How to Make Raised Panel Cabinets Look Modern

There are many reasons why you may want to modernize your raised panel cabinets. Perhaps you want to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom, or maybe you are trying to increase the value of your home. Whatever the reason may be, there are various ways that you can achieve a modern look for your cabinets without having to completely replace them.

How to Make Raised Panel Cabinets Look Modern

The main  advantage of having modern-looking raised panel cabinets is that they can greatly enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of any room. These types of cabinets are known for their sleek, clean lines and contemporary design which gives a sense of sophistication to any space. You can find step-by-step instructions on how to make raised panel cabinets look modern in this blog article.

Materials You Will Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Saw
  • Sandpaper

There are a few essential materials that you will need to have on hand for any home improvement project. These items will help you complete tasks efficiently and effectively, saving you time and effort.

Step-by-step Instructions for How to Make Raised Panel Cabinets Look Modern

Step 1: Inspect  Your Cabinets

Once you have decided that you want to update your raised panel cabinets, the first step is to inspect them thoroughly. Check for any signs of damage or wear and tear. This will give you an idea of what needs to be fixed before moving on to the next steps.

Step 2: Clean and Sand the Cabinets

Before starting any painting or staining, it is important to clean and sand your cabinets. This will help remove any dirt, grime or imperfections on the surface of the wood. Use a mild cleaner and a fine-grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish.

To make the process easier, it is recommended to remove the cabinet doors and hardware before painting or staining. This will also prevent any accidental damage to the doors or hardware during the process.

Step 3: Choose a Paint or Stain Color

Choose a Suitable Paint or Stain

The next step is to choose a suitable paint or stain color for your cabinets. If you want to achieve a modern look, opt for neutral colors such as white, gray, or black. These colors are timeless and will give your cabinets a clean and contemporary feel.

Before painting or staining, make sure to protect your work area by covering the floor and any nearby furniture with drop cloths. This will prevent any accidental spills or splatters from damaging your belongings.

Step 4: Prime the Cabinets

If you are planning to paint your cabinets, it is important to prime them first. This will help the paint adhere better and provide a more even finish. Use a primer specifically designed for wood surfaces. Once the primer is dry, it’s time to start painting or staining your cabinets. Use even strokes and make sure to cover all areas of the cabinet doors and frames. For a modern look, consider using a high-gloss paint or a dark stain.

Step 5: Add New Hardware

To complete the modern look of your raised panel cabinets, consider adding new hardware. Sleek and minimalist handles or knobs can instantly update the overall appearance of your cabinets. After the paint or stain has dried completely, it’s time to reattach the cabinet doors. Make sure they are aligned properly and all hardware is securely tightened.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

To add a finishing touch to your modern raised panel cabinets, consider adding decorative elements such as trim or molding. This can give your cabinets a custom and high-end look without breaking the bank.

By following these step-by-step instructions and tips, you can easily transform your raised panel cabinets into modern and stylish focal points in your home. Remember to take your time and pay attention to detail for the best results.

Safety Precautions  for How to Make Raised Panel Cabinets Look Modern

  1. Always wear protective gear when working with power tools and sharp objects. This includes safety glasses, gloves, and earplugs.
  2. Keep your work area clean and organized to prevent accidents. Make sure all cords are out of the way and tools are properly stored when not in use.
  3. Take extra caution when using power tools such as saws or routers. Read the manual carefully and follow all safety instructions.
  4. Use a dust mask when sanding or cutting wood to protect yourself from inhaling harmful particles.
  5. If you are not experienced with power tools, consider taking a class or learning from someone who is knowledgeable in their use before attempting any DIY projects involving them.
  6. Always unplug power tools before making any adjustments or changes to the equipment.
  7. When working with others, communicate clearly and establish a plan to ensure everyone’s safety.
Making Raised Panel Cabinets Look Modern

By  following these safety precautions, you can ensure a safe and successful project when making raised panel cabinets look modern. Remember to always prioritize safety and take your time when working on any DIY project.

Advantages and Challenges of Working With Raised Panel Cabinetry

  • Raised panel cabinetry is a traditional and timeless design that can add a touch of elegance to any space.
  • These cabinets are often made with high-quality materials, making them durable and long-lasting.
  • They offer ample storage space for kitchen essentials and can be customized to fit specific needs.
  • The raised panels add depth and dimension to the cabinet doors, adding visual interest to the overall design.
  • They can easily be painted or stained to match any color scheme and style.
  • Working with raised panel cabinets allows for creative expression and customization, as there are various options for door styles and finishes.
  • However, working with raised panel cabinetry also comes with some challenges.
  • These cabinets can be more expensive than flat panel options due to their detailed construction and quality materials.
  • The raised panels can also make cleaning more difficult, as dust and dirt can get trapped in the crevices.
  • It takes more time and skill to install raised panel cabinets properly, so it may be best left to professionals for a seamless finish.
  • Due to their traditional design, these cabinets may not fit well with modern or contemporary styles.
  • However, with careful planning and proper installation, raised panel cabinetry can enhance the overall aesthetic of a space and provide functional storage for years to come.  So, it is important to carefully consider the advantages and challenges before deciding if this style of cabinet is right for your project.
Careful Planning and Proper Installation

Showcasing Modern Accessories and Decor

  • When styling raised panel cabinets in a modern way, it is important to keep the accessories and decor simple and clean.
  • Utilize sleek and minimalistic hardware for drawer pulls and cabinet handles. This will add a touch of modern design without taking away from the traditional look of the raised panels.
  • Incorporate pops of color through small accents such as vases, artwork, or kitchen towels.
  • Stick to a neutral color palette for larger decor items like rugs or curtains to keep the space feeling cohesive and modern.
  • Add texture through plants or natural materials such as wood or woven baskets.
  • Consider adding LED strip lighting under cabinets for a subtle and modern touch that also provides functional lighting.
  • Utilize open shelving in some areas instead of traditional raised panel cabinets to break up the look and add a modern element to the space.

By incorporating these modern accessories and decor, you can create a beautiful and balanced design that showcases both the traditional and contemporary aspects of raised panel cabinetry. Experiment with different elements until you find the perfect balance for your space.

Maintenance and Care for Modernized Cabinets

Great Addition to Any Kitchen or Bathroom

Modernized cabinets are a great addition to any kitchen or bathroom, adding style and functionality. However, like any other item in your home, they require maintenance and care to ensure their longevity. In this section, we will discuss some tips for maintaining and caring for your modernized cabinets.

1. Regular Cleaning

Regularly cleaning your modernized cabinets is essential in ensuring their longevity. Use a mild detergent and a soft cloth to wipe down the cabinets, avoiding abrasive cleaners that can damage the finish. Be sure to also clean any spills or stains as soon as possible to prevent them from causing permanent damage.

2. Avoid Excessive Moisture

Excessive moisture is one of the biggest enemies of modernized cabinets. It can cause warping, discoloration, and even mold growth. Be sure to wipe down any excess moisture on your cabinets immediately, and avoid placing them near sources of water such as sinks or dishwashers.

3. Use Protective Mats

When storing items in your modernized cabinets, it’s important to use protective mats or liners. These can prevent scratches and damage to the cabinet surface, especially if you are storing heavy or sharp items.

4. Check and Tighten Hardware

Hardware on Your Modernized Cabinets

Over time, the hardware on your modernized cabinets may become loose due to regular use. It’s important to check and tighten any loose hardware periodically to prevent it from causing further damage or accidents.

5. Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Harsh chemicals such as bleach or ammonia can cause permanent damage to the finish of your modernized cabinets. Be sure to avoid using these types of cleaners and opt for mild detergents instead.

6. Handle with Care

Modernized cabinets may have delicate finishes or intricate designs, so it’s important to handle them with care. Avoid slamming doors and drawers, as well as placing heavy or sharp objects on top of them.

7. Regular Maintenance Checks

Just like any other aspect of your home, it’s important to conduct regular maintenance checks on your modernized cabinets. This can help catch any issues early on and prevent them from becoming bigger problems in the future.

In addition to these tips, be sure to follow any specific care instructions provided by the manufacturer. By taking proper care of your modernized cabinets, you can ensure that they remain in top condition and continue adding style and functionality to your home for years to come.

Troubleshooting Common Issues for Making Raised Panel Cabinets Look Modern

Making raised panel cabinets look modern is a popular trend in home design. It can instantly give your kitchen a sleek and updated look, adding value to your home.

However, achieving this modern aesthetic isn’t always easy and there are common issues that homeowners may run into when attempting to make their raised panel cabinets look modern. In this guide, we will discuss seven of these common issues and troubleshooting tips to help you successfully achieve the modern look.

1. Choosing the Right Materials

Your Raised Panel Cabinet Makeover

The type of materials used for your raised panel cabinet makeover is crucial in achieving a modern look. Many homeowners make the mistake of choosing lower quality materials or mismatched colors and finishes.

This can result in a cheap and dated appearance. To avoid this issue, make sure to invest in high-quality materials with consistent colors and finishes for a cohesive and modern look.

2. Proper Sanding Techniques

Sanding is an essential step when refinishing raised panel cabinets. Improper sanding techniques can result in visible scratches or uneven areas on the cabinet surface, which can make it difficult to achieve a modern look. When sanding, be sure to use the right grit sandpaper for your specific cabinet material and follow the correct sanding technique recommended by an expert.

3. Reducing Grain Lines

Raised panel cabinets often have visible wood grain lines, which can give them a more traditional and dated appearance. To combat this issue, consider using a grain filler before painting or staining your cabinets. This will help to smooth out the surface and create a more modern look.

4. Updating Hardware

Hardware plays a significant role in achieving a modern look for raised panel cabinets. Many homeowners make the mistake of keeping old and outdated hardware, which can clash with the updated cabinet design. To avoid this issue, invest in modern and sleek hardware that complements the new look of your cabinets.

5. Choosing the Right Color

Color is key when it comes to achieving a modern look for raised panel cabinets. Many homeowners make the mistake of choosing bold or dark colors, which can overpower and make the space feel smaller. To achieve a modern look, opt for light and neutral tones, such as white, gray, or beige. These colors will help to create an open and airy feel in your kitchen.

6. Leveling Cabinets

Uneven and unlevel cabinets can be a common issue when trying to achieve a modern look. This can result in visible gaps between cabinets or uneven surfaces. Make sure to properly level your cabinets during installation or hire a professional to ensure a smooth and modern finish.

7. Proper Finishing Techniques

Lastly, the finishing techniques used can greatly impact the overall look of your raised panel cabinets. Improper or rushed finishing techniques can result in an uneven or streaky appearance, making it difficult to achieve a modern look. Take your time when painting, staining, or sealing your cabinets for a flawless and modern finish.

Making raised panel cabinets look modern can be a challenging task, but with the right materials and techniques, it is achievable. Be sure to invest in high-quality materials, properly sand and level your cabinets, choose the right colors, and use modern hardware for an updated and stylish look.

Sealing Your Cabinets for a Flawless

Specific Techniques for Making Raised Panel Cabinets Look Modern

  1. Use Sleek Hardware: One of the easiest ways to update raised panel cabinets is by using modern hardware. Instead of traditional round knobs or handles, opt for sleek and minimalistic options such as long bar pulls or square knobs. This will instantly give your cabinets a more contemporary look.
  2. Paint Your Cabinets: Another effective way to make your raised panel cabinets look modern is by painting them in a fresh, light color. White or light gray cabinets can instantly brighten up your kitchen and give it a more modern feel.
  3. Add Glass Inserts: If you have glass inserts in your cabinet doors, consider replacing them with frosted or textured glass for a contemporary touch. This will add visual interest to your cabinets and give them a modern, high-end look.
  4. Install Task Lighting: In addition to overhead lighting, consider installing task lighting underneath your cabinets. This will not only make your kitchen more functional, but it will also add a modern and stylish touch to your raised panel cabinets.
  5. Mix Materials: Another way to bring a modern twist to raised panel cabinets is by mixing materials. Consider adding a contrasting material, such as a wood or metal veneer, to the center panel of your cabinets. This will add texture and depth to your cabinets.
  6. Use Open Shelving: Instead of traditional closed cabinets, consider incorporating open shelving into your kitchen design. This will not only make your space look more modern, but it will also give you the opportunity to showcase decorative items and add personality to your kitchen.
  7. Update the Backsplash: Finally, don’t forget about the backsplash! Adding a modern and stylish backsplash can instantly transform the look of your raised panel cabinets. Consider using geometric tiles or a bold color to bring a contemporary touch to your kitchen.

In addition to these specific techniques for updating raised panel cabinets, there are also general tips for creating a modern kitchen design. These include incorporating natural light, using clean lines and minimal clutter, and choosing neutral colors with pops of bold accents.


In conclusion,  there are many ways to give your raised panel cabinets a modern look. From simple changes like painting or refinishing the cabinets to more involved projects like replacing the doors with shaker-style ones, the options are endless. Whatever route you choose, make sure that it aligns with your personal style and complements the overall design of your kitchen.

If you want to keep the traditional look of raised panel cabinets but still want to add a modern touch, consider adding some unique hardware or opting for a two-tone color scheme. This will give your cabinets a fresh update without completely altering their original style.

Another way to modernize your raised panel cabinets is by incorporating them into a minimalist design. Keep the rest of your kitchen clean and clutter-free, with sleek countertops and simple hardware, to create a modern and streamlined look. I hope reading this post has helped you learn how to make raised panel cabinets look modern. Make sure the safety precautions are carried out in the order listed.

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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