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How do I replace my kitchen doors and drawers?


Refacing your kitchen doors, cabinets and drawers can be a great way to create your new kitchen without the cost and hassle of starting all over again.  It is now easy to quickly freshen up your doors if they are getting tatty or you want to create a new kitchen more to your style.  Getting exactly the right replacement kitchen doors and drawers is not as difficult as you may think.

The range of colours and styles of kitchen doors has grown dramatically over recent years with quality of manufacturing improving all the time.  With replacement doors and cabinets ranging from vinyl wrap to solid wood; the choice is yours.  Not to mention there are 100’s of colours and styles to pick from.  You will be amazed just how much your kitchen will change with a simple door replacement.

While it can feel like a daunting task, replacing kitchen doors is a relatively simple process, especially if you are a competent and confident DIY alternatively why not get an expert in to do it for you. 

When replacing your kitchen doors and drawers there are a few things to consider.

Step 1 – It’s your choice

It may feel daunting due to the number of doors available to choose from.  Why not look on Instagram or Pinterest to help you get some ideas on what style and colour you are looking for?

Choose your Door style

Your door style is a good starting point, do you prefer modern style or a traditional kitchen, this will help you decide whether it’s a shaker or a gloss style for example.   This should also help you understand the colour you prefer e.g. natural muted or do you want to make a statement?

Traditional Kitchen

Traditional kitchens are incredibly versatile and combine a formal, elegant and relaxed style all in one. The traditional style worktops and doors suit townhouses, period properties and cottages. Consider cabinet doors in wood effect, painted solid wood or pale neutrals, with raised panels, inserts, and beading. Team them with one of our granite, quartz, recycled glass or porcelain worktops for a stunning effect and add a beautiful upstand or splashback to complete the style. Shaker style doors in white and cream colours are the most popular although grey is a growing trend across most styles of kitchen in recent years.  Traditional kitchen looks are emphasised through the choice of handles which can turn a kitchen from classic to a traditional look.

Contemporary kitchens

Sleek, minimalist and geometric, contemporary kitchens work well in houses and all manner of other buildings to create a dramatic architectural statement whilst keeping a practical, space saving and attractive environment.

Gloss doors are the usual in a contemporary kitchen with either simple stainless-steel handles or more recently they are handless.  They often come in muted colours, previously black gloss was the trend but this has now moved more towards white and cream being the most popular, and again grey also works in this style but as a plain slab gloss door.  In recent years matt kitchen doors have come onto the market and offer a really nice option for people who want a modern kitchen but don’t want the gloss finish.

Step 2 – Do your doors measure up?

Once you’ve done the hardest part of choosing your doors you are on your way to your perfect kitchen.   The next step is measure up!    When looking at the measurements for your replacement kitchen doors it can be a bit confusing but once you understand it, you’ll find it very simple.

Cabinet size v’s door size

An important thing to understand cupboard doors are all slightly smaller than the cabinet itself.  This is to ensure the doors don’t catch when you are opening and closing them.  Door manufacturers all refer to the doors in exact millimetres.  While many door manufacturers use slightly different sizes, they are typically only 1mm different from each other, so will not make any difference when you fit the door.  It can get a little more confusing when there are more than one door or drawer on one cabinet, however these are still usually set out in a standard way.  You will just need to work out the width of the units and use the guides above to work out the door and drawer heights.

Step 3 – Time for new appliances

Why not take this opportunity to upgrade your appliances (hob cooker, fridge) at the same time to truly give you that new kitchen feel?  You can decide to get rid of that ugly free-standing cooker and replace it with an integrated cooker and fancy induction hob.

Step 4 Door hinges and their position

The second hardest element to updating your kitchen doors is the most important to get right to make the installation as straight forward as possible.  The drill holes for the hinges are a critical element of the door hanging. If you get this part wrong you will have to either re-drill the doors or re-position the fixing bracket to the cabinet, both of which are tedious, fiddly jobs, so please allow as much time as possible for this part.    Each kitchen door will have two or three drill holes. Two is standard, but larger doors (typically on tall cupboards) will probably have three, to better support the weight of the door.  Manufacturers measure the position of the drill hole based on the position on the central point of the drill hole from either the top or bottom of the door (depending on whether it is a top or bottom drill hole). Central/middle drill holes are normally measured from the top of the door

Step 5 – Shopping list

Once you have measured all the doors make a list of everything you need to order.  List the doors makes sure you double check the style and colour you have chosen include the hinges you need for each door.  Two per door, three for larger doors (check on your current doors to be sure).  Don’t forget the handles! Your doors won’t be pre-drilled for the handles, as there are too many variations of sizes and positions, so you’ll need to drill and fit these yourself, unless you are choosing handle-less doors.  Don’t forget you are likely to need some other extras to finish your kitchen off properly. Here are a few you may need:

End panels; needed to match the end of any runs of units, where the side of a cabinet will be exposed – the cabinets are not usually matching the doors, but the end panels hide this, so it gives the kitchen the complete look.

Plinths; also called kickboards, these are the piece of wood that goes under the units to hide the legs on the base units and tall/larder units. It is normal to use these as a complete ‘run’ across the legs of all the cabinets on one side of your kitchen.

Cornice and Pelmet; are the pieces that run along the top and bottom of the wall units. Traditionally you have used these on kitchens, and they are used to edge the wall units to give the ‘complete look’. This is still the case on traditional looking kitchens but have been largely replaced by multi-purpose rails in many instances, especially with modern kitchens. These can be used for both cornice and pelmet. They are plain, while traditional pelmet and cornice tends to be more decorative.



Step 6 – Fitting time!

Fitting the doors is relatively straight-forward, especially if you’ve taken the time to do the preparation work correctly. It is a case of taking the current doors off the units – there is usually a clip to unclip the hinge from the hinge plate, and then the whole door will come away. You can then remove the hinge plate from the unit, if you’re upgrading the hinges (the new hinges will come with plates) and replace them with the new hinge plates.


Screw the hinge to the new door. The hinge hole will be pre-drilled, but the two screw holes won’t be, so line the holes up so that they are square with the side of the door and pre-drill the holes. You should then be able to screw the hinges into position. Screw the handles at the  door at this point too. Place the door on the floor and put the handle in position. You can play around with it, until you find the position that you are happy with, then you can mark and pre-drill the screw holes. Make sure you drill from the door front through to the back, and try your best to drill them squarely, or you will struggle to attach the handle to the door.

You should then be able fit the door by clipping the hinges into the new hinge plate on the units. That’s it. The new door is in position! Don’t worry about squaring it up at this point. We would recommend fitting a run of doors at a time, then squaring them in one go.  Continue this process until the doors are all in place. At this point you can adjust all the doors to match. The hinges come with two adjustments. One will help square the doors up, so the gap between each door is even (by adjusting the hinge left and right from the cabinet). The other will help you adjust the space between the door and the cabinet (how close the door sits to the cabinet).

Step 7 – The Final touches

Once the doors are in place, there’s just the finishing touches to complete. Put the plinth in place, end panels and cornice and pelmets. This part does take a while, but don’t scrim on it, it’s worth the effort. These are the finishing touches you will be looking at for years to come!

The Next Step

If you would like to change your doors but think this may all be a bit beyond your skills, why not let one of our specialists come and show you what can be done.  He will come to your home with samples of doors to look through and explain the full process to you, plus give you options on how you can also improve the functionality of your storage to make the most of the kitchen space you have.

Click here to view our range or to find a showroom near to you simply add your postcode here! With a multitude of products and accessories, experienced design consultants and installation specialists, Granite & TREND Transformations is the one-stop place for kitchen makeovers. And, with a selection of showrooms nationwide, it’s easy to get in touch with one of the design consultants to find out how you can transform your kitchen the hassle-free way.

Call us now on 0800 822 3410

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