How To Create a Custom Bathroom with Stock Cabinets

Are you a do-it-yourself homeowner who wants a great look at an affordable price? Here are some ways to create custom finishes, trims and moldings. Stock cabinets are the most affordable choice in bathroom cabinetry, but the problem is that there is nothing special about them and they look plain and uninteresting. However, there are many ways to turn ordinary stock cabinets into something more exciting and unique: Let’s explore some techniques to customize stock bathroom cabinets.

However, before you jump in and start applying technique, consider that some materials are easier to work with than others and you’d be wise to spend a little more on wood versus Formica or melamine products. It is hard to get paint or stain to adhere to Formica or melamine; there are specialized paints available but they give off noxious fumes and are not easy to apply. Additionally, Formica and melamine cabinets are usually made from particleboard, which tends to warp in the moisture of the bathroom, and particleboard almost inevitably splits if you try to install screws or nails when adding customized trims or hardware wood, on the other hand, is easy to stain or paint, even if already varnished, and it’s easy to add decorative moldings to wood with glue or trim nails.

Step 1

Creating Customized Finishes

A new finish is the easiest way to make stock cabinets look custom-made for the particular style you wish to achieve. Take some time to explore the paint finish aisle of a craft store and you’ll get some terrific ideas. Think about colors and styles that you wish to incorporate in the bathroom and use that for your inspiration.

For example, you can apply a crackle finish and paint to white bathroom cupboards to give them an antique look. Do a color test first on the inside of the cabinet to determine whether the finish will absorb the stain. If the finish readily absorbs the color, apply a coat of white semi-gloss paint over the doors first so that you can control the amount of color in your treatment. Then apply the crackle finish to the central panels of the doors and drawer fronts. Next, rub your colored paint into the cracks. Don’t use the crackle medium on the front door; it will be too much. Instead, rub a little color into the recesses and detailing on the door frame and rub the flat areas so that they are nearly white. You can use any color you desire, creating a more subtle effect with colors that are barely different from the cabinet base color.  To add an antiqued look, dip a rag into a deep colored stain, wipe on and then wipe away the excess before it dries.

Another option for redoing cabinet doors and drawers is to decoupage a themed motif onto the surfaces. If you wish, the crackle technique can be used on top of the decoupage. And of course, you can add additional touches with different hardware that accents your style.

Step 2

Moldings and Trims

You can make a stock cabinet look like a special order with additional trims and moldings, which can be painted or stained to match the cabinet or done in a contrasting finish. Crown molding on the top of the cabinet or flat moldings added to the top and bottom give it the look of a built-in. Let the upper molding flair outward and have the lower molding tuck under the cabinet. You can also add fluted panels to the flat edges of the cabinets or choose elaborate wood carved veneers that can be glued to the fronts of cabinet doors and drawers.

Contributing writer for American Artisan Art, Angela Glancy has written numerous articles with unique ideas for decorating with wall sculptures, copper wall decor and metal wall decor

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