Your kitchen cabinets need to be replaced, you know they do. But, in the current economy, you’re afraid to make a financial commitment to the project. Replacing kitchen cabinets is costly and time-consuming. What can you do to give your kitchen cabinets a face lift when you need to work with a low budget? Work with what you have! Painting your kitchen cabinets and updating the hardware will give your whole kitchen a lift and add value to your home.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Almost any kitchen cabinets can be improved with a little paint and elbow grease. A little elbow grease is important because, before you can paint your kitchen cabinets, you’ll have to spend some time taking off the accumulated grease from cooking in your kitchen. This project requires some prep work. So let’s discuss the prep work and then move on to how to paint your kitchen cabinets.
Step 1 – Removing Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors
Before cleaning, go ahead and remove your kitchen cabinet doors. Remove the hardware and door and as you are doing so, mark the door so that you know which cabinet it came from. This will save you a lot of time later, trust me. Devise a numbering system and make a small mark with the number on the inside of the door. Make a map of your cabinets and place a corresponding mark for that door on your map.
Step 2 – Cleaning Your Kitchen Cabinets and Doors
There are several products you can use to clean your kitchen cabinets. Some of the products I’ve used are Murphy’s Oil Soap, Spray ‘N Wash, 409, Dawn Dish Soap with water, and Greased Lightning. For stubborn grease, try WD40 but be sure to wash it off well.
Before choosing your cleaning product be sure you want to paint your kitchen cabinets. If you just want to give them a thorough cleaning, choose one of the products that won’t dull the finish such as Murphy’s Oil Soap. But if you are committed to painting your kitchen cabinets, it doesn’t matter if you dull the finish. So use the cheapest product that cuts the grease.
Step 3 – Priming Your Kitchen Cabinets and Doors
At this point, it is best to move as much of this operation as possible outside or to a well-ventilated garage. Place your kitchen cabinet doors across sawhorses and sand them with 220-grit sandpaper. Wipe them down with a tack cloth or rag to remove the dust. Now you are ready to apply the primer to your kitchen cabinet doors. Use an oil-based primer such as Kilz. Put on a good coat of primer. Don’t skimp on this part of the process. The primer provides a nice, smooth surface for your paint. Use a roller for the larger areas and you’ll need a brush to get into the smaller areas. Don’t forget the edges of your cabinet doors.
Lay drop cloths across your counter tops and floors. You will need to prime your cabinet bases, too, and any other cabinetry you can’t move to your outside work area. Open doors and windows to ventilate your kitchen while you work. When you are done, clean your rollers and brushes and go out for pizza. This primer needs to dry overnight.
Step 4 – It’s Time to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
While you are out getting pizza, it’s a good time to stop by the paint store and pick up your paint. Don’t skimp here. Pick a good gloss or semi-gloss enamel paint. Some good paints I have used are Behr and Valspar. A gloss finish will be the shiniest and will be the easiest to clean. But if you don’t want a very glossy finish then semi-gloss is fine.
When picking your paint color consider your wall color, the color of your counter-tops, and any other decorative elements (small appliances, paintings, curtains, tablecloths) that will be remaining in your kitchen. Here are some color tips to help you select a paint color for your kitchen cabinets. An almond color will make a nice neutral if you have plans to sell your home. But if you have no plans to move you can be more adventurous. A chili-pepper red, perhaps.
Use a good brush and paint with the grain of your kitchen cabinets and cabinet doors. Apply a thin coat and let the paint dry completely between coats. Plan to apply at least two coats of paint.
Here’s an excellent video that outlines how to paint kitchen cabinets.
Step 5 – New Hardware for Your Kitchen Cabinets
Now that you’ve painted your kitchen cabinets it’s time to get creative. Adding knobs or pulls to kitchen cabinets that have never had them will add value to your kitchen and make your cabinets look more expensive. Or, you can change the type and size of the knob you previously had if you fill in the old holes with wood putty before you paint your kitchen cabinet doors.
You can find kitchen cabinet knobs and pulls at Lowes, Home Depot, and even Target. There are also many sources online for new kitchen hardware. Or look at secondhand stores and antique shops for unique options. Not everything has to match perfectly. Use both knobs and pulls that are different but coordinate well together.
Since you’ve saved money by painting instead of replacing your kitchen cabinet doors, consider spending a little extra on the kitchen cabinet hardware. It will be instantly noticeable and will upgrade your kitchen.
You’re done! No more going out for pizza because you can’t stand your kitchen cabinets. Plan a pizza party to show off your “new” kitchen cabinets and enjoy the compliments of your guests.