Tips for Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets


Instead of spending thousands of dollars on an expensive kitchen remodel, consider revitalizing your kitchen cabinets with a fresh coat of paint. Provided your kitchen cabinets are structurally sound, a new, fresh coat of paint can be enough to reinvigorate your kitchen's sense of style without breaking your family budget. Below are a few helpful tips to get you on your quest toward a bright new look for your kitchen area!

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets


In order to get started, there are a varieties of supplies you will need. Travel to your local specialty paint store, such as Sherwin Williams, for the best selection of painting supplies. Although it may be a bit more expensive, the employees of such a specialty paint store will be extremely knowledgeable about the products they sell and the best brands to purchase. Alternatively, larger home improvement stores such as Home Depot or Lowe's are also a good source for the supplies and advice you need. You will first require a heavy duty industrial cleaner or degreaser in order to remove the oils and dirt that have accumulated on the cabinets' surfaces throughout the years. Trisodium phosphate, also known as TSP, combined with hot water does an excellent job of removing the gunk from the cabinetry surface. Additionally, you will need a medium grade sand paper, such as 150 grit, open-coat sand paper, a high quality paint brush, drop cloths, masking tape and some high quality primer paint to properly prepare the cabinet surface. Finally, you will need to select a high quality finish coat for a sleek and durable finish.


Prior to getting started with the painting, remove all hardware from the cabinet drawers and doors. Remove the doors and drawers and move them to a garage or shed for painting. Protect surfaces adjacent to the cabinets, such as floors, walls or ceiling with the masking tape and drop cloths. Next, use the industrial strength cleaner to clean all of the cabinetry surfaces, including the doors and drawer fronts. After cleaning the cabinetry surfaces and allowing them to dry for at least eight hours, lightly sand the cabinets. This will also help the paint adhere to the surface when you begin painting. Vacuum the surface after sanding to remove the resulting dust and dirt. Then, you are ready to use your primer coat. Kilz is an excellent primer brand that will help hide blemishes on your cabinets, protect against moisture and mildew and provide a smooth surface for the best adherence of your final coat. Once all of your prep work is complete and the primer coat is thoroughly dry, you are ready to begin painting the cabinets with the final coats of paint. For the final coat, a latex kitchen and bathroom variety of paint is the best choice in order to protect the cabinets from the moisture always present in kitchens. Sherwin Williams, Olympic or Bear are all excellent choices for this project. Oil based paint will also work; however, the colors may warp and fade over the years. Please note that if your cabinets have been previously painted with an oil based finish, you cannot use latex paint overtop. Eventually, the latex paint overcoat will peel away from the oil-based paint surface. You will want to paint your cabinets with at least two coats of paint to ensure a smooth, solid finish. Be sure to allow adequate time for the paint to dry between coats; overnight is recommended. Failure to do this will result in a pocked and marred surface when you apply the second coat.


Aside from the relatively low expense of painting your kitchen cabinets yourself, the other great reason to take on this project is that you can be creative in the design and color scheme you select. Consider the colors of your appliances, flooring, countertops and surrounding rooms when deciding what color to paint the cabinetry. You want a color that will blend with the other colors in the area, but at the same time provide enough contrast to make things interesting. For example, white cabinets with white walls and white countertops may not be all that visually appealing in your space. If your cabinets have insets on the doors, consider using a different color than you are using for the cabinet bases for contrast. Stencils on the cabinets are another excellent way to brighten up the style of your kitchen, especially if you are looking for a country feel.


Once you have painted your cabinets, consider updating the hardware (pulls and handles) with new pieces. Many home improvement stores sell hardware at very reasonable prices and they are incredibly easy to replace. After removing the old hardware, fill in the holes with a high quality, sandable wood putty. Sand the area and paint with the rest of the cabinet door prior to re-installing the new hardware pieces. Alternatively, you can spray paint your old hardware with a product such as Rustoleum to update their look and brighten their surface. Once your project is completed, your kitchen will have a new updated feel at a fraction of the price of a kitchen remodel!


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