Painting kitchen cabinets is an easy and affordable way to update your kitchen, particularly if you do it yourself. Before painting, determine which painting method – sprayer or brush – you plan to use, and research or talk to a professional to determine the best paints for your cabinet type and design.
Step 1: Prep
Disassemble: Remove the cabinet doors, drawers, and all hardware. Be sure to label each door/drawer and their corresponding places; keep the hardware in individual, labeled plastic bags for easy reassembly. Choose a workspace for sanding and painting, remove any furniture and cover the walls, backsplash, and floor of your kitchen with plastic.
Clean: Cabinets experience more wear and tear than other hardware in your house, so cleaning is an incredibly important next step. Basic household cleaners and degreasers will work for light dirt; find a TSP (trisodium phosphate) cleaner for heavier grime. Clean and rinse all parts of the cabinetry (do not soak!), and let dry completely before moving to the next step.
Sand: Specific sanding needs will vary according to the material and finish of your specific cabinetry, but all surfaces will need to be sanded to roughen or remove old paint and create an even surface for the paint to adhere to. Furthermore, during this step fill any nicks and dents you find with non-shrinking putty; sand over the putty when hardened. Vacuum all cabinets and sanding surfaces to remove sanding dust and wipe down cabinets with a tack cloth.
Step 2: Choose a Design
Painting can be used to update a boring kitchen without the added expense of new cabinetry. Keep these design tips in mind when choosing new colors.
Different types of paint have different qualities: oil-based and acrylic paints are durable and will stand up to more regular cleaning/wear and tear; if using a brush, these will require a natural bristle brush. Latex paints are easier to clean up during the painting process but will require a full 2-3 weeks to fully cure; when using a brush, buy a synthetic bristle brush.
When choosing colors, take the interior design of the rest of your home into consideration while also looking to the counters, backsplash, walls, and floors to create a coherent style. Your cabinets may have started out one flat color, but they don’t have to stay that way. Choose a rich color to create a warm, cozy space, or a bright color to open up the kitchen. Or, choose two complementary colors: one for the base, and one for accents.
Step 3: Paint
The first step to cabinet painting is to paint them with a primer. This will ensure an even application of the topcoat and prevent any bleed-through if your cabinets are made of wood. You can use a basic primer or one tinted with the topcoat color; one coat should be enough, but be sure to let it dry completely before moving on.
Once the primer has dried, you’re ready to start seeing some results! Paint your cabinet doors and drawer fronts (not the sides or glide hardware) first; paint the framing while the doors are drying. Your cabinets may require two or even three coats of paint, particularly if you’re covering a darker color. If you’re using a sprayer, make sure you cover all surfaces evenly and let dry between coats; if using a brush, lightly sand surfaces once each coat is dry for an even finish.
Reassemble your cabinets and hardware and rehang. Enjoy your updated kitchen!
Feeling inspired? Go the extra mile with these fun ideas.
- Try painting different cabinets different colors. Use one color for top cabinets and another for bottom, or one color for wall cabinets and another for the island. Good color combinations include yellow/blue, green/white, and black/white, though look to the rest of your home for inspiration.
- Use a bright color to highlight a particular area of the kitchen and paint the remaining cabinets a complementary but more subdued color.
- Try painting the inside or outside of a cabinet door with chalkboard paint to create a ready-made space for grocery lists and family reminders.
- While repainting your kitchen cabinets, update to new, nicer cabinet hardware to match.
For more kitchen cabinet design inspiration, visit homeyou.com.
About Ty Leisey
Ty Leisey is a writer for homeyou, a site which connects homeowners looking for remodeling services to skilled contractors right in their neighborhood. Visit homeyou for inspiration, cost information, and fun design tips for your home and be sure to follow #teamhomeyou on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.
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