Kitchen Cabinet Refresh

13 Materials
$160
4 Weeks
Medium

I’ve always dreamed of having a white kitchen! When we moved into our first home after getting married, we focused on updating the carpets and painting the rooms. I never thought this day would come! Somehow, I convinced my husband we could this! It was either pay $7,000 for someone else to paint the cabinets or do it ourselves during this quarantine! We opted to save the major change! And maybe we’ll be able to use the saved funds and go on a vacation in the future… or whenever this all ends! The first step is to pick a paint color that matches your walls and counter. We thought a white color would look best with our granite counter and compliment our blue walls. I love white colors that have a warm, creaminess to them! A cool white has tones of gray in it so we wanted to make sure we didn’t pick that and then our cabinets would look gray instead of white. It’s tricky with some colors of paint! It’s best to use an Interior Enamel paint in a Satin Finish to paint cabinets. Then, they can be easily wiped clean. We used Behr’s Nano White shade.

BEFORE

AFTER

Part 1: Prep Work

Step 1: Clean cabinets and areas to painted with a degreasing spray. We used Krud Kutter Cleaner/Degreaser because it’s Earth friendly and also because we have a dog. Don’t skip this step! It really helps the paint stick.


Step 2: Label cabinets to be removed with blue tape.

Step 3: Remove hardware, hinges, and doors. Place hardware in ziplock bags to keep organized.


Step 4: Remove everything from the counters if possible. I emptied almost all of the cabinets and pushed back as much as I could.


Step 5: Find a clean, dust-free area to paint the cabinet doors. We set up a huge, working table in our garage so we wouldn’t be working off of the floor.

Step 6: Cover cabinet counters with brown paper and tape it down with masking tape. The brown paper will catch any paint splatter and dust from sanding. Tape off the hood vent and/or microwave, around appliances, or anything else that needs to be protected from painting.

Part 2: Sanding and Priming

Step 1: Sand the cabinet boxes first and then all of the surface fronts in the kitchen. You are not sanding down to the bare wood; just enough to remove any shiny surfaces.


Step 2: Sand the drawer fronts, sides of cabinet drawers (outside side), and both sides of the doors.


Step 3: Use a shop vacuum to pick up the dust on the cabinets. Then, wipe off any of the remaining dust with a clean damp cloth.

Step 4: Start priming the boxes of your cabinets in the kitchen. The paint will not look great but don’t worry. The first coat of primer never looks good.

Step 5: Prime the cabinet drawer front and cabinet drawer sides.

Step 6: Lay all of the cabinet doors with the backsides facing up. The backs should be painted first. Once they have dried, paint the frontside.

Part 3: Re-sand

Step 1: Re-sand the cabinet boxes, cabinet drawer fronts, cabinet drawer sides, and both sides of the doors to take off any excess paint.


Step 2: Use a shop vacuum to pick up the dust on the cabinets.


Then, wipe off any of the remaining dust with a clean damp cloth.If your cabinets are light, they will not need a second coat of primer. If they are a natural wood or have a darker paint color, you will need to apply a second coat. If you apply a second coat of primer, don’t forget to sand the cabinets, vacuum them, and clean them off with a damp cloth before moving on to paint. The cabinets will look so much better!

Part 4: 1st coat of paint! It’s finally time!

Step 1: Paint the cabinet boxes in the kitchen.

Step 2: Paint the front cabinet drawers and cabinet drawer sides.


Step 3: Paint the backside of the cabinet door. Once the paint dries, paint the frontside.

Part 5: Re-sand once again.

Step 1: Re-sand the cabinet boxes, drawers, and doors to take off any excess paint.


Step 2: Use a shop vac to pick up the dust on the cabinets. Then, wipe off any of the remaining dust with a clean damp cloth.

Part 6: Second coat of paint! You are almost done.

Step 1: Paint the cabinet boxes in the kitchen.


Step 2: Paint the front cabinet drawers and cabinet drawer sides.


Step 3: Paint the backside of the cabinet door. Once the paint dries, paint the frontside.

Part 7: Put the kitchen back together.

Step 1: Re-attach the drawers. Re-attach the doors. Place everything back into the cupboards. I ended up getting rid of a lot of stuff we don’t use. It was such a cleansing process!


Step 2: Add handles and drawer pulls.


Step 3: Add gel bumpers to the inside of the drawers and cabinets.

Admire your beautiful work! It’s ok to stare, my friend. You deserve a beautiful kitchen!

We also updated our light fixture.

Old light fixture.

And updated the cabinet knobs.

Resources for this project:

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Questions on this post

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3 of 13 questions
  • Southern Belle Southern Belle on Jun 21, 2020

    What is the paint color on your kitchen and breakfast area walls? It's so soothing!

  • Elizabeth Elizabeth on Jun 25, 2020

    My cabinets are pretty, but old. They are hickory, but have a pink hue to them. I wanted them to get clean and polished and add new bottoms because they are warped from mopping. There is a built-in hunch and also there is windscot of the same material. Any suggestions, if I should just clean them up or paint them. I love the look of a white kitchen. It makes the house look so clean and presteen.


  • Mary Rupniewski DeVole Mary Rupniewski DeVole on Jul 18, 2020

    My husband does not want to paint the oak cabinets but you can see dryness on places on the doors! What can I do to improve them?

Comments

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  • Leslie Leslie on Jun 01, 2021

    Hi Emily, I wanted to paint my cabinets white but when I bought them they were the lighter Cherry and to me beautiful wood like that I will not paint. BUT, I was thinking maybe bleaching them might work and started to see posts on people bleaching different furniture pieces. I don't want to do anything drastic because I like my Cherry wood but I think they need to be lightened a bit. Not sure when I will or if I will do this. I am just researching at the moment.

    Your kitchen came out BEAUTIFULLY!!! Everything FITS and looks like a professional job. If you made your chandelier 👍️. If not, perfect pick for the room. Did you make your window valance? Again, perfect. Thank you for sharing your process. I would like to make one suggestion for future projects, get 4 inch sponge rollers. The paint goes on smoothly and the finish looks as thought they were done professionally. I have been using the yellow 4 inch sponge rollers for years and if your HD or Lowes doesn't have them ( they used to carry) then you can get online. They are reusable and I have a stash for when the sponge needs to be replaced.

    Harbor Freight seems to have the rollers and if they don't have the handle I know that Dollar Tree has a one roller and handle kit with the small paint tray. :)

    • Emily / Shorely Cozy Emily / Shorely Cozy on Jun 01, 2021

      Thank you, Leslie! I will definitely try using a 4 inch roller and we might be doing that for our next project!! :-). I really appreciate it.


      I found the valance on Etsy! And the chandelier was purchased online! I would love to make a beaded chandelier in the future!

  • Nell Oliver Nell Oliver on Jun 02, 2021

    I would have painted the inside of the cabinets white also. This makes a world of difference in seeing inside the cabinet even with cabinets that are dark outside.

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