Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting Kitchen Cabinets is something I had been wanting to do for some time.  Unfortunately replacing the cabinets is not an option at this time.  So, the solution, for now, would be painting kitchen cabinets.

When we first moved in we had those lovely orange oak cabinets.  In hindsight, we should have kept them because they were solid wood and in great condition.  After about 4 years of living here, we replaced them. At the time I really liked the option we went with, now they are outdated and dark.

Supply List for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

 TSP (tri-sodium-phosphate):  This is an amazing cleaner/ de-greaser to get all the crud off your cabinets.  you can be purchase TSP at the paint store, grocery store or big box store for around $3.  Wear gloves while using it.

Medium Grit Sandpaper: DO NOT SKIP THE SANDING PROCESS!!!  I know, I know it’s something I always try an get out of!  In all honesty, it took approximately 5 minutes or less to sand each door.  In the end you will be glad you took the time to do it.   I purchased this  Sander. On some doors, all the stain came off and others only a portion.  You just need to rough it up a bit to help the paint adhere.

Fine grit sandpaper:  You will need to sand by hand in between coats of Benjamin Moore paint to ensure a smooth finish.  Once again it does not take much time and you will be happy you did.

Tack cloth: These are amazing!  Helps you get all the dust off between sanding your coats, I used Galaxy Tack Cloth and you will end up using most of them!  After sanding I used an air compressor to blow off the dust then went back with the tack cloths. If you don’t have an air compressor you can use a vacuum attachment.

Primer:  I recommend investing in a premium Primer.  I used BIN Shellac Bonding Primer, around $40 and applied two coats.  It dries fast and you can have two coats done in less than an hour.

Premium Paint: Benjamin Moore Advance Line paint in an eggshell finish. The Advance Line of paint is self-leveling and dries extremely hard.  It is recommended amongst professionals and a gallon will run you around $60.  I read a lot about people using Chalk Paint. Chalk Paint is for furniture, not for cabinets, plus who wants to wax them on a yearly basis? Read more about Chalk Paint below.

Quality Paint Brushes: If there is anything I can offer is DO NOT skimp out on quality brushes. I used Purdy Brushes.  It is a big job to paint Kitchen Cabinets and this will ensure a flawless finish if you take your time and use in combination with quality paint.  When done using for the day put in a ziploc bag and store in your refrigerator to extend its life.

Mini Rollers:  The salesman at Benjamin Moore recommended the Purdy Parrot Roller.  Benjamin Moore did not carry them and I searched Home Depot and Lowes with no luck. I was only able to find them on Amazon.  It does require a special roller frame that I found at Benjamin Moore.  DO NOT get the one suggested on Amazon when you are purchasing the rollers, it does not fit! These rollers are more expensive than others but worth it. I would recommend purchasing 4 packs to start off with so you are not left waiting if you need more.  When done using for the day put in a ziploc bag and store in your refrigerator to extend the life of it.

Steps to Painting Kitchen Cabinets

  1. Remove your doors and hardware. Make sure you mark the doors with tape so you know which cabinet they belong to
  2. Clean with TSP
  3. Sand with Medium Grit Sandpaper
  4. Remove all dust with Tack Cloth
  5. Roll on the first coat of primer on the back of the door, after it is dry roll on the second coat,   then use a Purdy brush for any areas the roller does not get. Flip the doors over and repeat the steps on the front of the door
  6. Primer base cabinets while you are waiting for your doors to dry
  7. When the primer is dry,  roll on the first coat of paint on the back side of the doors and wait 24 hours.
  8.  The next day use fine grit sandpaper to lightly sand your first coat by hand, remove dust and paint the second coat
  9. Allow to dry for 24 hours (don’t rush it, it is very important that you allow the paint to dry, even if it feels dry to the touch), go back and check for any areas you may have missed
  10. Flip doors over and roll on the first coat then follow steps 8 and 9
  11. It takes time for the paint to cure.  I was anxious to get the doors back on, but I waited a week to install them. After all, this was a big job and I wanted to make sure I took my time and executed it seamlessly.

The evolution of our kitchen-Painting Kitchen Cabinets

2003?  I can’t seem to find any pictures of the original orange oak cabinets, but shortly after moving in I painted them a burgundy color.  No idea what the heck I was doing or why I did it. I can tell you that I did a horrible job also!  Believe me, this was not the only room that I installed wallpaper in either.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

2006- we replaced the cabinets and I installed the tile.  More about the tile below in my kitchen makeover and why I ended up painting the tile instead of replacing it.  Oh, and that Orange formal dining room, that’s gone and was turned into my daughter’s bedroom, you can read about here

And now.  The lighter color really brightens up the room and makes it feel larger than it is.

Choosing the right color-Painting Kitchen Cabinets

One of my biggest obstacles was finding the right cream to paint the cabinets.  Our granite is dark and the popular creams/whites that are generally used for cabinets made my kitchen look even more dated after painting samples on cardboard.

I ended up going with a color from Sherwin Williams called Casa Blanca.  Benjamin Moore did a custom color match.  I was scared at first when I opened the can because the paint looked beige, but as you can see it is not and I could not be happier with the results. 

Do not cut corners when painting cabinets.  I hear of many people wanting to use chalk paint because you don’t need to do much prep work or sanding. Chalk paint will not give you the same smooth surface as paint will plus you will have to wax after using chalk paint and every couple years after that. Chalk paint is great for furniture but will not hold up to everyday kitchen use.



For around $100 I purchased primed beadboard from Lowe’s and added it to the ends of the upper and base cabinets and then framed the base cabinets and island.  I first ripped them with a table saw and then used the compound sliding miter saw to cut them for an exact fit.  However, if you know your measurements you can have Lowe’s cut it for you.





*Note on the pedestal cabinet feet. They were too tall and I had to cut the bottoms down to make them fit*


4″ cabinet feet from Lowe’s


Added Beadboard and framed it in.  Paint color is Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black


Painting Tile

A lot of people ask me if I painted the tile and yes I did!  It has held up fantastic!! I cleaned it (wait 24 hours before priming so the grout dries).  Then primed it using the same BIN primer as I did with the cabinets.  I then used Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic in semi-gloss.  I love this line of paint and use it on all the trim in my home.

Why didn’t you just install new tile??? Well you see, that’s a funny story.  I installed this tile that you see in the before pictures.  If you have read some of my other posts I generally do projects when my husband is out of town.  I wasn’t much of a DIY’er back then and didn’t realize I should have used a backer board to attach the tile to.  Soooo, the tile is attached to the wall and it would have been a nightmare to remove and have to put all new drywall in.  I painted the tile because it was too busy up against the granite and didn’t flow with the look I was going for.

And now for some side-by-side comparison pictures.  I am very happy with the way this turned out and it has really brightened up the house and makes it feel cozier.  Painting kitchen cabinets is a huge project and one that cannot be rushed through to get the desired results.





Computer area– Topiary-TJ Maxx $14, Wood “D” – Fred Meyer $16 ,  “Feed and Seed Co” Sign – $40

Coffee Counter-Canister and Plant from TJ Maxx (I would love some Rae Dunn, but I can NEVER find any).  Coffee Cups are Fiesta Ware, Wire Coffee Rack- World Market, Daily Grind Cofee Sign

Stove area-Fresh Baked Pies-World Market (now sold out).  I used this Knob to be able to hang it from the tile.  The large custom-made brick cutting board is from Etsy and I added handles. Bamboo Stripe Cutting Board, White Pitcher, Bamboo Spoon Set, these are used for DECORATION purposes only and I stained a few of them. Plant-TJ Maxx, Butter dish and Spoon rest are generic as I never have any luck finding Rae Dunn.

Sink-Large jar with lemons is from Southern Living at Home and I have had this for many years, Lemons, Small White Pitcher, wood bread rack my youngest son made in wood shop class and the Mason Cash Pitcher is from Home Goods and the plant from Ikea. Buffalo Check Panels is actually a fabric tablecloth $26 that I cut down and hung with Curtain clips.  I also used the 60×18 tablecloths in my formal living room as panels that you can read about here

Today is a Good Day round sign: Chalk Couture

Dishwasher areaEnamel Bread Box, Scale is from an antique shop that was red and I painted black, plant and bucket on the scale are from Ikea,  pig cutting board by daughter made that 8 years ago when she was in wood shop.

If you have any questions about Painting Kitchen Cabinets please feel free to reach out!

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