Orange Be Gone – My $1000 DIY Chalk Paint Kitchen Makeover Reveal!!

3 Weeks

When we bought our house 2 years ago, I absolutely fell in love with the kitchen – or I should say, the potential of the kitchen. First, its a very large kitchen – lots of open space, and lots of natural light. I can look out the kitchen windows, and see my kids playing in the backyard – wherever they are. Its got a great bay type window over the sink, that is just gorgeous.
But while I loved the bones of the kitchen, I hated everything about the walls, the cabinets and the floors – and how they worked together. Its a house built in 1990, and as such, its got a love affair with oak. Oak floors, oak cabinets, and then for some reason, the previous owners thought it would be great to paint the walls in Benjamin Moore “Cork” – which is basically kind of a mustard-orange color. Its like they took the cabinets and the floors into the paint store, and said “we want our walls to be a yellow orange, to match the cabinets”. Here is a “before” picture (this is actually from the realtor listing, the dining table belongs to the previous owners):
I had researched all of the options for paint, and decided to go with Annie Sloan chalk paint for 3 reasons:
No Sanding: The sheer number of cabinets that I had to paint, the thought of sanding them all down and then priming, and then painting was exhausting.
Dry time: if I had not used chalk paint, I probably would have gone with a oil based paint which takes FOREVER to dry, and would have probably taken me 6 months to get through all the cabinets I had to do. With Annie Sloan, I could do a section of 8-12 cabinets at a time, and by the time I was done with a coat on all 8, the first one was just about dry and ready for a second coat.
Finish: I was going for a more rustic/distressed look, which is exactly what AS paint lends itself to.
I removed all of the doors, hinges and knobs, and gave everything a quick rub down with a deglosser (these are 30 year old cabinets y’all!). I got lazy with the deglosser after this, since I had to shellac my main cabinets, I only used the deglosser on the island .
Because my kitchen is pretty big, I opted to tackle it section by section, so that I could see some level of improvement as I went along.
If you add your first coat of chalk paint, and see what looks like grease stains coming through the chalk paint, then you’ll need to do this as well. Because my cabinets are 30 years old, much of their original glossy coating/varnish has worn off, and there is basically somewhat bare stain sitting on top of the cabinets. So this might seem contraditory, but you actually need to seal in the original stain with Shellac. And depending on how much stain is coming through, you might need 2 or 3 coats of shellac. Thankfully it goes on quickly, and dries quickly, so its not a huge pain, but is definitely needed if you notice bleed through.
Even if you’ve painted a coat or two of chalk paint, you can just add the shellac over that, and then do another coat of chalk paint. You can use either the spray or the brushable shellac.
I had looked into getting new hinges, but they were like $2 each, meaning $4 per door, for like 37 doors – I was NOT paying ~$200 on new hinges. So I bought a can of my favorite Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint, and hit up every one of the existing hinges with it. And it turned out amazing, I don’t think anyone would ever know they weren’t the new $4 per set hinges.
Here is the "AFTER"!!
I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below! However, I'm fully aware this is going to be a polarizing project. If you are one of those who hates people who paint wood, or hates white kitchen or just loves to hate on people, and who is currently shaking your head thinking I ruined this kitchen by painting all the orange away, I would ask you to refrain from telling me the errors of my ways. There are many out there who hate painted wood, but I hated my orange, old, dark oakey kitchen, and I'm in love with my new, bright, cheery, happy kitchen. I promise you, you are not going to convince me that it was a mistake.
We are each entitled to our personal opinions and preferences. If you hate painted wood, just smile and be thankful that you're not the one who has to live with my kitchen. Thank you for your kindness! :)

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 15 questions
  • Brenda Deener
    on Oct 14, 2018

    You painted the hinges, how about the handles? But I don't want them gold, I want a more Country look.

  • Heather Sander-Heinz
    on Oct 15, 2018

    When you say chalk paint- what does that mean- is it like chalkboard paint that is rough and matte?

    • Lynn
      on Jan 17, 2019

      I’m sorry Heather, I didn’t realize that this was such an old post and you probably already have it all figured out! Anyway, have a wonderful day!

  • Heather Sander-Heinz
    on Oct 15, 2018

    Did you spray, roll or brush the paint on?

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