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

 

 

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New Kitchen Reveal

Ta-Da!

We have a transformed kitchen thanks to new stools courtesy of Wayfair Canada and several coats of paint on the cabinets.

There was no renovation involved and it feels like a new space.

We love our stools which were sponsored by Wayfair Canada. These kick-started the whole project and kept me motivated to finish all of the painting. They’re adjustable in height and kids can’t stain them. I’ve linked to this Williston Forge Halsted Bar Stool below.

This is a photo of the kitchen when we first moved in this summer. As you can see, paint and furniture choices make a huge difference.

The outer cabinets are white and the island is a taupe/greige colour. I had planned to change the drawer pulls but it turned out that the screws were glued into the knob and couldn’t be removed. This is a detail of how the brass knobs look on the island.

This was the before – some knobs are more tarnished than others.

 

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Here’s one process photo with the island being primed. I was also in the midst of making lots of eucalyptus wreaths that weekend too!

On the island, I added some trim that was simple to install and added some character. Along the edge of the countertops I sanded the wood edge and stained it black.

Here’s another look at the before and after.

Now the kitchen feels more like our style and it’s ready in time for Christmas. My parents are arriving in a couple of days and I know that we’ll be spending most of our time gathered around the island cooking and eating. We like to say that a family that eats together, stays together.

I didn’t show any progress pictures from this project but I documented the process along the way to post later.

New House Kitchen Makeover

Welcome to the kitchen in our new home. It’s now been 4 months since we moved from Ontario to BC and now that the main floor painting is mostly complete I’m tackling the kitchen with the aim of having it ready for Christmas.

 

This is the plan:

 

Our home is 14 years old and the main floor is open concept with a huge island in the kitchen about 8 feet long. This is how we have been using the space since we moved in this summer – standing at the kitchen island. It took me a while to figure out what kind of stool to use at the island. I usually choose secondhand but finding 4 stools the right height and style for this high island was not turning up any results so I started looking at Wayfair for options.

This kitchen update is the first phase – making a couple of cosmetic changes with paint and a few handles and new stools. Eventually in the future, I’d like to lower the counter and make it all one uniform height which is why I wanted the seating to be adjustable so that it could work now and one day if we lower the counter.

Since our kitchen table chairs are quite high and large I was looking for stools without a back for a lower profile that could be tucked away.

These are some of the other options I was looking at that would be childproof – ie. no fabric to stain, adjustable height and a solid wood top. One of these below isn’t solid wood (Jolene) but the Alva one is.

kitchen and dining chairsAlva Dining Chair //
More Kitchen Chairs
bar stoolsSwivel Bar Stool //
More Bar Stools
bar stoolsDonington Stool //
More White Stools
bar stoolsJolene Barstools //
More Swivel Stools
bar stoolsMaureen Bar Stool //
More Gold Stools

Here’s a look at the island one more time before I get painting. I haven’t completely decided on the island colour yet. The outer cabinets will be a shade of white and the island will likely be a taupe colour from one of the Benjamin Moore colour samples below.

In our previous home I painted the cabinets and only changed the drawer pulls. That is what I intend to do this time as well. The current knobs are an unlacquered brass and I found pulls at Lee Valley (shown above) that had similar colouring.

Now it’s time to get started and finished because Christmas is only a month away and there’s nothing like a self-imposed deadline to get a project completed!

Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Shibang Designs Painted Cabinets
Kitchen Cabinets Painted Before & AfterBeforeWhen we chose this house one thing that I liked was the potential for some cosmetic improvements. The cabinets were wood and in good shape and luckily the counter and floor tiles were neutral greys.Shibang Designs Painted Kitchen Cabinets

I finally decided on which shade of white to use (Vanilla Milkshake, partly because of the name) and tackled painting the kitchen cabinets late in the evenings. Benjamin Moore Advance Paint Vanilla Milkshake

Shibang Designs Painting ProgressEven with a single coat of primer the space already looks brighter and bigger.

Shibang Designs Adding Pine Panelling At the end of the cabinets I added pine panelling to give a more custom look instead of the little plastic plugs that were originally there.IMG_4927

Shibang Designs Kitchen Before

Painted Kitchen

Shibang Designs Kitchen Hardware Before

The only hardware that I changed was on the drawers because I really believe in working with what you already have and the existing hardware was classic and simple.

For a minimal amount of money (and many hours of work) the kitchen feels brighter and less dated. Of course there are several other things I’d like to add but for now it’s a huge improvement.