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If you want to paint your cabinets white, one of the best paints you can use is Valspar Pro Contractor Coat, an alkyd enamel or oil-based paint. This professional-grade paint is great for trim, cabinets, and other accents, especially because its high-gloss finish easily wipes clean and keeps its shine, even after being washed multiple times.
“High gloss content helps hide imperfections and limits fingerprints from showing,” explains interior designer Anne R. Kokoskie of Styled by ARK. “Most importantly, it is easy to clean, which is a requirement when selecting paint for kitchen cabinets.”
Valspar Pro Contractor Coat has excellent flow and leveling, which results in an incredibly smooth, uniform finish, and it can be brushed or sprayed on. Reviewers say this paint is easy to apply and has a beautiful finish, and as an added bonus, it’s extremely affordable.
For a paint that’s both stain- and scratch-resistant—two important characteristics for kitchen cabinets—and comes in a wide range of colors, you can’t go wrong with Sherwin-Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel paints. This line of paints is designed for high-traffic surfaces such as doors and trim, and you can choose from dozens of Sherwin-Williams colors and custom tints, as well as satin, semi-gloss, and gloss finishes.
“Sherwin-Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel provides exceptional washability, durability and stain and scratch resistance,” explains Rick Watson, director of product information at Sherwin-Williams. “In fact, most stains wipe clean with water or mild soap. It also has advanced stain-blocking technology to seal in stains already on your walls.”
Semi-gloss is the best choice for durability, as it can withstand frequent cleaning, and reviewers say the Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel delivers smooth, consistent coverage with just two or three coats. However, several people say it can be tricky to apply and is not very forgiving, so it’s not the best option for novice DIYers.
Another high-gloss paint that will give kitchen cabinets a beautiful shiny finish is Farrow & Ball Full Gloss—a high-end water-based variety that’s a favorite of many designers.
This line of paint is available in a variety of colors, including both neutral and bold shades: “Besides just the function it provides, the color hues are tremendously rich,” explains Kokoskie. “I am a big fan of their 2020 new color Stiffkey Blue for bolder kitchens, which is on-trend for the year. For a more traditional approach, Ammonite is a natural, yet understated grey that adds a bit of depth.”
While it delivers a beautiful, durable finish, this brand of paint is quite the splurge, retailing for more than $100 per gallon.
“Farrow and Ball has a 95% gloss paint that makes cleaning as easy as glass. Its ability to create a ‘just like new’ finish on restored cabinets is amazing.”
Anne R. Kokoskie, Interior Designer
If you don’t want a glossy finish on your cabinets, BEHR Premium Interior Cabinet & Trim Enamel is a budget-friendly semi-gloss paint. This water-based product delivers a durable finish that resists dirt, grime, and mildew, and it dries quickly, allowing you to recoat in just two hours.
“It offers excellent flow and leveling and dries to a hard, durable finish,” says Jessica Barr, National Trainer at The Behr Paint Company. “This provides a sleek, radiant sheen that is great for cabinets and trim, high-traffic areas, and high-moisture areas.”
Reviewers like that this paint is low-odor and easy to apply, but several note that it takes quite a few coats of paint to completely cover dark materials.
Another popular paint finish is satin, which is a good middle ground between a flat and glossy paint. If this is the finish you prefer, Insl-x Cabinet Coat is a water-based formula that’s specially designed for refinishing kitchen and bathroom cabinets. This brand of paint has superior adhesion, allowing you to paint over a variety of difficult surfaces, such as polyurethane and varnish, without primer, and its excellent flow and leveling will give you a smooth, professional-looking finish.
Insl-x Cabinet Coat dries to a durable satin finish that resists chipping, scuffing, grease, and water, making it easy to clean and an ideal choice for kitchen cabinets. Reviewers highly recommend this brand, writing that it’s easy to apply with a brush or roller and wears extremely well, holding up over years of wear and tear. However, it does take several coats to fully cover darker surfaces.
For a trendy farmhouse look, you can paint your cabinets with a matte or flat paint like the BEHR Chalk Decorative Paint. This line of paint comes in a wide range of muted colors, and it delivers a smooth, velvety matte finish that creates a more rustic look on your cabinets.
This water-based chalk paint can be applied to almost any surface without primer, and it provides great coverage so you can use fewer coats. However, if you’re using this matte paint on a high-traffic surface such as kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to seal it with wax or water-based clear sealers to improve its durability.
If your cabinets are worn or dated, they might need more than just a coat of paint. The Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations is a multi-step DIY cabinet transformation system that will help to totally redo your cabinets, making them look as good as new. It includes all the supplies you need to cover up to 100 square feet of cabinets, and you can choose from white, gray, or espresso finishes.
The first step in the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kit is a deglosser that saves you from having to sand or prime previously finished surfaces. Next, you apply two layers of the tinted bond coat, which provides maximum adhesion, and finally, you top it off with a durable, protective topcoat, which makes the surface scratch-resistant and gives your cabinets a satin finish. There’s also an optional decorative glaze.
Reviewers love that this cabinet transformation kit is so affordable and includes everything you need to completely redo kitchen cabinets. Many note that it’s easy to use, but it can take several days to complete all the steps carefully.
This roundup was written by Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer for The Spruce who is an expert on all things home. She has a bachelor’s degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design, and she’s taken several courses in interior decorating.