How to Make Over Your Kitchen Cabinets Without Paint

how to make over kitchen cabinets without paint diy faux grasscloth burlap shelf liner rental apartment tutorial The Decor GuruWhen I moved into my new apartment, I was told I could paint the kitchen cabinets as long as I used a neutral color. At first, I thought this was pretty cool of the landlord and started visualizing a crisp white or a light, cool gray... something to really open up the small space.

But when I asked if they'd take some money off the rent for doing this, they said no. :( Dang. In spite of this, would all the work of painting still be worth it? And that answer was also no. Ain't nobody got time for that. So I then set out to find a Plan B for revamping over these fugly two-toned cabinets. Read along to see what I ended up using to give my kitchen a cheap yet impressive makeover and how easy it is for you to do the same.

Other ideas I considered were covering the cabinets with fabric/liquid starch, wallpaper, bamboo placemats, or the contact paper makeover I did in a previous apartment. But when I weighed the cost and work vs. the aesthetic value, I also ditched those ideas.

I was frustrated, but resolved to give my mind a rest. I hoped the answer would come to me if I just let go of it for a bit.

Thankfully, the solution did come to me one day while browsing the kitchen aisles at a big box store. There, I across shelf liners. One style in particular really stood out to me, since I wanted a homey, earthy vibe in my kitchen. The name of it is “Burlap,” but I think it resembles grasscloth.

Once I determined the cost and work required would be minimal, I was a woman with a plan. Check out how much of a difference this makeover was. The cabinet faces are slightly darker now, but the additional texture really adds warmth and coziness to the kitchen.

after how to make over kitchen cabinets without paint burlap shelf liner faux grasscloth rental apartment clear acrylic handles The Decor Guru

before after how to make over kitchen cabinets without paint faux grasscloth diy burlap shelf liner rental apartment The Decor Guru

how to make over kitchen cabinets without paint faux grasscloth before after diy burlap shelf liner rental apartment The Decor Guru

With adding the cost of the double-sided tape, the total project came to about $30. The total time was a few hours. Just like with other DIY projects, the execution is pretty simple but the bulk of the work is in the planning.

1. Draw a diagram of your cabinets and drawers, labeling each. Then measure each and jot down the numbers with their corresponding label.

2. Plan the direction of your cover, if it has a pattern. Since my kitchen is small and not very spacious, I wanted the pattern to run horizontally. This helps give the illusion of a wider room.

3. Calculate how much liner you will need. (This is where you get to recall some of that geometry you learned in school but never thought you’d need to know down the road.)

4. Measure, cut, and label your panels of liner. I lettered my panels very lightly with pencil on the wrong side.

5. Clean the faces of your cabinets. I just used some good ol’ fashioned rubbing alcohol and paper towels. Stinky, but great for removing grime and stickiness.

6. Adhere your panels to the cabinets with the double-sided tape. Trim the edges with scissors and/or an Exacto knife.

I imagine there will be some stickiness from the tape once I decide to move out. But I’m OK with that as long as I take a little time to remove it.

I also added some handles to the cabinets because they didn’t have any. My landlord was cool with this too, so I just bought super cheap acrylic handles from IKEA since they’ll have to stay when I leave.

I also added a few updates to the kitchen, like curtains I sewed from Osnaburg and I placed some plants inside the wall pass-through. As you can see, there’s not much storage space in my new kitchen. I have even more updates in progress to help remedy this, so stay tuned!

Have you ever given your kitchen cabinets a makeover? Do you have any new or unusual uses for shelf liner?

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18 Comments on How to Make Over Your Kitchen Cabinets Without Paint

  1. Carrie From Carrie This Home // 02/22/2014 at 2:31 PM // Reply

    I never would have thought to use something like this for cabinets! It adds a new look and a lot of texture!

  2. MomMaven // 02/24/2014 at 8:46 AM // Reply

    Interesting way to solve your problem. I like the added texture in the kitchen.

  3. You did a great job and saved a ton of $ – Thanks for sharing and linking up with us at the #WWDParty. Have a wonderful week.

  4. You had me at “paint free.” lol What an awesome way to add visual texture.

  5. I never would have thought of that! Amazing idea. Thanks for linking it up to Snickerdoodle Sunday!

  6. How amazingly creative! I love how you added texture and color. Keep up the great work. I saw your link at Art Is Beauty. Ann Marie @ Iris Abbey

  7. I know this is a little late but I would like to thank you SOOOOO much. We have almost identical cabinets in our kitchen and I hated them. Now, I actually kind of like them. You are a genius!

  8. How did you apply the tape? Also, how are your cabinets holding up after a while. You did a beautiful job!

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