How To: Paint Kitchen Cabinets

There may be no easier or more affordable way to give your old kitchen a brand-new look!

Remove Hardware

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Remove Hardware

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

Joe Provey

Apply Quality Primer

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Apply Primer

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).

Joe Provey

Sand Primed Surface

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Sand Primed Surface

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.

Joe Provey

Thinning Agent

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Thinning Agent

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.

Joe Provey


How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Painting

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).

Joe Provey

The Finished Cabinet

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Reinstall Hardware

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

Joe Provey

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