How to Paint Cabinets

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Hi, everyone! I am excited to show you how painting cabinets could really update and change a look of a bathroom or even Kitchen. We have painted several cabinets, in the several homes, we have owned. I have a few pictures that I have to show. I lost a lot of the pictures when I got a new computer. I thought I saved all of them but I didn’t save the ones from a certain program that had a large amount of (project) pictures on it. :(
Here is a kitchen that we painted the cabinets and changed out the some of the other fixtures.
Paint cabinets
1. Remove the hardware. Make sure to mark which hinge goes to which spot. I mark each one with a number. See, these have a 4?

Also mark the cabinet with the same number. This is so all of the cabinets will hang the same way when you are done.
2. Sand everything well.
3. Wipe down all the dust. A tack cloth works well for this.
4. Caulk any gaps or cracks with a paintable caulk.
5. Prime all the cabinets and drawers with a high quality primer. Depending on what type of finish you are covering will depend on the type of primer. Ask at your local home center, or even better, a paint store.
6. Paint at least 2 coats of a HIGH quality paint. I use a semi gloss finish.

When painting the doors always paint the backs first, and then flip to do the front and the sides. I used these paint pyramids. I am not sure what they are called, but you could find them in the paint departments in home centers.
Brush any corners or indentions and then I like to use a foam roller on the flat surfaces to give the cabinets a nice smooth finish.

9. Paint the flat surface and then the edges of drawers.

Here are the cabinets done. See the before and after pictures farther down.
This is another bathroom.

And another.

Here is a before.
Normandy 131
Here are the cabinets painted and you could see how I framed the mirror HERE.
Painted Cabinets 2
Here are some before and afters of the cabinets I have painted.

Painting cabinets collage

Painting cabinets Master collage

Painting Cabinets kitchen 2

Painting Cabinets Bathroom 2

What a difference!
What do you like about them?
A lot of painters will tell you to spray the cabinets. I personally have used a sprayer out doors and in our garage for our shutters (I took them down first) and for our wicker furniture. What a mess! If there is any kind of wind, forget about it. The over spray is what you have to watch out for and dust and dirt getting on the  paint. I have and will spray paint from a spray can all kinds of things in my garage or out back. Cabinets? It would not be good! If you have a space to spray and have used a sprayer before you may want to try it.

Do you have cabinets you would like to paint?
Do you have any additional questions I could answer?
To see how to frame the bathroom mirrors go HERE.

Doug and Sharon Heasley
(Parents of a Dozen)
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  1. Hello Sharon,
    You did a great job making the selections for your kitchen. I've always been partial to white & love the fixtures you chose.

    Both of your bathrooms look gorgeous.

    Thank you for the tutorial.

    Enjoy your day.

  2. LOVE these. They all look amazing!

  3. I stumbled on your blog. Really like it. We are about to paint our kitchen cabinets, however, we have a lacquer on it that is peeling off. What would you do in this situation?

    1. I would suggest to you to sand really well. Also I would take a drawer or cabinet door to a specialty paint store (or 2) to ask what primer and paint they would suggest. You don't want to have a reaction with the lacquer. I would think they would suggest possible a shellac based primer such as Binn's. I would then test a section before you do the whole thing.

  4. I love this white kitchen! What a beautiful space. I have brown wood cabinets that I don't like, and every time I see a kitchen redo like this one, I am SO encouraged to paint my cabinets! Thanks!

  5. I'm always torn between painting cabinets black or white. Your transformations are beautiful!

    1. Im going with eggshell black and going to distress such an awsome look good luck!

  6. Have you ever painted any laminate cabinets? This is what we have and I really, really dislike them. We had hoped to replace them when we moved in 5 years ago, but unfortunately with the economy as is, and my husband being self employed, it's not going to happen. Did I tell you how much I really, really dislike them. I would love to paint but don't know how to go about it....especially the peeling part.

  7. Sorry....I missed the post a few above mine. Will follow those directions.

  8. Every thing looks GREAT! I am trying to find ideas to update the kitchen and bathrooms in our house. At first I was a little worried about painting the bathroom cabinets white with a lighter colored counter top, but from your pictures, it looks very nice. Thank you for the tips.

  9. First of all, GREAT JOB! I'd love to paint all our wood cabinets but there are SOOO many it's going to be a BIG job and think it will take weeks! What color and brand paint did you use? The colors may be different for different rooms, it's hard to tell from the computer screen. Thanks for sharing your tips and photos!

    1. Thank you! I used a Behr paint that I had color matched to our trim color so I could use it for that also. I resently used Sherwin Williams' ProClassic that I liked better. It is for trim and doors but I also used it to paint our bedroom set. It I really like the finish on it.

  10. You are using an oil-based paint, right? They are very pretty.

    1. Thank you! Actually we did not use and oil-based paint. We really don't like using oil based paints. And there are so many high quality latex paints on the market right now that do a great job. I am partial to Sherwin William's paint. You may pay more but it so worth it. You should ask at a paint store what they would recommend for your situation. It depends on the type of would and finish you are covering.

  11. All your projects turned out wonderfully and you've added some great tips! Thanks for linking up to Throwback Thursday!

  12. Your work is awesome! I noticed in the kitchen painting project, the section that you see in the foreground of the pic is not real wood but that faux looking wood (I have the exact same thing). Do you sand and primer that too? It doesn't seem like it would sand. Thanks!

    1. You really need to at least lightly sand the surface even if it is not real wood. The sanding scuffs the surface and helps the primer adhere.

  13. If you don't mind me asking, what is the color of the countertops? Also the backsplash. I love the whole look!! You did a great job!!

    1. Thank you! The counters are granite called Uba Tuba, the back splash is a cream colored marble and the paint is a slightly creamy white we color matched to to trim color that was throughout the house.

  14. Hi there! I love your final product in the kitchen. We have white painted cabinets and are looking to change out our countertops. What kind did you use?


    1. We used a granite called Uba Tuba. It had little metallic specks in it. The only reason we went with this is because the house had this granite on the window ledges and we wanted to match them. We actually had a hard time finding the same kind. Granite is a natural stone and they vary in every piece. If you do choose a granite make sure you go to the warehouse and pick out the actual slab. They vary so much! We still would have chosen granite for the resale of the house. We were flipping it.

  15. How long did the project take you? How hard was it painting the insides of the cabinets?
    Looks awesome!

  16. Tom, Thank you, each job was different. How long it took depends on the number of cabinets, the dry time between coats, and how much space you have to work. I did not paint the inside of the cabinets just the backs of the doors. The cleaning and the sanding was the worst part and took awhile. Sharon

  17. What color paint did you use on the kitchen walls?

  18. Beautiful work! On your bathroom re-do, what brand, color, and color finish of paint did you use on the walls? On my screen, it appears to be a shade of gray (maybe dove or dolphin gray), and I like the look. If you don't mind sharing, I would be most appreciative!

  19. The cabinets are a white. I am not sure which white because that was several years ago. I see how they look gray. It must have been the lighting. Thank you!


Thank you for your comments!