How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets (Simple DIY Process)

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It should come as no surprise that upgrading a kitchen is costly when considering the prices of new appliances, worktops, and cabinets; if you’ve done your research, you already know this.

Refreshing the look of the cabinets in a kitchen, which take up the majority of the visual space in the room, is one of the easiest ways to give the space a brand new feel and look without breaking the bank.

However, many homeowners try to improve the appearance of an old refrigerator or worn-out granite. However, there is a lot more job than purchasing a gallon of your preferred hue.

Please read our detailed, step-by-step instructions that demonstrate how to get the job done correctly, as well as the essential considerations and helpful tips for completing the task.

Reasons For Painting Kitchen Cabinets

However, before going to a paint store, you should first inspect your cabinets to determine whether or not they can be revitalized in the first place.

With the premium-quality paint job, cheap cabinets that have become brittle with age can’t be brought back to life.


There is peeling or delamination of thin veneers, sagging or breaking of cabinet shelves, and loosening of the hanging rails.

In light of the fact that you are experiencing these problems, it would be in your best interest to replace the cabinets in your kitchen.

Right Time To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Conditions like humidity, temperature, and air quality all play a significant role in determining the final product of the painting project.

Wait until the temperatures are warmer before painting the cabinets if you plan to do so in an open-air covered location, such as under an awning on the patio.

This will allow the paint to cure more effectively. In addition to this, please ensure that the air is clean so that particles such as pollen will not condense on the paint while it is still wet.

You can paint at any time of the year if you are going to be doing it in a climate-controlled workspace, where you will paint the drawer fronts and doors.

Safety Considerations

Wearing breathing protection will safeguard you while you are priming, sanding, cleaning, and painting your kitchen cabinets. This will keep you safe.

Sanding can be done successfully while using a particulate mask. Protect yourself from volatile organic compounds by using a respirator mask if you opt to use oil-based paint rather than the suggested water-based paint.

Always wear protective eyewear. Put on hearing protection if you’re going to be sanding using an oscillating sander.

Consider The Cost

When it comes to upgrading your kitchen, the costs can rapidly pile up. For a kitchen measuring 10 feet by 12 feet, replacing the cabinets completely can easily cost more than $5,000, and you risk ending up with cabinets of poorer quality than those you are replacing.

Instead of purchasing new cabinets, consider repainting the ones you already have. It will only cost a lot lesser than new cabinets but will give your kitchen a new look.

Based on the size of the kitchen, you should be prepared to spend anywhere from $100 to $200 on paint and supplies combined.

Understanding The Size Of The Job

Cabinets made of wood, laminate, or metal are typically simple to repaint; however, there are exceptions.

It is possible that a top coat of paint will not adhere to plastic laminate cabinets; those that may be refinished typically require specialized paints and procedures, and the results can vary.

In the event that your cabinetry features plastic laminate surfaces, your first port of call should be an experienced paint retailer.

For instance, you may remove a door and take it to a professional so that the employee there can examine it. In addition, be sure that the paint you intend to use will adhere to the material by testing a small amount of it in an inconspicuous place.

Doors and drawers with flat fronts are simple to refinish; however, woodwork with architecturally unique aspects will require additional time for preparation and painting.

If the woodwork is warped, excessively worn, or damaged, you can purchase new unfinished components and paint them along with your current cabinets.

You should consider doing this if the woodwork is in any of these states. Repainting can be done using various applicators, such as spraying, rolling, or brushing with either a brush made of natural or synthetic bristles or a foam brush.

There are benefits and drawbacks associated with each option; pick the one that is most suitable to the size of the woodwork that has to be repainted as well as your preferred method of working.

It’s possible that the kind of paint or finish you go with will affect which applicator works best for you. If you do not have access to a large worktable, you can substitute two-by-four planks supported by buckets or boxes.

Choose The Paint Type

Latex Paint Or Oil Paint

Latex paints have shown steady improvement over the years, which has led some professionals to switch away from using oil-based paints completely.

Latex paints are easier to work with than oil-based paints due to the fact that they dry rapidly and can be cleaned up with water.

However, many professionals continue to recommend oil-based topcoats, stating that these coats result in a paint film that is denser, more long-lasting, and smoother once it has been done.

In addition, it takes longer for paintings made with latex to cure fully than paints made with oil. During this interim period, they are susceptible to being damaged. In the end, a finish can be achieved successfully using either oil or latex.

In the event that you decide to use latex paint, ensure that it is a formulation that is composed entirely of acrylic, as this type of latex paint offers superior durability and adhesion in comparison to vinyl acrylic paints.

Spray Or Brush Paint

The alternative with the smoothest finish is one in which it is sprayed on, but there is a learning curve involved in doing it correctly. You will also likely need to rent the spray equipment, which will drive up your costs.

Additionally, you will need to mask off those areas of the kitchen to avoid getting sprayed, including the countertops, the interiors of the cabinets, and the appliances; this will be a process that takes a lot of time.

Because of these factors, we strongly suggest you replace your current brushes with ones of higher quality instead.

Invest in a high-quality square brush measuring between 3 and 4 inches in width; the brush’s straight ends will quickly paint large, flat panels.

In addition, purchase a small angled brush measuring between 212 and 3 inches in width; this brush will assist you in painting the corners of doors with molding and door frames in a single pass.

When applying latex paint, use a brush with synthetic bristles because they do not absorb water; however, when applying oil-based paint, use a brush with natural bristles because they absorb the water.

About The Finish

Make a decision about whether spraying or using brush painting is better for you. It’s possible to modify the look of your kitchen by adding faux finishes.

Paint stores carry a glaze, which is easy to use to give your cabinets an aged look. For best results, brush the glaze solely in one direction over a dry first coat before allowing the paint to dry.

Apply a flat last coat of the base color perpendicular to the glaze. As the paint dries, it will begin to crack. This process may take an hour.

It doesn’t take a special paint to achieve the distressed effect, which lends itself to the rustic design. Colors are layered, and dark paint is spattered to create this look.

After the paint is dry, use a chain to scuff the surface and lightly sand the areas where the cabinets are most frequently used.

With a bit of paint magic, you can get an antiqued effect that appears to have been worn down over time. If you’d like a lighter color than your cabinets, all you have to do is paint the detailed trim, seams, and corners, with a wet paintbrush and dab the excess paint off onto a cloth.

A high-gloss finish, on the other hand, will turn your kitchen into a sleek, contemporary room. Make your cabinets sparkle by painting a heavy-gloss transparent varnish over your last coat of paint.

Using this method will give your kitchen a glossy sheen and add more depth to the color.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets – Complete Process


Plan ahead of time if you’re going to be painting cabinets for a few days. Always make sure you’re wearing the proper safety gear and that the windows are open.

Remove the drawers and doors and perform the job in a place where they won’t be disturbed, such as a garage or basement, for optimal results.

Also, check to see if you have adequate ventilation in that location. Check the condition of the cabinets in your home.

If the current paint on a surface is acceptable, it can be repainted. Otherwise, it will be necessary to remove the previous paint.

Fortunately, stripping products can make this job simple. A stripper can be applied by brush, allowed to work for a few minutes, then removed using a plastic scraper.

After the paint has dried, use sandpaper to remove the final traces of it. The cabinets need to be cleared out. Later, you’ll be sanding, which may produce a lot of dust.

Remove all of the hardware from the doors, drawers, and cabinets as you remove the drawers and doors, use painter’s tape to mark where they go so that you can replace them in the correct locations.

In a plastic cup or bag, identify each piece of hardware with the location it should go. TSP cleaner can be used to remove oil and debris from all surfaces. Repair the harm.

Wood filler can be used to repair dings and gouges in the wood. To smooth it out, use a putty knife. Observe the instructions and wait for it to dry.

Don’t fill in the hardware holes if you want to use the same hardware. Wood filler may be necessary if the new hardware doesn’t match up with the existing holes if you’re replacing your hardware.


Protect your counters, appliances, and any other locations you feel need safeguarding by covering them. It is advisable to tape off the wall with painter’s tape along the edges of the cabinetry.

Sand down everything with medium grain sandpaper to ensure the paint will adhere to the surface.

Sandpaper must be folded in order to be able to access the intricate places on drawers and doors, as well as the corners of the frames.

Utilizing a tack cloth and a vacuum, thoroughly clean all of the surfaces. Before painting, you should make sure that everything is clean and dust-free.


To remove the dust off the drawer and doors, use a cloth that has been dampened with water. Primers are often poured or shaken before being placed in paint trays.

Paint the intricate portions of the door and drawer fronts using the primer that has been dabbed onto the trim brush.

After that, paint the flat sections using a roller with a diameter of 10 inches. After the materials have been allowed to air dry for a minimum of two hours, give them a mild sanding with sandpaper that has a grain size of 220 on an oscillating sander.

Do not sand the wood until it is entirely bare. The primer will need to have any lumps and dried drips smoothed out before it can be used.

Using a wet sponge, wipe away the dust that has accumulated on the sanded cabinet boxes. To prevent paint from getting on the backsplash or walls, protect them by taping them off with painter’s tape.

Use the trim brush to apply the primer along the cabinet’s edges. Next, roll out the primer using the roller with a diameter of 10 inches.

In a manner analogous to that of the drawer and doors, sand the cabinet boxes using finer sandpaper with a grain of 220 on an oscillating sander after delaying the process for a minimum of two hours.

Application Of The Paint

Once the inside of the cabinet face frames has been painted, move on to the cabinet sides and face frame fronts.

With this method, you may focus on the most important parts, such as the face, while still working rapidly in the less important places.

The next step is to paint the cabinet drawer and doors, as well as any separate wood pieces or moldings that may be present.

If the pieces you’re painting have raised details, ensure the paint gets into all the nooks and crannies without building up.

Always use light, thin layers of paint to ensure that all surfaces are covered. Brushstrokes are less noticeable when applying a thin coat, which also dries faster.

Overworking the brush with too many strokes may cause air bubbles to form in the finish, which will cause it to dry unevenly, causing ridges and pits.

Allow a minimum of four hours between two layers of paint to dry. Using a tack cloth to remove any sanding dust, lightly sand all surfaces to apply the second layer of paint, then apply the second coat.

If your kitchen cabinets are exposed to a lot of heat and daily use, you would want to apply a third layer of high-quality paint. Safeguarding wood surfaces to the best of your ability is also essential.

Reassemble your cabinets once the paint and primer have dried completely. Screw down the drawer and its boxes with a cordless drill or a manual screwdriver.

All hinges should be reattached to the doors and drawers before replacing them. Instructively, screw down the cabinet doors back. Replacing the drawers is as simple as doing so.

Tips To Follow While Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Take your time because this is not a renovation project that can be completed in one Sunday afternoon. It is tempting to slap on a thick layer of paint in a hurry, but you will come to regret this decision when even the slightest scratch removes a significant portion of the paint.

  • For best results, sand and wipe off the surface after each coat for a minimum of five days to a week.
  • Wait at least four hours for primer and one day for all other layers of paint to dry before moving on to the next step.
  • To get a truly opaque finish, you’ll need a minimum of two layers of color and three or four.
  • If you want a sleek, contemporary look, use a fine foam roller, while a brush will give you a more traditional, painterly look.

Final Verdict

Hope this guide has helped you with the process of painting the kitchen cabinets. We have described the process along with all other associated things.

Pick your paint wisely, and don’t forget to check the cabinet’s condition before painting it. Make sure that you follow the safety measures because the professionals invest in these types of equipment, but you may not have all of them.

Follow the step-by-step guide to ensure the painting has been done successfully without any errors or other mess.

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