Update Your Kitchen Cabinets With Paint! Here's How...

12 Materials
1 Week

My neighbor's kitchen is a builder grade oak kitchen from the late 80’s. It has great storage space and great lay-out, but it’s time for the orange-hued oak to go. I think hands down the least expensive and best way to redo your kitchen is to paint your cabinets. It’s a bit of work, but it makes an HUGE difference.

The most important step in getting a lasting, durable finish on your kitchen cabinets is the prep work.

I know prep work is annoying, time consuming and the least fun part of the process, but if you don’t do it right, your paint will chip/peel off.

Clean all cabinets then set aside to dry.

So here’s how you do prep work right:

  1. CLEAN THOSE CABINETS! To ensure painting success, you must remove the grease first! I used Krud Kutter and a scotch brite pad to remove as much as I could.
  2. SCUFF SAND. Not required, but I did go over the flat parts of the cabinets doors and boxes with 220 grit sandpaper. Just sand enough to ensure the paint will stick.
  3. CLEAN AGAIN. I used a TSP cleaning mixture and paper towels to clean off what was left. 

Once everything was dry, I primed the cabinets to be sure they didn’t yellow over time. I chose Dixie Belle BOSS primer because:

  1. It’s water based (ie: not smelly).
  2. Could be sprayed. You can also use a good brush instead.
  3. I think it’s the best water-based stain blocker available.


Overall, the cabinets took 2 coats primer, 3 coats paint, and 1 coat top coat. Priming wasn't necessary on the darker gray island.

Watch me in action!

A little paint, and it now looks like a whole new kitchen!

Be sure to click the blog link  for more cabinet painting ideas.

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New to furniture painting? I can help!

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Jenni Ingram

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Bonnie
    on Jun 23, 2019

    What did you do to hide the grain of the oak cabinets? I'm in the process of painting mine (just starting), and would prefer not to have the grain marks showing through. My paint store person said to use spackle ... yet another step in the process. Any thoughts?

    • Robyn Garner
      on Jun 25, 2019

      You might want to do a test area using homemade chalk paint with Plaster of Paris. At the right consistency, I'd think it would fill in with 2+ coats. Let us know!

      You'll have to seal them well, especially for kitchen use. If you were looking to make them look shiny and super modern, just use a high gloss poly, sanding with a super high grit between coats.

  • Margaret
    on Jun 23, 2019

    Could you do this on veneer covered cabinets.

  • Nicole
    on Aug 6, 2019

    I have fake covering on my cabinets. Can I paint over them?

Join the conversation

2 of 10 comments
  • Rhoda
    on Jun 24, 2019

    Beautiful job! Your kitchen looks GREAT!

  • AndradeTea
    on Jun 25, 2019

    Looks AH-mazing! A whole new kitchen with just paint. LOVE!

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