Replacement kitchen doors - the cost-effective way to refresh dated units

Instead of buying a whole new kitchen, replacing existing doors can work wonders for half the cost

Kitchen with wood cabinets
(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you want to give your kitchen ideas a makeover, but don't want to have to fork out for a full-on refurb, replacement kitchen doors are the way to go. You'll save a tonne of money but still feel like your kitchen has been transformed into a whole new vibe. 

The good news is that if you're happy with your kitchen layout, and the cupboard carcasses are in fine condition, there's no need to rip anything out just because you fancy doors with a different colour or finish. With the help of our guide, you can install replacement kitchen doors easily and affordably. 

It's a great option if you've been looking for budget kitchen ideas. The difference new doors make is nothing short of amazing; you'll feel like you're stepping into a completely new space once the job's finished.

'If you’re considering new kitchen cabinets but are worried about the price (and the mess), you’ll be relieved to find out that you don’t actually need to rip out the whole structure,' says George Burrows, Kitchen Design Expert, HomeHow. 'A much easier method of refurbing your kitchen cabinets is to simply remove and replace the doors.'

Forest green kitchen cabinets with white countertop

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Replacement kitchen doors might have previously been considered a budget rather than a stylistic choice, but there's no denying that they're a great way to refresh a kitchen. 'Upgrading with replacement door fronts creates a fresh new look – without having to renovate or spend excessive amounts of money,' says Jayne Everett, Creative Director, Naked Doors.

Alongside buying a secondhand kitchen Replacement kitchen doors are also a greener alternative to ripping out the cupboard carcasses entirely. And if you don't feel like replacing the whole set, even changing one or two can go a long way.

While you can revamp your kitchen with painted kitchen ideas if your cabinet doors need a little more than a facelift we've asked the experts everything you need to know about replacement kitchen doors.

Replacement kitchen doors – everything you need to know

Kitchen with white cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Can I just replace kitchen cabinet doors?

The short answer is yes, you can. However, before you buy new kitchen cabinet doors, it is worth checking that the bones of your existing cabinet carcasses are in good condition. 'A good-quality kitchen, even if it's five to 10 years old, is likely to have plenty of life still in its units. They are generally fixed to the wall and have no moving parts,' says Robert Clark, Managing Director, Kitchen Door Workshop.

'It's the doors that get the wear and tear, as they are constantly being opened, and are subject to damage caused by sunlight, cleaning, and general use.' He says that the carcasses most likely, if any, to be damaged are those under the sink because of water leakage, or sometimes the end of a run of cabinets which take most of the knocks.

Are all kitchens suitable for replacement doors?

Check that the cupboard are in good condition. Anything under eight years old should be fine but look for structural damage, particularly near the sink or sources of heat. If you can't spot any significant signs of wear and tear, you're good to go ahead and start measuring out your cabinets for new doors. 

'Note that most kitchen doors have universal sizing and will fit cabinets from different manufacturers,' says kitchen specialist George. 'However, there are some rare occurrences where new doors may not fit, so it's essential that you carefully measure your old and new doors to ensure they fit seamlessly to avoid any issues.'

How to replace kitchen cabinet doors – Troubleshooting

green kitchen and wooden floor

(Image credit: Matt Antrobus)

How do I get the right size?

Doors come in standard and made-to-measure sizes. You’ll pay more for made-to-measure, and delivery will take longer, too. Measure the doors in situ so you can make sure to get doors of the right size. 'Start from the back, as this is the squarest part,’ advises Steve Larkin, Director, Lark & Larks.

‘Measure the height, then width, in millimetres. Generally, a door is 5mm shorter than a cabinet and 4mm narrower, so if a cabinet is H720 x W500mm the door would be H715 x W496mm.’

'You will need to measure the height and width of your cabinets and add half an inch to all sides to account for the overlay,' summarises Penelope Jacobs, Kitchen Expert, MyJobQuote. 'In most cases, it’s easiest to measure your existing cabinet doors so that you can choose ones that are the same size.'

Will the hinges line up?

Whether you’re drilling the holes or ordering pre-drilled doors, measure carefully. With doors still on, measure from the top edge to centre of the top hinge hole for the top hinge position. Repeat from bottom edge to bottom hinge hole. Measure each door, and note which side the hinges are on!

'If you are re-using the hinges, your new cabinet doors will need to be the same size as the current ones, so you will need to measure the height and width of each door,' explains Penelope.

Two tone kitchen cabinet ideas with grey kitchen

(Image credit: Superfront)

What about all the extras?

Plinths, cornices, fillers and end panels are usually available in the same finish as the doors. Measure as before, but go bigger if anything needs to be scribed to fit a wonky wall or floor.

What are the best replacement kitchen cabinet doors?

Dark green kitchen units with wooden worktop

(Image credit: Future PLC)

1. Best replacements doors for IKEA carcasses

Of course, if you're doing it yourself, the obvious place to head to buy new doors is IKEA, but there are companies who can offer a more bespoke look using the existing IKEA cabinets. Custom Fronts supply handmade wood doors to fit the units in place, and they can work to plans from IKEA's online kitchen planner.

2. Best kitchen doors for all-inclusive service

For a company that does all the hard work for you, try Kitchen Magic. For over 30 years the company has been transforming kitchens at a fraction of the price of starting from scratch and buying a new kitchen. From fitting new worktops to removing and replacing old doors and fascias, or improving an existing layout – no job is too big or too small.

3. Best cabinet doors for a classic look

Don't think replacing doors means you have to go for a more contemporary finish. Foxstow Shaker Doors offers more traditional options, in standard Howdens, B&Q and IKEA sizes, or bespoke sizes. The company can handle details like cornicing or island units, and scribe end panels for a perfect fit.

kitchen with brick wall and flower on counter

(Image credit: Future PLC/Richard Gadsby)

Can I replace my kitchen cabinet doors myself?

If you prefer to tackle home repairs yourself, and you can handle an electric screwdriver and tape measure, certainly you can replace kitchen doors without calling a professional. ‘Ask your supplier for advice. We are here to help and will guide you,’ says Rachel Thurlby, Co-director, Custom Fronts.

'It is possible to replace kitchen cabinet doors yourself as a DIY project,' says kitchen specialist Penelope. 'However, it can take some time to complete and you may need someone to help you hold the doors in place when screwing.'

The steps below can be followed as a rough guide if you're looking to replace kitchen cabinet doors yourself.

  • Remove the current doors by opening them up and detaching the hinge from the mounting plate. Unscrew all of the hardware from the cabinet and the door.
  • Install the hinges first. Begin by attaching the mounting plate to the hinge and then lift the locking flange at the bottom of the hinge and insert the hinge into the hinge cup. Rotate until all of the holes are lined up. Once the locking flange is pressed down, your hinge is then firmly in place.
  • Next you’ll need to mount the doors. The easiest way to do this is to attach a piece of wood to the bottom of the cabinet opening. Use some strong clamps to hold this in place at ½ inch below the bottom edge to ensure the overlay is accounted for. Hold the door in place so that the mounting plates are against the face frame. 
  • Make some marks for drilling pilot holes. Remove the mounting plates from the doors. Screw them into the face frame with a Phillips head screwdriver and the screws included with the hinge. Then, reattach the hinges to the mounting plate.
  • You can adjust the positioning of the cabinet door with the screws. This will allow you to align the door perfectly. It can take some time to adjust the cabinet doors so that they match up perfectly.

If the thought of replacing the doors yourself is too daunting, you can find a local carpenter who is willing to do everything for you. Or find a supplier that installs too. Carpenters will also fit bespoke doors to off-the-shelf carcasses if you want a custom-made look, which is worth considering if you want a new layout. 

As a bespoke service, prices are likely to be considerably higher than an off-the-peg set of doors.

Black kitchen cabinets with white tops in L shape

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Can I reface kitchen cabinets myself?

Refacing your cabinets is less expensive than replacing your kitchen cabinet doors. If you choose to go down this root rather than replacing your doors, refacing a cabinet with a new veneer yourself will take about a week to do the work. However, if you don't feel up to the challenge you can call in a professional who will take about three days to complete the work.

Before refacing any cabinets check to see if your current set are suitable for the process. This means they will need sturdy box construction made of plywood or MDF panels that are ideally smooth. Solid face frames are essential for accepting new veneers and also check that all the internal hardware such as the drawer tracks are working smoothly.

If refacing and replacing isn't for you there is also the painted option. How to paint kitchen cabinets is relatively easy to do, aslong as you prep the cabinets properly to start.

How much does it cost to replace kitchen cabinet doors?

'The cost of your new kitchen cabinet doors will depend on several factors including the style of the doors, the material of the doors, and the number of doors needed,' says Penelope. 'Bespoke kitchen cabinet doors are much more expensive than ready-made cabinet doors, for example.'

You can buy new doors from DIY and furniture stores, such as B&Q and IKEA. Prices are competitive and there's plenty of choice, but they will be in the store's chosen standard sizes and limited colour combinations. Another option is to take a look at the increasing number of companies offering made-to-measure doors.

The typical cost of a set of replacement doors is about £250, which of course will vary according to the size of your kitchen. But remember that's for a set of doors of the same quality and finish as a kitchen that costs £10,000 to £15,000.

Is replacing kitchen cabinet doors worth it?

Pale pink kitchen cabinets in light kitchen with bay window

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If your kitchen's feeling a little tired, replacing the cabinet doors would make the space feel brand new, while requiring much less time and money than a refurb. Though it might seem like a lengthy process, new doors would make a dramatic difference to your kitchen's aesthetic. Plus, it's usually never as complicated as you initially think.

'You’ll save a lot on materials and specialist costs compared to if you were doing a full-on refurb,' says George, HomeHow. 'You'll also drastically cut down the time taken to complete the task, will avoid the mess that comes with a full renovation, save on waste material, plus you can even do it yourself - who wouldn’t want to give it a go!'

Is it cheaper to just replace kitchen doors?

It's definitely cheaper to replace kitchen doors rather than the whole cabinets. 'In most cases, you can hire a kitchen specialist or a general labourer to fit your cabinet doors for you and it shouldn’t cost a bomb,' says kitchen specialist Penelope. 'If you’re confident in your DIY skills and you have someone on hand to help you, you can save money by fitting your kitchen cabinet doors yourself.'

'The most cost-effective way to replace your kitchen cabinet doors is to do it yourself,' says George. 'You'll need hinges and fittings, screws and a screwdriver, measuring tape, a pencil, your new kitchen cabinet doors and a battery drill.'

So if you feel you're up to the job, have a go at fitting replacement kitchen doors yourself to save even more money. If you do decide to get them fitted professionally, however - which is the more efficient and probably most effective route to go down - you're still saving dramatic costs than if you were getting a whole replacement kitchen fitted.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend. 

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