paint your cabinets

finial feet cabinets 4 cover wm

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I have had several people email me and ask me about my painted cabinets.  So today I thought I would share with your how we painted ours so that YOU can paint your cabinets.  But, I must first start off with a disclaimer.  We are by NO means professionals.  We asked our local Lowe’s stores and their helpful employees several questions and did some research before deciding to paint them. 

bathroom cabinets paint 1a

The cabinets in our home were 30+ years old and had a bit of wear and tear to them.  A lot of the finish had been worn off and some had some big knicks and dents in them.  So for us this was a good choice to give them new life and to update our home to our own personal style.  Not to mention a lot cheaper alternative than buying new cabinets.

Here are the steps we took:

1.  Tape off any areas that might get paint on them that you don’t want paint on.  For example a wall right next to the cabinets or the floor along the bottom and even inside the cabinet doors if you are not painting the insides.  We LOVE frog tape at our house.  It has worked a lot better at getting crisp lines as opposed to the blue painters tape.


2.  Remove cupboard doors.  This is probably not necessary.  But since we wanted them to come out nice and smooth without any drips, we removed them. 

2. Lightly sand the doors to remove any rough spots.  If there are any nicks or dents you can fill them with wood filler or plastic wood.  Just something that is paintable. 

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Then wipe them down with a damp cloth and some denatured alcohol and be sure you have removed all of the excess dust.

3.  Paint all areas you want covered with paint first with a primer/sealer.  Painting with a primer will make it so that the paint will stick to the cupboards and will cover up any areas that you may have needed to add some putty or wood filler.  We like Glidden’s Gripper Grey.  But there are a lot of different options available.


We paint in the creases and the smaller areas and around the edges with a paint brush.  My personal favorite paint brushes are the Purdy XL Glide.  I usually use a 2 inch brush for cabinets.  I really believe having a good brush is the key to having a smooth paint finish.


For the flat, larger areas of the cabinets I like to use a small foam roller.  This leaves a nice and smooth finish as well.  This is KEY too!!  We like Quali-Tech Ultra Smooth High Density Foam.


bathroom cabinets paint 2a

4.  Paint your cabinets with your favorite semi gloss enamel paint like Valspar’s.  Some people like to use a high gloss paint and that is fine too.  We just prefer the finished look of the semi gloss.  I feel it to be a bit richer.

bathroom cabinets paint 4a

You will need at least two coats.  Be sure to allow proper drying time between each coat.  I wait at least 4 hours between coats.  Check on your paint can for specific drying times.  I always check and double check for any drips as I am painting.  Nothing worse than having to go back and sand a drip off.  Sometimes in the creases of your cabinet door you will have to go back and do a touch up third coat.

I like to paint on top of paint cans.  {Please disregard the lack of painting tarp…Ha.  Always a good idea to use one}.  I paint one side first and let it dry completely before turning it over to paint the other side.  After paint is still wet you will also want to check the other side of the cabinet door so there are not drips on the other side as well.


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  1. Nancy says

    My husband, age 50, does not believe anything wooden should be painted. Also, his father actually built our kitchen cabinets by hand over 50 years ago. So they hold much sentimental value to him. They are so outdated. Is there anything that I can do to update my cabinets without violating his sentiments about them? I’ve already decided to change the hardware.

    • Christine says

      My husband is the same way… wood should not be painted. I recently showed him some before and after pictures using Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations. The results looks less like paint since the wood grain will still show through… yet you can update the cabinets to a new fun color. Change the hardware and there you go! I haven’t used this system yet (will in our new house in a few weeks), but sounds like there are several folks that are fans.

    • says

      My husband was the same way. He actually is really glad we repainted them now. But I do have to agree on some things not being painted that are made of nice wood and in good condition. You could add some vinyl decals to the panels that can easily be removed or simply adding new hardware can really update a look as well.

    • Chelsea says

      I have seen some video tutorials on gel stains or if u like the original color you can sand them a little and look for a clear sealer or gel coat.

    • Tabitha says

      How about stain or wax? It wouldn’t get you a light color but you could spruce up oak or lighter woods.

    • mim says

      Your husband has not seen our wood cabinets. They are horrible!! Paint will make them come alive .

  2. Kristi Stewart says

    Love the “feet” that you added under the kick plate. Makes it look more like a piece of furniture rather than stock cabinets.

    For those who prefer the wood – refinishing is fairly easy and there are tons of beautiful stain options available these days. Stripping old stain can be messy and it is best to wait for a day where windows and doors can be left open for ventilation purposes. But a little elbow grease and a trip to your local hardware store can do wonders to dated cabinets.

    We have had to paint every cabinet in our house, but it is definitely much cheaper than the alternative of replacing cabinets.

    Never being a fan of painted wood myself it was hard to push forward with painting the 21 cabinets in our kitchen, but once finished I was thrilled with the results. I am a fan of a more “primitive/rustic” look so we painted our cabinets black, rubbed the corners with sand paper and finished them off with a rub down of dark stain with sealer. This kept the satin “richer” finish but also help protect the surface from spills and the six little hands of our children. To give them a more built in look we trimmed out the kick plate with base board trim and decorative corner round which remedied the under the cabinet crumb catcher area that I had to vacuum daily.

    • says

      Thanks Kristi! Those are some great suggestions. Your cabinets sound like they turned out great. For a kitchen I too would go with a sealer to add some more protection from all of those hands and feet :)

  3. says

    Thanks so much for sharing– I currently live in a very ( VERY) old house and one of the best things about it is that there are tons of cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom BUT they are very old-fashion— which means tons of painting needs to be done! I had no glue where to start– thanks for the pointers :)

  4. Daneilia says

    Your bathroom is great. I wish we could paint the cabinets in the house we are in, but we are renting :( Anyways, thanks for sharing your tips. I’m sure they’ll come handy in the future.

    Oh by the way, I love Frog Tape too :) It’s probably funny to most people but when I seen the commercial I was sold lol.

  5. Rebecca says

    Hi there… love the idea of doing this without sanding a ton! Anyways… do know the name of the paint you used on the wall … it looks perfect for what i need!!

    • says

      The gripper primer works great at making your paint really stick so that sanding can be minimal! Love that! As far as the wall color goes it is Benjamin Moore’s Rockport Gray which has some taupey undertones!

  6. lori says

    I just wanted to share a helpful hint that you could share with your fans too. When I painted our MBR cabinet fronts (also removed from the base), I put 4 small nails on the back side (near the corners) so that I could paint both sides of the doors without waiting for one side to dry. This kept it about 1-2″ off the tarp to allow for complete drying. The mark left by the nail after removing it was so small that no one would ever see it. Plus the 2 that were on the one side got covered by the foam or felt pad to quiet the closure.

  7. Hannah says

    Your bathroom looks absolutely beautiful! I do have a question, since I am brand new at this….Are you supposed to paint the walls with the semi gloss also? or use another finish?

    Hannah B.

    • says

      Hannah–Great question! There are several different paint sheens and semi-gloss is in the middle. There are flat paints with no shine all the way up to high gloss paints. I prefer semi-gloss in bathrooms as it is easier to clean the walls. You can ask your local hardware store too about what sheen would be best according to what room you are going to be painting. In our Master Bedroom I went with a Satin finish which has less gloss or shine in it. Since it has a softer look and the walls won’t be getting as dirty. Hope that helps.

      • Renee says

        Your bathroom is pretty and yet liveable. I’m surprised no one has asked what color is on the wall. I love it. What color and brand is the paint on the wall? please do share ;-)

  8. Lori says

    Love the cabinets but was wondering where you got the framed mirror? Have a plain mirror in my bathroom and want one with a frame?


  9. Amy f says

    Any suggestions for Formica front cabinets? I will paint anything that holds still long enough!-)

  10. says

    So inspired by your vision! I have had my own vinyl decal business for a couple of years and have recently branched out into painting and other gifts, home decor, furniture redo, etc. I admire your business sense, presentation of ideas, and blog/web design. Wishing my own site actually featured all my products …. but it doesnt. I feel totally crippled in that department. Did you teach yourself?? Maybe i am over complicating adding products to my site. I would gladly barter in decals you want in exchange for your mentorship:-).
    Looking forwardto your feedback…and more ideas

  11. Tracey says

    Kind of off topic … but I LOVE the paint color on your walls! Would you mind sharing the brand/name. The bathroom looks GREAT and I adore the yellow accents. Very fresh and pretty. :)

  12. Sarah says

    Love the feet you added! I’m in the middle of redesigning my builders grade vanity and was thinking of doing the same thing but I’m getting thrown off by the side of the cabinet that is exposed. What did you do for the side of your cabinet? I’ve seen some that have rebuilt the whole bottom but I don’t really want to do that and it doesn’t look like that’s what you did here… Love the look! Thanks!

  13. Debbie says

    I noticed you did not sand the cabinet surface…did the gripper work well and you didn’t need the extra step of sanding??

  14. Stacy says

    What color did you paint your white cabinets? I looked around your site but couldn’t find the color. Thank you! I think they are really nice and am looking for the white to paint my cabinets.

  15. Lindsay says

    I just came across this tutorial and love it! We are about to paint our kitchen cabinets as well. I love the gray color on your walls! Do you by chance know what color that is? Thanks!

  16. says

    I’m going to paint the cabinets in our kitchen soon. They have a horrid plastic panel in the middle which spoils my ideas though. Thinking of taking the plastic out but……..sounds a bit scary! Thanks for this, I’ll give my kitchen more thought now.

  17. Donna warren says

    Could you share with me exactly what I need to use to make our white kitchen cabinets more antique color? For example, lightly sand them , add brown stain and then wipe off some of the stain. Then do I seal it? I hope you understand what I am trying today. Thank you

  18. Joyful says

    I love the way your cabinets turned out. My husband & son-in-law painted our kitchen cabinets a few years ago. I love the off white color, and the way they turned out, but we are getting a few chips in some of the doors. They are no bigger than a small nail hole. Do you know what I would have to do to repair them?

  19. Christy says

    I love your cabinets. I’m heading to lowes to get supplies now. I’m painting ours a black/ebony color. Wish me luck!
    BTW, love your rug in from of the vanity. Where did you find it? Hard to find trendy/contemporary runners ;)

  20. Fidencia says

    How or what did you apply on the top surface counter that it looks really nice(graish) tone?


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