Save my ugly kitchen.
March 2, 2009 12:10 PM   Subscribe

How can I hide these hideous, chipped, particle board cupboard doors?

I can't remove them. Our cupboard insides are ugly too, and packed to the gills. The landlord won't replace the doors, as he's far too cheap to fix anything that's not an emergency.

I've seen this question, but I can't do anything permanent to the apartment.

So far I've come up with wrapping the doors in brown paper, but I'm not sure how long that would really last in a room that is often full of steam and grease splatters. We're going to be in this apartment for a couple more years, so something that would last, or that's easily and cheaply replaceable would be best.

posted by burntflowers to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
First, have you asked if you could paint the doors, if you promise to re-paint them some boring color when you leave?

Wrap them as you would a present, so that there is no tape on the bare material, but is adhered to itself. If you're concerned about steam and grease, you may want to use a plastic material, but leave the ends open (to decrease the amount of trapped water). Here are 12 for $15 USD, and I'd imagine any bargain or discount store would have some similar variety.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:24 PM on March 2, 2009

You could try some vinyl squares or maybe some fun decals that come off when you peel them. The plastic surface would probably be good for a kitchen since you can easily wipe them clean.
posted by rmless at 12:25 PM on March 2, 2009

Or, if you're willing to risk it, unscrew the doors and stash them somewhere, and hang interesting cloth over the front. Weird, but temporary and non-damaging. My only concern would be with re-screwing into particle board stuff, but there are always wood glues if necessary.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:27 PM on March 2, 2009

I've had good luck refacing my rent-controlled kitchen cabinets with shelf-paper after seeing how Todd Oldham used it in Amy Sedaris' kitchen (no images on web, unfortunately). Use TSP or some other strippy cleaner to get all the grease and crap off, apply the shelf paper so it overhangs the edges, then run a razor blade around the edge to trim it flush. Five years on and it still stuck on nicely, grease splatters and all. Downside is that the color isn't very sturdy underneath a green pad or other scrubby cleaning device, but you can always just slap on patchwork shelfpaper over it. YMMV.
posted by rhizome at 12:34 PM on March 2, 2009

Maybe some sort of con-tact paper or removable wallpaper? I'd check at Lowe's, Home Depot or even Wal-Mart for ideas.
posted by jenny76 at 12:36 PM on March 2, 2009

This is exactly the situation I am in. My cabinets are in good shape, but ugly ugly brown, and I can't paint them. (Landlord rules.)

On thing I experimented with, but didn't have time to perfect, was using some sturdy translucent plastic to cover the fronts. The idea was to drill small holes in the plastic and use floral wire wrapped around the doors to hold it in place. The initial experiment was "successful" in that it worked, and didn't do anything to the doors themselves. But it failed in that it was ugly as hell. So now I'm thinking about different materials. Maybe a stainless steel look.

I like the idea of replacing the doors with cloth, but if my landlord came in for an inspection or something, I wouldn't want to have to explain it. So, then I thought of hanging cafe rods above the cabinets, and letting the cloth fall in front of them. A little inconvenient maybe, but if the cloth is gapped where the doors open, it may not be too bad.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 1:12 PM on March 2, 2009

your landlord if they can go halfsies with you on the cost of replacing them outright with ikea kitchen cabinets, which are both cheap and awesome-ish. either halfsies outright, take a little out of your rent each month; they add value to the apartment, especially if the current cabinets are shitty, so a reasonable landlord would agree to let you do it. if the landlord is really unreasonable, maybe just bite the bullet and ask for permission to replace the cabinets on your own dime; if you're going to be there for a few more years and the cabinets really bother you, it might be worth it to just eat the cost yourselves.
posted by lia at 1:20 PM on March 2, 2009

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