My New Favorite Way to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

8 Materials
5 Days

In my last house, I painted my kitchen white and shared a tutorial on the best way to paint kitchen cabinets. And I still stand by that tutorial! But, I've also found an easier way that I love and thought I'd share it with you today.

This is our new old house, with the original cabinets from 1979. They were beautiful solid wood, but sooooo not my style. I love the way the kitchen operates, I just didn't love the orangey oak cabinet color. All they needed was a little refresh, but I wanted to find an easier way, without sacrificing any of the quality or durability of my last kitchen.

It turns out the secret is in the paint! DecoArt Satin Enamels are specifically formulated for painting wood furniture and cabinets, and they allow you do the project with NO SANDING and almost no prep. Yay!

The first step, and really the only prep required, is to clean your cabinets well. I like Krud Kutter. Cleaning is especially important for kitchen cabinets because of the grease and food residue that can accumulate on them over the years.

Then I primed all the surfaces with DecoArt's Stainblocker, which is a primer/sealer. I used a roller brush for flat surfaces and a small brush for the inlaid parts.

Do NOT remove the cabinet doors yet. It's easier to prime and paint them while they're still hanging on the frames.

The stainblocker goes on looking like glue, but dries clear. This is handy for leaving your kitchen looking normal while you wait a couple of days for the primer to dry.

Time to paint! I started by filling in the smaller areas with a small brush. Then I rolled on the paint over the larger areas, using a 6" foam roller. I also found it helpful to lightly drag a clean paintbrush over the just-rolled areas as I was going, just to make sure there was no roller texture left behind.

I did two coats of paint. There's no need to sand in between coats. Yay!

Be careful of drips in the corners. This paint doesn't drip or sag very easily, but you still have to watch where the most paint accumulates.

This is how the kitchen looked while I was painting the doors. Not too bad!

Then I took the doors off to can paint the frames. Be sure to label your doors BEFORE you remove them! And check out my blog post for tips on the easiest way to keep track of which door goes to which cabinet.

While the doors are off, you can more easily reach the sides to paint them. I decided not to paint the insides of the doors or cabinets.

Here's the finished product. A fresh coat of paint even made my granite look better!

I added white hinges and silver pulls from DL Lawless hardware to dress up the cabinets and hide the hinges a little.

I couldn't be happier with how these cabinets turned out. I used about 10 jars of paint, and 4 jars of stainblocker.

It's never easy taking on a kitchen refresh, but this method made the whole process easier. I didn't have to rip up the whole kitchen, store everything from my cabinets somewhere else, and clean up layers of sanding dust. Just clean, prime, and paint.

Be sure to check out the full blog post for all my tips and tricks to make it even easier.

P.S. It's been about a year now and I'm thrilled with the way this paint is holding up to everyday use!

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Meredith Wouters
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Linda cain Linda cain on Jun 26, 2022

    Can u do painted cabinets with this method.

  • Granny Granny on Oct 14, 2022

    Can you paint over formica cabinets??? Will the paint stick???

  • Gail Brunk Kellison Gail Brunk Kellison on Nov 01, 2022

    I love the cabinets, but see many are saying they might chip after a while. I'm wondering, is there possibly a sealer that can be used after painting them that would help protect them? I'm thinking of a polyurethane or shellac? OR, even maybe go back over them with the DecoArt's Stainblocker since she said it does dry clear?

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  • Syntha Syntha on Oct 14, 2022

    Painted cabinets are really pretty to look at. But what people forget even with the new products to help paint stick to cabinets you will still get nicks, scratches and chips just from use over time. If you have pretty cabinets please reconsider painting them. I had bought a house with very attractive white cabinets. The previous owners had painted over mahogany wood cabinets which I would have never done. Which I did not know at the time. When I had to sell due to a job relocation all those cabinets had to be repainted and what a chore that was. There were a lot of cabinets because it was a large open kitchen with a painted island in the middle. It took forever. So nope would never paint cabinets unless they are cheap pine plywood etc. Certainly not mahogany, oak, pretty maple etc.

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    • Joseph N DeFranco Joseph N DeFranco on Oct 14, 2022

      I couldn't agree with you more. What ever happened to the natural beauty of wood? The beauty of the grain? Guess I'm just an old fart in church. AND, I am NOT a trend fighter!

  • Marjorie Marjorie on Oct 16, 2022

    I've painted my kitchen cabinets in 4 different homes starting in 1970...I never had a chip or scratch. Preparation is everything.

    The oak cabinets are NOT pretty wood.