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80's Laminate Cabinet Kitchen Update Advice
Saverio
January 13, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I just bought a new house and I'm planning some small projects to get done before my wife and I move in. The kitchen is in good condition, but it could badly use an update. So far the plan is to tear up the laminate tile flooring and expose the hardwood underneath (we're removing all of the carpets/laminate in the entire house and stripping, staining everything one color). We're thinking of going with a dark brown for the flooring.

The problem is the cabinets: based on my research, the best plan I've come up with is to re-laminate them or to paint them (leaning towards painting them). We were thinking a dark charcoal for the base cabinets and a white or shade of grey for the top. I also figured I would add some nice flat bar pulls to give them the modern look that my wife and I love. Where I'm stuck is the "wood" trim and what to do with it. Do I paint it all one color, do I paint it a different color? Will it look weird to have the pull handles AND the flat bar pulls on the cabinets/drawers? Can I cover them up/remove them? Any ideas would be awesome.
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Can you possible replace these? I know these 80's cabinets very well. A good friend of mine had them and the doors kept falling off because the area where the hinges were attached was crumbling and would no longer support them. They scream 80's whether they're relaminated, or painted, or covered in gold dust! LOL

If you are handy, I would highly recommend Ikea cabinets. They are stylish and not too difficult to install, but you do have to assemble them. I would also recommend that you remove the bulkhead because this really dates the kitchen too. Your cabinets could be much taller if you do.

If you can't afford to do all this right now, then I'd recommend you put this on your list to work toward. I do not believe there is a quick fix for this kitchen.
January 13, 2013 at 5:23PM     
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Saverio
Replacing them is something I'm still open to, but to be honest, the cabinets are structurally sound and I figured I would try and salvage them first. I was able to adjust the hinges (they're actually fairly good hinges) and everything is in good shape.

I agree with you on the bulk head. It is definitely going to go either way. If I keep these, I figured I could at least remove it and cap the cabinets with some nice crown moulding.

New ikea cabinets are going to run at least $3k, and they'd probably be great looking in here, but since a full remodel isn't far down the line, I'm really just looking to get a bit more time out of these.
January 13, 2013 at 5:43PM     
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Understood, Saverio. I just have a visceral reaction to these particular cabinets (the style, I mean) and couldn't help myself saying they MUST GO! LOL

Of course you must do what you think best for you personally.
January 13, 2013 at 5:45PM     
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Saverio
Haha no worries! The only thing worse than the cabinets is the flooring and countertop/backsplash combo. The previous owner told me "We actually WANTED laminate countertops....I like the look of them much better than granite or any other sort of stone" and I had to hold back laughter.
January 13, 2013 at 5:55PM     
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Cynthia Taylor-Luce
Chuckling here at your anecdote... Yes, it sure takes all kinds... But this is your house now, and you'll raise it up and make it your castle (in due course). Then you can post on the 'before and after' discussion group!
January 13, 2013 at 5:58PM     
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Bonnie
You could look into having them painted professionally with a spray gun. The paint will last longer and will look much nicer. Are you going to replace the counter tops? If your going to paint the bottome cabinets a darker grey, you could pick a grey that is lighter to paint the wood trims. It would blend with both the white upper cabinets and charcoal grey lower cabinets. I sure hope you are going to replace the floor too. Since the cabinets have built in handles I would not spend more money on additional handles for the cabinets.
January 13, 2013 at 6:06PM     
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Saverio
Yep, I'm going to ditch the countertops. Not sure with what just yet. Possibly some butcher block or maybe a dark stone/concrete.

I like the idea of playing with the shades of grey for the trim.
January 13, 2013 at 6:20PM     
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Darzy
If you want modern look, I'd paint them all white, with no handles. All clean lines. If you want the lower cabinets gray, that would be nice, but no hardware anywhere. You could do a high gloss on the wood trim area for looks, and easier to keep clean.

January 13, 2013 at 6:27PM     
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Bonnie
your other option would be to paint the bottom a darker grey with light trim and the upper with a lighter grey and dark trim. One thing you need to be careful with a galley kitchen is going dark on the floor. It makes it look very dark in the room and smaller. I have a gally kitchen and we now have light floors and it looks like it has more space. If you decide to replace your counter tops you could get the white ones with specs of glass in it to give the room a little color and then may a multi colored back splash. If you get new counter tops, get an under mount stainless steel sink, looks much better then the over mounted sink. I would also go with either all stainless appliances, or my preference would be black/stainless mixture on the appliances so their easier to keep clean than all stainless. A nice light aqua or teal color would look great on the walls and would look nice with the grey cabinets. I don't know what your favorite colors are since you didn't mention that.
January 13, 2013 at 6:29PM     
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Darzy
Install a really fun chandelier in the eating area. People will say..what a great chandy, instead of...aren't those 80s cabinets? lol


January 13, 2013 at 6:30PM     
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ruthmand
Honestly, you may be best off just putting up with this kitchen until you can do it right. By the time you put in new flooring, countertops, paint the cabinets, etc. you will have spent quite a bit of time and money and it still won't look great nor be the kitchen you really want. And please don't add crown molding to this style of cabinetry.
January 13, 2013 at 6:32PM     
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apple_pie_order
You can paint the wood trim/handles the same color as the white laminate. A professional painter would be be able to advise you on whether painting the laminate is likely to work well for a few years. Painting the wood trim handles is easy. Adding extra pulls will look silly. Maybe upgrade the kitchen sink faucet instead if you don't like it.

Chances are that this is the tip of the '80's iceberg. There may be more important things than the kitchen remodel to spend money on now.

Eventually, soffits will be back in style, and so will retro '80's kitchens.
January 13, 2013 at 6:54PM     
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onthefence
I was thinking the same as Darzy and using the small tab pulls shown in her photo.

The bar pulls are gorgeous - but they're murder on pockets. You learn to develop a certain bizarre stance when standing close to them.
January 13, 2013 at 7:00PM     
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Bonnie
I took your current kitchen and changed the colors in photo shop, just to give you an idea for colors only.
January 13, 2013 at 7:41PM     
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Saverio
Haha, great advice all around.

Not looking to dump a lot of cash into something temporary. I think a high gloss paint on the cabinets and just swapping out the countertops will go a long way. Just need to get this to the point where I can look at it without being sad haha.

apple_pie_order, It's funny you mention the "tip of the 80's iceberg", as there are a few other items on my list that are also getting done before the move in. I've already done a fair bit of wallpaper removal and still have another 2 rooms to do (including the bathroom ceiling and doors!).
January 13, 2013 at 7:47PM     
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Bonnie
We laminated our cabinets and once you do that, you have to be careful with appliance that get hot, like a toaster, toaster oven, coffee maker could make the laminate on the new cabinets peel. I found that out the hard way.
January 13, 2013 at 7:50PM     
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onthefence
It seems a high gloss on everything will go a long way toward making this a not sad kitchen.

One thing I've read (you've probably seen the same) it's recommended to NOT remove the trim. Most likely MDF is what is underneath and doesn't paint well. Then you have a whole new surface to try to improve.
January 13, 2013 at 7:53PM   
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Saverio
bonnieinca, thanks for putting that together. I think the dark grey bottoms + white tops will really change the look. The ivory color just reminds me so much of old electronics which brings me back to the 80's: http://oldcomputers.net/pics/appleii-system.jpg

I'll keep the heat concerns in mind if we go down the laminating route.
January 13, 2013 at 7:55PM     
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Saverio
onthefence, completely agree. MDF is ugly and hard to work with and I'm 99% sure if I remove the trim, I'm going to destroy the structural integrity of the doors/drawers since these cabinets tend to be fragile and aren't designed to come apart from that MDF backing.

Question: Is it realistically feasible to get that "high gloss" look with paint on the cabinets/trim? I'm assuming I can achieve the look I want with a few coats of poly and a final coating of enamel spray.
January 13, 2013 at 8:01PM   
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wendolynn
Hi, I have an idea. I don't know if this would work because I can't see the detail of the cabinets but look at the wood pulls and see if you could nicely cut the lip, ( pull part off), still leaving a good portion of the wood on the cabinet and paint the whole door your desired color. Another idea, is to play around with a dowel rod, it might fill that space and then the wood trim would look purely decorative. Still think whole cabinet should be one color.
I am with you on painting these cabinets now and not living with them until they can be replaced. So many great creative things can be done with existing furnishings if you are willing. In my opinion you can't hurt these, anything you do will be an improvement. And you might be an inspiration for others that have these cabinets that great thing can be done with what you have. Can't wait to see your kitchen!!! Good luck!!!!
January 14, 2013 at 5:21AM     
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apple_pie_order
Here's a photo of '80's lipped cabinets with the wood trim painted and bar handles:

January 14, 2013 at 6:27AM     
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Saverio
Awesome find! Thank you! I think painting the trim and cabinet the same color is the way to go here.
January 14, 2013 at 4:09PM     
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R J Hoppe Inc
If anyone has told you you can paint plastic laminate I would run. No lacquer no oil based paint no latex based paint not even zinnser will stick to it. There is a phenolic top coat to plastic laminate. The only chance you have is sanding the living daylights out of the pieces until you get through that top coat. But what about the edges, what about the cabinets?
January 14, 2013 at 4:23PM     
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wendolynn
Love the photo from apple pie!!! Looks awesome!!!!
January 15, 2013 at 6:43PM     
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Elise Moore Design
Agree with RJ. You cannot paint these cabinets. The paint will just peel right off and you will have a big mess. I suggest you just live with them for awhile and start planning your kitchen renovation. By the time you are ready to renovate the kitchen you will know what you want. I think just re-doing the floors is going to be a good start and will go a long way towards making the kitchen look better. Paint the walls a bright white, ditch the chair rail, throw a Persian runner on the floor and it will look very modern.
January 15, 2013 at 7:12PM     
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bbkieffer
You CAN paint these cabinets and it WILL work. I had the same cabinets and I followed a 6 step process, but they have held up for 10 years now!
1) Clean/degreaser
2) Sand, add decorative wood rope trim
3) Zinsser primer
4) 2 coats base coat color
5) glaze
6) polycrylic top coat
January 15, 2013 at 7:35PM     
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chris34
I have these same cabinets in the kitchen and 3 bathrooms :) I am also planning a remodel in a few years so I needed to find an inexpensive fix. I painted 1 bathroom and the kitchen cabinets so far. SAND well! I did 2 coats of primer (tinted to paint color) an 2 coats of Sherwin Williams trim paint. Love them! You do need handles though. You will scratch the paint pulling on the painted wood with you fingernails. I did mine several months ago. No problems so far and we cook almost everyday. Btw- I also "faux granite" painted my laminate countertops and had a big holiday party everyone thought they were granite and most of the guests have granite! Wasn't sure if they were just being nice but when I told them I painted them they all said " no you didn't" then went over and touched them. Total cost was under $200.
January 15, 2013 at 7:47PM     
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linda whitlock
Rustoleum makes a product call cabinet transformations. Google it. Covers anything. Worth the time
January 15, 2013 at 7:48PM     
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jenlcolburn
What about taking the cabinet doors off and working with open shelving? Perhaps at least on one wall. This would also make your kitchen look and feel larger.
January 15, 2013 at 7:49PM     
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Eagledzines
Just a thought--you might try painting the soffit the same color as the upper cabinets to make them appear less obvious.
January 15, 2013 at 8:30PM     
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Angie Duguay
you can paint those cabinet with acrylic primer and acrylic pearl paint i did mine so far no trouble thier is little shine in it love mine
February 6, 2013 at 4:32PM     
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njcook53
I agree with the Rustoleum product. I used them on an old, very work bath cabinet (just to test the product) and I really like the end result. I've painted laminate cabinets before and it just peeled off. Good luck!
February 6, 2013 at 4:45PM     
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Bonnie
Just remember when you paint a surface like that you need to lightly sand it first so the paint will stick and not peel later on.
February 7, 2013 at 9:48AM     
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sayboone
I wonder if automotive paint would work.....no idea but I've seen it used on cabinets before to get a smooth, high-gloss look.
February 7, 2013 at 10:01AM     
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JLADWL
What about replacing the doors? We refaced a kitchen with this door style recently and use a good quality thermofoil door. The material cost was under $1000.
February 7, 2013 at 10:09AM   
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Judy M
I had those cabinets once. I can tell you they come in all grades of quality. Ours were very well made and we still use a few of them in the garage for storage. The great thing about ours was they were frameless and offered a ton of storage space.
If they are in good condition, I would definitely consider painting them. I saw a show on TV many years ago and that's exactly what they did, came out great. I'm sure if you goggle or try Youtube, you'll find plenty of info.
February 7, 2013 at 10:10AM     
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lisam17
I painted my laminate cabinets and trim all white and then added hardware. They look great! I asked at my local hardware store (not at the big boxes) and they recommended a paint specifically for covering laminate. Sadly, I don't remember the brand, but it did not require any sanding. My kitchen is well-used every day and the paint is holding up really well.
February 7, 2013 at 3:54PM     
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pitbulls
I would paint the cabinet wood trim white or off white to match the cabinets.Save your money and time for your big redo.
February 7, 2013 at 4:12PM   
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Norm Walters Construction Inc.
I agree with replacing the doors with thermo foil doors for about $8 a square foot if you do it yourself.
February 7, 2013 at 8:01PM     
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Ruth Ann Chaplik-Secreto
Yes... Spray paint cabinet doors like said above... , put your money in new or used newer appliances .... & tiling counters isn't that bad until you can replace ... A good accent color that deepens interest like a jewel tone would be good too ! P.S. I have seen thin layers of granite or corian to cover counters &then just buy the bull nose ends & attach ...they will look good as new !
February 7, 2013 at 8:19PM     
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Eagledzines
Be careful of thin granite. It is cut to 1 1/4" to help prevent breakage during installation.
February 7, 2013 at 8:23PM   
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Norm Walters Construction Inc.
Corian can't be applied to a solid substrate (old countertop) because of expansion and contraction of the material.
February 7, 2013 at 8:39PM   
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Urbana ~ Designer Ellen Crystal
use melamine paint as will adhere to the melamine /laminate finish. If done well, should last for 5-10 years.. .then on to the new~
February 7, 2013 at 11:40PM     
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Eagledzines
If you wanted to really update the pulls, you can get a metal replacement that's exactly the same shape as the wood ones.

No, it will not affect the structural integrity of the door, even though it's MDF to take the pulls off if they are removed correctly. They would have to be run through a table saw by someone that knows what they are doing. The hardware is glued on and into a groove. It would be cut clean and have to be re-grooved to accept the metal. A nice brushed finish would look nice.
February 7, 2013 at 11:55PM     
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floridamitzy
Hi eagledzines! I have the same cabinets and a small kitchen. I like your idea to replace with metal; however, no idea where or what to look for. Any suggestions?
Thanks
Mitzy
February 18, 2013 at 7:35AM   
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soberg
I have seen people fully paint over both the laminate and the wood area. I didn't care for the look,
but I fully understand wanting to save and reuse what you can. I guess you may as well try it first....and if you hate it, you can still reface or replace.

(This picture gave me flashbacks to the horrible kitchen in my first house. Handyman from hell chose these exact cabinets and installed them himself, apparently without benefit of level or tape measure. The counter seam had a 3/8" gap and I can only imagine what had been growing down there. The oven could only be opened after opening an interfering drawer first. Shudder.......)
February 18, 2013 at 7:54AM   
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Eagledzines
floridamitzy--Here is an article from Retro Renovation revealing three places to buy the metal banding. http://retrorenovation.com/2011/02/01/3-places-to-buy-metal-edging-for-kitchen-countertops/
February 18, 2013 at 8:10AM     
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mamaloulove
ok.......this is what I would do....paint everything white....the floor looks fine to me..then paint all walls a mint blue because then you see the beautiful color and the cleanliness of the white...yellows would be a great accent ...
February 18, 2013 at 8:33AM     
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lapetitemel19
I actually am looking for cabinets with built-in handles like that!! But all one color. :)
June 9, 2013 at 2:51PM   
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chris407
I have these cabinets too. I was wondering if I could take thin pieces of wood, maybe 2 inches wide, and line the outside of the cabinets which would cover the wood trim. This would give the cabinets a simple shaker style look. After the wood strips cover the top, bottom and sides of each door, they could all be painted. Lastly, I would want to add simple pulls in keeping with a shaker style cabinet. Does anyone have any ideas as to how this could be done?
June 11, 2013 at 5:03PM     
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albenda
I recently bought a house with the same kitchen cabinets. They're really structurally sound and well built - just outdated, would be a real shame to dump them - besides not willing to spend $$$$$ Chris407 - I really like your idea. In addition I would like to replace the hinges paint and add hardware.. Let me know if you make any progress .... Everyone else, kindly share any photos with updates ... Good Luck :)
August 17, 2013 at 3:42PM   
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chris407
My idea is to make my 80''s cabinets look like shaker style cabinets but I don't know how to affix the wood strips to the laminate fronts of the cabinets. Would liquid nails work or do I need to screw them onto the doors and counter sink the screws and fill the holes? Does anyone have any ideas as to how this could be done correctly. I don't want to ruin the cupboard doors
August 18, 2013 at 9:01AM     
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apple_pie_order
@chris407: Buy a laminate door ($10 or $15) from a supplier, some wood trim, wood filler, primer and paint, brass wood screws, the countersink bit and Liquid nails. Practice on the new laminate door. Then decide.

You might want to start your own discussion thread.
August 18, 2013 at 9:49AM     
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chris407
Thanks, My neighbor was throwing out her old cupboard doors so I replaced a chipped one of mine and still have the old one to practice on. My question is what do I need a wood filler for? Is that to fill any space between the new wood strip and the old wood strips on the doors?
August 18, 2013 at 2:32PM   
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apple_pie_order
The wood filler is to cover the screw holes. Nice that you have a door to practice on!
August 18, 2013 at 2:42PM     
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chris407
thanks
August 18, 2013 at 3:21PM   
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Judy M
Update to my comment: the show I saw was Debbie Travis
August 18, 2013 at 3:59PM   
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albenda
Also thinking of buying/replacing doors and hinges. I found a few sites that carry unfinished cabinet doors, in different styles - this way I can match the paint with cabinet sides.
August 18, 2013 at 4:33PM   
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beautysblush
Saverio, I have the EXACT same kitchen as you except my laminate cabinets do not have the wood on the bottom of the doors. I am thinking of doing exactly the same thing. I have been researching and yes you can absolutely paint laminate cabinets. A friend of mine did hers and they look good. The most important thing is to clean then very well and then sand them every where. Then apply primer let dry several days. Then apply the top coat with an epoxy paint or one that your hardware store recommends. I do like the color ideas. Dark grey on the bottom and lighter gray on the top. The handles that would look good are the modern ones that are chrome or stainless that look like long bars you grab hold of. If the cabinets are structurally sound then I think it is good to use them and be creative with them for a few years. We live in such a throw away society these days. I applaud you for wanting to make these cabinets work! I would love to see a picture.
September 13, 2013 at 7:13PM     
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September 13, 2013 at 7:20PM     
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meghiggs
My wonderful friend has these cabinets and had the genius idea of full length finger pulls. They would cover pretty much the entire wood trim. If you can only find short finger pulls, you could just paint the wood trim the same color of the doors and then cover part of it with a finger pull. I agree with you about spending $. Spend all or nothing. Don't dump $1000 into a mediocre upgrade.
September 13, 2013 at 8:39PM     
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beautysblush
meghiggs this is a great idea about the full length finger oulls. I love the picture you put here also.
September 16, 2013 at 9:45AM   
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albenda
Yes, that's a great idea ... I've been googleing to find those finger pulls ...
September 16, 2013 at 10:38AM   
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beautysblush
Chris, I would first rough up the laminate on the doors where you will apply the wood strips. Then use both the liquid nails and screw the wood pieces on. Counter sink the screws and then top off with wood filler in the holes. I assume you are going to paint the entire door fronts. If so, you need to sand sand sand all laminate surfaces, apply primer let dry three days then paint.
September 16, 2013 at 1:41PM   
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Circle Goods Reclaimed
I was relieved I didnt have to go to far down the comments before I saw RJ say you cannot paint laminate! It simply doesn't take well, an easy and cheap solution would be to just get a slab door and drawer front overhall with a decent paint grade material and paint those however you want. I know no one likes to spend money but it would be the cheapest way to give you a modern look and have a good paint job and achieve the look you seem to be going for!
September 16, 2013 at 1:53PM     
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leelee
I applaud your intention to do the wood floors throughout. You could try to do what beautysblush is recommending but remember the more time and money you spend on these cabs the more invested you become and what you really might need are new cabinets. Would be better to save for something you'll truly be happy with. The kitchen is very important even if you have to wait a year.
September 16, 2013 at 2:03PM     
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oldgoldtop
I am in the process of redoing some laminate cabs on two bathroom vanities at my beach house. They are from 1980 and made of particle board slabs with an ugly brown wood-grain laminate which did not seem appropriate for a beach house. I had painted them white using special paint for plastic but was not happy as they still are very plain. I purchased some primed wooden moldings with a nice rope design. I cut and mitered the moldings to fit the four outside edges on the face of each door. I then cut 1/4"thick beaded hardboard panel to fit the rectangle "field" area so it is framed by the molding border. Everything is tacked and glued in place. I actually used table saw to cut a 1/4" kerf out of the molding so it fits slightly over the paneling to minimize gap issues. A 4x8 sheet of beaded paneling is $20 and I bought 10 pieces of a fancy rope molding which were under $10 for each 8 foot piece. I could have used much less expensive moldings but the rope one I chose really adds to the nautical feel I was hoping for. I am doing the same for the drawers too. New handles will complete thar part of the project. I intend to replace the back splashes with tile and resurface the vanity tops next! Oh and maybe add some beaded wainscoting too and ...
October 6, 2013 at 3:14PM     
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beautysblush
Oldgoldtop,
I love your idea! I would love to see pics of your work. I would consider this for my laminate cabinets also. What type and brand of paint did you use on the cabinet bodies?
October 6, 2013 at 6:04PM   
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chicagopa
Painted the same cabinets 12 years ago. Used zinzer primer and oil based paint. Rubbed a little stain into the wood trim areas ( that I painted the same way ) and sealed with polyurethane. Gave it a glazed look. Have held up beautifully. Replaced countertops with nicer looking laminate. Tiled the backsplash. Replaced one set of uppers with a plate rack from IKEA. Covered all cabinet side panels and under the peninsula with beadboard. All of these things over about seven years. Took my time and did what my budget allowed.
October 6, 2013 at 7:09PM     
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chicagopa
Also, added handles despite the wooden built-in pulls.
October 6, 2013 at 7:13PM     
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beautysblush
You did a good job. The tile really makes it up to date too!
October 6, 2013 at 8:17PM   
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albenda
Thanks for sharing!
October 7, 2013 at 7:11AM   
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carolyn98456
chicagopa your kitchen is lovely!!!!!
October 7, 2013 at 8:01AM   
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oldgoldtop
beautysblush...I used Krylon spray paint in a can. It is made to bond with plastic and is sold in most home improvement places though I see Lowes carrys a different brand. I am a big fan of this product and also have used it on some brown vinyl widows at my beach house in 2008. The house is directly on the ocean and the windows are subjected to 50MPH winds and sea spray from the NorEaster storms we get here in New England. The paint has held up remarkably well and the windows have yet to require repainting. I cleaned and wiped them with an ammonia cleaning spray prior to applying paint but did not use a primer. I am considering trying to use it on the vanity countertop and maybe applying some kind of clear protective coating just to see what happens before I simply replace the top. There are countertop resurfacing products but most are expensive or do not offer a plain white color I would prefer though I have not yet decided yet on a course of action and will update as the project progresses.

I have attached some images relating to this project...the existing cabs with one untouched and the other with the doors removed from the cab I had painted. I also show a plain painted white door and the same door with the molding, beadboard and new knob in place. Note that this door was my first one before I decided to use my table saw to cut out a groove on the molding to cover the beadboard edge. It still looks fine but requires more precision when doing several doors...which I am still working on! I will post pics once I get the doors and drawers all done and installed.
October 7, 2013 at 12:32PM     
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oldgoldtop
I see that the web site has cropped some of the pics I posted. I presume there may be some recommended resolution I will try to find or maybe they need to be in landscape orientation.
October 7, 2013 at 12:37PM   
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Cabinets To Go
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October 8, 2013 at 7:32AM   
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symea
I had my laminate, dingy yellow 1962 cupboard doors painted and it worked fine. now if I can replace the 1969 wall oven and ancient dishwasher ( not to mention the lovely "wood grain" something from outer-space counter tops/backsplash, I'd be much happier. I love my retro kitchen!
October 30, 2013 at 10:44AM     
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orangecamera
@ineedhelp, I love how your cabinets came out!
October 30, 2013 at 11:56AM     
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J Petempich
Here are how my cabinets came out gluing and nailing lattace molding around around the edges on a flat door like yours. We took the doors off and laid them flat for painting. Cabinets were 30yrs old. 2 years since the paint job. Trim was easily done with miter saw.
October 30, 2013 at 12:16PM     
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symea
Jill Petempich- I love how they came out, i can do that to mine (mine are the blue ones above you). They are in great shape, blemish free, too bad I just had them painted. Ill save it for the next re-model craze i get!
October 30, 2013 at 1:02PM     
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J Petempich
Actually I was looking at yours and thinking how great they look. It is too bad how many cabinets are in the land fills just because they get a little dated. I think the main thing is for him to get paint and primer that sticks. So far mine is doing well
October 30, 2013 at 1:22PM     
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oldgoldtop
I finally got around again to working on one of the vanities in my outdated bath described previously here a few weeks back. The brown laminate wood-grain was installed in 1980 and looks dated, cheap and does not look good at our beach house. I simply used a nice wood molding and beaded board applied over the existing doors to obtain a more nautical look. The new knobs mimic the rope design and cost $3 each and I used 3 pieces of a nice rope molding at $11 each. I had some beaded board from a previous project but a 4x8 foot sheet is just under $20 at Lowes or Home Depot. I still need to do the larger vanity (pictured) and I intend to either paint or replace the tops. My wife had originally wanted me to replace the vanities but let me try a less expensive solution first. She is pleased with the result and I am happy to be saving some money!
October 30, 2013 at 1:27PM     
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Aliya Walji
This blog post shows a similar cabinet repaint/remodel with laminate cabinets. Might be helpful to everyone with this same dilemma (I have the same cabinets in my kitchen too): http://danielleoakeyinteriors.blogspot.ca/2013/10/80000-diy-kitchen-renovation.html
October 30, 2013 at 3:13PM     
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beautysblush
oldgoldtop you did a fabulous job on that vanity. I am very impressed!
October 30, 2013 at 7:21PM   
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beautysblush
Jill Petempich You cabinet redo looks great too!
October 30, 2013 at 7:23PM     
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Charlee Lane
ineedhelp - I have the same yellow ones that HAVE to go. I wish they were white so I could just cover up the wood trim and move on, the problem I have is that our kitchen is between the dining room and living room so the entire back of the cabinets that show in our living room through a breakfeast nook type area are also ALL yellow. Has anyone had any issues with peeling or scratching after you have had them done for years?
November 8, 2013 at 9:27AM     
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diyher
as for the bulkheads, what makes them dated? I have one on one side of my kitchen and I know for a fact there are ac/vents inside since I was around frequently when the house was being built. No everyone can rip out bulkheads.
November 8, 2013 at 9:47AM   
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symea
Charlee Lane- mine have been painted for 2.5 years and i had them done professionally so I'm not sure what they used,but so far no peeling, no nicks, they are great ( and I live in my kitchen basically) .What you can't see in my pic above ( the blue cabinets) it's a U shape and I too have the back facing the entire dining room. I wanted to knock out that entire part of the "U" but didn't have the money.The base behind the doors is a cream color and only the doors are blue. the part facing the dining room is cream and I hung a big huge painting on it, will have to do for now =)
November 8, 2013 at 12:09PM   
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beautysblush
I just noticed chicagopa's nice job on your kitchen!
November 9, 2013 at 4:49PM   
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chicagopa
Thanks. I painted my cabinets 13 years ago. They have held up beautifully!
November 9, 2013 at 5:58PM     
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beautysblush
Its good to hear. I have laminate cabinets and I would like to do the same!
November 10, 2013 at 4:17PM   
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Eleanor Proctor
@chicagopa & @saverio, I am about to do a similar update with my kitchen. When you repainted just the wood trim, did you take the cabinet door off the wall or paint it attached?

Thanks!
November 19, 2013 at 7:19PM   
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bondale4
To add to the comments/questions:

I also have 80's laminate cabinets that I want to paint.

Although I want to DIY, I haven't the time, and I would rather hire a pro. I have gotten an estimate for $1000 to paint all of the doors/outside of boxes.
Is that a fair price?

We will paint the cabinets a golden/umber color and keep the metal (aluminum) pulls.

We may paint the countertop white (if we can trust the hardness of the paint and imperviousness to scratches; but if not, we will replace the countertop to white corian.

We will replace the appliances with stainless.

We will redo the floor, probably with a gray slate porcelain tile.

MY QUESTIONS:
In what order should the tasks be done?
-Paint cabinets
-Redo floors
-Paint/replace countertops
-Replace appliances

Thanks much!
February 3, 2014 at 8:04AM   
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bondale4
Here's something like the mustard color for the cabinets...
February 3, 2014 at 8:14AM   
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chicagopa
I painted the whole door, not just the wood trim. So yes, I took everything apart.
February 3, 2014 at 6:23PM   
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hxthomson
bbkieffer, I love your redone cabinets! What brand/color of paint did you use and where did you find the awesome hardware?
February 21, 2014 at 2:24PM   
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bbkieffer
hxthomson if I remember correctly, I started with Zinnser BIN primer. The paint is Sherwin Williams Antique White. I then used a glaze (not sure brand or color) and then finished with polycrylic. The hardware is from Menard's.
March 6, 2014 at 12:43PM   
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hxthomson
Thank you so much!
March 6, 2014 at 2:07PM   
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David Woody
I have the same cabinets in a condo I want to sell. I am going to paint them.
March 12, 2014 at 8:51AM     
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Lynnie
Here is what I would do: Have the counters wood that matches the trim. Instead of white, paint your cabinets cream color to add some warmth to the look. Change your tile floor out to something with color that adds interest too. Get a great backsplash that is the focal point of the entire kitchen. Let that be your statement in this room.

And, work with the retro look. Don't try to re-do the entire kitchen.

Some pictures for you to think about:

Multi Color Uniform Brick Multi Color Mini Brick Victorian Glossy & Iridescent G
Guest Cottage
Seafaring Family Home
Bethesda Renovation Kitchen 2
March 12, 2014 at 11:38AM   
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Tara Tompson
I really like Bonnie's comment with the paint. If you need a cheaper way to make it look different then paint is the way to go! Maybe you could paint and do the floors different?

Tara | http://www.dataflooringpa.com
May 15, 2014 at 1:35PM   
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beautysblush
I appreciate all the comments, interests and pictures on this topic! I am getting ready to take the plunge and paint the laminate. I feel well equipped after reading all these great ideas!
May 17, 2014 at 9:30AM     
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Bruce Cohen
We had the same 80's kitchen update problem. There ate so many things needed to update our house that we wanted to save by not updating now. Our updateis to last a few years. Some of our updates will carry forward to a new kitchen like clearing the popcorn ceiling and installing high hat lighting. We putting in stone backsplash to give a built in look and tone down the cabinetry. We modernized the look with a newer blue paint color and furniture. We have ordered a new stainless range and dishwasher to cimplete the look.
June 10, 2014 at 6:03PM   
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Bruce Cohen
Wow..so many typos in my last post. Auto correct destroyed it.
June 10, 2014 at 6:07PM     
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albenda
Hi Bruce -- did you add the metal trim also?
June 10, 2014 at 8:34PM   
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Bruce Cohen
No the metal trim was there. We tried to incorporate more metal into the kitchen to update the look and match the trim. So, when we removed the lighting above th cabinets we left thge metal teim at the top near the ceiling as well.
We are bringing in more stainless appliances and swapping the light switches and power outlets to brushed aluminium versions.
June 11, 2014 at 1:02PM   
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Sue Volkmar
Does anyone know where to buy the metal trim? I'd have oak trim and would like to replace it with the metal.
September 23, 2014 at 1:29PM   
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