Dear Hometalk: How Can I Transform My Kitchen Cabinets?

7 Materials
2 Days
My parents just moved into a beautiful new home! However, it was built in the 70's & needed some updating.

They've worked so hard painting, laying floor, & updating the rest of the house & the last big project was the kitchen!

 My parents started by ripping up the teal carpet (yes- teal carpet in the kitchen) & my dad replaced the flooring 

Next, they replaced the lighting to recessed lighting.
They also replaced the kitchen hood & added some stainless steal appliances. Already - so much better!

But the cabinets still needed some help..
Now, to get started painting!

First, we took a trip to Home Depot to pick out the paint & primer. We purchased Zinsser BIN Primer.
For the paint - (There are so many shades of white!) My parents knew they would be replacing the countertops at a later date so they wanted a white with a little bit of a greyish hue to balance the color of the countertops. We decided on a color called "Frost 57." We decided to go with a satin enamel finish. When painting cabinets you don't want to go with a matte finish because it will be hard to clean - we didn't want it to be super shiny but that's just personal preference. High Gloss or Semi Gloss finish would be the easiest to clean. We purchased Behr Marquee paint because we didn't want to have to do too many coats. This paint is a little on the more expensive side (around $50 a gallon) but it's worth it! We only had to do one full coat with a few touch ups.
First, we emptied the cabinets and got everything off the countertops.
Next, we laid down a tarp to protect the floors & began unscrewing the knobs. (You can also add a tarp to the countertops but we decided not to - we did however carry around a wet washcloth just in case anything dripped on them).

We decided we didn't mind painting over the cabinet hinges so we did not remove the doors, but that was our choice. You can also remove the doors to get a more precise paint job.
After that we cleaned & degreased the cabinets. We poured vinegar in a spray bottle & wiped down the cabinets. We then sanded down the cabinets to remove the finish that were on them to allow the paint to soak in.
We then began applying the primer. You will want to make sure the primer is mixed well before painting. Also a warning - primer is very runny! It's much thinner than paint - so the tarp will be your best friend at this point. We decided to not be too precise with the primer because it was running - so we put it on the outside of the cabinet doors & covered the frame as much as we can without being too precise. Since it was so runny we also decided we didn't want to prime the inside of the doors, but for the best coverage you can prime the inside too!
We let our primer dry overnight to make sure it was completely dry & next it was time for the paint! You will also want to make sure the paint is completely mixed well. The strategy that worked best for us was using a brush to paint the frame & inside the crevices of the cabinet door & then coming back & using a roller on the inside & outside of the door. You will want to use a roller where ever you can to eliminate brushstrokes.
If the roller won't fit in certain places - that's okay! You just may have to come back & do a second coat in those areas. Like I said before, this paint was worth it! We only had to do one full coat with a few touch ups - particularly on the parts that weren't fully covered in primer.

We let the cabinets dry (this didn't take too long!) & then we were ready for the knobs! We purchased our knobs at
These cabinets are a breath of fresh air in this kitchen!
I even love how the outdated details of the cabinet transformed with a little bit of paint! It's amazing what you can do in a weekend!

Check out the video for more how- to's! 
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Frequently asked questions
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3 of 44 questions
  • Pammie348 Pammie348 on May 19, 2020

    my kitchen has the laminate cabinets in them. How can I update these other then buying new cabinets? I've thought of painting them but I can't sand them . I'm afraid the laminate will peel.

  • Dorothy Mercer Roberts Dorothy Mercer Roberts on May 17, 2021

    When you open your cabinet drawers is there not a strip not painted? I can see leaving the doors but the drawers always have 1/2 inch or so over hang or they do on mine.

  • Lyn Lyn on May 30, 2022

    I really need help. We bought a house built in the 80s which has (Ibelieve it’s called) wormwood cabinets. I would really like to remodel them and I don’t know how. The previous owners had just painted over the cabinets, but I really don’t like that look. Edge of the cabinet doors also have “cut outs” (see picture). I really don’t wanna get rid of the cabinets but I don’t know what to do. Please help.

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  • Kate Kate on May 18, 2022

    What a difference, much better. If they are looking to replace the counters on a budget, butcher block may compliment the space.

  • Carollynda Carollynda on Jun 13, 2022

    UGH!! I have the ugliest white painted cabinets, I wish I could have the beautiful wood ones that got painted! Even the wormwood would be better than mine!!