Easy Instructions for Kitchen Cabinet Painting

Now that spring is in the air, you may be considering refreshing the look of your kitchen. Your cabinets tend to get shabby, worn, and stained from constant cooking splatter and food odors. For a new look, you can replace them, but in considering cost, painting them is a cheaper option to add new life to your cabinetry while getting creative at the same time. It will depend on your kitchen size, but the paint and supplies cost usually averages about $200. If this is your first time painting your cabinets, here are some steps to consider before tackling this project.

Check that your cabinets are paintable

Wood, wood laminate, and metal usually can be repainted, but plastic laminate may require a special paint. Check with a paint dealer by bringing a door sample or test a hidden patch to ensure it will adhere correctly. Panels and other architectural details and damaged joints may need special care. You may have to purchase new parts or use a special painting technique such as spraying, rolling, or brushing with different-sized or textured brushes.

Decide on Latex or oil-based paint

If you are looking for quick-drying and easy-to-clean paint, Latex is your best selection. However, you may find oil-based paint more advantageous even though it is more expensive. Oil paint is more durable, yields a smoother finish, and is stain resistant. If you opt for latex paint, choose one with 100 percent acrylic formation for greater adhesion.

Kinds of paint application

You’ll need to decide if you’d rather spray or brush as per your budget and ability. You may need to rent a spray machine for accuracy and less mess, but it will bring your cost up. Brushing is more time-consuming, but this is a better choice if you’d prefer to take your time with the details. You’ll need both a flat and angled brush; natural bristles for oil-based paint and synthetic bristles for latex paint.


You want to protect your surrounding items from paint residue in any painting task. Start by removing all contents from your cabinets. Cover your counters, appliances, and surrounding fixtures with a plastic tarp and affix firmly with tape. If the cabinet door needs to be detached to paint, create an area for items to hang or lay afterward to dry. If you have to dismantle doors, organize hinges, screws, and other hardware into a bag and label the area they belong to help you reattach them correctly. Scrub your soiled hardware with warm water and dish soap. Wipe off any grease or residue and completely dry before you paint. Sand as needed to remove the old finish and wipe or vacuum residual dust afterward. Instead of sanding, you can use a primer-sealer that helps the finish coat bond properly.

Applying the paint

Start with the most critical areas you’ll need more time with. Paint the inside edges and openings of the face frames first before you do the outer sides. Lastly, paint the face frame fronts. Be careful when painting wood pieces or molding that extra paint does not dry in the corners and crevices. Apply thin, light strokes and dry between coats for at least four hours. Two coats are usually sufficient, but you may want to apply a third for extra protection from everyday wear.

Bottom Line

You can easily renew and refresh the look of your kitchen without replacing cabinet doors and other hardware. Painting your cabinets, provided you prepare with the proper paint and tools, will give you a cost-friendly option to try new colors and test out your creative flair. At the same time, you will extend the life and durability of your cabinetry to help it endure for more years to come.

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Robin McCoy is a Texas Realtor with Keller Williams Realty. License #0582766
RobinMcCoyRealty.com | 214.226.3770 | RobinMcCoy@kw.com

The information contained, and the opinions expressed, in this article are not intended to be construed as investment advice. Robin McCoy Realty Group and Living in DFW does not guarantee or warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained herein. Nothing herein should be construed as investment advice. You should always conduct your own research and due diligence and obtain professional advice before making any investment decision. Robin McCoy Realty Group and Living in DFW will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on the information or opinions contained herein.

Published by Living In DFW

I guess you can take the girl out of Texas but you can't take Texas out of the girl. I was born here in Dallas and moved away at age 8. After 30 years of moving around the United States, as a child with the family and as an adult without them, I finally found myself back in Dallas. Since I returned in 2001 I have sold furniture for Crate&Barrel and Real Estate with Keller Williams. It is my hope to share with you what I love, question, and find interesting here in DFW.

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