The Dos and Don'ts of Painting Cabinets

HGTV Magazine has the tips and tricks you need to know.

Photo by: Kim Cornelison

Kim Cornelison

Related To:

DO figure out what kind of kitchen cabinets you have

Wood and MDF can be painted without much drama. The hardest part is removing the stain or the finish with a deglosser (also known as liquid sander). Plastic laminate cabinets are tougher, sometimes impossible, to paint successfully. Discuss with a paint consultant at a home improvement store before attempting these yourself. 

DO take off the cabinet doors, pull out the drawers, and remove the hardware

Label everything so reassembly is easier. 

DON’T rush through cleaning

Kitchen cabinets are magnets for grease and food splatters. Get rid of gunk with a heavy-duty cleaner like phosphate-free TSP.

DO consider an alkyd paint

This specialty paint, popular with pros, is like a hybrid of oil and latex paints: It gives cabinets a super-durable finish that can withstand lots of use — and abuse — dries to a glossy sheen, and is resistant to moisture and humidity. 

DON’T think you can rush through this project

With all the prepping, cleaning and painting, you’ll probably need a minimum of two weekends to finish everything, so plan (and pace yourself) accordingly. 

Keep Reading

Next Up

Painting Dos and Don'ts

Follow these helpful hints for your next painting project.

The Dos and Don'ts of Painting Grout

HGTV Magazine has the tips and tricks you need to know.

The Dos and Don'ts of Painting Concrete Steps

HGTV Magazine has the tips and tricks you need to know.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Discover ideas for painting kitchen cabinets with these helpful hints and tips.

Painting Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

The strategy of a well-placed coat of paint on your kitchen cabinets will transform the room.

Ideas for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Get ideas for painting kitchen cabinets.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets Antique White

Get ideas for painting kitchen cabinets antique white.

Color Ideas for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Discover the best colors for kitchen cabinets.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Learn how to completely transform an outdated kitchen by simply painting the cabinets.

Painting Wood Paneling

You don't have to live with outdated wood panel walls. Get painting techniques for a dramatic makeover.

On TV

Shop This Look

Found a living space you love in HGTV's Photo Library? Get the look in your own home with products from Wayfair.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.