Guide To Painting Kitchen Cabinets

One of the quickest and most economical ways to give a tired kitchen a make-over is to paint your kitchen cabinets. Applying a coat of light paint to dark wood will not only brighten up a dingy kitchen but will also give the illusion of more space. It doesn’t matter if your cabinets are wood or veneer, with the proper preparation both surfaces can benefit from the application of good quality paint. Bear in mind that kitchen cabinets take quite a beating – from sticky little fingers to oil residue from cooking, so the better quality the paint, the longer the paint job will last.

This project can take about three days to complete, so allowing yourself enough time is important. The key to any successful painting job is preparation and when painting cabinets this is most important. Generally, you don’t have to bother with the insides of the cabinets, other than the insides of the doors and maybe the frames, so you can save yourself a lot of time and energy by concentrating on the outer surfaces only.


 Remove all doors and hardware.

Hardware is expensive and very often it can be salvaged rather than replaced. If it has been previously painted, you can soak your hardware in a bucket of paint remover (outside or in the garage – as the fumes can be dangerous). After a day or so in solution, carefully remove hardware, using rubber gloves, and then soak in a bucket of warm, soapy water. If necessary, you can then give the pieces a quick scrub with a scouring pad. In most cases, the paint will peel right off and your hardware will look brand new.
Before you begin to apply paint to kitchen cabinets, the surface must be thoroughly cleaned. Washing cabinets with a solution of warm water and TSP will remove most, if not all of the accumulated grease and oils. Allow drying completely.
 Next, a quick swipe with fine sandpaper (A good fine paper for this project is a 200 to 300) will roughen up the surface, allowing the paint to adhere better.


 Choose a good quality, washable paint. Kitchens look brighter and cleaner when the cupboards are finished with a semi to high gloss paint, but that is entirely up to your own preference.

• Lay the cabinet doors on a flat surface in a room with plenty of ventilation. Paint the outer edges with a brush then use a roller to finish the job. Allow drying according to manufacturers’ recommendations. When thoroughly dry, turn over and paint the other side. You will definitely need two coats of paint, and if you have the time and energy, three is better.


When the paint is completely dry, you can then re-assemble the hardware install the cabinets and your kitchen will look brand new.