Painting Kitchen Cabinets for a Fresh New Look


If your kitchen cabinets are structurally sound, but look a little dingy or outdated, adding a fresh coat of paint can give your kitchen a whole new look. Many older styles of cabinets have a dark finish, which can make the kitchen look dated. By painting them a lighter color, your whole kitchen will look brighter.

Some people choose to have their cabinets refaced, or possibly have a professional spray paint the cabinets, but a good job can be done simply by painting the cabinets yourself, at a fraction of the cost.

Preparation is Crucial

One of the most important steps when painting your kitchen cabinets is preparing the cabinets and the room. First, remove everything from the kitchen cabinets and the countertop area. Then, protect the countertop surface by covering it a sheet of plastic, using tape to keep it in place. Protecting the floor is also a good idea. You will also need a worktable so that you have a good spot for painting the doors and drawers.

Remove all the hardware, and then clean all cabinet surfaces thoroughly. Kitchen cabinets are often coated with an invisible film of cooking grease and grime, which must be thoroughly removed so that the paint will stick. Once all cabinet surfaces are clean, you will want to dull the previous surface using medium grit sandpaper, and remove all the sanding dust before starting to prime or paint.

Primer is Important

Once the cabinets are clean and dust-free, you will want to apply a primer. Oil-based primers do the best job on kitchen cabinets. Apply the primer with a good quality brush, and allow it to dry thoroughly according to the manufacturer’s directions. When priming the doors, you will need to prime one side, and let dry completely before flipping it over to do the other side.

Applying the Finish Paint

Once the primer is dry, you are ready to apply the finish coat. Using a good oil base interior paint designed for woodwork in a satin finish is usually the best choice, as it will give the cabinets a durable finish. Using a fine grade of sandpaper, scuff the primer surface slightly, and then remove all the dust carefully. This will insure good adhesion between the primer and the paint.

Then, using a good quality brush, carefully paint the cabinets as well as all the doors and drawers, again allowing the first side of the doors to dry completely before flipping them to paint the other side, to avoid marring the newly painted surface. Let the first coat of paint dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then apply a second coat. This will improve durability and insure that you have good coverage. Once the second coat is completely dry, you can reassemble the cabinets. To give an even more updated look to your newly painted cabinets, it can be a good idea to get new hardware, as the original hardware might now look outdated and out of place.

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