How to Make Maple Cabinets Look Modern

Do you have old maple cabinets that don't seem to fit your kitchen layout? Well, you have two options, You can either replace the entire maple cabinet with a new one, or you can update the existing one with the latest style and functionality. 
Several Maple Cabinets, With modern looks

However, updating and renovating the cabinet is also a budget-friendly option compared to completely replacing it. So why spend more money when you can achieve your desired style with far less expense? 

In this guide, we will enlighten you on how to give your maple cabinet a fresh new look without breaking the bank.

Paint or Stain the Cabinet

To achieve a modern look for your cabinets, the first rule of thumb is to give them a fresh coat of paint. Painting your cabinets has multiple advantages. High-quality paint will change the appearance of your old maple cabinet with a very smooth and visually appealing coat. Moreover, it also helps hide the grain of the wood. 

No labor expenditure is necessary for painting the cabinet. You can simply use your DIY abilities to give the cabinet a fresh look. All it needs is a coat of primer followed by a paint job.

Alternatively, you can choose staining as well. Staining gives your existing cabinets a rustic, natural, and classic appearance. While painting hides the natural grain of the wood, staining actually accentuates those grains like the traditional furniture. 

A kitchen with green cabinets redesigned to look modern.

Consider Open Shelve the Cabinet

If your maple cabinet sees daily use of plates, bowls, and glasses, you can consider the removal of its cabinet doors. This way of presenting each set of stylish dishware is more modern and trendy. Open shelving not only increases the storage but also gives a feeling of a more relaxed and brighter space. 

Additionally, you have the opportunity to get creative with how you arrange your items, and experimenting with this won’t cost you any money. 

While you might be concerned about dust and grime accumulating, using your dishware regularly prevents it from becoming excessively dusty. Additionally, the open shelving of the cabinet makes cleaning easy.

You should wipe down the shelves of your cabinets at least once a week. You can indeed expect dirt and dust to settle somewhat more on open shelves compared to closed ones.

An open shelve design in kitchen full of vases and utensils featuring maple cabinets.

Be Smart with a Slide-out Cabinet Shelf on the Base of the Cabinet

One of the creative and modern ways to solve the storage solution is installing a slide-out cabinet shelf on the base. You can choose to install a pull-out shelf in just one of the bases of your maple cabinets if that’s enough. Otherwise, you can use the method in the whole base of the maple cabinet.

Attaching a pull-out cabinet shelf is typically a modern solution for homeowners to make the most of the cabinet space. Besides, it offers more flexibility and convenience to access all the items in the cabinet.

Add Cabinet Crown Molding

If there is visible space between the ceiling and the cabinet, crown molding above the cabinet can add a touch of elegance. With beautiful and colorful crown molding, the cabinet can integrate or blend with the ceiling nicely.

While it is true that crown molding is more common in traditional and older homes, the rustic and modern crown modeling above the cabinet can give a clean and modern finish. Overall, hiding the imperfections and space between cabinet and ceiling with a cohesive and unified look is an excellent idea. 

A kitchen with modern maple cabinets and crown molding in the kitchen.

Under-Cabinet Lighting

Although Most people think under-cabinet light is more of a decorative display, they don’t consider the functional aspect of it. 

Sometimes, natural light and overhead fixtures can’t provide enough visibility when doing small kitchen chores like chopping and slicing. Mostly, the shadow cast by the cabinet makes it a bit challenging to do little tasks. 

Under-cabinet lighting, though less conspicuous, plays a crucial role in improving visibility and making kitchen tasks much easier. Therefore, be sure to mindfully consider the placement of those under-cabinet lighting fixtures, so that they enhance visibility on the countertop while maintaining sufficient visual appeal.

A black and gold kitchen with marble counter tops, undercabinet lighting, and modern maple cabinets.

Installing a Bold Backsplash

When your kitchen maple cabinet gets outdated or older, it doesn’t serve the purpose of a large stunning centerpiece in the kitchen. In such cases, incorporating a bold backsplash into your kitchen can give it a modern and stylish makeover. 

The eye-catching design of the backsplash not only draws attention away from the cabinets but also introduces a wonderful focal point in the kitchen. While it has nothing to do with cabinets, it is actually an effective approach to establishing something that looks as significant as the maple cabinet in your kitchen. 

Replace Cabinet Door

The replacement of cabinet doors can bring some modernity to the old maple cabinet. Apart from the visual aspect, it’s a budget-friendly choice for homeowners. Given that the expense of replacing the entire cabinet can be substantially higher, this adjustment doesn’t impose a significant financial burden. Moreover, it saves you time, effort, and money.

Replace Cabinet Hardware 

Sometimes, subtle details of the cabinet become the culprit’s unappealing appearance, even when we fail to recognize them, these little details need to be fixed.  

These small but impactful changes can work wonders in transforming the overall aesthetic of your cabinet. Yes, I am talking about the drawer pulls, knobs, and hinges. By swapping out that cabinet hardware, you can instantly give your cabinets a modern look, or at least eliminate those off-putting looks.

The replacement process is also straightforward. They only need to unscrew and remove the older hardware. And then install the new stylish hardware in place. Once you are done, you’ll be amazed at the remarkable difference it makes. 


Which Option is Cheaper: Refacing or Painting?

Ans: Refacing is replacing the exterior of cabinets like doors, drawers, and hardware. We advised removing them separately above. It is a more cost-effective option than entirely replacing the cabinet. 

But if we compare the cost of painting and refacing, painting is cheaper. If your cabinet parts are in good condition, you should consider only painting. However, it won’t upgrade the style of any parts like refacing will do. 

Which Colors Suit Best on Maple Cabinets? 

Ans: The best colors that complement maple cabinets well are pink ground, distilled aqua, and ivory lace. Painting walls is a cost-effective way to refresh the kitchen’s appearance, especially for renters or those avoiding major renovations. Homeowners and decorators looking to modernize their kitchen with maple cabinetry can also consider those colors.

Which Finish is Best for Maple Kitchen Cabinets?

Ans: There are multiple finish options for maple cabinets such as semi-gloss, high-gloss, satin, etc. The recommendations can be made based on the requirements and environment of the kitchen. 

For example, if your kitchen has enough exposure to sunlight, a gloss finish, although popular for cabinets, may not be the most suitable choice. Instead, you can choose a satin or matte finish. In terms of durability, both satin and gloss finish can be good choices for maple cabinets. In the end, the choice hinges on what you want.

Is Maple Expensive Wood?

Ans: Maplewood comes in various types. The most common type of maple wood is hard maple which is often used for furniture and cabinetry and is considered moderately expensive. Figured maple wood with fewer imperfections and consistent color tends to be more expensive. In comparison to some other hardwoods like oak or cherry, maple is typically priced in a similar range.


Turning your old maple cabinets into the modern centerpiece of your kitchen is not only attainable but also budget-friendly. Even if you are remodeling your entire kitchen, there’s no need to invest thousands of dollars in entirely new cabinets when your maple cabinet is still in good condition. 

Instead, all you need to do is give your maple cabinet a stylish and contemporary makeover. In many cases, this transformation doesn’t even demand professional labor – you can tackle most of the tasks by simply flexing your DIY muscles.

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