Dear Hometalk: How Can I Transform My Kitchen Cabinets?

7 Materials
2 Days

My parents just moved into a beautiful new home! However, it was built in the 70's & needed some updating.

They've worked so hard painting, laying floor, & updating the rest of the house & the last big project was the kitchen!

 My parents started by ripping up the teal carpet (yes- teal carpet in the kitchen) & my dad replaced the flooring 

Next, they replaced the lighting to recessed lighting.
They also replaced the kitchen hood & added some stainless steal appliances. Already - so much better!

But the cabinets still needed some help..
Now, to get started painting!

First, we took a trip to Home Depot to pick out the paint & primer. We purchased Zinsser BIN Primer.
For the paint - (There are so many shades of white!) My parents knew they would be replacing the countertops at a later date so they wanted a white with a little bit of a greyish hue to balance the color of the countertops. We decided on a color called "Frost 57." We decided to go with a satin enamel finish. When painting cabinets you don't want to go with a matte finish because it will be hard to clean - we didn't want it to be super shiny but that's just personal preference. High Gloss or Semi Gloss finish would be the easiest to clean. We purchased Behr Marquee paint because we didn't want to have to do too many coats. This paint is a little on the more expensive side (around $50 a gallon) but it's worth it! We only had to do one full coat with a few touch ups.
First, we emptied the cabinets and got everything off the countertops.
Next, we laid down a tarp to protect the floors & began unscrewing the knobs. (You can also add a tarp to the countertops but we decided not to - we did however carry around a wet washcloth just in case anything dripped on them).

We decided we didn't mind painting over the cabinet hinges so we did not remove the doors, but that was our choice. You can also remove the doors to get a more precise paint job.
After that we cleaned & degreased the cabinets. We poured vinegar in a spray bottle & wiped down the cabinets. We then sanded down the cabinets to remove the finish that were on them to allow the paint to soak in.
We then began applying the primer. You will want to make sure the primer is mixed well before painting. Also a warning - primer is very runny! It's much thinner than paint - so the tarp will be your best friend at this point. We decided to not be too precise with the primer because it was running - so we put it on the outside of the cabinet doors & covered the frame as much as we can without being too precise. Since it was so runny we also decided we didn't want to prime the inside of the doors, but for the best coverage you can prime the inside too!
We let our primer dry overnight to make sure it was completely dry & next it was time for the paint! You will also want to make sure the paint is completely mixed well. The strategy that worked best for us was using a brush to paint the frame & inside the crevices of the cabinet door & then coming back & using a roller on the inside & outside of the door. You will want to use a roller where ever you can to eliminate brushstrokes.
If the roller won't fit in certain places - that's okay! You just may have to come back & do a second coat in those areas. Like I said before, this paint was worth it! We only had to do one full coat with a few touch ups - particularly on the parts that weren't fully covered in primer.

We let the cabinets dry (this didn't take too long!) & then we were ready for the knobs! We purchased our knobs at
These cabinets are a breath of fresh air in this kitchen!
I even love how the outdated details of the cabinet transformed with a little bit of paint! It's amazing what you can do in a weekend!

Check out the video for more how- to's! 
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 42 questions
  • Barbara Okae
    on Oct 19, 2019

    Can you paint outdated Formica (laminated )kitchen cabinets?

  • Janet
    on May 17, 2020

    Looks very nice however in the ffirst set of pictures the cabinet has a slat look to it yet as it goes on the pictures show no slat look. What was used to fill the space on the slats as the finished project shows no slat appearance?

    • Kelli Cook
      on Jun 17, 2020

      Turned out nice. I’m surprised you didn’t remove the doors and drawers. I’m going to try your way.

  • Pammie348
    on May 19, 2020

    my kitchen has the laminate cabinets in them. How can I update these other then buying new cabinets? I've thought of painting them but I can't sand them . I'm afraid the laminate will peel.

    • Patty LeVasseur
      on May 19, 2020

      i would sand them with a 120 grit sand paper. GO OVER LIGHTLY dont go deep. just enough to "rough" up the surface texture so the HEAVY DUTY PRIMER .will adher to it... full dry.... then get whatever color you want for the paint. IF WORSE CAME TO WORSE.. you could even do RUSTOLIUM PAINT but PRIME FIRST!!!! rustolium is awesome;];];] my bathroom is originally HOT HOT PINK!!!when i moved in...YUCK!!!!!!!!!! so i taped off the trim/ and counter top/cabinets. and primed every spot i could get a brush into... leave it for a wk to maake sure it cured... then when i got rustolium paint ..IT WORKED !!!! and still looks as great as when i first did it ;];];] 19 yrs ago;];];];];]

Join the conversation

2 of 144 comments
  • Lynne
    on May 18, 2020

    lovely job on the cabinets!!

  • Kelli Cook
    on Jun 17, 2020

    Looks good. You’re the first to post painting cabinets without removing doors and drawers. I’m going to try your way, for sure!

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