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How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

clutter-free-kitchen1Painting your kitchen cabinets. This is the DIY project that most people are afraid to tackle because, well, it’s the kitchen. So much time is spent in the kitchen and it really is the focal point of the home – if it’s done sloppy, wrong or doesn’t turn out as expected it would be a huge headache and a lot of money to fix.

However, this can be one of the best DIY projects you can do. Not only will it make a huge impact on your home and main living space but it is extremely cost effective at only $150.

There are many ways to go about painting kitchen cabinets. This quick tutorial is one easy way that has proven to be effective and give great results.

Adding Bead Board to the Sides

A great way to customize your cabinets is to add bead board to the sides. Sheets can be found at Home Depot for about $12 a piece. You’ll probably need about 2 or 3. After cutting the pieces to fit the sides of your cabinetry/island, use liquid nails and finishing nails with a nail gun to attach these pieces. Then use white, paintable caulk along the seams and edges. Also, use sand-able spackle to fill in the nail holes. Once that is dry, sand and it is ready for paint.

Cleaning the Cabinets


In order make sure the paint sticks the surface of the cabinets, use a heavy duty all-purpose cleaner to clean the surface of all the cabinets, like TSP (Trisodium Phosphate). Per package instructions, mix the cleaner with warm water and scrub all the grime and grease off the cabinets. You may want to do this process twice to ensure your cabinets are clean and consider using a knife or sharp tool to scrape the grime out of the nooks and crannies.


Prime the Cabinets


Remove all cabinets, drawers, and hardware. There are a couple ways to prime cabinets. The first is to tape off your entire kitchen and use a paint sprayer for the whole kitchen. If you want to avoid the mess and fumes in your house, you can instead use a 4” foam roller. The foam roller gives the primer (and paint) a smooth look and finish.

Roll the primer (like Kilz latex primer) on the faces of the cabinets, the cabinet doors, and the cabinet drawers. Be sure to do two coats.

**Note: before priming the cabinet doors, use a hand sander to scuff them up a bit. It isn’t completely necessary because the TSP Cleaner will take off quite a bit of the finish.


Using a semi-gloss paint in your color of choice (semi-gloss is what you want because it far more scrubable than lower quality finishes) and using the same foam roller, paint the cabinets, bead board sides, and faces of the cabinets with two coats of paint.

For the cabinet doors, it is best to use a paint sprayer. If you don’t have one, borrow one (you’d be surprised how many people have them) or rent one from your local hardware store. Once the sprayer is loaded, painting will go quick. Once all the cabinets are covered go back with a foam roller to catch any drips on the sides. Wait an hour or until the paint is completely dry before doing a second coat.

Allow the cabinets to dry overnight, then spray the reverse side twice the next day.

Finish Work

6-Drifting-Wind-Run-large-024-Kitchen-and-Breakfast-08-1500x1000-72dpiOnce the doors are dry, reattach the cabinets to the frames using the same hardware or new hardware you have purchased. If you choose to replace the drawer handles, knobs, or hardware, be sure to check if all the hardware matches up with the existing holes. If it does not, be sure to fill the holes with wood filler and sand them flat before priming and painting.

And voila!! You have a “new” kitchen.


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