How do I paint cheap cabinets?

We bought an older mobile home with cheap cabinets and cheaper framing. The framing is almost paper quality that has a few bubbles and blisters. We want a cheap, pretty fix-but are worried about it looking worse. Any help would be much appreciated!

  3 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Sep 08, 2018

    It sounds like your only choice is to replace the cabinets. Pouring good money after bad by buying a lot of supplies to fix these could be better spent saved toward buying new cabinets.


    Cheap and pretty does not go well with "cheaper framing...with bubbles and blisters."


    Check and see if you have a "Restore" in your area (Habitat for Humanity store). Sometimes they have great cabinets.


    You can get some good cabinets in place and where you don't get an exact fit, fill in with shelves...up on the wall and beneath. Even something like one of those "Pantry" units would be great.


    Also, think about using an old dresser with lots of drawers for storage. You can even put canned goods in the drawers...great for pastas, etc. ; good place for storage containers, pot lids, used as a bread box...just take off the top and put on a board top with Marine Varnish!!!


    If you check with the local provider of granite, they usually have scraps they will sell you for a good price.


    Reinforce the drawer bottoms with a good wood!

  • Cheap cabinets can be repainted. It's important to clean them well and sand them smooth. I would use a good primer before painting them the color you want. Good luck with your project!

  • Beth Beth on Sep 08, 2018

    I agree with Jeanette, if you can save for newer cabinets (check out her suggestions for ReStore, etc) then that would be the best bet. However, I recognize that this might not be an option for you right now for various reasons. I am a big believer in Phase 1 renovations- meaning, do what you can for as inexpensively as you can so that you are happier with the space until you can further renovate.


    I do think that it wouldn't be a great idea to sink a lot of money into paint on cabinets that aren't in great shape. But if you have a recycling center nearby, they will often have paint for free. You will be limited on color selection, but if you visit frequently, you will probably find a color that you like. If you can get paint for free or very inexpensively, I would totally paint those cabinets if it will make you happier in the space while you save to replace them. Keep in mind you will need a high quality primer. Take one of your cabinet doors with you to a paint store and ask them what kind of primer you need.


    Keep in mind that painting kitchen cabinets is a BIG job. You'll need to decide if painting them, knowing that you'll likely need to replace them down the road, is worth it for you (it would be to me, but I have never minded the work of DIY so that I can be happier in my home, even if it means I end up re-doing a room twice). Good luck!

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