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kitchen cabinet drawer close up

Perhaps nothing spruces up a kitchen more than the appearance of your cabinets. As spring slowly turns into summer, it’s the perfect time to give your kitchen a DIY makeover. Since it’s generally too expensive to buy new cabinets, the most affordable – and perhaps simplest – way to update your kitchen is to paint them.

Select the right color

Selecting the right color doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, it can be an enjoyable experience. Take into account the colors you already have in your kitchen. You’re going to want to use a color that will complement them. Look at your countertops, backsplash, walls and floor colors.

White, of course, will always work with your color scheme. Gray and a gray-beige also look terrific on kitchen cabinets, and work well with blue and yellow, two popular kitchen colors. Of course, you could go another route, which is to directly contrast an existing backsplash and countertop. Play around with some ideas, and explore your options with an open mind.

Get Your Supplies Together

Painting kitchen cabinets doesn’t require too much preparation. Don’t worry about paint thinners or sprayers. You won’t need all these “professional” trappings. You can get an amazing effect by taking a simpler approach.

  • Sandpaper – to smooth out rough areas before you paint
  • Screw Driver
  • Wood filler – best for fixing holes, dents, etc.
  • Primer paint – this is necessary to improve adhesion
  • The paint, preferably a semi-gloss
  • An angled paintbrush – you’ll appreciate this for doing edges
  • Mini foam roller – for an even coating without brushstrokes

Remove Hardware and Cabinet Doors

Take all the cabinet doors off, remove drawers and all the hardware, including hinges and knobs. It may be a wise move to label your drawers and doors so that they get back in the right spot. Sometimes they aren’t as universal as you might expect. A simple piece of masking tape on the back of each component is perfect for writing on and ensuring they get back where they belong.

Sanding and Wood Filler

Sanding is essential to the painting process. You may have layers of goopy paint to remove or simply a polyurethane finish. Sand these things down accordingly so that they are prepared for the primer coat. As a rule, sanding is less trouble and mess — and easier — than applying thinners and other chemicals.

If you’re replacing any of the hardware, you may have holes that no longer align with the new hardware. Fill holes with wood putty. You can also use wood filler to repair dings, deep dents and scratches. Apply a small amount and level it off. Let it dry thoroughly and then sand it down with fine grit sandpaper.

Time to prime

It’s important to prime before you paint. It adds to the durability of the overall paint job. It covers up stain and it will make your paint stick like glue, giving you a professional, durable end product.  Prime your cabinets first. Let the primer dry then paint.

Paint or stain

Depending upon how big your project, you shouldn’t need much more than a couple of quarts of paint or a choice of stain. Cover thoroughly. If necessary apply a second coat. Once finished, you can sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper.

This process isn’t overly difficult, but it will take some time to do right. Fortunately, the finished effect will give your kitchen a look that makes it seem as though you’ve replaced your old wood cabinetry completely. And what’s more, if you plan it out correctly, it will look as though it has always been a vital part of the design of your entire home.

Your experiences with re-finishing kitchen cabinets

Have you embarked on this kind of project in the past? What was it like?

When you were choosing stains or paint colors, did you make decisions that were surprising even to yourself?

How did the finished product affect the feel of the room?

Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.