Deciding between refinishing and replacing kitchen cabinets is a big—and costly—decision, so we turned to a design expert to help make the choice a tiny bit easier.

By Lauren Phillips
September 18, 2018

Kitchen cabinets have a lot of requirements to meet. They need to be sturdy and large enough to hold dishes, utensils, pots and pans, and other kitchen supplies. They need to be able to withstand sauce splatters, water spills, dings, and scratches from heavy kitchen traffic, and hands dirty from cooking messes. And they need to be beautiful. Easy enough, right?

You wish. Finding kitchen cabinets that fulfill all these requirements and are relatively affordable—a 2017 study found that most people budget and spend between $25,001 and $50,000 on their kitchen renovations—can be daunting, doubly so when you consider how quickly kitchen design styles shift.

So when it’s time to update your kitchen, whether for functional or aesthetic purposes, you have to decide: Will you refinish or replace your kitchen cabinets? Brigitte Ballard, a design trend expert at N-Hance Wood Refinishing, weighs in on what homeowners need to consider when making that high-stakes choice.

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