How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets White (+ BEST Paint for the Job)

by Sara
10 Materials
You can save THOUSANDS of dollars by painting your kitchen cabinets yourself, but you want to make sure you do it the RIGHT way. This is not the kind of project you want to cut corners on. This project cost around $100 total. Here are a few tips and tricks to get a smooth finish, good coverage and make sure your paint doesn't chip.

Here's the before picture of our kitchen. So much brown and tan! Oak is just not my thing.

And here is the after. I did the island using General Finishes Java Gel stain.
For a tutorial on using gel stain, click this link:

I painted my cabinets a few years ago and didn't take pictures of the process, but my sister followed the same process I did and took pictures of each step, so a lot of these pictures are from her kitchen. Take off all hardware, cupboard doors and drawer fronts. Make sure you number all the doors and drawers so you know which one goes where.

Sand everything with 120- or 150-grit sandpaper until there are no more glossy parts.

Yes, you can even sand that "fake wood" stuff on the side of your island and cabinets.

Fill any cracks or holes with your favorite product for the job.

Tape off all the places you don't want to get paint on. My sister used this large paper to cover everything. I'm a bit lazier than her and just used tape.

What is this? This is the best thing you can do for yourself if you decide to paint an entire kitchen's worth of cabinets. Cut a bunch of small rectangles from a 1x3 piece of wood, then put screws through them. Use 4 of these for each door and drawer and this will allow you to paint both sides instead of painting the back, waiting 16 hours, then painting the front. This is the absolute biggest TIME SAVER! If you need more detail on how to use these, click on this link:

Do 2 coats of primer. Make sure it's stain-blocking and bonding. Follow instructions for dry time on the can. Apply primer by brushing it on, then rolling smooth with the foam roller.

2 coats of BENJAMIN MOORE ADVANCE PAINT. My sister and I both used White Dove. Pick any color you want...the important thing is to make sure you use the BM Advance Paint. Once it cures, it is absolutely rock hard.

Sadly, you can't buy this paint at Lowe's or Home Depot. Check out this site to find a supplier near your home:

Put all doors, drawer fronts and hardware back on. For a more detailed explanation of the whole process, you can visit

Resources for this project:
Random Orbit Sander, Tacklife 6 Variable Speed 3.0A 350W / 13000 OPM Orbital Sander with 12 pcs Sandpaper and High Performance Dust Collection System, Ideal for the DIY and Home Decoration, PRS01A
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 19 questions
  • Sandy Burk Sandy Burk on Apr 05, 2018

    Already have white cabinets but want to paint gray. Is there any difference in the prep process?

  • Dawn Dawn on Apr 12, 2018

    with that finish, do you see water marks or does it nick easily? Mine is a mess and I want to paint Colonial Blue. That’s only one small area

  • Judith Burhans Judith Burhans on Mar 10, 2019

    Where are the answers to these questions?

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