This post is so long overdue. We painted our kitchen cabinets shortly after we moved into our house. These kitchen cabinets have been painted for over 2 years! The moment I laid eyes on the cabinets, I knew a super-easy way for me to give our kitchen new life was to repaint them. The layout is very functional and I have plenty of space to cook. So, I knew I just wanted to give the kitchen a facelift. Painting the cabinets made such a huge difference!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE how it turned out! It was so worth the work.
Up to this point in the kitchen, we had the kitchen countertops painted and the flooring replaced. You can check out how we painted the countertops here. I did a faux Carrara marble finish. Just a little bit of an upgrade from the pea-green color they were!
What Paint We Used
We are a big fan of Behr paint. We have used it in our last two houses. It’s reasonably priced and has great coverage. When we decided to paint our cabinets, we again turned to Behr. I actually lucked out getting the blue color for the bottom cabinets in the “Opps Paint Spot” at Home Depot. I only paid $8 for it! That particular paint was used on the lower cabinets. It is from the Behr Marquee line which is considered their premier paint. I knew the lower cabinets would get a lot of use and trucks rammed into them (hello boy mom). I was super happy I was able to not only score the paint in a dark blue color (to hide markings) but also a high-quality paint. For the uppers, we used regular Behr Paint in semi-gloss. We picked semi-gloss so the cabinets could be wiped off easily. I choose the color Pure White from Sherwin Williams. This is also the color we painted the shiplap and trim.
How to Paint Cabinets
There are so many tutorials on how to paint kitchen cabinets on Pinterest it’s overwhelming! Many of the tutorials use chalk paint. However, I was very turned off by the idea of needing to reapply wax as recommended. I also looked into this paint for its unique ability to not need a wax finish. However, it was more money than I wanted to spend. So, we decided to paint our cabinets the old-fashioned way with regular paint.
Step 1: Getting rid of the grain
One thing I knew I didn’t want, was the grain to show on the cabinets. We had a hard time finding the products recommended by other tutorials. Plus, we were short on time to wait for something to get shipped to us. Mr. MK ended up buying this from the hardware store and applied it to the fronts of the cabinet doors. It greatly reduced the amount of grain you could see after painting. I’m so happy with the results
We took the cabinet doors off and applied the wood filler outside due to potentially harmful chemicals. Mr. MK applied the wood filler using a putty knife like this. We only applied the wood grain filler to the cabinet faces, as that is the part of the cabinets that have the most surface area.
It says on the container that it dries in 2-6 hours, but we waited until the next day to sand. Lightly sand the doors using 150 grit sandpaper. After sanding, we vacuumed the cabinet faces off so they were clean for painting.
Step 2: Prime the Cabinets
Next up, we primed the cabinets. We used Kilz Primer. During the painting process, it is critical to use high-end rollers with a low nap (handle, roller). This will ensure a uniform and even finish. Using high-quality paintbrush is also crucial. I am a big fan of Purdy paintbrushes. I always have the best luck with them. The roller was used to paint wherever it would cover. The paintbrush was used to get in the hard to reach areas.
Step 3: Paint Cabinets
After letting the primer dry, we painted the cabinet. Again, it is crucial to use high-quality rollers and brushes. We painted two coats to ensure optimal coverage.
Step 4: Polyurethane the Cabinets
We recommend regular polyurethane to finish the cabinets. You should use the same polyurethane as the paint; For example, if you used water-based paint, you should use water-based polyurethane. Apply the polyurethane with a brush as directed. We used the same type of roller we used with the paint. It is easier to get a uniform finish on big, flat surfaces. But if you have a lot of molding or uneven surfaces you will want to use a brush. We applied only one coat of polyurethane.
Step 5: Re-Assemble the Cabinets
The last and final step is to put the cabinets back together. Put the doors back up and add the handles and you are DONE!
Things We Learned
- It seems like an obvious thing, but make sure you have enough lighting when you paint. We painted out in our garage until twilight and I thought the lighting was good enough. Never the less, when we brought the cabinet doors inside, there were tons of spots we missed.
- The extra work of getting rid of the grain is totally worth it! I am so happy with how smooth the cabinet faces turned out.
- Anticipate needing two coats even with applying the primer.
- Think about if you want to change your hardware before you paint. We figured we would paint and worry about changing out our hardware later. However, if you change your hardware you likely need to change your hinges too. This would be so much easier to do while the old hinges are already off the doors. Now in order to change our hinges we have to re-take all the doors off.
Stay tuned for the whole kitchen before and after! All the painting done, backsplash, and new appliances!