Pack a punch with freshly painted kitchen cabinets. This time-tested method of giving cabinets a clean look has been advanced with newly developed paints that make your job easier. When you contrast the minimal cost of paint and materials to the incredibly high cost of new kitchen cabinets, painting your cabinets is a clear winner.
Before launching head-first into this project, though, remember that this project is more than a quick, one-day job. Every item in your kitchen cabinets must be removed and safely stored. Doors and drawers need to be removed. Every surface that you intend to paint first requires thorough cleaning. Choose one of two directions when painting kitchen cabinets: using materials assembled individually or working with all-in-one surfacing kits made especially for cabinets.
Painting Cabinets From Scratch
Buying supplies separately for painting cabinets offers the greatest flexibility and range of color choices. Supplies, including primer, paint, and tools, are relatively inexpensive and are easy to obtain. These include:
- 100-percent acrylic or oil-based paints
- TSP (tri-sodium phosphate), a low-cost cleaning solution
- Bucket and clean sponges
- Tack cloth
- Putty and putty knife
- Roller frame
- Roller covers
- Electric oscillating sander
- High-quality paintbrushes
- High-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) paint sprayer (optional)
Painting Cabinets Using a Kit
Cabinet painting kits include much, but not all, of the materials you need. Cabinet painting kits tend to be expensive, often more costly than the sum of their parts. One prominent brand, Cabinet Transformations from Rustoleum, offers a multi-stage process that lets you paint not only wood cabinets but melamine and laminate cabinets, as well.
Cabinet painting kits help you to revitalize your cabinets through a four-step process:
- Apply a deglosser, then wipe it off with a clean rag.
- Roll or brush on a bond coat, which acts as a type of primer and color base for the subsequent glaze.
- Apply the decorative glaze.
- Apply the protective top coat.
Here are 10 kitchens with exquisitely painted cabinetry to inspire your project.
01 of 10
Lush black graces these painted kitchen cabinets. Black cabinets can be chic, modern, sleek, and warm, sometimes all at the same time. Pick your preferred descriptive word and black just might fit the bill. That's because black is stylistically so flexible. But it does have one major downside: All of your cabinet's flaws will be visible.
Lifestyle blogger Tammy Ellington concurs: "It’s so unforgiving. It shows every flaw in the wood along with brush strokes and mishaps, but it’s also beautiful when done well." Tammy's secret to pulling off this project successfully is milk paint. It lays down perfectly and shows almost no brush marks. Tammy used General Finishes' Milk Paint in Lamp Black color.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Is it possible to paint your kitchen cabinets without the added hassle of prior sanding and priming? For some homeowners, this cumbersome task is the sole obstacle that prevents them from charging ahead with the project at all.
Tasha Agruso of the popular blog Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body decided to try painting without sanding and priming. Rather than just brushing on paint and hoping for the best, Tasha entered the project with near-scientific precision, and it worked. After some thought, she concluded that it is possible to paint your cabinets without sanding and priming, but it takes focus and care. Tasha reports that the cabinet paint finish is still going strong even years after it was first applied.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
A cool, measured balance of classical elegance informs these painted kitchen cabinets. Williamsburg, Virginia-based decorator Jennifer Hudson at the design blog, Dear Lille Studio, inherited these painted kitchen cabinets from the previous owner. Jennifer believes that the color is Benjamin Moore Lampblack. Lampblack was a charcoal-tinged color traditionally found in 18th- and 19th-century wallpapers.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Kitchen cabinet on the outside, chalkboard on the inside. This surprising touch is simple to achieve when you buy easy-to-apply chalkboard paint and roll it on the inside of your cabinet doors. Create a grocery shopping list or simply say "I love you" to any family member who happens to be the next person to open the door. Chalkboard paint is inexpensive and water-based, so it cleans up well. This kitchen is the creation of home improvement blogger Virginia Plunkett, whose hugely popular tutorial shows how to painlessly paint your cabinets.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Gleaming chrome pulls, new subway tile, and a Kohler sink are the finishing touches to Diane Henkler's completely remodeled kitchen. And the centerpiece of that is her do-it-yourself painted kitchen cabinets. One word of advice from Diane: "Spring for high-quality paint." To that end, she chose Valspar Bonding/Sealing Primer followed by paint from the ProClassic brand by Sherwin-Williams. For a high-visibility project like this, it is important to purchase higher-quality products that ensure long-lasting results.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
The star of this kitchen is not just the gorgeous creamy white color and smooth finish on the cabinets. The lack of investment in high priced spraying equipment makes these painted cabinets doubly great. Home design blogger Laura at The Turquoise Home, intent on having a fabulous kitchen without buying what she calls "fancy equipment," invested major labor and a lot of swearing, but says she would do it all again in a heartbeat. Because the choice of paint is important, she picked two winners: Ace Hardware’s Door, Trim and Cabinet Paint, along with Benjamin Moore’s Advance Paint.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
An upstate New York home built during the 1880s deserves special handling during a remodel. Abbey Hendrickson, at the design blog Aesthetic Outburst, knew that she wanted a classic and sedate mood for her farmhouse kitchen. Simply to rid the existing cabinets of their dark, depressing brown color, Abbey and her husband first sprayed all of them white. Then, they left the upper wall cabinets white but painted the lower base cabinets a rich, moody color accented with Martha Stewart's brand of brass pulls.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Dark kitchen cabinets plague many homeowners. But Christy's cabinets were so dismal that she calls them "dark, dark, and more dark." Exacerbating the problem were the black granite countertops. So, the first order of business was to apply two coats of primer, a necessary step since the cabinets were so dark. Cabinets remained white, while the kitchen island was painted a light-blue shade called Campfire Ash from Behr. Mother-of-pearl tile for the backsplash adds even more shimmer to this space.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Not content to live with her oak cabinets and feeling positively "consumed by wood," Kassandra Dekoning took decisive measures and painted over the wood. Her plan of attack involved Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 Water-Based Primer and Benjamin Moore's Advance Paint in Pearl Finish. The result is a sleek, sophisticated color scheme that bears no resemblance to the previous country style red oak. Best of all, she spent considerably less on the project than if she had replaced the cabinets altogether.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Aniko's kitchen went through a few transformations before arriving at its current gorgeous look. When Aniko first moved in, the kitchen cabinets were builder's grade red oak. After switching to Shaker-style cabinets, she still knew she wanted something different. Time for a two-toned cabinet style, both colors from Home Depot's house brand, Behr. The top cabinets were sprayed in Behr's workhorse color for trim and casing, Ultra Pure White. The base cabinets received Behr Night Club in a satin finish.
How long does it take to paint your kitchen cabinets?
Painting kitchen cabinets takes around four to five days to do properly. The prep takes a while as all items have to be taken out of the cupboards, cabinet drawers, doors, and hardware removed, and all areas to be painted need to be prepped before the painting can even begin.
When shouldn't you paint your kitchen cabinets?
If the cabinets are damaged in any way, such as chipped, cracked, or warped, painting them will only make these defects stand out more.
Should you paint the inside of kitchen cabinet doors?
Yes, paint both the outside and the inside of kitchen cabinet doors. If you don't, every time you open the cabinet door, you will see that the inside is not painted and is the original color. If you're going to all this time and expense of painting the cabinets, it's best to paint both sides of the cabinet doors. You won't regret it.