Painting Kitchen Cabinets – Best Tips For a Factory Smooth Finish

In this post you will find all your kitchen cabinet painting questions answered along with a step-by-step detailed tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets to ensure success and a smooth factory-like finish like paint professionals achieve.

1970's kitchen before DIY makeover

This post is long, but I wanted to make sure I covered all the questions I have received about painting the kitchen cabinets and the process I used to ensure that you have the success.

Small kitchen counter top organization

I will answer all the FAQ’s about painting kitchen cabinets first. Followed by step-by-step kitchen cabinet painting process.

How Long Does It Take to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

When you want to paint your kitchen cabinets the best advise I can give you from years of cabinet painting experience is to plan.

Plan out not only the color of paint and finish you want your cabinets, but create a block of time daily to devote to the entire process from prep work to clean-up.

white kitchen

Make a schedule and devote as much time each day as you can to the prep work, actual time painting to getting the room back together again.

Depending on how many cabinets you have in your kitchen, the cabinet painting process can take up to a week because of waiting for dry times.

kitchen cabinet makeover and cabinet hardware

The task is not impossible, in fact once you get everything set up, the actual painting process is easy. Waiting for the paint to dry is what takes time.

I made over every part of my kitchen. I have a separate post all about the how to paint counters to look like Carrara marble.


Section-off areas of cabinets and do one section at a time, to that you can still use the kitchen.

If your kitchen as other features that you will be painting, make sure it is prepared to paint. For instance, this scalloped wood valance over the kitchen sink was removed which left uneven edges that needed to be sanded and caulked.

Get all this work done before you begin the process of painting cabinets so any of the dirt and dust won’t get on any wet or drying paint.

So let’s get to it….

What Kind of Paint Should be Used on Kitchen Cabinets?

When painting kitchen or even bathroom cabinets that will get a lot of wear make sure to use a high quality paint and primer. Using a high quality paint and primer is worth the extra expense as the finish will last for years.

Best paint and primer to use to paint kitchen cabinets

There are so many choices of paints to use to paint your kitchen cabinets… latex, oil, enamels, acrylic, chalk, and gel stains along with a few others.

The choice came down to a few things for me. My cabinets were old with brown stain and some unknown type of sealer. I knew I was going to have to use a stain blocking primer.  I found Valspar Stainblocking Bonding primer. It is a gel formula and covered beautifully. It is no longer sold, but you should use a brand name stain blocking bonding primer.

If you want a factory smooth surface and used Sherwin Williams ProClassic® Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel. It is a tough and durable coating that enhances the look of doors, trim, cabinets and furniture. It has excellent adhesion, flow and leveling to lessen the look of roller and brush marks, plus it is non-yellowing.

This was important for me since I was using white paint. It also comes in an interior latex enamel. Both are great. I used that formula in my previous kitchen and my staircase makeover.

Paint is not cheap and Pro Classic is pricey, but I felt it was worth it since I only want to paint once and have it last.  

What Paint Finish to Use… High Gloss, Semigloss, Gloss, or Satin Finish?

When it comes time to decide what paint finish to use when painting kitchen cabinets the rule of thumb is the harder the finish the better. Look for enamel and/or acrylic on the paint label.

How to paint kitchen cabinets the right way

Can You Use Chalk Paint to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

I considered using chalk paint to paint the cabinets, but I wanted the cabinets to have a semi-gloss finish to make cleaning them easy.

I love chalk paint on furniture, but for my cabinets, it would have been an extra step to have to wax and buff or poly both sides of each door after priming and painting, drawers and the cabinet framework.

I would also have to still prime since most white chalk paints will not totally block heavy tannins/stains which my cabinets had. Stains will bleed through paint and change the paint color. In my case, the white paint would turn a brownish/orange.

There are many paints and gel stains on the market that you can use that claim you don’t need to sand or prime, but they all have matte or satin finishes. If you know you want a satin or matte finish on your cabinets then these paint stains if they have a color you like could be a good choice to use.

Is it Better to Spray or Brush Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

Using a paint sprayer to paint kitchen cabinets may sound easier to a DIYer, but it is a big task as you have to buy expensive sprayers, mask surrounding areas, thin paint and apply it just right to get a smooth finish.

For most homeowners – using a paint brush and roller is the way to go to ensure a perfect long lasting finish.

Do I Have to Sand Cabinets Before Painting?

Prepping your cabinets and work space can take more time than the actual painting process does, but it is the most important step, but don’t fear.

When sanding kitchen cabinets to prep them for painting, you don’t have to take the finish down to the bare wood. All you need to do is a quick going over the surface with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the sheen on the surface a bit to provide some “tooth” for the primer and paint to stick to.

You can use a deglosser, instead of sanding, but I never use this as sanding is just as fast.


What Happens If You Don’t Sand Before Painting?

If you don’t sand the wood cabinets and cabinet frames before painting your efforts will likely fail and you will end up with bleed through of the stained finish you are painting over, paint peeling off, an uneven finish after a short amount of time.

How to Keep Paint From Peeling Off Cabinets?

Paint durability is determined by many factors. To keep paint from peeling off the cabinets, make sure to remove all dirt and grease first. Then use the right primer and paint for the surface you are painting.

Since the cabinets will be getting used daily, buy the best paint you can afford it will be worth the expense. Next make sure to only paint when the moisture and humidity in the air is low. If it is hot and humid, it is better to wait to paint or allow for more drying time between coats.

When paint coats are applied light and thin with dry time between each and then going over with a 220 grit of sandpaper before the next light coat is applied. Chipping paint occurs when paint is applied in one or two thick coats instead of a few lighter coats.

Doing all of these steps will ensure that the paint will not peel off or chip over time.

Other Prep Work Needed Before Painting

Besides sanding the wood surface, the other prep work when painting kitchen cabinets entails removing hardware, labeling and bagging it, sanding, and cleaning the cabinets.

If changing where new cabinet pulls and knobs will be placed, you will also need to fill in the old holes on the cabinet doors where the previous door pulls were.

Tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets

I removed every door and drawer and painted them out in my garage…

Kitchen Makeover cabinet painting tips

…and then when the weather turned too chilly to paint outside, I brought my painting production line inside.

I started using a roll of Tape & Drape when I painted the staircase in my foyer. What a great invention. I used it again in the kitchen. It is the best drop cloth ever.

I used brown paper drop cloths to protect the floor and used painter’s tape to hold it in place.

What Is the Best Degreaser for Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting?

If your cabinets are only slightly dirty, hot sudsy water and dish detergent will do the job to clean the cabinets before painting.

If they are extremely dirty or have built-up grease on them, as cabinets around a stove may have, it is best to use a degreaser first.

Krud Kutter or Zep Heavy-Duty Citrus Cleaner are the best ones I have used. Both of these degreasers are concentrated formulas that you mix with water.

Once the cabinets are degreased and feel clean, go over with the hot sudsy water and then rinse with clear water and dry.

Should I Use a Brush or Roller to Paint Cabinets?

When painting kitchen cabinets you will need to use both a high quality paint brush and a roller.

Many readers have asked me why I didn’t spray the cabinets. The main reason is that most paint sprayers require the paint be thinned.

I didn’t want the stain blocking quality of the primer and paint to be compromised. I also find that spraying can be more of a hassle. I know my way around a roller and a paint brush and stuck to my tried and true.

The Best Paint Roller and Paint Brush for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Best paint rollers and brushes to use to paint kitchen cabinets

When it is time to choose a paint roller and paint brush, don’t skimp on cheap rollers and brushes to save money. Your painted finish will thank you for using quality brushes and rollers.

Purdy are my go-to, but Wooster makes great products also. I used a 1-1/2″ wide angled paint brush to paint around the edges and the molding on each cabinet and drawer. I used a flocked foam roller to paint the rest.

Organize, Mark and Bag Hinges, Pulls, and Knobs

kitchen cabinet makeover and cabinet hardware

Previous holes in cabinet doors and drawers can easily be filled with wood filler so you can add new size pulls and place knobs where you would like. I had big center pulls on every door that left two holes on the center of each door that I had to fill.  Luckily on the drawers I found pulls that I liked that fit into the existing pull holes.

If you need to drill new holes, check out this post: How to Install Cabinet Knobs Using a Template

Important: I did not paint the cabinet hinges, instead I bought brand new white hinges. When replacing hinges, especially for cabinets that have an inset, they need to be the exact type of hinge or the cabinets will not go back on properly.

White Kitchen cabinet hardware

Derek at D. Lawless Hardware was such a huge help in tracking down the exact hinges I needed in white. Many looked the same, but were not.

Do You Paint Both Sides of Kitchen Cabinet Doors?

If you want your cabinets to look their best, then the answer is you need to paint both sides of the cabinet doors. I explain how to do this below in the step-by-step tutorial.

How To Step-by-Step for Painting Kitchen Cabinets to Ensure a Smooth Finish


Source and supplies list:

  • Stain blocking/bonding primer – Valspar Stain Blocking and Bonding Primer
  • Latex acrylic enamel paint -Sherwin Williams ProClassic® Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd Enamel in the color: Pure White #7005
  • 4″ – Flocked foam roller cover with rounded ends and roller
  • 1-1/2″ angled Purdy paint brush
  • Mini roller tray
  • Tack cloths
  • Wood Filler
  • Electric sander and 100 grit sandpaper
  • Hand sanding block
  • SOS or Brillo pads
  • Bucket, scrub brush, hot water, dish soap or detergent or TSP, rag or cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Marker
  • Small plastic bags to put hardware in while it is off door and drawers
  • Drape & Tape Drop cloths and brown paper drop cloths
  • Saw horses and 2 – 8 feet long 2 x 4’s to use as a place to set up the cabinets to paint
  • Latex gloves

Set up a place to paint that is out of the way and as dust-free as possible. I set up my production line in my garage. Other places to consider would be the least used room in your home.

A dining room would be ideal since it is usually near the kitchen. Just move the furniture to one side and lay down drop cloths to protect the floor, then set up your workspace. It is also a good place that can be roped or closed off so the paint can dry without family in and out that may cause dust or dirt to get in the paint as it dries.

I worked on one section of the cabinets at a time. I removed the doors and drawers from the cabinets and then removed the hardware. Once I had them painted, I hung them back up with the new hardware and then started the process on the next section of cabinets.

Hinge and Hardware Removal

IMPORTANT: Before removing hinges make sure to mark exactly where each hinge went on the cabinet so you can put it back on the same cabinet in the same exact place.

This will ensure the cabinets go back on and will fit. If you mix up the hinges, you may run into problems where a door does not close correctly. If buying new hinges, make sure they are the exact same style of hinge. I bought new hinges that fit perfectly.


You also need to keep track of where each cabinet and drawer goes.For each section I painted, I gave each door and drawer a number marked with painter’s tape.

When I placed them on the 2 x 4’s to get painted, I removed the tape and placed it right next to the cabinet. I left the drawer numbers right inside each drawer since I only painted the drawer fronts.

Doing this extra step will save you frustration when you go to but the newly painted doors and drawers back on to the cabinet bases as they need to go where they originally were or they may not fit or close correctly.


Fill the existing center pull holes with wood filler and a Spackle knife. Once it is dry, use 100 grit sandpaper on an electric sander or palm sander on the entire door to smooth.

You do not have to sand to the bare wood, only enough to rough up the surface to provide some tooth for the paint to adhere.


Use a sanding block to sand the molding on the front of each door.

Cleaning Cabinets Before Painting

After the wood filler is completely dry, the best way to clean cabinets before painting is to take the cabinets outside one by one to clean.


Use a bucket of hot water, dish detergent and a scrub brush. Try an SOS pad to scrub around the molding to make sure no dirt or grease is left on the surface.

Dry the cabinet with a big towel immediately after rinsing off all the soap and let dry.


Place painter’s tape on the sides of each drawer to keep paint from getting on the fronts. I only painted the drawer fronts so this keeps the sides looking nicer when the drawers are opened.


My drawers had wheel guides attached to the center back so I could not simply place them on the floor to paint. Lining them up to paint on the 2 x 4’s worked perfectly so I didn’t have to remove the guides.

Go Over With a Tack Cloth


Once I had everything set up. I went over each cabinet before I primed or painted with a tack cloth. Tack cloths are sold in the paint aisle at the home improvement store.

They are sticky cloths that you wipe over the surface before painting to pick up dust, dirt and sanding grit before painting. They come folded.

  • To use a tack cloth, unfold and cut a section off with scissors. Throw away the used cloth when it loses its stickiness or gets dirty.

If you don’t have a tack cloth, you can use a damp cloth over the surface to remove the sanding grit.

Apply Primer

I used 2 light coats of the primer and then 2 light coats of the paint on each cabinet and drawer. I used a Vaslpar primer, but any brand name primer like Zinsser or KILZ will work best. I did both sides of the doors, so they took the longest to paint. Once the doors and drawers got a new coat, I went back to the kitchen and painted the base and wall cabinets using the same rollers and brush.

Best paint roller and paint brush to use when painting kitchen cabinets
Instructions on how to paint kitchen cabinets

I used a mini roller tray and a 4″ – long flocked foam roller for the flat sections and an angled brush for the molding and sides of each cabinet and drawer.  I used 2 rollers for the entire project. One for the primer and the other for the paint.

I allowed the primer to dry for a few hours and the paint 4 hours before I recoated. I also lightly sanded the surface with 220 grit sandpaper in between coats to make sure there was no dirt or bugs had dried in the painted surface.

How to paint kitchen cabinets

I used quite a few tack cloths, they are the best way to make sure you remove even the tiniest specks from the surface before painting.

Where to Store Brushes and Rollers Between Paint Coats

Once I was done painting for a few hours, I wrapped the roller covers tightly in a plastic bags marked with “Primer” and “Paint” and placed them in my refrigerator. Not the freezer.

I took them out of the fridge about 15 minutes before I needed to use them again. I did this to save me from having to wash out the roller covers after each coat of paint or primer.

Did I Use Polyurethane to Seal My Kitchen Cabinets?

Christmas decorating ideas for kitchen shelves

I did not use the Polycrylic on the cabinets. The Pro Classic paint is durable enough on its own.

I did however, apply poly to a few cabinet shelves. I removed 2 cabinet doors to create open shelving in the kitchen. After I painted the inside of these cabinets, I used Polycrylic in satin, but you can use semi-gloss also on the shelves.

It is worth the time to seal paint on painted shelves with with a water-based poly or shellac, but I prefer using polyurethane as it won’t yellow over time like shellac can.

Once the paint is dry (24 hours) roll on 2 light coats of Polycrylic on the top of painted shelves on the interior cabinets  This seals the latex paint so you will never hear that latex sticky sound when you remove objects on the shelves.

More Best Practices When Painting Kitchen Cabinets

  • Don’t rush. A kitchen cabinet painting project will take time. So plan out a painting schedule to do it right the first time so you will have a lasting finish.
  • Don’t paint in the dark or with uneven room lighting.  You will miss sections and not see drips.
  • More light coats are better than one heavy one for the best adhesion.
White Kitchen with hardwood floor

If you have any questions about any of the diy project steps or products I used, please leave them in the comments.

To Read More about this Kitchen Makeover:

This is the kitchen cabinet how to post you have been looking for. It covers everything you need to know to paint your kitchen cabinets so the paint finish will last for years. Painting kitchen cabinets white. Tips and tricks as well as do and dont's.

More Home Improvement Paint Projects

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  1. Can I use a paint/primer all in one to paint my cabinets?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kristin – Yes you can use a paint and primer in one as the formulas are getting better all the time. What is most important though is to sand to rough up the surface a bit and use light coats. More lighter coats will adhere better than fewer thicker coats. Also get the best roller and paint brush you can afford. Using them will really make a difference.

  2. Julia Dennis says:

    Thanks for your thorough explanations! I have painted a lot of furniture, but wanted someone to give some tips on the process. This was very helpful.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Julia – Thanks for taking the time to tell me that my kitchen cabinet post was helpful. As a blogger this is so nice to hear. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

  3. Great tutorial….thank you!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Julie – Happy to hear my post helped you about learning about painting kitchen cabinets. Thanks for reading my blog.

  4. Aliya Rucker says:

    Can you use a paint and primer combo or is it important to do the primer separately?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Aliya – Yes you can use a paint & primer in one combo. Paint formulas are only getting better and better so if you use a big brand name of paint – it will be fine. Behr, Vaspar, Ben Moore, Sherwin Williams, etc.

      The key to getting the best adhesion though is still sanding first and cleaning and letting dry well. Apply the paint in more thin coats than one or two thick ones. Doing this will ensure success.

  5. homeaddict says:

    This is SUCH a helpful post thank you! It looks great! Your workflow is really smart, you are a highly skilled and experienced painter, your approach is meticulous and you explain it really well. I am skilled at refinishing furniture and painting walls, but I’m about to take on my kitchen cabinets for the first time and this really helps me envision the job. How long did you allow for curing? And have you had chips since then?

  6. I’m about to start the process of prepping my 1970 dark brown cabinets for a dearly needed makeover. I have scrubbed them with dawn and was going to now scrub with denatured alcohol. I read in another persons post this is important for aged cabinets. I didn’t see that as part of your process. Can you tell me if you recommend it?

  7. Mary Keels says:

    Hi Diane! I’m your neighbor from down the road in Chapin. I was searching painted kitchen cabinets on Pinterest this morning and found this post through the JennaKateathome blog. My kitchen cabinets are white that I painted myself when we moved here in 2003. I am needing to redo them as I have lots of drawers and chipped paint. Also when I clean the cabinet doors in front of my sink I can still see stains. I used SW when I painted but not sure I used the Acrylic-Aklyd. That may be the key this time around. Anyway I am wondering how yours are holding up since it’s been a few years since this post. I am dreading redoing them again but it seems to be the best solution for now and really want to make sure what I use is going to be even more durable this time around. Thanks!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Mary – Nice to meet you neighbor. :-) I love the SW Acrylic Aklyd paint! I can’t sing it’s praises enough. I have used it not only on my kitchen cabinets, but on my staircase. On both places the paint looks like new. I have one cabinet that is above the stove where there is a little bit of wear around the knob. I think this happened because it is right over the stove and gets cooking steam on it all the time, even if I have the exhaust fan on the stove.

      I would highly recommend the paint. I use to always buy it at the Irmo SW store, but it is so hard to get to. I recently realized that there is also a SW in Ballentine in the Publix shopping center. Much easier to get to.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      1. Mary Keels says:

        Thank you for the reply, that is great to know! I did find some of the paint I keep on hand for trim and it’s its Pro Classic Interior Acrylic Latex so thinking maybe that is what I used for the cabinets. Might even be able to get them to look back to 2003 and see, so this time will look for the Acrylic-Alkyd. I’ve used the Irmo store for years and just this year realized there is a SW in Ballentine as well when we had to repaint our porch columns and went there. It’s so weird because I go by that mall all the time going to Lexington. Can’t believe I’ve just noticed it this year. LOL! I agree it’s much more convenient! Thanks again for the update and encouragement. I appreciate it!

  8. Sarah Dillon says:

    Thanks for your post! What did you use to strip the part of the cabinet that remains hanging on the wall after removing doors and hardware? We’re re-doing ours (previous owners did a terrible job and paint is peeling). Thanks for your advice!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sarah – I didn’t use stripper on the cabinets, I only used a sander with 100 grit sandpaper over all the surfaces that were going to be painted to smooth things out and provide some “tooth” for the primer and paint to stick to. If you need to strip thick paint off, I would use CitraStrip. It comes in spray and brush on formulas. It is less toxic and has zero smell. It does take longer to work, but it will do the job. You can see the product here:

    2. Thank you you have given me a lot of info I was not aware of.

  9. Approximately how much was the total cost for this project?

  10. They look great. I hope I have the same success. I will be painting mine a gray. I have several layers of paint on them already so hopefully this covers well and last a long time as I am investing in new counter tops. Did you use the satin or the semi gloss paint?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Denise – I used semi-gloss. My cabinets have a subtle sheen. Using semi makes it easier to wipe them clean when they get dirty.

  11. Your cabinets look great! I’m in the process of starting ours and wondered about SW ProClassic paint. Can I ask how the paint has held up? Have there been any issues with chipping or noticeable wear around the knobs?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kathie – I have painted a few kitchens the SW ProClassic is the best. You cannot go wrong with this paint. I have also used it on the risers and balusters of my foyer staircase. The paint has held up perfectly!!! No wear around knobs. I do have to clean around the knobs, but the paint looks brand new.

      The only place that shows some wear is the top of the cabinet door that is right under the sink. It gets wet and dirty a lot since we take wet stuff from the sink and toss in the trash can that is in this cabinet. I have to clean this cabinet door more, but the paint still looks OK on the door, just dirty.

      If you sand first, use a primer and paint light coats you will get a very lasting finish. I highly recommend the paint. :-)

      1. That’s great to hear! Thanks. I”m hoping to get started Monday :)

  12. EaglePainting says:

    Great article, your kitchen looks great and the steps you used in this process is dead on. Nice tips on priming and finish coats.

  13. Kalia Floors says:

    Interesting article. Your kitchen is truly amazing, the newly painted cabinets look stunning. Thanks for sharing.

  14. Reginne Kelly says:

    This is great tip. I’ve been wanting to renovate my kitchen cabinets soon. I didn’t realize that wood was the best material to paint. That’s good news for me! My cabinets are wood. I really like the second to last picture. This is great information. I’ve been wanting to redo my kitchen cabinets for the longest time. I didn’t realize that wood was the best material to paint. White cabinets seem to be so popular lately. Do you think painting wood cabinets white would be an easy.

  15. Reginne Kelly says:

    This is great tip. I’ve been wanting to renovate my kitchen cabinets soon. I didn’t realize that wood was the best material to paint. That’s good news for me! My cabinets are wood. I really like the second to last picture. This is great information. I’ve been wanting to redo my kitchen cabinets for the longest time. I didn’t realize that wood was the best material to paint. That’s good news for me! My cabinets are wood. I really like the second to last picture. White cabinets seem to be so popular lately. Do you think painting wood cabinets white would be an easy. I just need a good contractor in Roswell True Handyman

    1. Sonya Choate says:

      I painted our wood cabinets white 15 yrs ago and they held up really well. I did almost exactly what this blogger did, but I didn’t use polycrylic or a oil based paint. I did use Behr high gloss paint and incurred the extra cost of buying high quality brushes. Purdy is the brand of brush I used, but I brushed the entire cabinet doors and drawers fronts. I wish I had used polycrylic, they would have lasted another 5 yrs at least.
      I’m repainting the cabinets a blue with hint of gray and I’m halfway through. I will take some advice from this tutorial and buy a Purdy roller to finish them. The only thing I’ve done differently is apply 3 coats of paint,sand after each coat lightly. And add 3 coats of polycrylic, sanding lightly between each coat except the last one. I also messed up when changing the hinges yrs ago and am going to solve this problem. Also wanted to tell you to take the advice of sanding the cabinets well. I stripped sanded all the way down to the wood the first time and it was labor intensive. Painting the cabinets are labor intensive enough as it is without that step.

  16. Andy Shepard says:

    Thanks for sharing your article about kitchen cabinetry. The photos you showed are absolutely beautiful. I liked your tip about color customization because of the unique outcome that it can offer. In my opinion, when you choose the color of your kitchen cabinets; your personality speaks up. I’d make sure to hire a contractor who can help me have my kitchen cabinet style repainted with new colors.

  17. Andy Shepard says:

    Hi! I love your blog and can relate to you in so many ways. Definitely inspired to clean all my cabinets out! This was a great post!

  18. Andy Shepard says:

    This is great information. I’ve been wanting to redo my kitchen cabinets for the longest time. I didn’t realize that wood was the best material to paint. That’s good news for me! My cabinets are wood. I really like the second to last picture. White cabinets seem to be so popular lately. Do you think painting wood cabinets white would be an easy?

  19. Meghan C. says:

    After, what I thought was a lot of research, we painted our kitchen cabinets with Annie Sloan chalk paint in a mix of old and pure white. After washing thoroughly with Dawn and Murphy’s oil soap. We proceeded to paint the cabinets with a roller and brush. The paint adhered well and looked great. Then I sealed the cabinets with a first coat of “clear” Minwax polycrylic (not polyurethane), they yellowed ever so slightly, but still looked pretty good. Then (after spraying 4 coats on the cabinet doors), we coated the doors with the first coat of the poly. Disaster. The poly soaked into the wood grain, leaving a terrible yellow color streaked through my white/cream cabinet doors and pooled in the corners of some of the doors, looking like yellow glue. I don’t know how to fix this! With Thanksgiving and our daughter’s birthday at our house in 5 days and being 8 months pregnant, I’m over this! We’ve already spent $400 on paint and worked day and night for a month painting these. Any suggestions? Some friends suggested light sanding and repainting one more coat of chalk paint, with a roller, then trying the poly again seeing if it covers the yellow grain. I’ve used AS chalk paint several times before with not issues, I’m not sure why this only yellowed the doors. The only thing I can imagine is that we sprayed the doors and the paint didn’t soak into the wood as well as it did with the roller and brush on the cabinets. If this is the case, will a light sanding and one more coat of chalk paint do the job?

  20. Imperial Design Center says:

    I love the creative side of it as it helps me to grow strong on my work with ideas.

  21. Trish Olson says:

    How did you paint the built in wine rack?

  22. Ravi kumar says:

    so simple! pretty good information about Kitchen Design ideas. Looking to near more articles from you Guys

    1. Hello, thanks for great info:). I noticed two different types of rollers, do we use both? Is the other for clear coat?

      Thank you!

  23. Ravi kumar says:

    All designs are super cool..i like your all collection…

  24. Kayla Diaz says:

    Thanks for these valuable ideas. Kitchen cabinets are one of the most expensive and important part of kitchen remodeling. Cabinets can be easily customized the way you want. Apart from that, the painting works depend on your liking and budget. Often the dull colored cabinets and themes of the kitchen don’t able to attract the potential buyers. I always get confused with what material to choose for kitchen cabinet, counter top, flooring, faucet, sink etc. As I’m planning to remodel my kitchen in the next month, I’m thinking of hiring a professional home renovating contractor who can help me from start to finish of the project.

  25. vivek yadav says:

    Ohh! Your Kitchen is Gorgeous, It’s so Bigger and Most beautiful, Really It’s Amazing.
    your kitchen painting is Great!! Thank’s.

  26. kitchen looking is very nice

  27. Hi Alexis – Thanks – I will do updates all through the year on how the counter top is holding up. So far so good with the section around the stove and cutting board that I did back in October

  28. Oh, your kitchen is looking so gorgeous already.

  29. kishan kumar says:

    Great information for decorating your interiors.

  30. Neha Gupta says:

    Beautiful work Thanks for the idea.

  31. Komal Gupta says:

    The work looks fabulous ! really that’s amayzing

  32. BTW, where did you purchase those handles? I love its modern design. Do they have in Target?

  33. Pooja Singh says:

    Thank You Diane for providing tips of painting kitchen cabnets………….

  34. Relief India says:

    If any food company decides to introduce concentrate on Commercial Kitchen Equipment Manufacturers in Delhi its system later it has a wide range of options manageable to supplement occurring its take steps.

  35. Nicky Parashar says:

    Your post an informative and detailed description of what to do and how to do. Beautiful work done.

  36. Furniture Store Denver says:

    Beutiful kitchen! The information you have shared is very informative. thank you

  37. Straight up beautiful and oh-so inspiring! My plan is to paint my laminate covered kitchen cabinets within the next month. I’ve read a TON of tutorials and nearly every one says to peel the laminate first and use and oil based primer. What are your thoughts? My current cabinets are white laminate and my plan is to paint them gray.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Jamie – thanks. :-) I would never pull the laminate off. For one, it would be hard to get it off evenly. Second, there will be leftover glue to have to remove and it might prove impossible. Third, it would make a mess and the underlying particle board or wood quality may not be the best or even smooth. You can paint laminate successfully, you just need to prep it right and use light thin coats for every coat of primer and paint you add.

      I would sand the laminate with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface to provide some tooth. Clean the cabinets well with dish detergent and hot water or TSP sold at paint stores to remove all grease and dirt. Rinse the surface well with clear water so there is no dirt or detergent residue. Let dry. I would use a brand name “Bonding Primer” Behr sells one as does Valspar and Glidden. I have used them all and they all work well. Roll on two very light coats, letting the first coat dry completely before rolling on the second. Let this dry over night. Then apply two light coats of latex acrylic enamel paint. Sherwin Williams Pro Classic is self leveling paint, but Behr or any other brands latex enamel will be fine. Use a foam roller with rounded ends to apply the paint.

      If you prep right and use light coats of paint, you will be rewarded with a lasting finish even over laminate.

  38. Oh I just love your kitchen. It’s so big and lovely! My home was built in 1954 and my kitchen had the same dark brown cabinets, but the walls were school bus yellow. I painted my cabinets white and removed some doors as well. I also had some of the wood centers removed from some cabinets and had it replaced with glass.
    Just thought I’d share. It looks great.

  39. Your kitchen is gorgeous! I am trying this on mine now with the exact products you used (tsp, tack, primer, paint, etc.) On my builder grade oakish cabinets. But I ran into a huge snag. After 2 coats of the primer and 1 of the paint, it still scrapes right off. Easily. Terrifyingly easy. So of course I am freaking out. I did tsp, wash, lightly sand, tack cloth, etc. before the primer. I did the same prep with all of my bathroom and laundry cabinets except I used Waverly chalk paint and polycrylic and they are perfect, smooth as buttah, and holding up wonderfully. Any idea why my cabinets are not adhering? Does it need a longer dry time between thin coats (I’m doing 12-18 hours since I have kidlettes)?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Tracy – How long did you wait for the primer to dry before applying the coat of paint? Did you sand the cabinets? It could be the primer wasn’t dry or it could be the paint simply has not cured yet. How long ago did you paint 12 – 18 hours?

  40. Beautiful job! That is quite the accomplishment.?

  41. Mona lisa says:

    By painting the kitchen cabinets is very useful for me, it save my money and time.

  42. Jasmine pawar says:

    i am nervous for paint my cabinets but when I paint my kitchen cabinets with your tips its really look great.Thanks

  43. Jane Roberts says:

    with your direction i paint my kitchen cabinets, and now they look better.
    thanks for saving my money and your post.

  44. Shanaya Oberoi says:

    Thanks For giving the tips about the kitchen painting.

  45. Kentservice says:

    Thanks for giving the information about the painting kitchen.
    i will try.

  46. great looking kitchen and thank you for the really good tutorial. One question about the marking of the doors. I got the pix of the drawers and know for sure how that was accomplished but confused about how the tape is moved about to keep the doors going to the proper place. how to keep from having tape on the painted surface. also, did you find replacing appliances for manufactured houses seemed to cost more and the sales are fewer ? We are getting ready to paint our kitchen and the counter top redo is what I am most wanting to attempt. Your fabulous results certainly encourages me.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Brenda – Sorry if I didn’t make it clear about marking the doors. I will add some clarification to the post. I worked a section of the kitchen at a time so I usually was working on about 6 doors at a time and a few drawers. What I did was place a piece of painter’s tape on each door before I removed them and gave them a number. 1, 2, 3 4… I then lined them up in order on the 2 x 4’s I spanned out on 2 sawhorses n my garage. I then removed the tape and placed it to the right of each door so I could sand them. I then took a door out one by one to scrub and wash outside and then brought it back inside and placed in the number spot it belonged. I did this for each door. When I was done painting, I brought them back in to hang one by one to place back on the cabinets.

      I didn’t have a problem finding new appliances. You mentioned a manufactured house. My house is an older home built in the 70’s, it is not a manufactured home. The dishwasher is a KitchenAid we bought at Lowes. The oven is a bit pricey and I think I will be getting a GE, but am not certain yet. I will be buying it from a local appliance store. I will be posting the countertop painting tutorial later this week. I am so happy with how the counters have turned out. :-)

  47. Thank you for sharing these tips! When I helped a friend with her cabinets, I found that one did not close right because the last person who was there had put on an similar, but incorrect hinge on one door. As a result, it always hung open about a half inch. I did manage to fix it for her with the right hinge, even though it took a couple of trips to make sure we had the right one.

  48. This is an amazing tutorial and your kitchen looks beautiful!

    I need to search your blog for stain tips. While the rest of the world is going with white kitchen cabinets, I just want to Restani mine darker. :)

  49. Stephanie says:

    Excellent job as always. Question for you: Did I miss the post where you explained why you kept the upper cabinets to the back of the kitchen (above the wine rack)? I could have sworn you put in a post that you were going to remove those for more light into that back hallway. Did you change your mind?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Stephanie – No you didn’t miss a post. With all that I have done in the kitchen , it is hard to make sure I covered everything. Our original plan was to remove the row of cabinets since they blocked the light to the hallway where the laundry room and powder room are. After living in the house for a year now, we decided to keep the cabinets and deal with the dark hallway. I have plans for that hallway of darkness to try to make it a cheerier space. I have the supplies and will post about next month.

  50. Your kitchen looks great! I don’t know what color you painted your cabinets…..You must have found that your white matched well enough with your new white hinges. We are going through this process right now. Cabinets are being painted BM White Dove and I wonder if the stock bright white available for hinges might have too much contrast. I have compared and I can see the difference with the paint swatch. Just don’t know if it would be noticeable when they’re all installed. Thoughts?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Becky – I painted the cabinets in my go to white, Sherwin Williams Pure White #7005. It is truly pure white with no blue undertones that sometimes happen with cool whites. The hinge white color is white, white with no yellow undertones. They are not an exact match, but very close that you don’t notice a difference. I would buy hinge one and hold it up vertically the way it will be in your kitchen against a vertically placed paint swatch to see if the whites blend well. If you can’t find a color that you like, you could always spray them to match the cabinets exactly.

  51. AmandaCerny says:

    Painting Kitchen is great advice for me. with the help of your directions.
    Thanks For The Post. Keep posting

  52. Wow Diane, no matter what you tackle it comes out perfect. The tutorial is excellent. You never leave anything to the imagination. Thank you for that. I still have not started my kitchen, I am petrified that it will come out all streaky. I have used Proclasic on my bathroom vanities, and they look great, but that is 3 & 4 doors not 31. I can see that taking months, and who wants their kitchen torn up for months.
    Can’t wait to see what you do over your kitchen sink, taking down the board and I love the counter tops. Great job as always. Where you get your energy to do all the DIY’s is beyond me.

  53. Constance A Meints says:

    I love your work, Diane. Your kitchen looks beautiful – one question – why no polyurethane on the cabinet doors?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Constance – I used semi-gloss enamel paint. Polyurethane is not needed. If I had used a basic latex paint with no acrylic or enamel I may have used poly over it. I also would have used it if I painted with a flat or satin paint. These finishes mark easily and a sealer would prevent that from happening. With the semi-gloss enamel, the sheen is shiny and is easy to wipe clean, plus the enamel makes it very durable.

  54. Linda Weeks says:

    Oh! I do have a question for you, please, as I was saying, I’ve done the cupboards before, and went with white paint. Do you think I should use the primer again as well? I want to go with a pretty grey color this time. You know I’m looking to get out of any extra effort if I have a choice!
    But if you say it, I’ll do it!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – If the cabinets are already painted, you really do not need a primer again unless you previously added a sealer over the paint. I would simply run a sanding block with 100 grit sandpaper to rough up the surface. Clean it off and then add 1 – 2 light coats of new paint. If you add a primer again and then paint, the door surface is going to get thickly covered and that may effect how they open and close. You don’t want too many layers of paint that make the doors get stuck.

  55. cynthia kuenzi says:

    I painted my cabinets with chalk paint and waxed. I am unhappy with how they are holding up. I want to repaint with the paint you used. Do I have to prime since they are already painted white?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Cynthia – If you waxed over the paint, you will need to remove the wax before repainting. The way to do this is using Mineral Spirits. Sold in the paint aisle. Rub a rag dipped in mineral spirits over the surface to remove the wax. I would then go over the surface with a hand sanding block with 100 grit sandpaper on it to rough up the surface a bit. A 5 min going over is fine. Clean the surfaces with hot sudsy water, let dry and then apply one light coat of primer. When it is dry, run your hand over the surface to see if it feels smooth and has adhered. If you see any spots that look loose, apply one more light coat of primer, let it dry, then 2 light coats of paint.

  56. Linda Weeks says:

    Your work is the best! It scares my husband when I talk about painting the cupboards, he probably thinks I’m not up to it… we did it together, last time, and it wasn’t an easy job! I have painted them white, but next time, I will use some grey that I hope will cover a multitude of sins!
    Great job! Hugs, Linda

  57. My kitchen used to look like yours did. I put beadboard on walls and ceiling and like you, went to great care when preparing and painting my cabinets. I used Valspar paint and accessorized with black instead of chrome. It is worth every minute of prep and paint time. And your step by step tutorial is perfect. Mine has been complete for a year and I love it as much today as I did the day it was completed. Any spills and spots wipe off easily and my kitchen is so much brighter. Enjoy. Enjoy. You made a beautiful transformation.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Judy – Your kitchen sounds beautiful and best of all, you did it yourself which makes you appreciate every inch. I painted the kitchen cabinets in my previous house about 18 years ago. The cabinets were oak and I dearly wanted white. That makeover took 3 weeks and lasted 18 years!!!! It is worth all the effort when you take the time to do it right. The only wear I saw on those cabinets was the two doors under the sink where I had the trash can. It was frequently opened with wet hands. I did have to touch these doors up a few times, but nothing major. :-) I hope you enjoy your pretty painted cabinets for many many years.

  58. WOW!!! That is incredibly beautiful.

  59. Thanks so much for all this information! I’ve been admiring your kitchen project and it has inspired me to paint my own kitchen cabinets this year. This detailed info is exactly what I needed!

    Congrats on creating such a beautiful kitchen!

  60. TerriC/HoustonLady says:

    Hi Diane,

    Your kitchen looks fantastic!! Great job, Diane : ) I painted our kitchen cabinets five years ago in our old home (before we moved) We were in our old home 26 yrs and I painted our old 80’s brown cabinets white too. It was hard work, but I really loved the end results. I can’t wait to see your kitchen complete…it is going to look awesome.
    Have a great day!

  61. Carol @ Heartfelt Whimsies says:

    Your work is beautiful!! The kitchen is soooo gorgeous!! I really appreciate your DIY tips and the fact that you accomplished this yourself!! Bravo!!

  62. Congratulations! They look great. I know that sense of accomplishment. We painted our kitchen cabinets after buying a “New” house with everything painted pea-green–yes the kitchen cabinets too. We were able to use oil based enamel and while it was a lot of work (my whole spring break!) those painted cabinets stood up so well! I don’t think I would try it again at my age :)

  63. Great instructions. I painted mine about 14 yrs ago no regrets. Used the SW pro enamel. Primer is so important. You technique is so on. I had doubts but a professional painter reviewed my work and applauded my efforts and refused to repaint when I had some paint lift from water damage and just said they looked too good and told me how to touch up. Very rewarding indeed. Your efforts are spectacular.

  64. Deb Wostmann says:

    Love the transformation. Just goes to show paint can make a huge difference. I paint a lot as we have rental properties and you are so right – quality brushes are the only way to go! Can’t wait to see what else you have in store.

  65. It’s all positively wonderful in white. Love it! Cannot recall if you posted about your plans for the floor. On the photos it looks very pretty. Are you planning to keep it and possibly refinish it (if needed)?

    Thanks for a very lovely post.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Connie – Thanks – I have not posted anything about the floor yet. I do plan to have it refinished a slightly darker color. I will hire someone to do since the flooring connects to the living room so both rooms will need to be done. Too big of a job for me to take on myself and do a good job. :-)

  66. June Verderosa says:

    How many (wo)man hours did this job take? I’m trying to decide whether to do it myself or pay for someone to do it. Thank you.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi June – The hours to paint are very different from the days it took. I started at the end of September and took weeks off from not doing a thing. When I did work on it, I did a few days at a time. It would be hard to sum up in hours since most of the time the cabinets are off while the paint is drying and I did other things. If I worked on this kitchen every day Mon – Fri, 9 – 5, I figure it would take 3 solid weeks. I hope this helps. It is a big undertaking, but if you want to save a lot of money, it is worth the effort.

  67. I absolutely LOVE white kitchens. When we bought this house 5 years ago, we painted the kitchen white before we moved in (due to food allergies, we rarely eat out and we could work in this house and return to our apartment in the evenings to cook). Unfortunately, a few of the more frequently used cabinet doors were not prepped properly and the paint didn’t adhere well. I’ve been working on those particular areas to bring the kitchen back to it’s beautiful self.

    Prep work really is 90% of the work and is SOOOO important!

    Beautiful job!

  68. The cabinets look great!!!! Regarding a white sink……I had one…..enamel….hated it!!!! Looked beautiful in the beginning, but over time it chipped, rusted where it chipped, constantly stained and I had to use a Clorox product so often to get the stains out!!! Of course that sink was from the 90’s, so today’s sinks may be better, but I think stainless is the way to go! I love my stainless sink!!!! Your house is coming along nicely….love it!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Monica – Thanks – I agree with you about the white, sink. They do look pretty though. In my previous house we had an off-white one from the 90’s too. :-) I was forever cleaning it with Clorox just like you. I am very happy with the stainless one and love how deep it is. The previous one was very shallow and water always splattered everywhere when you turned the faucet on.

  69. The kitchen looks beautiful, thank you for the detail on you completed the job!

  70. Wow – when you read each thing step by step you really see how much work was involved! Hats off to you for tackling such a huge project. It looks absolutely beautiful. I hope when you are working in your new kitchen, you take some time to enjoy the results and just realize what a wonderful job you did!!!

  71. Aquasure Ro says:

    Printing The Kitchen Cabinets is nice
    thanks for post

  72. SheenaBajaj says:

    I really like your kitchen photos. Painting Kitchen Cabinets tips are really nice. I wanna try it.

  73. When our 70’s wall oven died, we had a hard time finding a replacement due to its size. Actually had that happen at 2 homes. In our first, we removed the wall oven completely and placed the microwave in that area along with drawers holding our pots and pans. We then cut out the area that held the stovetop and replaced it with a regular stove. In our second house, the kitchen is much smaller so cutting out cabinetry to insert a full stove isn’t an option. We found only one wall oven to fit the space and it is narrow and so shallow that some cookie sheets are too long for it. Oh for a remodel! Love what you’ve done in yours so far! Looking forward to completion photos!

  74. Hello ! The work looks fabulous ! really that’s amayzing

    1. I had the same problem with the wall oven, and yes some cookie sheets and baking pans do not fit. I also could not get a self cleaning oven because the space was too small and they did not make one. I can only use a 15.5 inch pan in the oven. If my stovetop ever dies I may think of replacing it with a regular oven and using the oven space for pots and pans. Thanks for the idea.

  75. AquaFresh says:

    This Is the best blog i ever read on how to paint cabinets.
    thanks for sharing the information.

  76. Kimberly Bruhn says:

    Hey. Just wanted to say how great your kitchen looks!
    When we finally saved up enough to do our kitchen we bought “pro” appliances from Sears/Kenmore line. They were equivalent to Kitchen Aid’s pro line but we bought them (in the Spring, I believe) when all ovens were 1/2 off (no kidding!). With Sears in financial distress, not sure that might be an option for you but I wanted to let you know they have been super appliances. We also bought a 48″ six burner gas cooktop that is the bomb! When I was searching three years ago I talked to a salesperson at our local store and she called me to let me know about upcoming sales! I compared BTU’s, style, function, etc and decided these would work for our dream space.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kimberly – Thanks for the tip about Sears. It is just what I needed to know. I will check what they have this afternoon. XO

  77. Ummm, WOW!!! Well done, Diane! Thanks for all the valuable information.

  78. Betty Baker says:

    You boggle my mind-I wish I had your determination and strength. I have reached an age that Iunfortunately I cannot manage this type of work anymore. You make everything look magnificent.

  79. Diane, thanks so much for this information. Your information I will keep because it is the best explanation that I have read on how to paint cabinets. It sounds time consuming but certainly doable. My daughter has a small kitchen & she wants us to paint the cabinets in the spring. Wish us luck! Again, thanks for sharing.

  80. Sheryll $ Critters. says:

    Oh, your kitchen is looking so gorgeous already. You are definitely the very best! Instructions are perfect. I have done this before and all your advice is spot on. For me, the drying time was a surprise. I did mine in September in a year that was very humid and it took much longer for the doors to dry. And definitely prme/paint the insides first.

  81. Beautiful job on the cabinets! They look amazing with new pulls and knobs. Nice that you have the space to set everything out for prep. I am looking forward to seeing how the counter turns out. I have a burgundy counter in the laundry room that would look great with a new color. One question I have – Is it possible to remove the sink temporarily in order to paint the counter and then put the sink back in? I have been hesitant to paint the laundry counter as I wasn’t sure how close I could get the paint to the edge of the sink. Please comment on the durability when you’ve got it done.
    Thanks for all the ideas.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Alexis – Thanks – I will do updates all through the year on how the counter top is holding up. So far so good with the section around the stove and cutting board that I did back in October. I just did the section in the back of the kitchen right before Christmas. It does take 2 weeks to cure so that section is just ready to see use again. You can remove the sink to paint around it, that would be the best way, but if you don’t have a plumber handy, you can paint around it. I have not sealed around it yet so, I can push some of the paint under it. I used painter’s tape along the sink edge to protect it from getting any of the paint on it. Even if you did get paint on it when you were painting, you could remove it before it dries. Once the paint is sealed and cured, then you need to take a bead of caulk around the sink anyway, so you could remove the existing caulking around your sink, paint and then reapply a new bead of caulk after painting and you would not even see where the paint meets the sink.

  82. Linda Manuel says:

    What an informative and detailed description of what and how to do cabinets. Have pinned to refer to when I get to mine! Beautiful work and I know you will be so very pleased at your re-do when you get done!

  83. Barbara Jaeger says:

    You do such beautiful work, Diane. The cabinets looks fantastic!!

  84. Your painted kitchen looks fabulous. I know you are happy to see that light at the end of the tunnel. I still can not believe how you can get your counter top to look like marble. You do a fantastic job. I am amazed at how quickly you have been able to tackle all these DIY’s. I’m looking forward to seeing the finished counters, the new oven and the look of the window with the curvy trim removed. By the way, your wooden kitchen floor design is killer…love it!!! Vikki in VA.