One of our shared passions here at The Star Team is home design and décor. The wrong décor and furnishings can make your home gloomy, hard to navigate, or just seem dated. The Star Team believes you should love where you live. But we don’t all have the unlimited budgets they seem to have on home makeover shows on TV. So a bit of creativity is needed to get the most value for your decorating dollar.

Many home decorated in the 80s and 90s (or even earlier) often had built-in cabinetry. It was designed to hold and display china or books or provide a place to install TVs and accessory electronics. They were great back in the day but they tend to look dated and loom over a living area rather than accenting it. But they are big and heavy and often bolted to the wall. Removing them can be difficult and costly.

Luckily, there are some fairly simply things you can do to update the appearance of this cabinetry so they are attractive without overwhelming your living area.

1.Paint. Simple, right? But you don’t want to make a color selection choice that will make these cabinets even more foreboding or dominating. We recommend a light, neutral color. To make your room even more seamless, consider painting it the same color as the wall behind so it blends in with the room. Another tip: don’t skimp on paint quality. You want the color to last and stand up to the wear and tear of moving things on and off the shelves.

2.Doors and Drawers. Get rid of them! One way to get the cabinetry looking more sleek and modern is to remove the drawers and doors to have an open display of your items. You might just need to finish the edges where the doors were to match the rest of the unit. If you are repainting the unit, this will be easy to do.

3.Replace handles. Sometimes the look of the entire unit can be updated by going with a more modern set of door and drawer handles. Brass is out, chrome is in! Do this in conjunction with a paint job and you have a whole new piece!

4.Simplify. Is there a decorative scroll trim at the top or bottom of the cabinet? Are there false columns on the side? If possible, consider removing those to give a cleaner appearance to the piece.

5.Change things up. Those shelves are probably at the exact height they were when they were installed 20 years ago. But we doubt if your storage and display needs have stayed the same. Experiment with moving shelves up and down. Don’t be afraid to mix shelving heights to create some interest.

6.Lights! We all know that proper lighting can really enhance your display. But who has the time or money to get an electrician in to rewire the whole cabinet? Well, luckily, these days you can easily add small LED fixtures that are battery-powered. That’s an easy DIY project that will look like you went to a professional.

Any or all of these tips can transform your built-in cabinetry to a cleaner, more modern piece of furniture. And you don’t have to rip it out of the wall to do it. Stay tuned for more tips from The Star Team’s Design Corner and call us for all of your real estate needs!