Kitchen Cabinets: New vs. Refinished

professional renovator measures kitchen cabinets

Is it time for a kitchen renovation?

A kitchen requires space, functionality, and aesthetic appeal – all of which can be achieved with your kitchen cabinets!

When it comes to sprucing up the look of your kitchen, you have options when it comes to cabinets:

Replace or reface.

As a part of your kitchen renovation plan, it’s important that you consider how you want to update the look of your cabinets.

To help you out, Ridgeline Improvements has put together this guide to help you decide between new or refinished kitchen cabinets.

Let’s get started!

Kitchen Cabinet Types

woman looks through kitchen cabinet options

Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Solid wood remains a widely popular choice for kitchen cabinets – it provides natural beauty, durability, strength, versatility, and longevity.

With solid wood kitchen cabinets, the grain, pattern, texture, and color of the wood can vary, giving it a wide range of styles.

This kitchen cabinet type costs more than other materials, but it lasts long and adds value to your home.

Wood Veneer Kitchen Cabinets

For a natural wood look for a lower cost, you can always go with wood veneer kitchen cabinets.

A wood veneer is a thin strip of solid hardwood that is adhered to a piece of plywood or particle board to create cabinets that look like wood.

Although wood veneer cabinets are durable and resistant to warping, they are susceptible to water damage.

High-Density Fiberboard (HDF)

HDF is an engineered wood made with a mix of wood fibers, blue, and resin. This provides the appearance of wood cabinets at a fraction of the cost.

It’s actually denser than solid wood and can be painted to match the decor of your kitchen. However, it doesn’t last as long as wood and doesn’t have a wood-grain look.

Laminate Kitchen Cabinets

Laminate is a material that is created by affixing paper to plywood to create various designs, patterns, and colors.

The price and strength of the laminate depend on its quality.

For instance, LPL (lower-pressure laminate) is cheap but will crack and chip, whereas HPL (high-pressure laminate) is more durable.

Overall, laminate kitchen cabinets are affordable, easy to clean and come in a variety of looks to suit your kitchen’s design.

New Kitchen Cabinets

When getting new kitchen cabinets, the old ones are removed, and new ones are installed.

While you can consider kitchen cabinet replacement a DIY project, ensuring that the cabinets are precisely leveled can be difficult.

Improperly leveled cabinets can lead to cracking down the road!

Fortunately, professionals out there can install new kitchen cabinets with expertise and precision.

Completely replacing your kitchen cabinets is best done during a total kitchen renovation, but it can also be done if your cabinets are in rough shape.


  • You can add more space to your kitchen.
  • You can change the look and design of your kitchen.
  • It adds resale value to your home.


  • It costs more than kitchen cabinet refinishing.
  • It can be a huge disruption to your kitchen space during installation.
  • Wastes potentially functional cabinets.

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinet refacing involves installing new drawer fronts and kitchen cabinet doors and adding a veneer to the cabinet boxes.

Typically, the inside of the cabinets remains the same.

This is a difficult DIY project because there is a huge learning curve when it comes to installing the veneer.

Kitchen cabinet refinishing works well when your cabinet boxes are in good shape, but your doors and drawers need some updating.


  • Kitchen cabinet refacing is less expensive than replacing your kitchen cabinets.
  • Perfectly good cabinets aren’t sent to landfills, so it’s a more environmentally friendly option.
  • There is less disruption and mess during kitchen cabinet refacing.


  • In order to do kitchen cabinet refinishing, the cabinet boxes have to be in good shape.
  • The cabinet boxes stay the same size and in the same location, so there’s no room to reconfigure your kitchen space.
  • The insides of the kitchen cabinets are not refaced.

Kitchen Cabinet Trends

A luxurious white and blue kitchen with gold hardware

Whether you are looking to replace your cabinets or have them refinished, here are some kitchen cabinet trends to inspire a new look for your kitchen:

Shaker Cabinets

Shaker cabinets are a popular kitchen cabinet trend that can blend with any design!

This kitchen cabinet style features simple design elements like flat paneled doors with rail frames, giving these cabinets a frame and panel profile.

European Style

The European style involves frameless kitchen cabinets that have a clean, simple, and seamless appearance. 

The kitchen cabinet doors go from edge to edge, so you don’t see the frames, and they can be done in flat panel or Shaker style.

Color Blocking

Color blocking involves grouping blocks of kitchen cabinet colors together in one area of the kitchen.

For example, you can use dark cabinets under your counters and lighter colors on top. Or black cabinets for your kitchen island and gray cabinets around the room.

Open Shelves

Open up your kitchen space by removing some of your kitchen cabinet doors. Mix in some open shelves or glass doors to make your kitchen feel more spacious.

Contrasting Hardware

Choose hardware that stands out against your kitchen cabinet colors, such as silver handles against dark wood cabinets.

Mixed and Matched Cabinets

If you’re looking for a more eclectic design, combine different kitchen cabinet colors and styles.

Try placing a flat front cabinet on top of a Shaker-styled one, or paint your cabinets in contrasting colors.

Creative Cabinet Lighting

Consider under-cabinet lighting to illuminate your counter space and lighting on top of your cabinets to create some ambiance in your kitchen.

Time to Call in the Professionals!

Ridgeline Improvements understands that a kitchen renovation, even if you are updating, is a huge undertaking that involves many decisions.

Our team is dedicated to making the experience stress-free by guiding you toward the perfect design that suits your unique needs.

We are here for you – every step of the way!

You can get started today by contacting us for more information or requesting a quote.

We look forward to hearing from you!