Painting Kitchen Cupboards

Get tips on painting kitchen cupboards.


Photo by: Mali Azima © 2011 Mali Azima

Mali Azima, 2011 Mali Azima

A full kitchen renovation can cost a lot of money, but painting kitchen cupboards and cabinets is a great way to update your space without spending a fortune.

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Photo By: Photo Credit: Edward Addeo © Gibbs Smith, Barry Dixon Interiors, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)


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Photo By: Photo Credit: Edward Addeo © Gibbs Smith, Barry Dixon Interiors, Brian D Coleman, Edward Addeo (photographer)





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Paint is a great way to spruce up your space and it can work wonders in many areas, from your walls to cabinets.

If your kitchen cupboards feel old and outdated, but they still work just fine, don't rush out to replace them. Instead, dress them up with a few coats of paint. Painting your kitchen cabinets can be a long, tedious process, and is certainly not the easiest way to update your kitchen. But with some time and dedication, you can make them really shine.

Before you begin painting, you'll want to select a color for your cabinets. Look at the other colors in the room and choose a hue that complements your countertops, walls and backsplash. White is a very popular color for kitchen cupboards and it can really brighten a dark space. Colorful cabinets have become more popular over the years with many homeowners are opting for unique hues such as emerald or mint green and bright red. Gray has also become a popular kitchen color and it works well with yellow and blue accents. If you prefer a darker shade, try a deep, dark blue such as navy.

Before you being painting, you'll need to clean your cabinets thoroughly to ensure the paint will stick to the surface. Clean the doors and drawers with a degreaser and try to get off as much greasy residue as possible.

Once you're done cleaning your cabinets, you'll need to remove all of your hardware and hinges. Make sure to store all the parts in separate bags so you don't lose anything. Pick up a few dropcloths at your local hardware store so you can place each door and drawer on top. If you plan to replace your current hardware with something new, you'll need to fill in the existing holes with wood filler.

If your cabinets are very shiny, you'll want to use sandpaper to roughen them up a bit so the paint will stick. If your cabinets seem like paint will adhere easily to them, you can skip this step. Next you'll need to apply an oil-based primer to create a surface that your paint will easily stick to.

When it comes time to select the paint for your cupboards, there are a few ways you can go. Many people believe that oil-based paint is the best for kitchen cabinets because it dries to a harder finish and will last longer in such a high-traffic area. Latex paints can work as well, but they're more likely to chip over time. If you do go with latex paint, choose a semi-gloss finish to make your cabinets easy to clean.

Once you're ready to paint, apply each coat using long, smooth strokes. A good rule of thumb is to just use the top third or so of the brush instead of putting the whole thing in your can of paint. Wipe off any excess paint to avoid drips and make sure to paint with the grain of the wood. Let the paint dry for 24 hours and then sand lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper, making sure to wipe away any dust before you begin painting again. Apply a second coat of paint and let it dry for at least 24 hours before you reinstall your hardware and rehang your cabinet doors.

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