10 How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets & More

If you’ve noticed the cost of new appliances, countertops, and cabinets, it’s no surprise that renovating a kitchen is one of the most expensive remodeling projects. While few homeowners find ways to boost the look of a dated refrigerator or tired granite, transforming a kitchen by freshening the cabinets that make up most of the room’s visual space is entirely within reach. But there’s more to the job than buying a gallon of your favorite color.

Read our step-by-step instructions on how to get the job done right and consider our Q&A and helpful tips sections at the end of this article.

Paint Brushes and Materials You’ll Need

  • Paint – Look for a paint designed for trim, often labeled enamel. The higher the sheen, the more durable the finish—high gloss will stand up better than satin.
  • Roller – Use a 4- or 6-inch foam roller to cover the sides of cabinets and their face frames.
  • Square Brush – The straight end of a 3- to 4-inch-wide brush makes short work of large, flat panels.
  • Angled Brush – A synthetic angled brush in the 2½- or 3-inch-wide range helps you get paint into corners of doors with molding, and can coat door frames in one pass.
  • HVLP Sprayer – Not into the hand-brushed look? Spraying on a top coat is the easiest way to get a smooth, factory-like finish. High volume/low pressure sprayers are versatile enough to spray cabinets, fence panels, or exterior trim.

What To Do Before You Start

Consider The Cost and Get a New Kitchen on a Budget

10-by-10 Foot Kitchen DiagramBrown Bird Design

Cabinets can account for nearly 40 percent of a kitchen’s cost. Here’s how three common cabinet upgrades stack up in an average 10-by-10-foot kitchen.

Repainting would cost less than $200. Adding new drawers and doors runs about $1,300, while upgrading to ready-to-assemble cabinets starts at about $1,630.

Set up a Temporary Kitchen

Painting your cabinets means taking a vital room completely off-line.

Plan ahead: Set up a kitchen in a nearby room with a hot plate, a toaster oven, and a cooler to serve as a fridge during the project. Oh, and use paper plates.

Steps for Painting Cabinets

1. Prep the room

A successful paint job lies in diligent prep work, and the first few steps are focused on prepping the room and cabinets for painting.

  • Start by emptying the cabinets, clearing off the counters, and removing any freestanding appliances.
  • Relocate tables and other furniture to another room.
  • Tape rosin paper over the countertops and flooring, and, to protect the rest of the house from dust and fumes, tape plastic sheeting over the backsplash, windows, fixed appliances, and interior doorways.
  • Mask off the wall around the cabinets.
  • Set up a worktable for painting doors, drawers, and shelves.

2. Remove the doors, drawers, and shelves

  • Back out the hinge screws from the cabinet frame and remove the doors.
  • Working from left to right, top to bottom, label each one with a numbered piece of tape. Also number the edges of cabinet shelves and the bottoms of drawers.
  • Set aside the shelf-hanging hardware.
  • At your worktable, remove the pulls and hinges and save what’s being reused.
  • On the doors, transfer the number from the tape to the exposed wood under one hinge.
  • Cover it with fresh tape.

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