Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

Refresh Your Kitchen Cabinets with These Simple Painting Tips

3 minute read

Is your kitchen looking worn and dated? Are you wanting to rejuvenate your space without spending thousands on a full remodel? With some clever DIY painting techniques, you can give those old cabinets a fresh new look for a fraction of the cost.

Painting your existing cabinets opens up limitless possibilities for updating your kitchen’s style. Read on to learn how with budget-friendly paints and a little elbow grease, you can achieve a stunning transformation that looks like you splurged on custom cabinetry.

Why Painting Beats Replacing for Kitchen Updates

Instead of replacing your outdated oak or laminate cabinets with expensive new versions, consider these benefits of a painted makeover:

painting old kitchen cabinets before and after

With a limitless palette to choose from, you can select trendy painted finishes that complement your counters, backsplash and flooring. White, antique white and grey shades are among today’s most popular cabinet colors for achieving a light and airy look.

Plan Your Cabinet Paint Project for Success

Select Paint Colors that Flatter Your Kitchen

The first step is deciding on a color scheme. Look at the undertones in your counters, floors and backsplash to inform the cabinet colors.

Cool-toned elements like marble or slate work beautifully with pale blue or grey cabinets. Warm wood grain pairs nicely with cream or antique white. For a bold or vibrant kitchen, go for a deeper tone like navy or emerald green.

Compare Costs of Paint vs. New Cabinets

Quality cabinet paint costs approximately $40-60 per gallon. With proper prep, one gallon can easily cover standard-sized cabinets. Updating hardware adds cost, but is an inexpensive way to re-vamp style.

In comparison, custom or semi-custom cabinets range $100-300 per square foot installed. Painting your current set will save major bucks for an equivalent transformation.

Gather Essential Supplies for a Flawless Finish

Having the right painting products and tools is essential. Purchase high-quality primer and cabinet paint in a semi-gloss, enamel or acrylic formula. Select sandpaper, paint brushes, rollers and other essential supplies.

Prep Work: The Most Important Step

Thoroughly Clean Cabinets Prior to Painting

Grease, dirt and residues will impair paint adhesion, so it’s crucial to degrease cabinets prior to painting. Use a commercial degreasing cleaner or TSP substitute to cut through grime before sanding.

Remove doors, drawers and hardware and soak to remove built-up oils. Address old damage and fill holes with wood filler for a flawless finished surface.

Sand Cabinets to Rough Up Finish

For the best paint bond, you must scuff up the slick cabinet finish. Use 220-400 grit sandpaper to lightly abrade and open the pores. Take care not to sand all the way to bare wood.

Thoroughly wipe sanded cabinets with a tack cloth to remove all traces of dust before painting.

Achieve a Pro-Quality Painted Finish

Prime First for Superior Paint Adhesion

Priming transforms a slick surface so topcoats bonding tightly. Use an oil-based wood primer like Zinsser Bulls Eye or a quality bonding primer like Kilz Adhesion.

Employ Brushwork Techniques for Flawless Results

Carefully cutting in edges with an angled sash brush and rolling larger expanses are tried-and-true techniques. Work in sections while maintaining a wet edge for uniform results.

For a smooth factory finish, opt to spray cabinets using an HVLP sprayer. Multiple misted coats provide a durable, seamless painted cabinet surface.

Swapping out old hardware for updated knobs and pulls completes the new look. Add lighting, a colorful backsplash and decor to complement your fresh painted kitchen.

After allowing the paint to cure fully, start enjoying your budget-friendly dream kitchen. With some strategic planning and elbow grease, you can achieve striking results that look like you splurged on high-end cabinetry.