Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

Painting your kitchen cabinets is a great way to turn a drab kitchen into a whole new room. I was able to paint my kitchen cabinets and add some pizazz to an otherwise dull outdated kitchen. When I began the project I really did not know what a difference a few coats of paint would make. I finished the project 2 days ago and now I enjoy just sitting down in my kitchen to drink a hot cup of coffee. Its like having a whole new room and it cost me 1/25 of the price of having new kitchen cabinets installed.

Things you’ll need:

Plastic tarps

Painters paper/newspaper

Cleaning clothes


Paint thinner

Drill driver

Good quality oil based primer

Good quality latex paint

2 Paint brushes for use with oil based paint (4in, 2in)

1 brush for use with latex paint (2 in)

Small paint roller and tray


Fine sand paper

Rough sand paper

1 can of spray paint

1 can of spay paint primer

Small scrub brush

If you kitchen cabinets and hardware are in fairly good shape painting is an inexpensive alternative to refinishing or buying new cabinets. I painted both the cabinets and the hardware and it took me about on week to finish the project. The first thing you need to decide is what color to paint the cabinets. I chose white because I wanted a more traditional look.

Remove and Repair

I removed the kitchen cabinet doors using a small cordless drill driver. I was careful to note the location of each door to help with putting them back in the right places. I also removed the bottom hinges first in order to prevent strain on the upper hinge. After removing the doors I used TSP to clean all the surfaces that I would be painting. My cabinets had a dark walnut veneer and were very glossy. Sanding them would have been exhausting , so I choose to use a liquid deglosser rather than sanding. I followed the instructions on the deglosser and used it to treat the cabinets. After the deglosser was dry I examined the cabinets for places where the veneer had been chipped. I used wood putty to fill in chipped areas and sanded these areas by hand with fine sandpaper once the wood putty was dry.

Painting the Hardware?

I decided to paint my kitchen cabinet hardware because buying new would have cost me upwards of $150.00. The hardware was black and I thought the contrast with the cabinets would have been too harsh. I chose copper colored spray paint with a hammered texture. I bought new screws for the handles and kept the old screws from the hinges since they are not visible from the outside of the cabinets. I soaked the cabinet hardware in a solution of water, ammonia, and a touch of dishwashing liquid over night. I used a small scrub brush to clean them toughly the next day. Once they were clean and dry I sanded them with rough sand paper to remove any loose paint. I rinsed them with hot water and let them dry. Once they were dry I was able to begin painting them. I chose to use a primer even though the spray paint said that I could paint over rust because the cabinet handles are the most abused part of the cabinet and I wanted the paint job to last for years. I laid the hardware on cardboard an sprayed them with primer outside on an old table I brought them inside to dry. After the drying time pasted I turned them over and painted the other side. I then waited 24 hours before applying the actual spray paint. I waited 48 hours before placing them back on the cabinet doors.


I covered the kitchen table, counter tops, and appliances with plastic tarps and used painters paper to cover the floors. I purchased paint thinner for quick clean up with the oil based primer. The latex paint could be cleaned -up with warm soapy water. I started painting the cabinet frames while waiting for the wood putty to dry. From research I had done, I determined that I would get the best quality and the fastest project finish time by using a quality oil based primer and a good quality latex paint. I coated the frames with the primer using a 4 inch brush for larger areas and a 2 inch brush for small areas. One warning here — Do not paint over the screw holes for the hinges . I did this on the first frame I painted and had a difficult time replacing those doors. The primer I used required 24 hours before applying a second coat even though it was dry to the touch within 2 to 3 hours. Since my cabinets were so dark I needed 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint. I waited 24 hours between coats.

Now that the cabinets were cleaned and repaired, I began painting them. I chose to paint one side at a time and I used both a small paint roller and a brush for the edges. If you have a place where you can put down plastic and lean the doors against a wall or hang them after painting you could paint both sides at the same time. Unfortunately I did not have that kind of space or a place to hang them. I painted one side at a time and the edges laid the doors on top of different items throughout my house….chairs, bookshelves and the like, which I had covered with newspaper before hand. I balanced them on a few larger Tupperware containers. That way they dried flat and the edges were clear. One of the advantages of drying the cabinet doors flat is that I was able to used a small paint roller to apply the latex paint. During my research I was warned that if a roller was used the cabinets would have a bumpy finish. I found that the bumps settled out as the paint dried flat and the finished cabinets had a very smooth finish.

Once the doors and frames had dried I replaced the hardware. My husband helped me to put the cabinet doors back on. I needed someone to hold them in place while I screwed in the hinges. Wow ….My husband and I were both surprised at what a difference this made. The total project including the drill driver, tarps and clothes for clean-up cost me only $147.83 plus some physical labor and patience. Not a bad price to pay for a whole new look.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

nine × = 72