A lot of folks here are using chalk paints.
this thread list should get you started
I just painted my oak cabinets, because they were really messed up. I sanded them, primed them with a oil based primer and then painted them with a semi-gloss latex paint. I used a 4" foam roller and small paint brush and liked the finish product.
April all great answers, but the one thing that they all have in common is proper prep to accept what ever paint product it is that you choose.
Prep work is the hardest part. With all the cleaning, sanding and cleaning again, little really changes so it does not appear that your making any progress with the project. But the more you work on the prep, the better your final results will end up being once you put the brush or the sprayer on the wood.
Clean clean clean is the primary issue with kitchen cabinets, grease builds up over many years of experiments on the stove. Even if your diligent on cleaning them this grease builds up and gets into the pores of the cabinets and must be removed before you even touch the cabinet with sand paper. If your not successful in removing this grease, you will sand it into the wood itself making your end results even harder to achieve.
Prepsol which is a lacquer solvent used in the cleaning process of auto paint work does this job great, however you must understand this is a flammable product that can burn easy. Be sure to turn off any gas appliances and open flames and ventilate well. Dampen a rag and wash the fronts off. Ideally all of the door and drawer fronts should be removed along with any hardware and this project done in a shady area outside of the home away from flames. The cabinets that can not be removed can be cleaned in this fashion as well, just ventilate and use common sense with flammable materials.
I am sure there are other great products that work just as well, but from a automotive background family and from painting cars way back when. This is my product of choice when removing grease from cabinets. Just understand the risks when using this type of product or any kind that is flammable as well.
Woodbridge is right. Any paint job is in the preparation! I am no expert but I wanted a durable gloss finish on some cabinets once and chose good old rustoleum. It takes time to dry and yes it has fumes but it worked for me.
Start by removing all the hinges, hardware etc. Sand them well .Whan sanding be sure to do any sharp corners really well. After "ALL" the sanding is done give them a good vacume. Apply an oil base primer and let the primer cure for about 48 hrs.in a dry location.Before putting on the finish give them a light sanding with a 120 grit paper. Again give them a vacume and wipe them with a tack rag.
Two coats off a GOOD quality semi gloss will finish the job.Two light coats are always better than one heavy coat. Note; If an oil base is used on the finish coat it will soon start to yellow.Do not skimp on quality. Ben Moore or Sherwin Williams paints would be a wise choise. Best of luck. PerfectMatchInteriors.com
Prep is the key. I fully agree with Tim McLaughlin on those steps. For a professional look, remove all the doors, hardware, etc. Besides vacuuming them, go over them with a tack cloth. A tack cloth is very sticky and removes any remaining bits of grit or dust. My house was built in 1976 and that's as far as I went in terms of prep. I just scrubbed them down well, rinsed them, sanded, primed, and painted and they turned out very well. I do recommend using a primer, even if you're using chalk paint. You can make your own chalk paint...research formulas using calcium carbonate rather than plaster of paris or grout...and thus use the color of your choosing for a cost that is much less than ready made chalk paint. If you use regular paint, I recommend going back over them with a clear polycrylic. Polycrylic will protect the paint and doesn't yellow over time like polyurethane can. If you use chalk paint, wax it well and buff out. You can also coat it with polycrylic if you like. Hardware can either be spray painted then clear coated or D. Lawless has amazing buys on hardware and offers free shipping on purchases over $50.00.
I had lovely oak cabinets which I got tired of. I am a kitchen designer so had my company take the doors and refinish in ivory paint. We cleaned and double sanded and primed and double painted. The uppers still looked good after 6 years, but the bases were chipped, especially in wet areas. I have replaced all those cabinets with new boxes and MDF painted doors now. The uppers just have new doors. Had I known what I know now, I would have simply replaced the existing doors from day 1.