Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets? What I Would do Differently

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I’m a sucker for painted cabinets. I never understand those people on House Hunters who declare their hatred for white kitchen cabinets. That’s about when I turn the channel.

I have painted my kitchen cabinets in my last three homes. And I’d do it again every single time. It’s worth it.

Friends walk into my kitchen and are always curious about painting their own kitchen cabinets. They ask about every detail. What kind of special paint did I use? How much sanding did it take? Was it messy? Did it take forever? Did I use a sprayer? and on and on. I think people have this idea that painting kitchen cabinets is a huge ordeal. It’s really not.

I’m fairly lazy when it comes to painting prep, I just want to get to the good part. With all of my kitchen cabinet makeovers I did very little sanding of the cabinets. I used regular old latex paint in semi-gloss (allows you to wipe it down). I always clean the cabinets with T.S.P., do one coat of primer, and 2 coats of paint. And I never sand in between the coats of paint. The hardest part is taking all the doors and hinges off (labeling them) and then having to reinstall them all. But the painting part really isn’t that hard.

My first two kitchens were pre children. Before plasma cars and hockey sticks made a daily appearance in my kitchen. Those cabinets never had a dent or scratch on them. Even a tiny splatter of spaghetti sauce was wiped off within seconds of ever landing on a cabinet door.

This time my kitchen has met its match. My current kitchen is a whole other level of dirty. Sometimes I’m amazed our house is even still standing. My husband and I joke that there’s no point in cleaning. We’ll just burn the house down when the boys move out.


I painted these cabinets almost four years ago. And they held up pretty well for the first two years. But now they are starting to show some wear. I think our biggest problem is that each of our doors and drawers still have child proof locks on them. So every time we open them we have to put our hands on the actual door and not the knob.


The cutlery drawer takes the most abuse.

preventing-peeling-paintThis is the only upper cabinet showing some wear. But I do find the white cabinets get dirty around the knobs.


The cabinets directly below my sink have also seen more wear than other areas. This area gets wiped down a lot more often.

Good news is that these scratches are easy to fix. I just sanded the area down a bit, just to get it smooth. And repainted. I did have to repaint the entire front of that door or drawer front. But it takes only a few minutes to do so and I didn’t even take them off the hinges to do it.

That’s what I love most about painted cabinets. You can easily fix anything with a coat of paint. Before I painted this kitchen the dated honey oak cabinets had water damage in a few areas. And that’s impossible to hide.


I’m getting ready to paint the cabinets again. I’m thinking more of a grey than a blue.

1. I’m going to buy the best primer I can find, and I’ll do two coats of primer this time.

2. Clean the cabinets with something like T.S.P. really well. Last time I was pretty lazy with this.

3. I’ll still do it in phases. I picked one week to do the upper cabinets on the left side, the next week I did the lower cabinets on the left side etc. Especially with kids this makes a big difference.

4. With little kids in the house I think I will always keep my lower cabinets dark and the uppers white. The dark paint really does hide those little finger prints.

5. And the biggest change I would make is using a topcoat of Minwax water-based Polycrylic. I’ve used this product on painted furniture and it’s been great. But first test it on a small area to be sure it doesn’t yellow (if using white paint).

minwax polycrylic_thumb[2]


For just a couple of hundred dollars you can completely change the look of your kitchen. I find it makes cooking food for kids who never eat anything way more enjoyable.

I promise you can’t possible regret it.

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85 thoughts on “Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets? What I Would do Differently

  1. “That’s about when I turn the channel.” Hahaha…love it. I’ve stained/painted cabinets in our last two homes. I never understand it when people say they like the oak better! I love light, bright cabinets, and I love the color you chose!

  2. Does adding polycrylic to painted kitchen cabinets mean to touch up later you will have to degloss again?

  3. Hi, I read all the comments and feel wiser. I have the 80’s oak cabinets, still in excellent shape but I’m thinking of using a gel stain to darken the finish. Any special prep I should do? And for the 64K question. I have a white double oven set and the rest of my appliances are stainless. Is there any kind of paint I can use on the ovens to make them look stainless? yeah I know, probably not. If not how about make them black w/stainless accents? I’m sorry to change the subject, but you all seem so knowledgeable, I was hoping someone could help me. Thanks!

    • In reference to the stainless paint question:

      There is stainless appliance paint you can use for this kind of project. There is a special one you would want to use for a stove since it must be resistant to high temperatures:

      As far as ease and the final look? It really varies. We just did this with our refrigerator and I don’t think I would do it again. Here is a copy of the review I left for the Rustoleum version of the product:
      “My house came with a white fridge and we are changing to stainless. We tried to save money on painting the fridge, but it definitely is not going to “match” in the end.
      I started with a mid-range foam roller. It covered just fine, but left streaks everywhere. I did another coat with the same type of roller and it still left streaks. I then tried a third coat using a natural fiber brush, hoping I could get a “brushed steel” look, but the bristles were not fine enough and it just looked weird. I’m about to find the highest quality, widest roller I can possibly find and try one more coat. If it doesn’t come out well, I’ll just cover it with magnets and have to live with the streaks until I can drop the cash on a new fridge. Don’t expect it to look like a new, stainless fridge at all.
      Also, don’t believe the instructions for appliances. You WILL need more than one coat. If your current appliance has a texture, like most non-stainless refrigerators, sanding is recommended. However, it will never be completely smooth and shiny and the texture will likely still show through a bit.

      All in all, its a decent product for what you get. Don’t go into this purchase with high expectations and you will come out with an appliance that looks stainless if you squint and doesn’t COMPLETELY contrast with original stainless. It’s a good product for a temporary upgrade until you can get the real thing, at least for appliances.
      I purchased a cheap black foam brush and tried one more coat. I recommend this route. The coverage was better and it kept the streaks minimal. Still isn’t amazing, but I’m satisfied for now. I will finish it off with a clear coat to get the polished look.
      You will need to spend a little cash on additional supplies for this product if you want the best results – primer, top coat, brushes, etc. Just an FYI.”

      So, it is a good temporary solution. I have seen some folks have great luck and others not so much. You can find videos on Youtube of people going through the application process. If you can’t wait to upgrade to stainless (like me), it’s worth a shot. If you are worried about possibly ruining the finish of your stove, it might be worth it to wait. when we do upgrade our refrigerator, we definitely will have to ask a very low selling price on the old (otherwise, very nice) one, due to the botched paint job.

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post! I came over from Pinterest b/c I too am wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets and I was interested in seeing what you would do differently. I really like the idea of using the water-based poly!
    I love your sense of humor! looking forward to reading more.

    p.s. We painted old inset cabinets in our last house and the and the chipping paint was discussing!

  5. I just finished painting my cabinets white yesterday. I painted them white in my last house so I’ve had some practice! LOL
    The best paint is called *Cabinet COAT by Insl-x it has great reviews online! Check it out.
    I also bought a Wagner double duty control sprayer to spray the doors! Sooooooo worth the $80!!! No brush marks on the cabinet door and it was super easy to use!!
    Also the best primer is BIN Shellac primer. It sticks to everythingg!
    Make sure you clean really well with TSP and make sure you get it off well afterwards.
    We did sand the doors some with just a palm sander bc the doors were ancient and needed it.
    I painted the cabinet bases with just a roller and brush.
    They look a million times better and I will probably put polycrylic on them before they’re hung.

    • Great advice…follow Candice’s steps and you’ll be thrilled with the results. If you’re not a fanatic about cleaning the cabinets use 2-3 coates (make sure you let each coat fully dry) of polycrylic. Clean up will bee a breeze!

      • I tried the first coat of minwax with a brush and it dried way too quickly and left streaks. How did you apply the polycrylic?

  6. This was so useful to me!! I have a kitchen with extremely obsolete woodland green and white cupboards (yowser!) and painting is practically my alternative for overhauling right now yet I was super scared! I feel that I *can* do this now in the wake of perusing your post! :)

  7. The polycrylic does not yellow! I just used it on our cabinet doors and it didn’t alter the paint and glaze at all! I think you’ll love it!

  8. Painting Melamine Kitchen cupboards:
    Are you able to provide me with step by step instructions on how to do this.
    Should I use a paint brush or a roller ?

  9. By doing small things like repainting our old kitchen cupboards , we can completely change the look of the kitchen.Which brush did you use?
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. Keep up the good work.

  10. I’m having a similar thing happen to my kitchen cabinets, but it makes sense as they’re very old now. I didn’t know that I should do two coats of primer when I paint them, but I’ll be sure to do that this time. I’ve never thought to use a polycrylic, but I’d like to try it out!

  11. My husband and I have a newer home and for some reason the contractor installed oak cabinets. You don’t see many newer homes with oak cabinets. The walls were red and it took us a while to decide on a wall color that looked good with the oak. The kitchen looks much better since painting the walls. We’ve talked some about painting the cabinets but the grain of oak is pretty noticable. That is one of our big concerns with painting them. If I knew we were going to stay in this house for several more years I’d paint them. I’m concerned that buyers might want the wood look. :/

    • Use Benjamin Moore’s Advance Alkyd Primer and Semi-gloss paint. It’s the BEST you’ll find for cabinets! Two to three coats primer on oak cabinets and two coats paint should hide the grain pattern.

    • Our house was finished in 2/98. The builder installed Merillat cabinets. They are oak and they were clear coated with not stain in a satin finish. They have held up well but we wanted to do something different. We decided on going for a rustic look. At first I was going to use Annie Sloan chalk paint (ASCP) and then wax them for distressing. We had an extra door that I had saved, so I experimented on it. I liked certain aspects of how it finished but became concerned about the durability of chalk paint in a kitchen and also the fact that it probably would need to be re-waxed every year or so. So, I began looking for an alternative. After reading a lot of blogs I ran across one that used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic. It is a water borne paint with the properties of enamel and it claims to be a self-leveling product. I did a comparison finish on my test door between ASCP and Sherwin Williams and opted for the later. Cleaned my cabinets with mineral spirits (especially thoroughly where they have been handled over the years), primed with a SW primer, rolled on two coats of paint, gave them a slightly aged and distressed look with Rustoleum Java glaze and then did a final topcoat with Minwax Polycrilic satin sheen. I did not try to sand down the cabinets to eliminate or minimize the grain nor did I used a grain filler. I wanted the grain to accept some of the glaze, which I put over a color called Old Ochre, in order to give it an aged/distressed look. I used my test door to experiment with brush vs rolling and also the best way to used the glaze. I am still working on the project in sections but, so far, they are looking exactly the way I wanted them to. Good luck with yours.

  12. Sounds great. What kind of brush did you use for the smoothest results?
    No sprayer, correct?

  13. By doing little things like repainting our old kitchen cabinets, we can enjoy a major change in our kitchen. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. Keep up the good work.

  14. Hello all, my husband renovated houses and we have rentals and I have been selling real estate for 20 years so we have seen and renovated MANY kitchens and we try to give them a modern touch at an affordable price and definitely some thing that is going to hold us, as your name is everything in this business.
    For white we only use the Sherwin Williams Pro Classic on the cabinets, trim and doors, a bit pricey but we’ll with it.
    We sand, clean with top and prime kitchen cabinets first. DO NOT utilize regular polyurethane to seal as I made that mistake in some chairs once and they yellowed out in one year:(
    When updating kitchens we ALL usually want to counter tops, however, with most of us on such a tight budget we can not afford it SO we found a counter top kit that is sold by Giani. (we actually are distributors although I don’t do it to sell them I use so many I do it to get my discount) when purchasing the counter top kits I would recommend ordering a quart of the “commercial” sealer for your final coat as it is much more durable than what comes with the kit and the commercial is one coat not 3. They have a kitchen cabinet paint as well and I for the first time this week just completed the cabinets in a renovation home and they turned out BEAUTIFUL! I used a brush and sponge roller (they send all that is needed in the kits) although they send a different roller sleeve but when I put the paint on it looked like it was all bubbly but when it dries it was flat and smooth. FOR PREP: WE sanded the original cabinets with an orbital sander and sand paper to get into the grooves and corners we wiped down and put one coat of the paint on a drawer front to test 3 hours later I tried to break down the paint with my acrylic nails to see if I could get it to peel and NO WAY. I then took my orbital sander and tried to sand it off the drawer front (again testing for durability) no go. I could get the corners of the drawer fronts to break down some but it sure did NOT peel. So, off I went and the finish was smooth and ture to color. We have been VERY pleased with the gianti products!!! Oh, also, their chalk paint is the easiest I have EVER used and just nice and think to work with. Tried a Lowe’s chalk paint and HATED IT!
    They also offer appliance paint, of which we have not tried. I like the counter top kits so well on homes we have sold that are listed by our clients we give them a counter top kit:) You can pretty much redo an entire kitchen with the Gianti products for less than $200.00 as the counter top kits go a long way, usually enough left over to do the bathrooms as well. HAVE FUN AND DON’T BE NERVOUS practice on one cabinet door and on a piece of cardboard first for the counter tops FIRST. Cut your counter top sponge in 4 pieces to utilize each piece for a separate blending color and ONCE you open the commercial FINAL sealer You must use it then so if you are doing more than one area *kitchen and bath* have the colors on and completed so you don’t waste your sealer!! Have fun!!

      • We have used the counter top kits in our rentals but used the final sealer that comes in the kits and you are suppose to do 3 coats of that sealer and I am not sure if I did 3 coats so I have had one rental that the renter put a hot pain on the counter top and where it burned the top it started peeling but that is inevitable with any hot pot on a counter top. My neice used one and we did put 3 coats of sealer and she said she uses strong household cleaners on hers and one area started peeling. That is why I have started using the COMMERICAL SEALER which is not included in the kit I just order that when I get a kit as that is one coat and it is much more durable than the 3 residential sealer saves time too.

    • I have a very long formica countertop would love to upgrade,any concerns with peeling ?

      • We have used the counter top kits in our rentals but used the final sealer that comes in the kits and you are suppose to do 3 coats of that sealer and I am not sure if I did 3 coats so I have had one rental that the renter put a hot pain on the counter top and where it burned the top it started peeling but that is inevitable with any hot pot on a counter top. My neice used one and we did put 3 coats of sealer and she said she uses strong household cleaners on hers and one area started peeling. That is why I have started using the COMMERICAL SEALER which is not included in the kit I just order that when I get a kit as that is one coat and it is much more durable than the 3 residential sealer saves time too.
        ALL OF THE KITS COME WITH AN AWESOME VIDEO (DVD) THAT SHOWS YOU EXACTLY HOW TO UTILIZE AND APPLY THE PRODUCT:) As well as dry time and how to apply in sections. You do the black primer on all of the counter tops first I let it dry over night and then you can apply each color and let dry or apply all colors at the same time (I prefer doing all colors at the same time) as it seems to blend and look more natural. I do about a foot section at a time then move to the next but I do the whole counter top at the same time just in foot sections. Then I let that dry over night or as directed on the instructions and I very very light sad and do any touch up wipe the dust off and put the sealer on. It is all very easy just watch the DVD that comes in the kit it shows them actually using the products:)

    • So what type of poly would you recommend on white cabinets? Very nervous about it yellowing…I am using the Pro Classic paint and the guy at the store tried to tell me it wasn’t necessary to do a top coat with that type of paint.

  15. Try “Cabinet Rescue” the next time you paint kitchen cabinets. Follow directions — easy — usually no primer. It dries quickly but once it “cures” (3-4 weeks) it’s on for good!! Washes up fabulously – years later. Have done more than 15 kitchens with it! I manage rental property.

  16. I completely agree with EVERYthing you’ve said. Kids (even teenage girls) are tough on painted cabinets. I painted our kitchen cabinets a little over two years ago and I went with white for tops and bottoms. I did the TSP and then I sanded, and sanded and sanded some more (using an orbital sander and gosh knows how many sanding pads). Then I prepped with Kilz and let it dry for two days, Then the fun stuff! I rolled on paint with sponge rollers to avoid brush strokes and let it dry another 2 days and went back at it again with another coat. The one most important step I missed was the polyacrylic and the cabinet doors are showing it. I also got the paint at Home Depot which I will never do again. Our first home I painted the kitchen cabinets with Benjamin Moore semi-gloss and they lasted the 15 years we lived there without ever needing touch ups. This spring when I repaint both cabinets and doors, I’m going back to the Benjamin Moore – no more Behrs. Love your blue/grey bottom cabinets! I may just try that this time!

  17. There are some pretty basic rules people should follow and I’m surprised at so few posts mentioning it.

    1st. Get all the gunk and oils off the cabinets. Tsp is ok but make sure they are squeaky clean, tsp should be the last step cleaning, get them clean 1st then tsp, Use dishsoap in a spray bottle with water, a commercial degreaser etc.. Clean clean clean.

    2nd. If you painting over a wood stained finish, understand there is a clear protective finish ie like clear cling film on those cabinets. That clear coating will make it hard for paint to stick! Hence sanding. It’s a must to be honest for a long lasting finish. Ideally, you would strip it off ie with a citrus based paint remover then sand. However, you could proceed with just sanding.

    Of your painting over paint, ideally strip it off.. Painting over paint is a recipe for disappointment, if painting over paint, definitely 100% sand and get rid of any loose clacking paint.

    Too smooth like over paint, and they paint will struggle to grip.. Like the new paint is trying to stick to ice.. Good luck.

    3rd. Use a high adhesion primer, not your run of the mill primer! 2coats with a sand in between, sanding not only levels the surface but gives the paints and primers a surface to bite into. Ie increase surface area.

    4th. Spray ideally the finish paint coats. Ideally a waterborne oil paint like bm advance. Although more companies now make a similar product. Why.. Cause it self levels, cures rock hard and cleanable. Just beware, it will colour shift over time by yellowing although less then real oil paint. 2coats, wait at least 24hrs between coats. Takes 30days to cure so be very easy on the cabinets for at least a month. If you go latex, wait at least 8hrs between coats and sand lightly between them.

    5. Top coat. I’d go general finishes flat or their new ultra flat. I’d avoid oil based top coats especially on white as they will yellow quickly. On high use doors or doors under the sink, I’d do 3 coats min. Ideally sprayed or foam brush with door load flat to self level and dry. Yearly, I’d do a quick clear coat with foam brush streak across the top edge of drawers and lower edges of upper cabinets as an extra safety..

    After done and cured, only used ph neutral soap as a cleaner, avoid harsh detergents which affect and could degrade the finish. Remember like with like dissolves so if you grease or oil on the cabinets, use olive oil to dissolve the grime and then clean with a ph neutral soap.

    THe longer you let the cabinets cure before reinstall, the better. There’s a difference between when you can recoat and when it’s fully dried and cured. Dry to the touch isn’t cured. Wait at least a week for latex and a month for oil for regular use. Install clear silicone dots on the corners of upper doors so the cabinet doors don’t slam into the wood frames, consider investing in soft close hinges etc to avoid door and drawer slams which could lead rubbing off of finishes etc.

    • Thanks Pa for such amazing tips. I saved them on my computer for later. They will be very useful when I start new project. Danielle, I loved your blog. It’s an inspiration for me.

    • As someone who worked at a paint specialty store for several years, these are awesome call outs, Pa.

      One clarification on step four: people will want to use a waterborne acrylic paint (it cures to a hard-as-nails silky smooth finish). If other pintresters show up to the hardware store asking for “waterborne oil paint” they’ll get plenty of blank stares. :-)

  18. Thank you Danielle, for being so refreshingly matter-of-fact about painting your kitchen cabinets! Your easy to follow post and drama-free approach has re-ignited my desire to get this project started. Thank you! Sx

  19. There is so much depth in your kitchen with the upper and lower cabinets painted different colors. If they were all the same, that would not look very classy. It would sort of look standard and less elegant. If a person and figure out two different colors that would complement one another, that is where cabinet painting could extend to another level.

  20. I work for Sherwin Williams and have learned ALOT about painting the proper way for various painting projects (i.e., walls, cabinets, furniture).

    I know many products claim to not have to sand but I truly believe in sanding. Here’s what I’ve learned from a professional employee/manager of our Sherwin Williams store:

    Rough up the cabinets with either sandpaper or hand sander. I’ve gone a little further than “roughing” it up because my existing oak cabinets were not touched with paint, although washed, for 20 years. Can you imagine the gunk in the corners?

    After all the sanding, I made VERY sure that the cabinets were smooth and free of any sawdust (I vacuumed and washed with a damp cloth). I then used either Sherwin Williams Multi-purpuse primer (two coats) making sure to allow drying thorough in between coats. Then I used two coats of Sherwin Williams Pro Classic (tintable). I’m not promoting any product, really, but this is the first time I’ve used Pro Classic and was AMAZED that there were NO brush marks. I did sand in between Pro Classic coats with a 220 paper. I haven’t used a top coat yet and will look into this with my manager. Painting cabinets is alot of work, so I’m going to make sure I do it right the first time even though it takes even longer.

    • Sherwin Williams Pro Classic is amazing. I painted professionally for a few years and we used it exclusively for all of our doors and trim.

  21. Thanks for sharing your tips on doing it again! I too painted my cabinets and I tell people that even with all the work that it was, I would definitely do it again to get the white cabinets that I love. I’ve been really encouraged to find that I think everyone has to do touch-ups to their painted cabinets. I did 2 coats of primer and 4 coats of Cabinet Coat paint. I was rather frustrated at having to do so many coats but I wanted the wood grain completely covered by the paint. They’ve been painted for about 3 1/2 years now and I’ve only done touch-ups once (our silverware drawer is also the worst at scuff marks and chips!).

  22. I’m about to repaint my cabinets, but I am painting over the polycrylic with a bonding primer, then white latex. I am hoping it works without sanding the polycrylic first. Do you have any thoughts???

  23. Please let me know how it goes ( I’m also about to use chalk paint on my cabinets, and am so worried that the finish will look odd. I’m going to wax or poly over it, but do not want an antique look with the darkish wax in the crevices.

    Any feedback is much appreciated!

  24. I painted my cabinets 9 years ago with white semi-gloss paint. We sanded really well with our palm sander, since we could (all surfaces were totally flat – they were birch veneer over plywood – sanded the doors outside)…painted them inside and out – several coats – and they have held up extremely well. The only chipping is where I am constantly banging the door of one cabinet with the kitchenaid…and we didn’t even use a top coat. We did it while DD was at resident camp – so we could move everything into her room and eat out every night! Cleans up easily with simple green and a soft cloth.

  25. Can you please let us know if you used a sprayer and how can we get good results without a sprayer? Thanks!

  26. Thank you for the advice about adding two coats of primer. I was going to just do one coat with two coats of the actual paint. I never thought about didn’t a polycrylic that was water based. I guess that it was a good thing that I was able to get this help before I started painting the cabinets. ca

  27. I’m getting ready to paint our kitchen cabinets with chalk paint. I’ve never used it before but I’m told no sanding, no priming, only wiping down. Old White is the color and Polyurethane is recommended over the top. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and I’m just getting up the nerve. :) Timely post to run across. Thank you!

    • Marie, the idea of doing the chalk board painting is awesome! I just repainted my refrigerator! I did have to use the ‘primer’ chalk paint first. I had to do some sanding. Because the primer was tinted. Then ‘clear’ coats of the chalk paint. Now,it’s all the same color as my refrigerator(almond)was. My fridge started getting these little rust spots? (It’s not an old refrigerator,and not an off brand?) It came out nice! Now,we write all sorts of memos, appt’s,grocery lists,and for fun ‘positive’suggestions,etc.. Erase and start again! I’m using all different color of chalks,also for fun! Then,every once in a while use a damp rag to remove any dust chalk. Hope this helps!

      • FYI, chalk paint and chalk BOARD paint are different… Chalk board paint does look fun though!

    • i wouldn’t use a urethane of any type. they yellow. i learned the hard way…all of my beautiful white things are now yellow…stick with polycrylic when painting anything other than stained wood

  28. I like what you said about hiding things with paint. A good paint job can change the whole look of the kitchen. Its amazing. I really enjoyed your post. Thanks for sharing.

  29. I would suggest giving Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint a try next time you paint cabinets. It levels out beautifully and hardens like an oil based paint, but cleans up like a latex. I *love* it. And, you don’t need to use a clear coat – win!

    I’m smitten for painted cabinetry too – can’t get enough!

  30. No need to use that clear acrylic to seal them. Try Benjamin Moore’s Advance Paint – It cures to like an oil finish, but cleans up with water like a latex. This is the most gorgeous finish I have ever seen in a paint. I discovered it via Melissa at The Inspired Room – She only uses Benjamin Moore due to the durability. It IS more expensive, but you can have Sherwin Williams, Behr, etc. colors mixed in Benjamin Moore paint. It is worth every penny!

  31. We’re moving into a new place within the next month and were thinking of repainting the kitchen cabinets. Thank you for this article! Definitely going to take your advice into account.

  32. Excellent advice. I love the idea of painting the lower cabinets darker. I’m about to embark on painting my own cabinets and I’m also kinda lazy about the prep but you’ve convinced me to use primer. I’ve tried the Minwax wipe-on polyurethane for a couple of other projects and I love it and I plan to try it on my cabinets as well.

  33. Hi! I am getting ready to paint my cabinets – just as soon as my MN garage warms up enough to allow it. I have cabinets that look similar to yours – wood frames and thin plywood center panels. I know that I need to sand them well, but I’m wondering if you have any tips to not destroying or reducing the thickness of the thin center panels? Thanks!

    • Just a gentle, hand-sanding with something as light as a 180 or 220…you just want to scuff the surface so the paint sticks better. Remember elementary school clay lessons? “Scratch to attach” …same idea ;)

  34. So, what would be plan B if the poly test over white paint does yellow?
    I’m seriously considering painting our cabinets this summer…white.
    Thank you for this post!!

    • Instead of using a poly to finish the cabinets, use a wax. I have recently been using Fiddes & Sons (they have several color choices including a clear) and I have to say I’m quite impressed by how hard the wax dries and I’m also impressed by how easy furniture pieces wipe off from fingers, food remnants, etc. Hope that helps with an idea!

  35. I just got done painting my cabinets, still haven’t put all the cabinets up yet. I was working with handmade knotty pine cabinets with a seriously thick lacquer. Initially I was going to only scuff the cabinets so the paint could adhere, but I ended up doing WAY more than that and the dust from sanding was the biggest problem I had.

    I did like 4 coats of primer {I worried about the knots bleeding through my creamy white paint}, then 2 coats of paint and then touch ups where needed. It makes such a difference!

  36. I love the idea of also presenting the ‘if I were to do it again’ thoughts. In my experience I have found that if the piece (of painted what have you) will be in a high traffic area, a coat of poly is a great solution to wear and tear. Minwax is a great go-to brand. I have found however, that should I be using a poly over a paint it is easier to get the poly to lay in properly if the paint is not on the satin/glossy spectrum. Poly over flat paint is the easiest to apply. I have also found that if you choose to just do a satin/glossy paint it lays in easiest with a cheap little foam roller. The same tool for a poly over flat. Poly over glossy is redundant and simply a pain to get it to lay in well.

  37. I highly recommend using Flotrol and mixing it in to your latex paint. ZERO brush strokes/roller lines…it is PERFECTION and a joy to paint with. My trim looks like a pro spray job but I did it with my latex paint, Flotrol and my trusty Purdy brush. Can’t say enough good things about that stuff!

  38. Can u paint color crappie old Val amine? Not sure of the spelling? If so can u please explain how please,please help!!!

    • You can paint melamine cabinets. I would scuff them up with a light sanding and use a good quality paint. Make sure you prime them! Have fun.

  39. really the most important part sadly is the sanding, it’s key to getting a durable finish, I have painted many kitchens and cabinets, it sucks but there is no shortcut for sanding and letting those doors cure before use is also really important! I have a tutorial on my blog for how I paint cabinet doors and drawers!
    Chris Just Beachy

    • I am thinking about painting over my kitchen cabinets. So I have been reading your comment on here. I’d love to visit your website. How do I find it?? I am new to Pinterest. So I’m not sure how to find things etc. cheersJoni

  40. I love the colors you chose, what color did you use for the bottom cabinets? And what color are you doing for the paint over?

  41. This was extremely helpful! We may be moving soon and the new house needs a kitchen update but has great cabinets so painting is an option. I am trying to do a much research as possible so this was great. I love when people give honest updates!

  42. I recently painted my cabinets Linen White (kinda creamy) and I got new white appliances. I sanded the doors, which I could do outside and stripped the boxes. Used one coat of primer and two coats of paint. I got new brushed nickel hinges and pulls. The walls are a color I ended up mixing myself because I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. First color was too orange-y and bright; the second was too lemon chiffon. I mixed and the result was perfect! Still reads as yellow, but warmer. My north facing kitchen is so much cozier.

  43. Hi. Thanks for this. But i was wondering if you had any additional advise regardi g the ploycrylic? I used the exact product on a painted night stand. The piece got very little traffic before the poly finish started pilling up. I am planning on painting my kitchen cabs as well.

  44. Could you tell me the wall color and blue on lower cabinets? Also did you use two different blues? Its hard to tell. And i agree with the polyacrylic, ive used over painted tables and it worked great. Thanks!

  45. This was so helpful to me!! I have a kitchen with severely outdated forest green and white cabinets (yikes!) and painting is pretty much my only option for updating at the moment but I was super intimidated! I think that I *can* do this now after reading your post! :)

  46. Danielle, thanks for your follow up on your painted cabinets. I think you have a good plan going forward. Have you looked into a good paint that has a protective hardener built in like Benjamin Moore Advance or Sherwin Williams ProClassic? That way you could potentially skip the polycrylic coating.

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