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How to Choose Painting for Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Updated: Mar 14



Give your old cabinets a makeover and change the entire look of your kitchen with just a fresh coat of paint.

The cabinet surface you're painting will be your first consideration. Flat, unfinished wood is the easiest surface to paint. 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.

Tips for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

First up, remove the cabinet doors and hardware. Number the doors and their corresponding locations as you remove them.

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

Your next step is to sand all the surfaces you intend to paint. 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. If 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 done, and wipe all sanded surfaces with a tack cloth.



Next up, apply primer-sealer to all surfaces you intend to paint, 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 newly painted kitchen cabinets.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Sanding or Priming 13 Photos

Give your old cabinets a makeover and change the entire look of your kitchen with just a fresh coat of paint.

Ugly kitchen cabinets are hard to ignore. You see them every time you walk in the kitchen and when you open them up day after day. But DIY kitchen cabinet painting ideas could save you some money in updating them.

If you're a homeowner who can't afford a major overhaul or a renter whose landlord won't update your ancient kitchen, there are many DIY ideas for painting kitchen cabinets.


Cabinets are a focal point in the kitchen, so if you can't stand your current ones, give them a facelift with paint! Painting kitchen cabinets can be exhausting, but if you're up for the challenge, you'll have a kitchen you love soon enough.


If you're ready to update your kitchen cabinets, you'll need to select a new paint color. There are many directions you can go when it comes to kitchen cabinets and it's not always easy to figure out which one is best. Consider the other items and colors that are already in your kitchen and select a color that will complement them. Take your backsplash, counter top, floor and walls into account. White is a common go-to color for kitchen cabinets because it feels clean and fresh. It also works well with every other color and can brighten up a dark space. Gray and greige also look great on kitchen cabinets; the colors pair well with yellow and blue, two common kitchen colors.


If you prefer a pop of color for your kitchen cabinets, the sky is the limit. There are many shades of yellow that would really shine, from bright, almost neon hues to lighter, more buttery shades. Other pastel shades that would look good on kitchen cabinets include sky blue and mint green. If you have a big, airy kitchen and want a deeper, more sophisticated shade, try emerald green or navy blue—but only do this if you have light-colored walls; otherwise, your room will feel too dark and heavy.


Two-toned cabinets are also in style these days. If you like this look, select a light color such as a creamy white or light gray for the top cabinets and a darker color such as a cobalt blue or even cranberry red for the bottom ones. If you're really adventurous, try color blocking your cabinet by choosing two bright shades that are on opposite sides of the color wheel—for instance, bright yellow and navy blue. Some designers are using the ombre trend on kitchen cabinets. Achieve this look by selecting one color and painting your cabinets varying shades of it. Chalkboard paint can also look cool on cabinets and will make it easy to record shopping lists and to-dos.


More Ideas for Painting Kitchen Cabinets


wse helpful info on unfinished kitchen cabinets, and sort through options for staining, painting or leaving them in their natural state.

Once you've chosen a material for your kitchen cabinets, your next step is to choose a finish—and if you're like many homeowners, you'll want to give yourself ultimate flexibility by purchasing unfinished kitchen cabinets. This way, whether you choose to stain, paint or leave the cabinets unfinished, this crucial final step will be completely in your control.



Inspiring Kitchen Remodels

In terms of material, unfinished kitchen cabinets are almost exclusively made from wood, left in its natural state, without any stain, varnish or paint treatments. This means you or a contractor will be free to choose the treatment that works best for your kitchen.

You'll have almost unlimited options when it comes to completing the look of unfinished kitchen cabinets. The first and by far the easiest choice is to leave them in their stark, natural, unfinished state. Unfinished cabinets tend to give a kitchen a welcoming, rustic, casual feel, and certain types of wood like cherry, mahogany and ivory offer a high-quality unfinished appearance.

Your next option is to stain the cabinets, or add a veneer. Staining is more labor intensive, but it has a more natural look than a veneer, and the range of stain colors is much more diverse than the range of veneer colors.

Finally, you may choose to paint your unfinished kitchen cabinets. Again, you'll have every color in the rainbow and unlimited combinations thereof to choose from. If you do choose to paint, just be certain beforehand that you're willing to mask the wood's natural grain and appearance—or some version of it in combination with a stain—in favor of a particular paint color.

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