Flawless Chaos
by Flawless Chaos
4 Materials
8 Hours

I am in the process of slowing updating my kitchen and I started with my cabinet interiors. You may not think that the inside look and organization of cabinets with doors make a difference but it really does. You can see by the picture that the insides of my cabinets were the original ugly brown with a ton of wear.

Old cabinets (exterior) - Note - if you are planning on refinishing the exterior cabinets, you will want to get your base cabinets at least through the sanding phase prior to doing the inside. The sanding makes a dusty mess.

Old cabinets (interior)

I started by moving everything out of my cabinets, then I removed the doors and drawers. If you are not going to refinish the exterior, don’t remove the doors. The drawers will be easier to paint if you take them out. The inside of my cabinets are particle board finished in the same stain as the exterior. Any area that has been exposed to water has a very rough raised texture, so I knew I needed something that would coat and camouflage those areas. I did not do much sanding prior to painting the interiors because the Varathane product worked so well to cover and coat the surface. If you have fairly high gloss interiors, you may need to do a test area to see if your new color/product will adhere well to it or if you will need to sand.

I opted for a darker shade for the interior and used a product that’s a combination stain/sealant – Varathane Premium in carbon grey. Because space is somewhat limited when you are painting the cabinet interiors, use a small roller and an angled brush. The small roller doesn’t get too full of paint and is easy to control. While you want a thick coat, be careful to avoid drips coming from the sides or “ceilings” of the cabinets or do two coats. Lighting is key for painting the interiors, especially with the dark brown original color and new dark grey.

Prior to moving back into your  kitchen, go through everything and get rid of things you no longer need. This step is key to loving the way your new kitchen functions. I am usually still cooking when my guests arrive, so I wanted my upper cabinets to be beautiful, almost like you would arrange open shelving.

Pay attention to color and size, and be careful not to crowd and stack. Anything chipped, mismatched or plastic was gone and my favorite things arranged so I can see each piece. To do this, place platters at the back, one each and then bowls or cookware that won’t cover them up completely. I moved my spices to drawers instead of in the cabinets, got rid of my kitchen “medicine cabinet”, limited my kids junk drawer to one (not four) and moved anything that I rarely use to a large inconvenient space under my island. 

I will be putting the doors back on but I am enjoying how they look either way. I am so happy that I spend the time on the cabinet interiors - it really makes such a difference!

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Flawless Chaos
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  3 questions
  • Sandy Lindquist Sandy Lindquist on Dec 10, 2018

    I love the colors here and it is beautiful! What make and color stain did you use on the outside, I assume it is a stain.

  • Danielle Danielle on Dec 10, 2018

    What did you do/use to do the edgeing all around the Cabinets, the kind of distressed white ish look? You left that out?? I like whatever you did!!

  • Sandi McCarthy Sandi McCarthy on Dec 17, 2018

    If I chose not to put the doors back on the cupboards....what would be a nice, warm, neat way to cover them? Ideas??

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4 of 36 comments
  • Susie Zitzler Susie Zitzler on Dec 17, 2018

    This is what I have to do to except I need to replace my doors completely the doors are cheap piece of wood not even supposed to be a door just a piece of wood they put on there like a door. I myself will never do the back of the cabinets inside the cabinets dark color I want it bright and visible and make things easier to find rather than a dark gloomy space. For me of course not for you. I would trade it almost the same color or exactly the same color as the cabinets on the outside. For me I like consistency and color rather than drastic change. your idea is nice and I know it's a hell of a job to do taking everything out sanding things down priming painting staining lots of work. he did a nice job for your kitchen not my color and style but I will be doing that too sometime this winter do things inside rather than outside in the winter.

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    • Flawless Chaos Flawless Chaos on Dec 18, 2018

      White or a light color would look good, too, you will just have to deal with alot more marks on the bottoms of each cabinet from the dishes getting moved around. Perhaps another option would to be a darker color on bottom only and light everywhere else? Where my cabinet doors are going back on, my light and brightness will come from my new backsplash and new countertops...hope to have those projects up by mid January.

  • Eva J Eva J on Jan 26, 2019

    This is so AWESOME!!