I’ve wanted to do something with my cabinets since I moved in. That was 15 years ago. I’m a slow mover on my own. I called in “the girls” to brainstorm and make a plan. ~MJ
- Can’t afford to replace the cabinets. Is there anything we can do?
- They are in good shape and function fine. How do I justify a change?
- Could those darn things even be painted?
- Paint ‘em and change the knobs and pulls.
- Poke around online initially. We searched for “painting kitchen cabinets”.
- Talk with quality paint suppliers about cabinet paints. We took a door in to them so they knew what we were working with.
- Just try it, what the heck.
How we did it:
Step 1: Select a color. We got several sample pints (any brand will do) and test painted 1’x2’ or larger boards. It was worth it to see the colors options large, with my lighting, in my kitchen.
Step 2: Remove the cabinet doors from the boxes. “Boxes” are things you put your dishes in. They are fixed to the wall. You could think of them as the frame. We marked each box and corresponding door so we’d know where to return them.
Step 3: Fill the existing handle holes with spackling paste (since I wanted to replace/reposition the hardware).
Step 4: Sand the surfaces just enough to rough it up. Safety first! We used dust masks.
Step 5: Remove sanding dust with Tack Cloth.
Step 6: Set-up a factory style painting area. We used my basement table and a sawhorse set-up. Laid the doors horizontally to reduce the possibility of paint drips.
Step 7: Lunch
Step 8: Prime (with tinted primer) the surfaces being careful not to leave drips. Quick even strokes, but don’t overwork it. Paint like you know what you are doing. We had one person priming the boxes up in my kitchen and other 2 of us priming the doors and drawers in the basement.
Step 9: Paint ‘em. Mine needed 2 coats, even with the tinted primer.
Step 10: Install new hardware and put the doors back on the painted boxes.
I ended up painting the walls as well. Oh, and that is a new dishwasher – mine had been broken for years and I found one on sale.
Someday I’ll replace my fridge. Could be another 15 years.
- 150 grade sandpaper
- Benjamin Moore Kitchen & Bath satin-finish paint
- Benjamin Moore Superior Primer
- Tack Cloth
- Spackle paste (non-shrinking)
- 2” and 3” quality paint brushes
- Satin Nickle finish pulls and knobs. I bought mine with credit card bonus points. Score!
- Dust masks
What can go wrong:
Drips. If that happens:
- After the paint is dry, use 220 grit sand paper to lightly sand the drip and the surrounding area.
- Run your finger across the area to make sure it is smooth. Remove sanding dust with a tack cloth.
- You’ll need to prime again if you sanded down to the original surface.
- Lightly paint sanded area.
Lead is deadly.
- It’s a good idea to get your paint tested for lead if you are not sure it is lead free.
- We’ve used NVL Laboratories in Seattle, but there are others. It’s worth it and is cheap insurance ($30-$40) against brain damage.
Counter depth caution:
- If you are replacing appliances make sure your countertop depth is deep enough. Countertops in older homes are sometimes not standard depth.
It was daunting to start. But the girls showed up and we immediately started removing doors and drawers. Before I knew it, we were on our way.
After the initial work party everything seemed to fall into place. I worked in the multiple coats of paint over that week and rehung the doors/drawers the following week. Ta da! After 2 weeks and about $200 in paint and supplies my 15-year old procrastination was over. Over, I say!
I’m not certain about the long-term durability. I’ll let you know how it all holds up over time. Stay tuned.