How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

After showing this before and after photo of our new kitchen that was done with very little resources, I’ve had a few questions from people wanting to know how to their paint kitchen cabinets.

This is the second kitchen I’ve painted and yes, it takes many hours to do but the results and low cost are worth it.

Here are some before & after photos of our former GTA home. I started by painting the cabinets in 2015, then trim & crown moulding and in 2016 we replaced the counter, sink & faucet and added a backsplash. When it came time to get rid of the old counter, sink and faucet I posted it for free on Kijiji and someone came to pick it up – everything got reused.

After Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

After Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

Materials

These are the supplies I used:

  • Primer -STIX by Benjamin Moore (It is expensive but doesn’t require any sanding!!)
  • Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Pearl Finish
  • Velour or Foam Roller
  • TSP to clean and degrease the cabinets first – very necessary!

 

I considered renting a sprayer to do the cabinets but instead used a roller since I have limited moments of time to work so I could slowly paint a little bit each day. Also if you’re using a sprayer and working in a garage you have to make sure that the temperature isn’t too cold.

 

Choosing a Paint Colour

There are unlimited colours to choose from. For our last house, I considered a dark colour but since it was a galley kitchen with white appliances I decided on white so that the appliances would blend in and the white would make the small space feel larger.

For our current kitchen, I used the same shade of white as the last time because it worked and I love the name – Vanilla Milkshake. I like classic style and for the number of hours it takes to paint the cabinets, I don’t want to grow tired of the colour.

The shade of beige/grey for the island is Pashmina, which has brown tones rather than purple tones which work with the cooler white.

There are so many shades of white if you go that route and while the paint chip may appear like a dark white it will like a bright white once it’s on the cabinets. In my experience, white and beige/grey look lighter when painted on cabinets.

Cabinet Doors off or on?

For the last house, I kept the doors on to paint because I was apprehensive about taking the doors off and not having the hinges line up properly afterward. It worked fine and I had good light to work with but some areas were hard to reach. It took me one week of late nights and one day to complete this entire kitchen (while my husband was out of town!).

This time I took the doors off and did all painting in the garage. It felt like the process went on forever because I would only work for about 1-2 hours at a time and this kitchen has 24 doors and 12 drawers.

I painted the upper doors first, then the bottom doors, then the drawers.

Each cabinet door needs:

  • 1 coat primer front
  • 1 coat primer back
  • 2 coats paint front side
  • 1-2 coats paint back side

Then you should ideally wait  5 – 7 days until the paint has cured. This step is important. I was eager to restore order and put the doors back on before the paint had cured and I chipped the paint. Even once the paint has cured, small chips happen in frequently used areas like around the knobs and door openings.

Process Photos from Both Kitchens:

The first kitchen had a few more steps after painting. The white opened up this space but it was so basic still. The backsplash was what pulled it all together and the quartz counters elevated the kitchen.

Our Current Kitchen

Priming
Removing Upper Doors – Hardware taped inside each cupboard.
Painting the doors in the garage. I used a brush to paint the inner edge and then followed up with a roller.

Upper Doors Painted

This is how the kitchen looked for one week! It was definitely a relief to have the doors back on.
The outer cabinet doors – BM Vanilla Milkshake vs the island doors – BM Pashmina

This is how the kitchen looked when I was still painting the walls white.

After – Paint, Trim on the island, stools, 2 drawer pulls.

 

More to come with how to add more details to the kitchen such as:

  • Moulding & Trim to Cupboards
  • Choosing a new counter & backsplash tiles
Before – Builder basic kitchen. oak cabinet doors, laminate counter, no backsplash.
After – Painted Cabinets, Backsplash, Trim, Quartz Counters

Photo: Heidi Lau Photography

 

 

1 thought on “How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets”

  1. I appreciated seeing all of the before and after photos, illustrating the difference that paint can make! It looks like a lot of work, but all very manageable with such amazing results…what a transformation! Well done!

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