Painting Kitchen Cupboards

11 Materials
3 Weeks

Inspired by many similar projects here at Hometalk, I had been wanting to paint our cottage kitchen oak cupboards for two years. I knew it would be a time-consuming project that required energy and effort, but with hubby's help for the hard manual stuff, I finally got the cupboards painted and the counter top replaced. We love the change!!! It is so much brighter in there, and for an oceanfront home, the new look fits much more than it did. I have physical limitations due to chronic pain conditions, so this took a while, but as they say - slow and steady wins the race. :)
The BEHR Alkyd Enamel paint I used cost $56, but I used less than 1/3 of the can. We bought a new laminate counter, and that cost a bit over $300, but well worth it.
Since many have asked, here is more info on that black box atop my stove. That is a very old toolbox bought at a vintage shop that had 4-5 coats of paint. I couldn't sand it all down, so I covered it in black chalk paint and then waxed it. I normally don't leave any herbs or spices out in the light of the kitchen, but the tops of the bottles barely show and putting the vinegars and olive oil up there has given me counter space.
Our cottage kitchen before I painted. Nice enough, but not beachy or cottagey enough for me. This mobile home was built in 1988 and is still in great condition.
Upper cabinets before paint.
I used a "deglosser", this brand, based on recommendations by others who have painted their kitchen cupboards and other projects. It is easy to use and basically removes the accumulated gunk after years of kitchen use.
I still sanded the doors and the cabinets because there was a good amount of varnish on them and they were stained quite dark. Not a bad view when outside working on projects, eh? :)
There was no going back! I primed with Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, a latex primer. I primed two coats on everything.
There was no going back! I primed with Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, a latex primer. I primed two coats on everything.
Here are some doors with a couple of coats of primer applied and a first coat of paint.
For the upper cabinets and doors, I used BEHR's Alkyd Enamel paint in "Pure Classic White". I wanted the lowers to have a light grey hue, so I mixed some chalk paint by Crooked Label and found a colour we really liked. I painted everything with three coats of the BEHR paint. I let every coat dry at least 24 hours before applying another. I painted with a brush and with a roller, which took some effort and time, but I paced myself and some days I only painted three or four doors. We lived with the mess for almost three weeks, but I couldn't work too quickly anyway, and it's just hubby and I who were at the cottage at the time, so no problem.
The upper cabinets after all that painting. They are bright and clean and new!! You'll notice that the stove hood, in its original almond colour no longer matched. Also, the original knobs were going to be replaced soon.... you'll have to keep scrolling to find out about those.
My husband removed the stove hood and I spray painted it in a bright white, by Rustoleum. Now the hood doesn't stand out like a sore thumb! Cost? Maybe $1 or $2 worth of spray paint. Yaaay!
A close up look at the upper doors once all the painting was done. You can still see the oak grain, which is what we wanted.
Again, inspired by so many other DIY'ers, I found out how to create our own stone knobs. I collected the stones at our own shore, so they have special meaning and cost me NOTHING! I like that. The epoxy/glue I used is sold in all hardware stores. I found the bases at Home Depot. They are called Chicago screws in some places. Like these ones -
We bought screws separately as we needed longer ones. There are knob bases to be found online in many areas in the U.S., but I couldn't find any in Canada and wasn't going to pay a high price for shipping.
AFTER! We just LOVE the new look and feel of the space! The new counter is installed. We chose a stone look laminate and hubby installed it himself. I also changed all the original knobs for stone knobs, with stones I collected at our own shore. We still need to paint the walls, but that will happen next spring when we go back. I can't wait for it to finally all be finished, but I am so happy with the results already.
After! We'll paint next spring, so that the walls match the new airy look of our kitchen.
I applied three coats of clear water-based varnish on all the knobs so they'd stay cleaner longer and so the variation of colours and markings in each stone stand out.
Nice view inside and outside now! Please disregard those clean dishes ... I couldn't wait to start taking pictures! :)
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 32 questions
  • Carolina
    on Sep 3, 2019

    Okay, yes...your cabinets look amazing and I absolutely love the knobs. But, that view!!! where is this house? that place looks amazing with all the pine trees and the lake!! Wow.

    • Marj MRC Creations
      on Sep 3, 2019

      Thank you so much, Carolina! We are in Nova Scotia, along the ocean. That's our cove you see out the window. We love it!!

  • Lore
    on Sep 3, 2019

    I love ❤️ the look you got by painting it all does look so very nice but I just have to ask what color are you going to paint the walls in the spring

  • Ruth Delcamp
    on Sep 3, 2019

    I would love to do this, but a friend of mine painted her daughters cupboards and she said they started to peel. Because of this, I am afraid to try it. Has anyone else had any problems like this?

    • Marj MRC Creations
      on Sep 4, 2019

      A thorough prep is key to having a nice finish that lasts. I cleaned mine with Krud Kutter, then sanded, cleaned again and then primed before painting. Also, allowing plenty of time for each stage to dry before continuing helps with adhesion. Sadly, taking too many shortcuts can result in a poor job.

Join the conversation

3 of 285 comments
  • Aiokersonalicea1
    on Sep 4, 2019

    You did a fantastic job!

    I had redone some cabinets years ago for a family member. That was the hardest project I think I ever took on because we counted seven layers of paint from the previous owners.

    Once I had completed the job my sister-in-law was very happy. I wish I had pictures to show.

  • Csm25371920
    on Sep 7, 2019

    Great job on the cabinets! I painted my great room a couple of year ago in very pale blue and love it still. Feels fresh and clean year around. If there is money in your budget, I would remove that cabinet to the left of the sink and replace that window with 2 larger ones. That view is amazing and should be the focal point of the entire room. Stunning view!

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