Recently I had the pleasure of helping to restore a set of kitchen cupboards which had been reclaimed by a friend of mine from a house clearance last year. It was great fun rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck back into DIY, and it reminded me what made me get into design in the first place.
However, it also threw up a number of problems through the process which we had to use our initiative to fix, and as with all restoration jobs, there was a lot of decisions to be made along the way too. With this in mind, I thought I’d run you through some of the key things to keep in mind (and plan ahead for) when restoring kitchen cabinets.
Wood vs. Paint/Lacquer
It might seem like an odd place to start, seeing as it’ll be one of the last things you do before your final assembly, but it’s really worth deciding pretty early on what the finish is going to be on your cupboard or cabinet, not least because paints or lacquers are going to be a major purchase for any project.
Obviously, if you’ve already got a considerable amount of furniture in your kitchen, the design of this will lead your decision, but if these cabinets are going to be a main feature, they might be the key aesthetic element. While exposed wood works for lighter timbers, for darker woods you should consider paints in lighter colours. This year’s colours such as light grey, beige or a simple white look great in any kitchen.
Function vs. Form
Now, cabinets and cupboards in your kitchen are among the most utilitarian in your entire house, and while it’s important for the finished product to match the aesthetic of the room, it must also suit the need of the cook.
On a basic level, this means that the door hinges usually need updating (we opted for soft close, but cheaper ones work too), that any shelves will be able to support the (not inconsiderable) possible weight of plates, cups and glasses, and that the handles make access in a hurry simple and easy.
This is also the part of planning where you have to consider the placement of your cupboards in the kitchen to ensure they’re useful, and won’t block or be blocked by anything else in the room.
Embellishment vs. Overdoing It
As with any restoration project, you’re going to want to put your mark on the cabinets or cupboards, as a reminder of the work you put into bringing them back to life, but one of the easiest traps to fall into is making them too busy.
While your options of what to do will be limited by the item you start with, try and keep your design as simple as possible, so as not to bring a cluttered look to your kitchen. If you really want to make a statement of them, you’d be amaze what you can achieve simply with unique door handles or trimming.