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Alicia W
Alicia W
  • Hometalker
  • Middletown, PA

Transform Your Outdated Kitchen With This Stylish Update

13 Materials
1 Week

A friend of mine wanted to update her kitchen cabinets. They were oak and she felt they were out of style.

distressed kitchen cabinets
distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 1: Clean

I used TSP and hot water to deep clean the cabinet. I wiped the outside of all the cabinets and the inside of the cabinet doors.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 2: Number Your Cabinets

This is one of the most important steps.

Write the same number on two pieces of tape. Place one piece of tape inside the cabinet and one piece on the door.

I used letters and numbers - "A" is for the upper cabinets, "B" is for the lower cabinets and "I" for the island cabinets.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 3: Remove Hardware and Hinges

Once you have your cabinets marked, removed all the hardware and hinges. Place the hinges into a zip lock bag.

Remove the doors.

distressed kitchen cabinets

For the drawers in this kitchen, the actual drawer fronts unscrewed from the drawers. Place the drawer screws into a zip lock bag.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 4: Lay Out the Doors and Drawer Fronts

In the garage, I laid pieces of plastic drop cloth onto the floor then I placed pieces of scrap wood underneath the doors to elevate them off of the floor. This will increase air flow when the doors are drying.

Place the doors with the back facing up.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 5: Fill Holes

I was replacing the hardware so

1 - I filled the holes with wood filler

2 - and sanded when they were dry

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 6: Tape Walls

Another important step that you don't want to skip is taping off the walls around the cabinets. These walls had been recently painted so I used painter's tape made for delicate surfaces which is yellow.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 7: Prime Cabinets

2 - I used a 1/4" nap cabinet roller with this primer.

3 - To get into the seams, I also used a natural bristle paint brush

4 - I used the roller on the outsides of the cabinets too.

I applied one coat of primer and allowed it to dry 24 hours as per the manufacturer's directions.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 7: Paint

I used Valspar cabinet enamel for this project. By using this type of paint, you don't have to seal the cabinets. The enamel gives them a hard protective finish.

2 - 4 - I used the 1/4" nap roller and brush to apply the paint the doors and cabinets.

I applied two coats of paint allowing them to dry 12 hours between coats.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 7: Spray Hinges

The homeowner was changing the hardware to a nickel finish so I I applied two coats of spray paint to the hinges in a nickle finish.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 8: Distress

The homeowner didn't want a flat cabinet, so I distressed the cabinet doors.

1 - I mixed one part white paint with three parts water and mixed for a consistency of water

2 - I sanded the edges of the doors with fine grit sandpaper and removed the dust with a tack cloth

3 - 4 - Using a paint brush, I brushed the paint/water mixture onto the door

5 - 6 - then immediately used a soft cloth to remove most of the paint.

distressed kitchen cabinets

Step 9: Add the hardware

Once the doors were dry, it was time to attach the hardware

1 - Using a Kreg jig specifically made to drill new holes for hardware , I measured to find center

2 - then drilled holes for the pulls and knobs

3 - I used a hand screwdriver to attach the hardware

4 - and a power screwdriver to reattach the hinges

distressed kitchen cabinets

And here is the finished kitchen! Now scroll to the top and look at the before (I'll wait)

What a difference right? It looks updated and clean. And the homeowner loves the new look.

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 52 questions
  • Mary
    on Nov 9, 2018

    I am inspired by your finished outcome and also your detailed tutorial. I believe I could do this BUT I am concerned about the temperature in our unheated or non air conditioned garage; I am elderly with Lupus and cannot work in either the heat nor cold plus worried about the drying/curing for the paint in these conditions. How long did this entire process take? And what chemical did you use to clean the brushes after using enamel paint? Thank you.

  • Margaret
    on Nov 19, 2018

    how much time did it take from start to finish?

  • Marg Bates
    on Dec 20, 2018

    What is the proper way to clean and beautify oak furniture, oak floors and oak woodwork.

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