How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

10 Materials
4 Days

Have you been wanting to paint your kitchen cabinets? Here's a quick tutorial to help ya out!

But keep in mind....this project is not a quick, easy project. It will take a lot of patience, sweat, and maybe even some tears. You WILL run into issues and it WILL take longer than you were expecting. But keep the end goal in mind and you’ll power through!

Here is what our kitchen looked like before:

how to paint kitchen cabinets

Now on to what you need to complete your kitchen makeover:

  • Degreaser
  • Washcloths
  • Sander & Sandpaper
  • Primer (I used Kilz)
  • Cabinet Paint (I used Heritage Collection All in One Chalk Paint - Cashmere)
  • Mini Foam Rollers
  • Paint Brushes
  • Drop Cloths

Step 1: Take apart your kitchen

  • Remove all doors and drawers
  • Remove all hardware
  • Label your drawers and doors with tape so you know which one goes where when you reassemble them all
  • Tape off any spots where you don't want to get paint on it
  • Lay down drop cloths to cover your floors and kitchen counters

Step 2: Clean your cabinets

  • Use the degreaser and thoroughly clean your cabinets and wipe them down with a dry, clean towel

Step 3: Sand Cabinets

  • Lightly sand your cabinets
  • You do not need to sand them all the way down just rough them up so that the paint will stick!
  • Make sure you wipe off any dust or debris

Step 4: Prime cabinets

  • Use the primer and do two coats (I only used one coat but would recommend two)
  • Here's what they looked like after one coat of the primer:
how to paint kitchen cabinets
how to paint kitchen cabinets

  • Use the small brush for the corners and then use a foam roller for the larger spots
  • Be sure to not let any paint pool in corners or drip
  • The first coat of primer will not look good! Don’t worry!!! I chose not to paint the inside of my cabinets because the inside wasn’t real wood, but if you want to you can paint both sides!When it comes to painting the frames of the cabinets you will want to tape off the edges and again you can paint the insides if you want, I chose not to!

Step 5: Paint!

  • Once the primer has dried, use the cabinet paint for your next coat and paint it the same way you did with the primer
  • Be sure to read the instructions on your paint to see how long it needs to dry in between coats. Mine wasn’t too long since I used a chalk paint.
how to paint kitchen cabinets

In the end it took 4 coats; the one coat of primer and then 3 coats of paint. I was expecting it to take less coats but it usually always takes more coats when you’re painting a dark color white. This is where it really tested me. I’d tell myself it was the last coat and then when I’d come back after it was dry I’d scream or cry (or both) because I realized I had to paint another coat!

I used two of the 32 oz jars of paint from Heritage Collection, surprisingly that’s all I needed for all 3 coats because it has very good coverage but I would recommend getting an extra small jar to have some extra for touch ups.

Instead of just painting the sides of our cabinets and the back of the island section we decided to shiplap it to tie in the shiplap in our living room.

I'll share another post later on how to add shiplap! But here's a picture of it in the process:

how to paint kitchen cabinets

Step 6: Reassemble your kitchen

  • Once the paint is dry you can put it all back together!
  • Put all of the hardware back on
  • Rehang all of the doors and put the drawers back in!

Here’s some more before pictures:

how to paint kitchen cabinets
how to paint kitchen cabinets
how to paint kitchen cabinets

And here she is in all of her white & bright glory!!!

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!

how to paint kitchen cabinets
how to paint kitchen cabinets

how to paint kitchen cabinets

This is definitely a huge project but it's so worth it!


We finally finished adding back splash so I wanted to add some updated pictures with that also!

how to paint kitchen cabinets

I was close to picking a hexagon design but decided to go with the subway tile because I know I won't get tired of it and it won't go out of style! We used sheets of subway tile from Lowe's and a gray grout.

I would recommend if you're going to do subway tile to just get the single pieces instead of sheets. The sheets caused us to have a lot more cuts to make which made it take longer!

how to paint kitchen cabinets

I stuck with a white back splash so that it kept the kitchen bright since the floors are darker and the trim is wooden!

how to paint kitchen cabinets

I couldn't be happier with how it turned out!

how to paint kitchen cabinets

I officially got my farmhouse kitchen full of white cabinets, subway tile, and shiplap!!!!

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Millymolly
    7 days ago

    First, your kitchen looks amazing. I love your floor, what is it called please?

    • Thank you!! I’m not positive, it’s not real wood but not vinyl or linoleum. We have some pieces left over I need to find them and get the name because I’ve had a few people ask! I’ll look and get back to you!

  • Robyn Garner
    3 days ago

    Looks great and so much brighter and fresh! I thought chalk paint did not require primer. Was this just because the original wood was so dark or would I need primer regardless of the base color?

    I want to paint my hideous formica cabinets that are light colored with chalk paint. How should I prep???

    • Sally
      2 days ago

      You could do a mosaic of broken tile inside the sink using waterproof adhesive and grout and then seal it really good. I did one years ago and didn’t even use the waterproof adhesive or grout and it lasted many years!

  • Lisa West
    2 days ago

    You kitchen turned put beautifully. I agree you should have done 2 coats of primer. Did you seal the paint? I have read thay chalk paint should be sealed. How true that is I dont know. Either way this space looks great. Makes many memories here. The kitchen for some reason is always the meeting place in any home.

Join the conversation

4 of 77 comments
  • Marla
    2 days ago

    Looks great! A suggestion....change the hardware and make a straight edge in the piece above the sink for a more updated look. You did a wonderful job! Enjoy!

  • Kathy Kovacev

    Bravo!! Excellent!! What a difference. You really transformed , with what appeared to be a very old kitchen. Great job. And thanks.

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