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Painting Kitchen Cabinets to Create A Bright, Inviting Space

A few months ago I started looking into having my kitchen remodeled and called a few companies for quotes. The quotes I received were all reasonable, but it’s definitely one of the most expensive projects that you can do in your home. Ultimately I decided that I didn’t want to break the bank just yet and that I can create a more neutral, inviting space by setting aside some time to paint the cabinets myself.

In a previous blog, I shared my tips for small changes that can refresh and modernize your kitchen, such as new knobs or fixtures. Today I am back to share my how-to and tips for painting your kitchen cabinets! It may seem intimidating at first, but coming from someone who has done many projects over the years, this one doesn’t rack up on the hardest list.

Estimated time to complete: Depending on what you have going on, this can easily be done over a weekend. For me, I was in between working and mom duties, so it took me a week to complete. I did a majority of the work on the weekend and did final touches during the week after my daughter went to bed.

Paint tape
Drop cloths
TSP Cleaner
220 grit Sandpaper
Tack cloth
Foam rollers
Edging paint brush
Cabinet Paint

I used Zinsser primer and Behr paint (You can use satin or semi-gloss paint depending on how much of a shine you want. I personally prefer the satin look. It’s still very easy to clean, but doesn’t leave a heavy shine.)

1. Remove all of your cabinet doors and knobs. With a small piece of painters tape, label each door. If you keep the hinges on be sure to cover them with painters tape.

2. Lay down the drop cloths over your floors and appliances. Place painter’s tape along all of your edges.

3. Clean your cabinets using a TSP with a rag, sponge or scrub brush (follow the cleaning instructions on the bottle-some require a rinse after using). *This is the most important step to making sure that your primer and paint adhere properly to the cabinet. Get all of the grease and grime that has built up over the years off.

If your cabinets have grooves in them, try using an edge scraper to clean out the dirt built up in the corners.

4. Using a 220 grit sander block, gently sand down each cabinet. The goal here isn’t to sand it down completely, but to remove any remaining grease and scuff it just enough so that the primer will adhere properly. Using a tack cloth or a damp rag, clean off all of the dust and make sure that it is completely dry before starting to prime.

5. Using your foam roller, begin applying your primer to one side of your cabinets. Start with any grooves, painting those with an edging brush and then go over the entire cabinet with the foam roller. This will make sure every spot has been painted smooth and even.
If using Zinsser primer, one coat is usually sufficient, but if you notice any thin areas, go ahead and apply a second coat.

6. Let the primer dry and give a very gentle, quick sanding over any drip marks.

7. Using the same technique as the primer, paint your cabinets. Begin with any grooves using an edging brush and then continue over the base with your foam roller.

8. Let the first coat of paint dry completely and then apply a second coat.

9. Take one last look over each door and base, searching for any possible chipped paint. If there was a spot that was missed or maybe peeled during the dry time, you can give it a quick sanding and touch up.

10. Put your knobs back on, hang your doors and enjoy your beautiful new kitchen!!

*Paint in sections As a mom, I’m often juggling a million things at once. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to complete this in a weekend and to keep me from going insane, I painted in sections. I started by painting one section first (by my stove and fridge) and then moved along during the week.

*Back and forth method Make good use of your time! Start by priming the front of your doors, while those are drying, prime the wall bases. Next prime the back of your doors and while those are drying, start painting the wall bases. This will allow for your wall bases to dry completely while you finish painting your doors.

*Paint using “W” strokes. To make sure that everything is properly covered, painting as if you were writing W’s and then fill it in.

What do you think of the before and after? I am so happy with the finished look! This cabinet makeover has brightened up our kitchen so much! White cabinets make the room appear larger, cleaner and even attract more sunlight!

This project was under $200 and made a world of a difference!



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