We wanted to update our kitchen, but after all of the renovations we did last year, we weren’t up for ripping out cabinets and the mess. I love the look of open cabinets and thought that would be a relatively easy way to update our kitchen’s look. I also decided to paint the tumbled tile backsplash to further brighten up the space. Here is a before photo.
These cabinets are original to the home and I had them painted white when I first moved here. The previous owner had updated it with the tumbled tile and granite. After removing the doors, I wasn’t completely happy with it. It just looked like cabinets without doors, not the concept I was going for. I felt like the inside of the cabinet needed a contrast to make them look like they were intentionally open and built that way. I came up with the idea to add wood planks on the back of them. If you have followed any of my DIY posts, you know how much I love staining wood. So now I have to give a disclaimer…I may have been a bit hasty by using “Super Easy” in my title. Relative to hiring a contractor and going through weeks of renovation, it was easy. If you are going to cut the wood and stain it like I did, it will take you most of the day. You could also paint the inside a different color to make them pop, which would be a much easier (and quicker) option. I considered a nice, neutral gray, but the stained plywood won out. Following is my step by step list and directions.
-1/8″ plywood cut into “planks”
-wood stain/s of choice
-jigsaw (Easy to use. Really.)
-touch up paint for cabinets
-paint for back splash
-primer for backsplash (if you have any kind of smooth, shiny surface)
1. After removing the doors, fill in the any holes or areas needed from the door hardware you removed. Let dry and sand smooth.
2. I went to Lowe’s and found a nice looking 4′ x 8′ 1/4″ plywood sheet. They cut it for me in several strips. My cabinet shelves are permanently attached, which meant I had to measure the height of each section’s back. I decided to have 2 panels per section. This meant I had to have very accurate measurements. Too wide and they wouldn’t fit. Too narrow and I would have had too much of a gap. I took the measurements and substracted .25″ and then divided by 2 (for my 2 panels). They cut strips from 2.5″ up to 4.625″. You pay for the entire piece, so I recommend having as much extra cut in the various widths. The reason I subtracted .25″ is so that I had a little wiggle room. See photo below…
3. I decided to stagger the planks and I also wanted to vary the finish to give it a more interesting look. I used my saw horses and a jigsaw to cut my planks into smaller lengths. I would only cut a couple of pieces at a time.
4. Using a hand sander, smooth any rough surfaces on each plank after cutting them.
5. Stain each piece and let dry for a few minutes. I used Rustoleum Weathered Grey and Rustoleum Wheat.
6. Attach each piece to the back of the cabinet. We have a finish nailer, but it would not fit in the cramped space. I used small, black “cut tacks” in 1″ length. They have an antique apperance, so they added a nice look. Keep repeating the above steps and measure as you go.
7. Paint any areas of cabinets that were sanded.
8. Prime your backsplash if needed or paint the color of choice. I love the look of white subway tile, so I painted mine white to match the cabinets.
I am very happy with how this project turned out. Makes me want to open more, but where would we hide the all of our mismatched plastic cups! Here is the final result…
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