Repainting Kitchen Cabinets

Get all the info you'll need on repainting kitchen cabinets, including a helpful step-by-step guide.

Repainting Kitchen Cabinets Blue

Repainting Kitchen Cabinets Blue

As seen on Design on a Dime, After 05 of Yu and Buny's kitchen. Casey gave a new life to the outdated kitchen with a fresh Heirloom Glam design style, making it more functional and better suited to entertain friends. New carrera tiles backsplash, chandelier, seating area and more counter space make a dramatic new space.

From: Design on a Dime

Photo by: Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

Gilles Mingasson/Getty Images

By: Sean McEvoy

If you're embarking on a kitchen redesign project, one of the most efficient ways to update the look of your kitchen is by repainting kitchen cabinets. This fairly simple DIY project can add color and life to your kitchen and make cabinets of just about any age and condition seem new.

Give Your Kitchen a Refreshing Facelift Without Killing Your Budget

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Vibrant Kitchen With Simple Updates

Over the course of three weeks, an outdated kitchen from the '60s was transformed into a happy, hard-working space that honors the home's midcentury modern-architecture with a fun, family-friendly vibe.

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Bright + White

When all else fails, always know that going all white in a kitchen is best for investment purposes. Due to its versatility, white works with every other accent color in the spectrum. Plus it helps reflect light and makes spaces feel more open and airy.

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Counter-to-Ceiling Tile

Add drama and height to your kitchen by installing backsplash tile from the countertops to the ceiling. Not only will this create a more architectural look, but it will also make the kitchen feel larger.

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Shaker-Style Cabinets

You can never go wrong with simple Shaker style cabinetry in the kitchen. Characterized by clean lines and a simple inset panel, these cabinets blend well with different styles of interiors and architecture.

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Matte Nickel Hardware

Looking to put a unique spin on modern hardware? Skip polished chrome or nickel and opt for matte finishes that are a bit softer and unexpected.

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Concealed Storage

Always consider how your cabinets will look when they're open and think of how the entire kitchen will look once loaded and styled. Whenever possible, choose interiors with classic wood finishes which will add visual depth and also help your decorative kitchen elements like ceramics and servingware to pop.

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DIY Wine Storage

Integrate wine storage into your upper cabinets by leaving a six-inch gap, then building a box with wooden dowels spaced inside along with holes drilled into the front. Slide the box between upper or lower cabinets, then fasten into studs in the wall and also to the adjacent cabinets from inside.

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Coordinating Color

Since kitchens are major investments, it's smart to stick with neutral options to guarantee longevity. Add your own personal touch by integrating color with easily removable accessories like countertop containers.

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Walnut Countertops

While solid surface countertops are complicated to install, butcher block countertops are a great fit for DIYers. Here, we used walnut which has a more upscale look to them.

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Washing Station

When it comes to laying out and hooking up a washing station, simple plumbing hookups that have not been relocated from their initial locations may be a fit for DIYers with moderate to expert skills. Because major complications can arise if things are not properly hooked up, it's often worth the expense to leave all plumbing hookups to licensed professionals.

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Hard-Working Faucet Head

Make clean-up with an industrial-grade faucet with a removable head. This will allow more versatility for getting into deep pots and pans and spraying off any residue.

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Drop-In Sink

Drop-in stainless steel sinks are a bit easier to install than under-mount sinks. In order to install a drop-in sink, you'll need its template so you can first add a single hole into the countertop surface, then cut it to size.

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Practical Lighting

If you have a junction box on the wall above your sink, it's always best to maximize lighting. When choosing fixtures, opt for those with frosted glass or milk glass so the light emitted will be diffused and more flattering.

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Stacked-Stone Backsplash

Any time you're updating a kitchen in a home packed with great architecture, it's wise to pursue design elements that acknowledge its lines. This midcentury modern house was a perfect fit for stacked stone in a light, white finish which is true to the '60s era. With seven pounds of weight for each six-inch-by-24-inch tile, the backboard was tackled DIY-style, but the actual tile installation was left to a professional mason.

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Impromptu Island

Create your very own kitchen island in a cost-effective way by configuring lower cabinets in the desired length and integrated maximum storage. Although this island looks custom, it's actually a combination of ready-made cabinetry complete with ample storage in the form of cabinets and drawers.

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Vinyl Plank Flooring

Here's a flooring installation you can tackle yourself with little to no DIY skills: vinyl plank. Similar in look to hardwood, vinyl plank adheres to itself with integrated adhesive strips, and all you'll need is patience and a utility knife.

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Space-Saving Bar Stools

When choosing proper seating for your kitchen island, always take into account its height. Islands with the same height as perimeter lower cabinets are considered counter height while those which stand up to six inches taller are considered bar height.

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Island Lighting

Ensure your kitchen island can be as hardworking as possible with proper overhead lighting. Most designers suggest installing pendants in odd numbers with three being the most popular for spaces above islands.

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Integrated Workstation

Got wasted space? Put it to good use as a single wall pantry or as an efficient workstation by getting clever with ready-made cabinets. This tiny pass-through wall was given new identity as a full-fledged workstation thanks to a creative use of upper cabinets used both as the base of the station and along the walls for concealed storage. See the Full Makeover >>

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The cabinet surface you're repainting will determine how you approach the job. If you're dealing with flat wood, you're in luck—this is the easiest surface to repaint. Wood laminate and metal are also fairly easy to work with. Plastic laminate may require special paints and techniques, so if you have this type of surface, consult a professional.

The first step in the project is to remove the cabinet doors and hardware. Number all the doors and label their corresponding locations as you remove them.

Next up, you'll need to clean all of the surfaces you wish to repaint. A solution made from one part tri-sodium phosphate and four parts water is recommended. When you're finished applying the cleaner, rinse but don't soak the cabinets with clean water, then allow them to dry thoroughly.

Your next step is a doozy—you'll need to sand all surfaces you intend to repaint. If the old paint on the cabinets is in good condition, you don't need to sand down to bare wood—just roughen the surface so the new paint will adhere more easily. Whenever you do sand to bare wood, feather the edges of the sanding area so the new paint will lay flat. Vacuum the sanding dust from all surfaces when finished, and wipe all sanded surfaces with a tack rag.

Next up, apply primer-sealer to all surfaces you intend to repaint, allow it to dry, and then apply the paint—you can do this final step with a spray, brush or even a roller if you're working with an entirely flat surface. Allow the paint to dry, then re-install all hardware, and hang your brand-new (in appearance, anyway!) kitchen cabinets.

Budget-Friendly Kitchen Updates from Expert Designers

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