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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

1-hour DIYs: Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

green and white kitchen with pendant lighting

Not all DIYs need to be hugely complicated and take forever (although in my house, they do tend to go that way quite often!). There are lots of quick and easy DIY projects that you can get cracking with at home that will make a big difference to your living space and won’t cost you much in time or money.

When I talk about DIYs here, I’m referring to any home improvement task that you could pay a third party to complete but decide to tackle yourself instead. Some of these home DIY projects could be completed in as little as an hour if you knuckle down and who wouldn’t be tempted by the prospect of a 1-hour DIY?!

As there are so many 1-hour DIYs that you could complete around your home, I’m going to break this down into a mini-series starting with 1-hour kitchen cabinet DIYs, so these are all mini DIY projects that you can complete with kitchen cabinets.

1-Hour DIYs for Kitchen Cabinets: Quick and Easy Budget-Friendly Ideas

1. Give your kitchen cabinets a deep clean

Cleaning kitchen cabinets

Use a sugar soap spray to remove any grease or grime from the cabinets if you plan to paint or cover. Be sure to wash off the sugar soap and dry before starting your DIY, this will ensure a clean, dry surface for optimum adhesion. Baking soda is a super handy product to use for removing grease from kitchen cabinets as it cuts through grease without harsh chemicals. If your cabinets aren't greasy, a quick spray with some diluted washing-up liquid will suffice after you have emptied out the cupboards and swept or hoovered up any dust or debris.

2. Overhaul your kitchen cabinet shelf configuration

kitchen open shelving

When overhauling your kitchen cabinets its a prime time to reassess the position of your shelves as there might be improvements to be made. Sometimes it’s more practical to have fewer shelves and larger gaps between them as this allows for storage of taller items as well as the addition of storage baskets or containers, which can be more aesthetically pleasing and help with organisation.

3. Add contact paper to kitchen cabinets for a style statement

Floral contact paper

Kitchen cabinets get used a lot and need to be more resilient than other cupboards in your home. I, therefore, don’t recommend using wallpaper to jazz up the insides unless it's a scrubbable product. Contact paper is much more suited to this job as it has a vinyl coating, making it very easy to clean and much more durable. Contact paper is quick and easy to apply, low cost and comes in a variety of designs, allowing you to upgrade old or damaged cabinets quickly. You can pick contact paper up from most DIY stores or from Amazon like this one and it's a great product for rental-friendly home styling.

Adding storage solutions to kitchen cabinets

There are so many space-saving and helpful kitchen cabinet organisers available that it’s definitely worth incorporating some if you have the budget. Improving your home storage and organisation is so satisfying and saves you so much time in the long run as everything has its place making tidying up easier (unlike in my house at the moment where every drawer and cupboard is jammed full of stuff - arghhh! Time for a big declutter again!). Here are some ideas that could be completed in an hour.

4. An inner storage drawer to a deep pan drawer

Most pan drawers come with the ability to retrofit a shallow inner drawer, which could be used for cutlery and utensils. This requires some construction of the inner drawer pieces that you can then attach to the drawer. Adding an inner storage drawer to your deep pan drawers can almost double their value as makes use of all the otherwise dead space. I regretted not getting them when we did our kitchen makeover upon first moving, so bought them separately and fitted them myself later and didn't look back, a big impact in under an hour.

5. Add a pull-out pantry to your narrow kitchen cabinets.

Pull-out pantry attachments are a great way to get the best use of a deep but narrow cupboard. The pull-out storage mechanism operates on an in-cupboard runner that is quick to attach to the cupboard carcass. You’ll need to remove the doors and attach them to the front of the pull-out mechanism once in place. This DIY could be done in an hour if you have all the items you need to hand and have planned your steps.

6. Organise and revamp the under-sink area

Organised under-sink cupboard

Under the sink is often a bit of a dumping ground for cleaning products and utensils and can look a bit chaotic if you aren’t careful. In under an hour, you can overhaul your under-sink area by completing the following steps… - Clear the cupboard and decide if you need all the contents

- Clean the cupboard with a damp cloth and some eco-friendly washing-up liquid. - Install your chosen storage organisers. Top Tip: I recommend using a two-tier system with pull-out sections like this for maximum access that can be screwed into the base of the cabinet.

- Attach hanging hooks to the back of the cabinet door like these for cloths and brushes, further maximising the use of space. These hooks can be attached with command strips or tiny screws (if the door thickness will allow).

7. Install an in-cupboard pull-out bin

An in-cupboard pull-out bin

Installing an in-cupboard pull-out bin is a great DIY to complete in under an hour as it transforms a cupboard and means you don’t need an ugly bin taking up precious kitchen floor space.

This can be completed in under an hour as simply requires the bin housing to be screwed into the cabinet carcass in order to attach the pull-out mechanism. This is the pull-out bin I bought from Amazon and I love it. It was the best value bin I could find as many were VERY expensive! Here's the step-by-step tutorial for installing an in-cupboard pull-out bin.

8. Upgrade the kitchen cabinet handles

kitchen with green cabinets and black handles with white concrete walls

This is such a simple change but it can make all the difference in terms of aesthetics as well as functionality. There is a huge range of kitchen door handles on the market these days, with styles to suit all kitchens. I plumped for some super bargainous ones from Amazon and they totally changed the look of my kitchen cabinets. Here's the link in case it's useful.

The secret to completing 1-hour DIYs is getting organised; here are my top tips...

  • Plan everything and leave nothing to chance.

  • Figure out all the steps and the exact tools and materials you’ll need to complete them beforehand.

  • Gather everything before you start and check all your tools are in working order and see if any bits (drills) or blades (saws) need replacing.

  • Charge any rechargeable tools so a dead battery doesn’t hinder your progress.

  • Research the project and see if there are any tutorials or instructions you can follow that might also advise on common mistakes to avoid.

  • Have some spare materials to save delays caused by running out.

  • With painting projects, look for paints that include an undercoat or primer and have excellent coverage.

I hope this was helpful - let me know in the comments if you try any of these projects!

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