How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets White

by Hayley
14 Materials
30 Days

We have FINISHED painting our kitchen cabinets! This project made a huge impact and it cost significantly less than replacing them. Our kitchen cabinets were this mid-2000’s wood finish. To me, they look kind of cheap and super outdated. They also make the kitchen feel smaller than it could be.

As with any new project, we did quite a bit of research on the proper way to paint cabinetry. We’ve made some mistakes painting furniture in the past so we wanted to make sure we did it the right way… especially since it’s in the kitchen and they need to be durable as heck! Click here to read the full post.

Click here to see our full kitchen renovation.

First, let's take a look at my kitchen pre-renovations. When we moved in we painted the walls blue, but that was it!

Okay, let's get started! Here are the materials you'll need to paint kitchen cabinets a dreamy white with that farmhouse style look! See all my personal recommendations for brands on the original post.

  • Benjamin Moore ADVANCE Interior paint in White Dove with a satin finish
  • TSP Cleaner
  • 2″ angled nylon trim brush and a 2″ nylon flat brush – they give the smoothest finish
  • 220 grit sandpaper and a palm sander
  • Wood filler – We didn’t end up needing it, but it’s needed if your cabinets have gouges
  • Blue painter’s tape
  • Kraft paper
  • Screwdriver for removing doors and drawers
  • Black Sharpie
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Vacuum with brush attachment

Finishing Supplies

  • Rubber door bumpers
  • Oil-Rubbed Bronze Knobs
  • Oil-Rubbed Bronze Cup Drawer Pulls

Including all the supplies, paint, and cabinet hardware, this project cost us about $150. 

Day-By-Day Progress

Day 1: We removed all the rubber door bumpers and cleaned all the cabinetry with the TSP cleaner. It removes oil and grime without leaving a residue.

After they were clean, we removed all the doors and drawer fronts. With a Sharpie, we numbered all the doors and drawer fronts so we could put them back in the right spot later. We wrote the numbers directly on the back of the drawer fronts and in the hole where the door hardware attaches so you couldn’t see it once re-installed.

Note: Our cabinets didn’t have a heavy gloss finish, so we chose not to use a deglosser.

Day 2: We hung up kraft paper on the inside of the cabinets so we didn’t have to take everything out. Once done, we sanded all the cabinet boxes and the doors with 220 grit sandpaper. Just enough to rough the surface to get the primer to stick. The palm sander worked well for the flat surfaces, but we had to go back with a sanding block to get the nooks and crannies. After sanding, we vacuumed up the dust and used a wet microfiber cloth to get them spotlessly clean.

Days 3-10 (because having a baby makes it hard to DIY): PRIMING! Using the paint brushes, we applied one layer of primer on the fronts of the doors and boxes. It’s important to get a consistent, semi-thick coat of primer to provide a good base for the paint. To elevate the doors and drawers, I used sample paint containers – this helped us get the sides of the doors without them touching the floor. Once they were dry (at least 6 hours), we flipped them over and primed the other side. It takes 8 hours to completely cure before applying paint, but that wasn’t an issue since we could only do work in 2-3 hour stretches.

Days 10-30: Paint, paint, then paint some more! After a light post-primer sanding, we gave the cabinet boxes and every door/drawer at least 2 coats of paint, giving each coat at least 12 hours to dry. We made sure the paint was thick and smooth so it would leave a solid layer and prevent chipping. The Benjamin Moore paint dried beautifully and super hard – it doesn’t feel sticky like other latex paints tend to do.

Days 31-32: The home stretch! We put all the doors and drawers back on the hinges and attached all the hardware. My mom let us borrow her drill guide (find link in original post) and it made the process go SO much faster – I highly recommend it (and it’s cheap!)! We also put new little rubber bumpers on the insides of the doors and drawers for a soft/protected close.

Now, the moment you've been waiting for...

Before and After!

I am THRILLED with the outcome of this project! I want to give a big ol’ shoutout to my husband's siblings, who spent a bunch of hours helping us clean and prime the cabinets. We would definitely still be working on this project if it weren’t for them, haha!

Resources for this project:
See all materials
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.More info
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 7 questions
  • Lori Lori on Apr 02, 2019

    I also love your kitchen, it Looks like A professional did it! Did you use the Benjamin Moore primer? And also did you use a topcoat? Now that I saw your post, I have the courage to try my kitchen 🙏🙏

  • Carolyn G Carolyn G on Apr 07, 2019

    A beautiful job. Have recently purchased a mobile home at a beach community. The kitchen cabinets are an ugly brown and are probably 30 years old. Any suggests from anyone on home to prep the cabinets before painting?????

  • Cindy Besser Cindy Besser on Apr 28, 2019

    I loved your makeover. The cabinets are Beautiful. What did you do to the counter tops? They are also a different color.

Join the conversation
4 of 30 comments
  • Carol Carol on Apr 01, 2019

    Just beautiful! I was going to paint our kitchen cabinets but 45 years of dirt and I'm a whole lot older and now we are buying new ones! You guys should be proud of the job you did. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hayley Hayley on Apr 03, 2019

      Ooo, can't go wrong with new cabinets! I bet they'll look beautiful! :-)

  • Sandy Lindquist Sandy Lindquist on Apr 03, 2019

    I am going to do my kitchen this summer so I was encouraged to read your post, such a beautiful job you did! I'm scared to death to start this project but it has to be done....thank you!

    • Hayley Hayley on Apr 08, 2019

      Haha, thank you Sandy!! You can do it! It's a big project, but just tackle it one step at a time. :-)