How Do You Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

How Do You Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

November 20, 2023 0 By Janette Watts

While painting cabinets can bring new life and refresh them, if they have become worn-down or irreparably damaged it might be best to consider replacing them altogether.

Ultimately, when selecting the ideal oil-based paint to use on your walls, choose one with hard drying time that resists dirt and stains as well as one that offers built-in primer capabilities.


If you’re spending the time and money to paint your cabinets, don’t neglect priming. Priming provides a solid base for new paint to adhere to; additionally, this layer prevents chips and peeling in moisture-prone areas of your kitchen.

Oil-based primer helps the paint adhere to the surface more securely and also has stain-blocking capabilities to hide knots and wood tannins that seep through paint, but has an unpleasant odor, requires mineral spirits for cleanup, and takes longer than latex primer to dry.

Water-based primers offer many advantages: they clean up easily with soap and water, are available with low or no VOC emissions formulas, dry faster than oil primers and can be applied to most surfaces, including drywall. Plus, rolling is faster for larger surfaces.


Kitchen cabinets can become worn-down over time from grease, steam and food splatter. Maintaining them can be expensive; painting your cabinet doors instead can give your kitchen a whole new look at a fraction of the cost associated with replacing or refacing.

Cabinet paint is specifically formulated to be more resilient than wall paint and less likely to crack, chip, and stain over time. Therefore, it’s wise to consult a local professional regarding selecting an ideal primer and tint combination for your project.

Experts advise starting by painting the cabinet doors and drawer fronts first, followed by cabinet sides and outer face frame fronts. Once these are complete, you can move on to painting other areas of your kitchen. When painting these areas, be mindful not to get paint anywhere it shouldn’t go; cover or tape off anything that shouldn’t get wet with paint and number each door that’s removed as part of this process so you know which belongs where when complete.

Finishing Touches

Selecting the proper paint for cabinets is of utmost importance in creating an enduring finish, resistant to moisture, stains, and everyday wear and tear. Failing this step may result in chips or peeling prematurely in your finished product.

Use of a high-quality primer designed specifically for cabinetry is also key. A proper primer can help smooth out surfaces and ensure uniform colors.

If the cabinets have any cracks or dents, fill them with Bondo wood filler before priming and painting the area smooth. Patience is key when repainting cabinets as it takes time for both primer and top coats to cure properly.

Once all the coats of paint have dried, it is time to reinstall cabinet hardware – this will complete your newly painted kitchen cabinets and tie the room together!


Cabinet painting can be a difficult and time-consuming project, so for optimal results it is wise to work in an area with good ventilation so as to avoid breathing in fumes or particles from the air. Opening windows and using fans may help clear out the space while you should also lay down a drop cloth to protect the floor from drips and dust.

Before painting begins, if possible, remove and store all cabinet doors, drawers and hardware in an alternate room or garage to protect them from becoming dirty or damaged while they await installation. This will also allow time for drying when it comes time to reassemble them afterward.

Start by painting cabinet openings and inside edges, followed by outer cabinet sides and face frame fronts. Don’t forget any individual wood pieces or moldings either! Be aware that improper application could leave an unsightly mess that requires professional assistance to fix. Vacuuming and sanding between coats is crucial to ensure optimal results – just use appropriate grit sandpaper!