attach the Frames to the Cabinets

Make sure the screws you're using to install the frames are just long enough to go through the door and halfway through the frame.

Hang the largest category of frames first. Tip: A laser level makes the process go very smoothly.

Pre-drill the holes to prevent the cabinets from splitting. Remember to drill through the cabinet door into the back of the frame, but don't go through the frame.

Always work from top to bottom and largest to smallest when installing picture frames and decorative items. Periodically step back to review your work. Are the picture frames level? Are your borders around the frames consistent? Adjust as necessary.

Step 6: Finish the Project

Install the new cabinet hardware.

Hang the focal point picture over the sink.