Modernise your cupboards with this simple DIY trick

How To Update Cupboards_Header Image 2021
Posted on Categories Colours, Interiors

An outdated colour, missing hardware or a tired finish; when it becomes obvious that your cupboards have seen better days, it can feel like your living space is stuck in the past.

Envious Pinterest-worthy interiors can tempt you to pursue homeware solutions in ways to upgrade your storage. But they often lead to an expensive renovation cost. If you are looking to refresh your bedroom, hallway or living room, you don’t always have to buy something new to give your space an overdue update. With a little woodwork and a fresh coat of paint, we took a set of lacklustre cupboards and transformed them into a contemporary storage unit.

For the storage cabinets, we chose the water-based acrylic matt Helmi 10 Paint. This is a tested replacement for traditional solvent furniture paint. Picking up hints of mocha and chocolate, we tinted our Helmi 10 Paint with shade S483 from the Symphony Colour collection. The warm tones of the medium brown colourway are able to achieve a striking look, adding a sense of drama while remaining understated enough to tune in with its surroundings.

New groove panel doors were added to the front of the cabinet doors to give them a modern spin. New cover plates were also added to give them a built-in feel. By adding new trim to frame the cupboards, the new floor-to-ceiling height provides a polished backdrop to your hallway. Embracing unfamiliar colours into your colour scheme can add depth and warmth to overlooked corners in your home. You can even go further by customising your chosen paint colour to reflect the tones in your home. This particular shade of brown (S483) was slightly tinted with grey to pick up the cooler tones of the contrasting white walls.

tikkurila_helmi cupboards DIY refresh 2

The renovation of cupboard doors begins with a little woodwork. With the right tools and some precise measurements, it is easy to upcycle old cupboards into a custom-made piece of furniture that is unique and personal to you. Take time to think about finishing touches like handles. These will take your new storage cabinets the extra mile. Swapping out hardware with brass or copper can add a modern touch to old fronts – a transformation that can be accomplished in no time. When completing this project, allow for plenty of time for wood glue and coats of paint to dry. We also recommend seeking out a professional joiner to help with the cover plates that surround the wardrobes to complete this project.

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Begin by removing the doors from the frames and cut the panels to the desired size. Attach the panels to the doors with wood glue, and place weights on top of the doors while the glue dries. You can also secure the panels with screws at the back of the door for extra support.


To finish off the panel edges, saw strips of wood to cover the ends and attach with small nails.


Prepare the surface for painting by cleaning the doors with Tikkurila Kalustepesu cleaning agent. Ensure to read instructions thoroughly before use. Once dry, apply a single coat of Helmi Pohjamaali Primer that has been tinted to the shade of the topcoat for the doors.


Finish with 1-2 coats of the matt Helmi 10 furniture paint, pre-mixed with your chosen colour. Helmi 10 furniture paint can be recoated after 16 hours.


For more painting tips and tricks, visit our Ideas & Advice page.


If you prefer a less matt finish than seen above (created using Helmi 10) opt for our semi-matt Helmi 30. Alternatively, reach for our Helmi 80 if you’re aiming for a glossy finish:

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Helmi 10

From £4.80 £4.00
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Helmi 30

From £4.80 £4.00
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Helmi 80

From £4.80 £4.00