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Painting Kitchen Cabinets Tips

Hiring a professional to paint your kitchen cabinets is definitely a smart thing to do, but where’s the fun in that? If you’re feeling adventurous and you fancy yourself a DIY person, they there’s no better way of painting your cabinets by yourself.

If you haven’t done this before, let us give you a few tips on painting kitchen cabinets that could pass as professional work.

Kitchen Cabinets

Set Aside Hardware

There should be a few important steps before you actually paint your cabinets. First among them is to strip away the cabinet doors and every other hardware attached or inside your cabinets. This will give you more room to work with and a smoother painting experience.

It is best if you do your cabinets one by one so you won’t get your doors and hardware mixed up. If you want to work on everything at once, the least you could do is put labels on everything because there’s nothing more frustrating that figuring out how to back together your cabinets after you’re done painting them.

Rough Up the Original Finish

Using sand paper manually or an electric sander to rough up the surface of your cabinets is necessary to give the surface more adhesion. Paint will have a hard time sticking to your cabinets if there’s a lot of grease and dirt in there, so make sure you rough it all up before applying paint. You don’t have to completely strip them off of their previous coat -- just enough to to make them more friendly with a fresh coat of paint.

Prime Time

Actually, before applying the paint, there’s one more thing you need to do: apply primer. This will allow the new paint to adhere properly and give your cabinets a professional look and feel. It is always best to verify your primer and paint will adhere to the existing surface - just take a cupboard door down to your paint shop.  Just follow the wood grain with your foam brush then leave it for at least an hour.   Following the grain produces a smoother finish.

Paint It

Once your primer has settled on your cabinets, it’s time to paint. You can either use oil-based or water-based paint on wood kitchen cabinets. It’s all up to you. Do note that water-based paint leave brush marks, so if you don’t want that kind of character on your cabinets, stick with oil-based paint. Remember to keep your work area well ventilated so you won’t get sick of the fumes. When you’re done, wait at least 24 hours before putting back your doors, cabinet handles, and other hardware.  Its amazing how you can modernise and refresh your kitchen with a change of cabinet handles too!


Aside from being a fun project to do, painting your kitchen cabinets is a fun activity that will give you the ability to express yourself with the look of your kitchen without spending a lot of money. Just keep these tips in mind and you’ll be on your way to producing newly painted kitchen cabinets that will last for a very long time.

photo by Jeanne Michelle Smith