Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets is a project that requires patience and long-suffering. HOWEVER, it is an absolutely rewarding DIY project! This is one of the most time consuming kitchen decorating ideas, but one of the most rewarding! If you are looking for cheap decorating ideas you can do yourself, this is it!

painting kitchen cabinets

If spending five figures to have new cabinets replaced in your kitchen is not in your budget, and if paying someone else to do the work isn't in your budget either, then you have come to the right place to learn how to do this project.

Whether your style is Cottage Style, French Country, or Beach House Style, freshly painted cabinets fit any decor.

painting kitchen cabinets

Step 1

First you want to remove all hardware, doors and drawer fronts.  Put all your hardware in a large Ziploc bag or Tupperware box. Believe me, it is no fun to lose some of the hardware.

Step 2

Next, you want to wash the cabinets. All grease and dirt needs to be removed in order for the paint to adhere. Clean any dirt, grime, or grease off the cabinets, then lightly sand them with 220 grit sandpaper. Sanding helps the paint to adhere, especially over cabinets that have been stained.

Step 3

When painting kitchen cabinets you really want to use oil-base paint and primer. I really hate painting with oil, but it bonds to the cabinets the best and will create a much harder finish.

Choose a paint sheen that is either satin or semi-gloss for your kitchen cabinets. The gloss in either sheen is what helps to make future clean-ups much easier.

Step 4

Apply your primer using smooth and even strokes. Don't let the primer get too thick and cause the paint to run.

After your primer is completely dry, put on your first coat of paint. You really want to use a top quality brush. Better brushes will help to not show any stroke marks and give a smooth finish.

Step 5

Follow the instructions on drying time and be sure to allow the full amount. I cannot stress the importance of following this advice. Oil paints take a lot longer than latex to dry. If you rush to put a second coat of paint on before the first coat is completely dry, it will cause the paint to be unable to cure properly. You will end up with “gummy” cabinets! Take my advice, I got impatient once!

Before you apply your second coat of paint, lightly sand over the cabinets with fine grit sand paper. When applying your second coat, be sure to take your time and make smooth, dripless strokes.

Step 6

Once your second coat is completely dry, you are ready to put your hardware back on the cabinets. Remember new hardware is the “jewelry” of your cabinets. Now is the time to replace your hardware if you need some updating.


The process of painting kitchen cabinets is one that takes a lot of time and patience. If you are using oil-base paint, you can wrap your brush in plastic wrap and then foil and put your brush in the refrigerator overnight. That way, your paint won’t dry out, and the next day you just unwrap your brush and you are ready to go.

Whether you want to do a faux finish on your kitchen cabinets, or just paint them a solid color, the results will truly be amazing! And, the extra money in your pocket is always wonderful!

Here is an example from Mojo Finishes showing what a difference a little paint can make!

painting kitchen cabinets

painting kitchen cabinets

Good luck with your painting project! Send us the before and after photos of your project! We would love to see them!

paintin kitchen cabinets

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