My New Favorite Way to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

8 Materials
$250
5 Days
Medium

In my last house, I painted my kitchen white and shared a tutorial on the best way to paint kitchen cabinets. And I still stand by that tutorial! But, I've also found an easier way that I love and thought I'd share it with you today.
This is our new old house, with the original cabinets from 1979. They were beautiful solid wood, but sooooo not my style. I love the way the kitchen operates, I just didn't love the orangey oak cabinet color. All they needed was a little refresh, but I wanted to find an easier way, without sacrificing any of the quality or durability of my last kitchen.
It turns out the secret is in the paint! DecoArt Satin Enamels are specifically formulated for painting wood furniture and cabinets, and they allow you do the project with NO SANDING and almost no prep. Yay!
The first step, and really the only prep required, is to clean your cabinets well. I like Krud Kutter. Cleaning is especially important for kitchen cabinets because of the grease and food residue that can accumulate on them over the years.
Then I primed all the surfaces with DecoArt's Stainblocker, which is a primer/sealer. I used a roller brush for flat surfaces and a small brush for the inlaid parts.

Do NOT remove the cabinet doors yet. It's easier to prime and paint them while they're still hanging on the frames.
The stainblocker goes on looking like glue, but dries clear. This is handy for leaving your kitchen looking normal while you wait a couple of days for the primer to dry.
Time to paint! I started by filling in the smaller areas with a small brush. Then I rolled on the paint over the larger areas, using a 6" foam roller. I also found it helpful to lightly drag a clean paintbrush over the just-rolled areas as I was going, just to make sure there was no roller texture left behind.

I did two coats of paint. There's no need to sand in between coats. Yay!
Be careful of drips in the corners. This paint doesn't drip or sag very easily, but you still have to watch where the most paint accumulates.
This is how the kitchen looked while I was painting the doors. Not too bad!
Then I took the doors off to can paint the frames. Be sure to label your doors BEFORE you remove them! And check out my blog post for tips on the easiest way to keep track of which door goes to which cabinet.
While the doors are off, you can more easily reach the sides to paint them. I decided not to paint the insides of the doors or cabinets.
Here's the finished product. A fresh coat of paint even made my granite look better!
I added white hinges and silver pulls from DL Lawless hardware to dress up the cabinets and hide the hinges a little.
I couldn't be happier with how these cabinets turned out. I used about 10 jars of paint, and 4 jars of stainblocker.
It's never easy taking on a kitchen refresh, but this method made the whole process easier. I didn't have to rip up the whole kitchen, store everything from my cabinets somewhere else, and clean up layers of sanding dust. Just clean, prime, and paint.

Be sure to check out the full blog post for all my tips and tricks to make it even easier.

P.S. It's been about a year now and I'm thrilled with the way this paint is holding up to everyday use!
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 368 questions
  • Deborah Thompson
    on Apr 21, 2020

    I painted my cabinets white 2 years ago it looks good but I need a glaze on them . Is there a clear coat I can put on them

  • Sirena
    on May 8, 2020

    Would this method also work on door/window frames?

  • Perla
    on May 12, 2020

    Does it cover up the wood grain? Or can you still see the texture through the paint

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