Kitchen Cabinet Painting Makes Old Cabinets Look New Again

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 18, 2016

Painted cabinets
Purchasing new kitchen cabinets can be a pricey endeavor and out of reach for some homeowners. If you’re tired of looking a those dark and dingy old cabinets, why not give them a new face with a good cabinet painting instead? For a fraction of the cost and few well spent weekends, you can give your kitchen a whole new look.

A Lot Easier on the Pocketbook

As has already been mentioned, maybe the biggest reason to paint is to ease the financial pains new cabinets can cause. Cabinets are probably the single most expensive kitchen renovation item you can buy (with the exception of high end countertops). Even stock cabinets can run in the thousands of dollars. Cabinet refacing is another option, but that isn’t cheap either. A kitchen cabinet painting project will only cost you in a couple hundred dollars if you do it yourself. If you’re working on a tight budget, this decision is definitely a no brainer.

Cabinet Painting Procedure

With the exception of laminate and melamine cabinets, which don’t hold paint well and aren’t really a candidate for kitchen cabinet painting, the basic steps for any cabinet painting project are more are less the same.

  • Purchase your materials. You’ll need a few high quality paint brushes (don’t cut corners here), some drop cloths, 150 grit sandpaper, and enough paint to do the job. Your paint supplier should be able to help you with quantity.
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  • Remove all doors and drawers. As you do this remove all the hinges and hardware as you go. You don’t want anything in the way once you get rolling.
  • Patch up blemishes, cracks, and holes. Examine the frame, doors and drawers for any cracks, dents, holes or other damage, and repair those areas with a wood putty that you can sand down afterwards. If there are any structural issues with your cabinets or drawers, this is the time to try to fix those as well. Keep in mind, however, that this is easier said than done, especially with cheaper cabinetry.
  • Sand and clean all areas to be painted. Before you paint, run over all surfaces with a piece of 150 grit sandpaper to roughen up the surfaces where you’ll be applying the paint. Remember, paint does not adhere well to slick surfaces, so if you notice areas where the laquer or varnish still has a slick look to it after your first round, sand it again. Finally, be sure to thoroughly clean everything before you start. Begin with a quick vacuuming of your cabinets, and finish up by wiping them down with a wet rag and cleaning solution.
  • Start with the Frames and Finish with the Doors and Drawers. Begin your painting project with the frames. Be sure to tape off any adjacent areas that aren’t to be painted and lay drop cloths over your flooring and countertops. Next move on to your doors and drawers. Start on the insides and then move around to the front. If you need to apply two coats, let the first dry overnight, re-sand and clean everything, and then finish the job.
  • Replace Your Cabinet Hardware. If you’re going to all this trouble, why not replace your cabinet hardware while you’re at it? Getting rid of those old handles and knobs will go a long way to making your cabinets look newer than ever. Replacement hardware can be purchased at cabinet supply and home improvement stores for a very reasonable price.

Seeking Professional Help

The truth is kitchen cabinet painting is a job almost any do-it-yourselfer can manage. Some homeowners, however, just don’t have the time or inclination to tackle it on their own. Hiring a painter to do the job will cost you a little bit more, but still far less than if you went with other alternatives. And you’ll rest easy knowing your new paint job will shine with that professional touch.


  1. MRP Painting, December 1:

    When considering painting kitchen cabinets. Always remember to use high quality primer such as BIN primer/sealer and two coats of high quality paint such as Benjamin Moore Advance paint. A winning system for professional results.

  2. I mildly disagree with your last comments on seeking professional help and you are saying that almost any do-it-yourselfer can manage painting kitchen cabinets. Yes this is true but the difference is that the final outcome may greatly vary from a professional painter who specializes in kitchen cabinet painting and knows exactly the techniques and paints to use to give the smoothest and best finish leaving no tool marks were as a DIYer might get the job done but the quality of the work won’t be as smooth and clean looking as our professional painters at Mississauga handyman services.

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