How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Follow these step-by-step instructions for a whole new look.

You can make a huge difference to the look of your kitchen with some simple renovations to the cabinets. By repainting doors and updating the handles, you'll refresh the heart of your home without the need for a full redesign.

You'll Need

  • Screwdriver Try: 11-in-1 screwdriver and nut driver ($14, )
  • Steel tape measure Try: Stanley 25-foot measuring tape ($10, )
  • Drop cloth, newspaper or old cloths Try: All-purpose canvas drop cloth ($20, )
  • Respirator or dust mask Try: 3M paint odor valved respirator ($9 for two, )
  • Safety goggles or glasses Try: Protective safety glasses ($7, )
  • Fine- and medium-grade sandpaper Try: 3M assorted grit sandpaper ($6, )
  • Power sander or sanding block Try: Heavy-duty sanding block ($5, )
  • Soft cloth Try: Microfiber cleaning cloth ($15, )
  • Paintbrush Try: Assorted paintbrushes ($8 for two, )
  • Primer Try: Interior and exterior primer ($8.50, )
  • Paint
  • New door handles, hinges and hardware, as desired
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    Getting Started

    If you find it easier, use a screwdriver to remove your cabinet doors, drawer fronts, hinges and handles, and move them to your work space.

    If you are replacing handles, take your old ones with you to the hardware store to ensure that you choose something with the same-size fittings. Remember to note how many you'll need. Also, if any of the handles were held on by more than one screw, note the distance between the two screws, since you will need to find replacement handles with the same distance between them. Otherwise, be prepared to fill and drill new holes. It's a good idea to buy one sample first to check the fit before investing in a full set.

    gray kitchen
    Victoria Pearson

    What to Do

    1. Lay down a drop cloth, newspaper or old cloths to protect your floor.

    2. Put on your dust mask and protective goggles or glasses.

    3. Using medium-grade sandpaper, sand down the front and edges of wooden, painted or varnished doors or drawer fronts with power sander or sanding block. No sanding or priming is needed for melamine doors, but you do need to use the right paint. Wipe off dust and give the doors a good clean.

    4. Paint on a coat of primer, leave it to dry and apply another coat.

    5. When dry, rub down surfaces with fine-grade sandpaper. Wipe off any dust.

    6. Apply the first coat of paint and leave it to dry overnight. Repeat with another coat of paint for a more durable finish. Replace any old handles with new ones, if desired.

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    7. Replace doors and drawer fronts using a screwdriver to tighten the hinges.

    How to Nail It

    • If you have a number of cabinet doors to remove, label them on the back so that you can easily find the right place for the right door when you have finished.
    • If your cabinet doors and drawer fronts do not completely cover the front of the cabinets, you can prepare and paint those surfaces in the same way. A good time to do this is while the cabinet doors are drying.
    • To save time, buy a combined undercoat and primer and eliminate one of the stages.
    • Before you start, wipe down all cabinet surfaces with a degreaser. No matter how clean your kitchen is, if even the slightest film of grease is on the cabinet, paint won't adhere properly.
    • Clean all dust around the area (and even off your brush) with a vacuum before you paint. A few specks is all it takes to make your otherwise-smooth paint job look gritty.

      WATCH: Get Inspired With These Kitchen Cabinet Color Ideas

      mint green kitchen
      John M. Hall

      Excerpted from Copyright © 2014 Sarah Beeny and published by Quadrille Publishing Limited / F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

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