Painting Your Cabinets

Getting Started

We all want the white farmhouse kitchen.  I’ve seen the How-to’s and the DIY and read countless articles, talked to multiple folks and finally decided to jump in.  Painting my cabinets was on my to do list since buying my house in 2016 and I knew how I wanted the kitchen to look and feel.  I just had to understand the process and figure out how and WHEN I was going to make it happen.  So in the spring of last year I finally decided that I would roll up my sleeves and start the painting.  I bought all of my supplies during the week so that on my first free weekend (without any birthday parties, wedding showers, or other commitments) I could jump right in.  This project involves no sanding!  There, I said it, I hate sanding and the huge mess that it would have made if I had to sand down all the wood first.


Here’s the list of things you will need before you get started.  I just got all of things off Amazon and bought these supplies.

The prep work

I took some before photos so I could remember what my kitchen looked like even with all the clutter.  There were some glass bottles lining the top of my cabinet above the sink.  At least they weren’t beer bottles right? 🙂 And if you’ll notice, the cabinets, floors and the counter tops just blended in together.  The walls were a beige color, which is what the house was painted with when we bought it and I knew that I would paint them as well during this process. One thing I also knew was that I would not tackle this project all in one weekend.  In some articles that I read people had taken a whole week off work!  Who has the time for that when I’m working full time and two small kids are running around my house.

During the process

The very first thing I thought I would tackle was the island.  That way if I messed it up it could be easily fixed and repainted and hopefully I would learn my lesson there.  I taped the bottom quarter round touching the floor with painters tape and put a drop cloth down around the island.  The front, not shown here, has 2 doors on it.  I removed the cabinet doors from the hinges, took off the hinges and knobs and put them outside to paint. Make sure you aren’t putting them in the direct sunlight, because the paint will dry way too fast and you will have bubbles and streaks.  Now get ready for the real work.  I painted a coat of primer on the top of the doors and then went inside and painted a coat of primer on the whole island including the quarter round on the base, then I went back outside since the tops were dry and flipped them over to paint a coat of primer on the backs of the doors. Then I repeated this step again the following evening.  The next day I painted a coat of the enamel paint on the doors, the island and then the back of the doors.  Just let them dry most of the day, and then repeat in the evening.  To sum it up you will put on 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of enamel paint on the surfaces.

Below are the pictures of the island with first 2 coats of primer and then the island with 2 coats of enamel.  Can you see how bright it already is?  I did add some fancy wood panels to the front of my island but I’ll save that project discussion for another day.  I just didn’t like how boring it looked so I wanted to add some texture to it. The round circle in the middle is a water meter medallion that came from an old house, just to add some extra character.

One thing at a time.

I had to take it in steps.  Once the island was painted, I waited until the following weekend to tackle the top of the cabinets first.  I decided I would complete the entire top before moving to the bottom.  Here is a great note of advice: label your doors!  Each door fits perfectly to where it is hung so the easiest way was to label the door on the inside hole where the hinge was removed so that you know where it came from. Then I did the same as before; took off all the doors, hinges and knobs.  I painted the back and front of the doors and the cabinet facings on the wall. Throw the drop cloth over the counter tops and stove so you don’t get tiny white splashes everywhere. Everything was painted with 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of enamel. The hinges and knobs were added back on and the doors were hung back in place.  Weekend was over, time to rest. I usually painted either when my kids were napping, when they were out of the house for a function or when they went to bed.  I just didn’t want anyone touching, running around or even tossing toys into my labor of love.

I also removed the cabinets off the wall over the sink.  It was 2 cabinets over the fridge and counter and then a strip of wood that connected them.  Go back to my before photos to see that detail in that picture.  Also I had my handy husband cut a couple of 2×6 boards, the length I wanted, and got some brackets to hang them where the cabinets came down.  Hence the open concept that I was looking for.

I  took a break for a couple of weeks and then picked back up to paint the bottom half of the cabinets.  Same process, same steps, just did the cabinets from one side of the counter until I reached the stove.  I taped off the quarter round on the ground and put the drop cloth down so I wouldn’t have any paint drip on the floors. Everything was removed, labeled, and painted with 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of enamel. After it was all dry, the hardware was reattached and the doors were hung back in their place.

Just keep telling yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day.  That’s what I had to do just so I wouldn’t lose my mind. I knew it would be time consuming, but now I understood why people would pay thousands of dollars for someone else to come and complete this in one weekend.


The final reveal

After all the cabinets were painted I still had some leftover gray paint that I had used in my bedroom and decided to use it to repaint the walls of the kitchen.  I don’t remember what color it was because the paint can was all gunked up from the last time it was used. I would like to say that it didn’t need to be painted but when I removed the cabinets I had to patch the holes and then I didn’t have the original paint for the walls.   Finally, I could say it was a completed job.

I didn’t know what I would put over the kitchen window since that space was so open now and felt a bit empty.  I decided I would hang a sign that meant something to me.  Instead of buying one at the local hobby store I decided I would make my own.  AS FOR ME & MY HOUSE WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.  There will be another post on how to make your own signs.

Before and After

Pictures are worth a thousand words and I would do this project over and over again.  I absolutely love how it turned out.  It makes  me proud to be able to say I did it all myself and paid under $150 for all of my supplies.  Now my husband can’t complain that we spent our savings on a kitchen remodel.  I was most impressed by how open it felt, how much bigger it looked and that all of the sudden you can see these beautiful counter tops that were never noticed before hand.




Hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed painting my cabinets.  Would love to have your feedback on it and if you’ve tried it out and what worked for you.

The lifestyle loop blogger

This post contains affiliate links, which I make a small commission to support my crafting habit if you purchase through my listed links.

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