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Kitchen Remodel Series: Painting the Cabinets

So, I’ve hated my kitchen cabinets now for a solid 2.5 years (since we moved in). I LOVE all of the cabinet space we have, but HATED the color of the cabinets and the hardware.

My cabinets were this lovely oak color with rusty/gold hinges and handles that were cream and gold. Nuff said.

The cabinets also had a sort of yellow tint to them, which drove me bonkers.

And, as someone who spends a TON of time in the kitchen, I knew an update would make that time much more enjoyable.

Honestly, the cabinets just didn’t match the rest of the house which has white trim and neutral colors. I just knew that white cabinets would transform the kitchen.

Not to mention, we have modern, stainless steel and black appliances and the whole color scheme in the kitchen just clashed AND looked dated.

On top of that, we had cream-colored, laminate countertops that showed every single splash of coffee or juice that touched the surface. I was constantly having to bleach the countertops to remove stains, and I felt like the cream color just looked dingy, even when it was clean.

I honestly LOATHE cream-colored anything. I know white can be hard to keep clean, but, at least, when it’s clean, it LOOKS clean! Whereas, with this cream-color, it always looks dingy IMO.

It took me 2.5 years to muster up the motivation to take on the time consuming and pain-in-the-butt task of painting our kitchen cabinets, installing new hardware and painting the countertops.

At first, I considered hiring a professional to do the job, but let’s be real- that is expensive! (Side note: I wouldn’t do it for less than $500K, so I can’t blame them for their rates).

So, I knew the DIY route was my destiny. After watching tons of videos, I decided to go with Kilz Complete Coat paint. It’s an indoor/outdoor, paint and primer in one and I absolutely LOVE it! Kilz is always my go-to paint because it covers SO good! In the end, you can use 1-2 coats of Kilz or 3-4 coats of a cheaper brand (which ends up costing more in the long run).

So, here it goes- my unprofessional, DIY cabinet painting guide!


  • Paint
  • High quality paint brushes (you don’t want to deal with bristles coming off!)
  • Painters tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint cup
  • Impact screwdriver
  • Box cutter

Step 1: Using painters tape, label each door and drawer face that you’ll be removing so you know which goes where afterwards. Remove each cabinet door and remove the hardware.

Step 2: Tape off your kitchen to protect your backsplash, floors and walls.

Step 3: Lightly sand your cabinets to remove the glossy finish. This allows the paint to actually stick to the cabinet and will prevent future peeling. When using sandpaper, fold it in thirds to prevent slipping.

Step 4: Apply a super thin layer of paint to the cabinets to work as a primer and let dry completely.

Step 5: Apply another thin coat of paint to cover the surface. Working with thin layers is key. Also, read the label to find the dry time for your paint. I applied 2-3 thin layers and let dry overnight before applying the final coat (which I also let dry overnight before finishing).

Step 6: After the final coat has completely dried, replace the cabinet doors and attach the hardware.

Step 7: I learned the hard way to remove the painters tape AFTER using a box cutter to cut the paint away from the tape. If you skip this step, the new paint will peel off with the tape.

Step 8: Optional: I also painted the insides of my cabinets and applied this fun shelf liner to give it some color. I got the shelf liners from the good ole’ Dollar Gentral Store. With the shelf liner, create a template by laying a piece upside down and marking with a sharpie. Cut the shelf liner to fit, and use that piece as a template to cut the remaining shelf liners.

I replaced the hinges, knobs and pulls for my kitchen, too. You can also reuse your existing hardware and even paint them. I opted to just buy new hardware since mine had some rusting and I wasn’t a fan of the pull design. You can find the knobs here and the pulls here.

After painting the cabinets, I moved on to painting the countertops using a kit from Amazon! Make sure to subscribe to this blog below to get notified when it’s posted!

2 thoughts on “Kitchen Remodel Series: Painting the Cabinets

  1. Looks dope. I used Beyond Paint to update a hideous cabinet that was my husband’s great grandmother’s. Went from brown wood look with plexiglass door to white with Robin egg blue shelves and chicken wire door. Love it!

  2. Love the new look for the cabinets! I think it’s be too daunting for me; I’d just replace the hardware and say “there I fixed it”.
    I look forward to seeing the countertop reveal!

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