Painting Project | Kitchen Cabinets


Kitchen Update

Step #2 - cabinets

(If you haven’t yet… read about the first phase of our kitchen facelift here!)

This was my first time painting kitchen cabinets. Like so many of us, I had heard horror stories upon horror stories of things like paint peeling off cabinets or bubbling up after only a few days. I read a lot of blog posts from sources like This Old House to personal DIY blogs. Mainly what I gathered is that I could anticipate some kind of bump in the road. However, I love a good paint project and I was really eager to tone down the lime green and clean up some of the wear and tare on the inside and outside of the cabinets.


As I mentioned in my first kitchen update, we are indeed renting. I know a lot of people have mixed emotions on investing in a rental, but we knew we were going to be here for a couple years and so the investment upfront seemed well worth it. As you can tell, our rental house was full of bright colors. We had yellow walls in the main house, green cabinets in the kitchen, and green walls in the bedroom. While the colors were festive and unique, it just didn’t feel like home to us. Since we are planning on staying in this house for a while, we asked our landlords if we could paint and they graciously allowed us to do so. I started with walls and trim through out the house, while saving the kitchen cabinets for last. This was strategic. I was the most desperate to get the kitchen painted, but I also knew it would be a tedious task and I’d be tired of painting at the end of it. So, I worked to get all the other paint projects done first and finish with the kitchen as the finale. I’m sooo glad I did.

The project went smoothly overall. I have a few tips for anyone who is looking to take on their own cabinetry paint project listed below. Believe it our not, our biggest hiccup was trying to cut costs and going with a cheaper paint from Menard’s rather than spending the extra dollars up front to get high quality Benjamin Moore (or similar) paint. An honorable effort but in the end…not worth it. It cost us 2 entire days of sanding off the Menards paint (read: scraping off little strips with a putty knife and then hand sanding an entire wall of cabinets), $35 for the cheap paint we ended up not using, and an extra day of driving to the Benjamin Moore paint store to buy the good paint that I should have just purchased in the first place. So the moral of the story here is this: just pay a little extra for the good paint. I promise it’s worth it — in time & money — in the end.


Quick Tips:

  • Liquid Deglosser is your friend. We did not sand any of our cabinets (at least not until we had to remove the first coat of bad paint) to prep them for priming. Liquid Deglosser is 100% worth it, and it’s cheap!

  • Nothing replaces a really good primer. This is another relatively inexpensive step that makes a world of difference. We used Zinsser Bullseye 123 primer. Each coat dries within an hour which made painting multiple coats a quick job.

  • Buy samples of the exact paint you are going to use - same sheen, same color, same brand…everything.

  • Keep track of your hinges and screws. Keep them in small Ziploc bags and label what doors they belong to. This will make your life so much easier when you reassemble your kitchen.

  • Bite the bullet and buy the better paint. I know paying $50 for a gallon of paint can be painful to the wallet. But the only thing more painful is buying the cheaper paint, realizing why it’s cheaper, and then having to buy the expensive paint anyway. Please take my word for it, just buy the good stuff. We used Benjamin Moore Advance paint in Satin.

If you are tackling a kitchen project and have questions - please comment below! (And share pics!!!)