This is what the kitchen cabinets looked like before
With the cost of everything going up we find ourselves doing more DIY projects. Painting kitchen cabinets being one of them. The kitchen cabinets in our rental property were in pretty good shape so why not save some money and give them an updated look? Full disclaimer! It’s a daunting task to say the least. I personally do not enjoy painting kitchen cabinets (painting furniture is more of my thing 😉) but its so worth it! Will I do it again? Yes! Am I going to be happy doing it? Probably not 😅 but it’ll save me money and transform the space! That alone is worth the work!
Like everything else, prep work is so important. I can’t emphasize how crucial it is. If you don’t take anything away from reading this post just be sure to take this one thing….PREP BEFORE PAINT! Not only does it play a huge role in kitchen cabinets but also in painting just about anything. Check out my post on things to consider before painting furniture.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to successfully paint kitchen cabinets and give your kitchen an updated look!
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1. Remove Cabinet Doors, Drawers, and Hardware
When removing the cabinet doors be sure to label them. You can simply use painters tape and number or letter them leaving one piece inside the cabinet and one on the door. This way you will know where the doors go when you are ready to put them back.
I have seen people just write the number directly on the cabinet where the hinges go.
If you are reusing your hardware be sure to place them in a zip lock bag so you won’t lose any. Keep them all together. This includes all your pulls, knobs, and hinges. If you are reusing your hinges be sure to label them as well. I have learned from working on furniture that sometimes when you don’t use the same hinge the door will not be aligned.
Since we were going to center the upper cabinets with the window we decided to remove them completely and work on them while they were off.
Make sure to clean the cabinets well. You can use Krud Kutter and/or a TSP solution.
You want to be sure to remove all of the dirt and grime off the surface. Krud Kutter does a pretty great job at removing grease.
3. Fill holes
Inspect all of the surfaces for any holes or gauges that you may want to repair before sanding. For smaller holes, use any wood filler. For bigger damages Bondo or Kwikwood work very well.
If you are using the same hardware you do not need to fill any holes. If you choose new hardware, make sure the measurement is the same and it has the same screw pattern. For a different size or screw pattern you would have to fill in one of the holes and drill another one to fit the new size.
The original cabinets didn’t have any knobs or pulls on them so we drilled holes to fit the new hardware we purchased. I like to shop on Amazon for hardware. They have great deals on bulk hardware like the knobs we purchased for these cabinets here.
4. Protect your surfaces
Use painters tape and a drop cloth to protect countertops, walls, and soffits. Sometimes I’m too lazy to tape but it saves you time when painting and avoids messes. So be sure not to skip this step!
Lightly sand the cabinets with a 120grit sanding block. When sanding, go with the grain.
You can also do a deglosser. We didn’t use this Jasco Sander Deglosser but I have heard great things about it. It can be done instead of sanding. It roughens out the finish so that your paint will adhere well to the surface. If you have filled any holes then you would have to sand those areas to smooth the surface.
After sanding, it is time to Prime. Primer allows the paint to adhere to the surface. Usually one coat is good (I always like to do 2 coats) but if you have dark cabinets I highly recommend at least two coats. This will avoid any discoloration on your paint finish.
I use Zinsser B-I-N Primer. It is one of my favorite primers to use before painting.
Place your cabinet doors on Painter’s Pyramids to hold it off the table that way you can prime and paint the sides.
Once its dried turn the door over and paint the other side. Be sure to go with the grain. You can use a brush for the details and a roller for the bigger flat surfaces. Lightly sand to smooth before painting using a sanding sponge (220 grit).
Be sure to vacuum and use a tack cloth to remove all of the sanding dust.
Primer after 1 coat
Use an acrylic latex based paint. You can do a semi-gloss or a satin finish. I like a satin finish. A high gloss finish will show a lot of imperfections and a flat finish makes it difficult to clean.
You can use the tripods to paint your cabinet doors just like you did to prime them or you can spray them if able to.
We put together this makeshift system to hang the cabinets doors and spray. We predrilled small holes on the TOP of the upper cabinets and the BOTTOM of the lowers and we hung them using 7/8 inch cup hooks. When you place your cabinet doors back you won’t be able to see the tiny holes since its on the top of the uppers and the bottom of the lowers.
We used our Homeright paint sprayer to spray the doors and used a roller to paint the rest of the cabinets.
8. Protect your finish with a polycrylic
After your paint is completely dried, apply a water based polyurethane. I like to use Minwax water based polycrylic. Oil based polyurethane yellows over time so stick with a water based poly. I like to do at least three coats of polycrylic. Make sure to allow poly to dry well. Lightly sand in between coats using a sanding block (220grit). Sanding in between coats allows the polycrylic to adhere to itself. It can be brushed or sprayed. When spraying, I like to use a strainer to avoid any clumps from being sprayed on.
Once the polycrylic is dry, you can place your hinges, cabinets doors, and hardware back on. We drilled new hardware on as I previously mentioned and added concealed hinges. I will share more on the concealed hinges soon! Once all your hardware is back up you can enjoy your new kitchen!
We painted the cabinets Sherwin Williams Iron Ore. It makes such a big difference! A lot of work but totally worth it! Happy Painting!!
They turned out beautifully! I’ve wanted green kitchen cabinets for so long. Saving this for when we move!
Thank you! Yes do it! its totally worth it. Green cabinets sound amazing 😍
Did you use regular satin interior paint or a cabinet, door and trim enamel? I’m confused. Thanks!
Hi! I used regular latex paint 🙂
Pamela Sanford says
My kitchen cabinets were recently painted in April. The painter touched up in several areas and now the panel finish is streaked in several areas.
I would like to apply another coat on the doors and add the polycrylic coat as your recommended. I would like to use a brush and/ roller. Can you please recommend a type of roller and brush as well as brush size and roller nap?
Hi Pamela! Here’s a great article I recently read thats super helpful when rolling cabinets. I sprayed mine but if I had to roll which I perfer over brushing, Jenna Sue tested a few rollers on cabinets and its so helpful! Heres the link https://www.jennasuedesign.com/the-best-paint-rollers-for-cabinets/
Thanks for share……..