In My House

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Back before I was married I decided to paint the kitchen cabinets in the cute little house I owned at the time. It took forever. I removed all the cabinet doors, I removed and painted all the hardware. I stripped the cabinets, painting them many coats of white, and lacquered them. Then I put everything back together. Yuck.

Although I absolutely loved the results, I swore I would never again paint kitchen cabinets. It was too much work and way too exhausting. However, after nearly five years in our home and at least four years of fantasizing about white cabinets, I finally bit the bullet this past weekend and went hog-wild. I love the results.


Having been traumatized by my first experience painting cabinets, and, now having two little kids in the house (that always makes doing household projects easier, right? NOT.) I spent a lot of time researching how to make this daunting task easier.

Guess what? Depending on what kind of cabinets you have, it is possible to paint them without removing them? I know, right! (I never say that, but I had to just this once.) My cabinets didn’t have hardware to begin with, and I like that minimalist look, so that eliminated one nightmare. The hinges are only somewhat exposed and the way the cabinets are built made attempting this feat seem reasonable.

And holy schnikes, it worked.





I posted a few sneak peeks on Instagram and already had a few of you asking for pointers, so here are a few of mine.

First of all, I can’t say this enough: Find a hardware store associate who seems to know their stuff and follow each of their recommendations. Mine was my local hardware store owner, Bonnie, a super cool lady who did not lead me astray.

Bonnie recommended Kilz 2 Primer/Sealer/Stainblocker and Valspar Premium Latex Enamel. I purchased a quart of the primer and a gallon of the paint. This was more than enough for my small-to-medium-sized kitchen, including the large pantry at the end of the room that is not pictured here.

I would recommend having the paint tinted, even if the can says white and you want white. As crazy as this sounds, the straight-out-of-the-can white is too white. Plus, then you get to pick a white with a really fun name. I considered Wooly Lamb and Bridal Wreath, both by Valspar, but I selected Warm Oatmeal. It was the perfect shade with a comforting, kitchen-sounding name. While the image below looks quiet beige, the shade itself is definitely white.


My cabinets are wood. They are stained, but haven’t been touched up at all anytime recently so all I did was clean them really quickly with warm water the night before and then invested in a high-quality primer as well as the best roller Bonnie could recommend.

I had taken Friday afternoon off work so I jumped right in and got the whole kitchen primed. That only took two hours and so that evening, after the primer had dried at least three hours, I dove right in with the first coat of paint. You should definitely read the directions on whatever product you choose, but my primer dried quickly so I saved some major time.

On Saturday, bright and early (6 a.m.), I tackled the second coat, then I met my mom for an afternoon play. Early Sunday afternoon (also 6 a.m., thanks kids, for getting me up) I did a third coat only in the areas that really needed it as well as a few other touch-ups here and there.


Full disclosure: If you are an absolute perfectionist this is not the job for you. There are going to be a few flaws here and there, but I kind of love that about DIY projects. Plus, at under $100 for the entire project, I can’t complain.

I bought several replacement heads for the roller, too, as it is best to replace them at least a few times throughout the project. They are never quite the same after being washed.


I also bought one good small brush and a handful of cheap sponge brushes for a variety of touch-ups.


I still need to touch up a few small spots here and there, but for now, as we go back to work for the week, I’m just going to sit back and admire my work for a while. I’ll tackle a few touch-ups next weekend. All-in-all, while I am a bit tired, I could not be more pleased with the results.


This experience was much less traumatizing than my first cabinet-painting experience and, no joke, I’d maybe be willing to do it again someday, but we’re never moving because I just painted our cabinets! If you decide to tackle your own cabinets, let me know! I’d love to see the results.


2 thoughts on “Painting Kitchen Cabinets”

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