Whether your kitchen looks dated or just needs a makeover, you need to know how to paint kitchen cabinets. From bold colors to bright pastels, a fresh coat of paint will instantly give your old kitchen cabinets new life. What’s more, if your wallet can’t reach to buy a brand new kitchen, learning how to paint kitchen cabinets to transform them on a budget will save you a small fortune.
In addition, you can customize your cabinets to your own style and design, making the heart of the home truly unique. It is also important to consider the right paint finish for your kitchen cabinets. In general, satin, semi-gloss or glossy paints are good choices for kitchen cabinets because they are much easier to wipe down and more resistant to grease and cooking fumes.
While this may seem like a challenging job, don’t despair. It’s actually not that hard to learn how to paint kitchen cabinets yourself with these simple steps. So before you even consider splashing out on a new kitchen, here’s how to paint kitchen cabinets to transform them on a budget.
How to paint kitchen cabinets
What you need
Drop cloth/protective cover
All-purpose cleaner or degreaser
Small roller brush
1. Prepare the room — Paint jobs can be messy, so cover the counter or floor with drop cloths or protective sheets. You don’t want any splashes on your surfaces. It is also advisable to empty all contents of kitchen cabinets and drawers before painting and apply painter’s tape around edges or edges such as this painter’s tape ($12. Amazon (opens in new tab)), to avoid paint stains.
2. Remove kitchen cabinet doors, drawers and handles
While it may seem convenient to paint kitchen cabinets hanging from the hinges, it’s always best to: remove doors, drawers and shelves† Loosen all hinges with a screwdriver, and place items on a covered, flat surface, floor or table† Than, label each door or item with a numbered piece of painter’s tape, so that you know which door or drawer belongs where when you put it back. Finally, remove all cabinet handles, doorknobs or other decorative fixtures; to make it easier to properly paint the surface, avoid unsightly drips and get a nice finish.
TIP: if you can’t get the cabinets out of the hinges, or if you have trouble with space, you can cover the hinges completely with painter’s tape. Be sure to hide all metalwork and be careful when painting around it.
3. Clean your closets. All the time clean cupboards with soap, degreaser or all-purpose cleaner. This removes grease or grime from surfaces and creates a smooth canvas. Wipe off any residue with a damp cloth before letting items dry.
4. Sand the cabinets — Once the cabinets are dry, light sanding with fine sandpaper (220-grit sandpaper is sufficient) to make sure the surface is completely smooth for painting. Than, use a lint-free cloth to wipe off excess dust† If you have holes or cracks in the surface, fill it in with a ready-to-use quality filler before sanding again. We recommend this Everbuild All Purpose Ready Mixed Filler ($19, Amazon (opens in new tab)) to fix any imperfections.
5. Prime the cabinets — Before painting, apply a wood or melamine primer depending on the type of substrate. This prevents stains or imperfections from showing through the new layer, which is often the case when you paint over dark tones. Pour your primer into a paint tray, and prime the cabinet units with a paint roller or large square brush† Once everything is covered with primer, let it dry well before painting.
6. Start painting the cabinets — Once you have chosen the chosen color, open the paint can and stir the paint around with a wooden stick. Start painting around the frame of the cabinets with a brush, before paint the entire door or surface using a roller brush, apply even pressure. After the first coat is completely drylight sand for a smooth, high-quality finish, wipe off any dust with a clean, damp cloth. It is recommended to wait approximately 12 hours before recoating but always read the directions on the paint can.
7. Reassemble kitchen cabinets — Once the second coat feels completely dry, you can start putting everything back in place. Replace the handles, doorknobs and any fixtures first replace the cabinet doors, drawers and shelves in their rightful places. If you really want to spruce up more, you can even replace old door handles or knobs with new, modern ones.
Now you can step back to admire your handiwork and enjoy your newly remodeled kitchen.
What type of paint should I choose for my kitchen cabinets?
Matte or chalk paint — These create a more rustic look that would work well in a country kitchen, although a matte finish is generally harder to wipe off and less hard-wearing. In that case, it can be a difficult choice to maintain in a high-traffic kitchen. However, matte paints are often water-based, so you’re more likely to find an eco-friendly option with a low VOC (volatile organic compound) content.
Satin, semi-gloss or glossy paints — These are ideal for kitchen cabinets as they are generally much easier to wipe down, more resistant to grease and cooking fumes, and less prone to chipping or scratching than their matte counterparts. However, these finishes are usually solvent or oil based, which can be tricky to paint with and are likely to contain more strong smelling and harmful chemicals.
After you’ve painted your kitchen cabinets, learn how to remove stains from painted walls to keep them looking great. And if you want to take it one step further, check out our guide to painting a room like a pro with quick tips.
For more cleaning tips, see how do you clean a leather sofa? and how do you remove red wine stains from carpet?† Also discover the 10 things you didn’t know you could clean with baking soda and also Can I use malt vinegar to clean? – here’s the best vinegar to clean with.