How To: Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Click through our project guide to learn how to paint kitchen cabinets. There may be no easier or more affordable way to give your old kitchen a brand-new look!

  1. Remove Hardware

    1/6
    Jprovey removing hinges how to paint kitchen cabinets bob vila

    Joe Provey

    Remove the cabinet doors, drawers, and all cabinet hardware. (Do not kid yourself into believing you can achieve a professional result without doing this.)

  2. Apply Quality Primer

    2/6
    Jprovey puttying how to paint kitchen cabinets bob vila

    Joe Provey

    If your cabinets are stained, apply at least two coats of a quality primer. For me, there’s nothing better than BIN, Zinsser’s shellac-based pigmented primer. It dries fast and flat, without brush marks (unlike most oil-based primers).

  3. Sand Primed Surface

    3/6
    Jprovey sanding how to paint kitchen cabinets bob vila

    Joe Provey

    Lightly sand the primer coat, wipe with a tack cloth, and prepare for applying the finish coats. You’ll need a lot of dust-free space for this. A two-car garage is ideal. Several pairs of sawhorses (or old chairs) and a large drop cloth are helpful, too.

  4. Thinning Agent

    4/6
    Jprovey stirring how to paint kitchen cabinet bob vila

    Joe Provey

    Mix a thinning agent into an alkyd-based enamel paint according to the manufacturer’s directions. For this job, we used Benjamin Moore’s Impervo semi-gloss paint. Avoid using water-based paint unless you’re okay with visible brush strokes. For the thinner, I’ve have had excellent results with Penetrol.

  5. Painting

    5/6
    Jprovey painting how to paint kitchen cabinet bob vila

    Joe Provey

    Paint the backs of the cabinet doors first. Do the fronts last; they’ll be less likely to be marred by drips. Apply paint with the grain (in the direction of the longest dimension).

  6. The Finished Cabinet

    6/6
    Jprovey final how to paint kitchen cabinet bob vila

    Joe Provey

    Reinstall doors and drawers, with hinges and catches. Then proceed to install the new drawers, door pulls or knobs.

  7. See the House of the Week

    Hotw600x450

    Discover and admire beautiful and innovative home architecture, from grand Victorians to quaint cabins and all the styles in between. Take a look at the latest images and inspiration!