How To Paint Melamine Cabinets

If you're looking for a budget-friendly way to give your kitchen a fresh, updated look, painting your melamine cabinets can be a great option. Melamine is a type of plastic that is often used to make cabinets and other furniture, and it can be challenging to paint due to its smooth, non-porous surface.

However, with the right preparation and techniques, you can achieve a beautiful, long-lasting finish that will transform your space.

Before you dive in, it's important to understand that painting melamine cabinets requires some extra steps compared to painting wood or other surfaces. You'll need to take the time to properly prepare the cabinets, choose the right paint and primer, and use the correct painting techniques to ensure a smooth and durable finish.

In this article, we'll walk you through everything you need to know to successfully paint your melamine cabinets, from prepping the surface to adding the finishing touches.

Key Takeaways

  • Proper preparation and techniques are crucial for a beautiful and long-lasting finish when painting melamine cabinets.
  • Using a primer specifically designed for melamine surfaces and tinting it to match the chosen paint reduces the number of coats needed.
  • High-quality, oil-based enamel paint with a semi-gloss or gloss finish is recommended for painting melamine cabinets.
  • Upgrading cabinet doors and hardware, adding decorative elements, and considering the color of walls can all enhance the overall look of the room.

Prepping Your Cabinets

You'll need to start by cleaning and sanding your cabinets before you can paint them. First, remove all cabinet doors and hardware to make sure you can easily reach every surface.

Next, thoroughly clean the cabinets with a cleaning solution that's designed to remove grease and grime. It's important to clean all areas of the cabinets, including the corners and edges, to ensure that the paint adheres properly. Once you've cleaned the cabinets, allow them to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

After the cabinets have dried, you can begin sanding. Use a sanding technique that's appropriate for the type of melamine your cabinets are made from. For example, if your cabinets have a glossy finish, use a fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough surface that'll help the paint adhere. If your cabinets are already matte, use a coarser sandpaper to remove any imperfections or rough spots.

Sanding will help ensure that the paint adheres evenly and smoothly, so take your time and be thorough. With your cabinets cleaned and sanded, you're now ready to move on to the next stage and choose the right paint and primer for your project.

Choosing the Right Paint and Primer

When it comes to painting melamine cabinets, selecting the right primer is crucial. It ensures a smooth and durable finish. Look for a primer specifically designed for melamine surfaces to ensure proper adhesion. This also helps prevent chipping or peeling.

Choosing the right paint is equally important in achieving a professional-looking result. Opt for a high-quality, durable paint that's formulated for use on cabinets. This ensures it can withstand daily wear and tear.

Selecting a Primer for Melamine Surfaces

Choosing the right primer for melamine cabinets is crucial to ensure a smooth and durable paint finish that'll last for years to come. When selecting a primer, you have the option of using either a spray or brush application. While spray application may be faster and more efficient, brush application allows for greater control and better coverage in hard-to-reach areas.

In addition, you may want to consider tinting your primer to match the color of your chosen paint. This can help to reduce the number of coats needed and ensure a more accurate color match.

Overall, selecting the right primer for your melamine cabinets is an essential step in achieving a high-quality paint finish. With the right primer and application method, you can ensure a long-lasting and professional-looking result.

Moving forward, let's discuss how to choose the right paint for your project.

Choosing the Right Paint

It's important to remember that the color of your walls can greatly impact the overall mood and ambiance of your room.

When choosing the right paint for your melamine cabinets, you should consider the color options that will complement your room's aesthetic.

You can choose a color that matches the walls for a cohesive look, or you can select a contrasting color to make your cabinets stand out.

Aside from color options, it's also essential to consider the paint finish.

For melamine cabinets, it's recommended to use a high-quality, oil-based enamel paint with a semi-gloss or gloss finish.

This type of paint provides a durable and easy-to-clean surface that can withstand the wear and tear of daily use.

With the right color and finish, your melamine cabinets can look brand new, and you'll be ready to move on to the next step - painting your cabinets!

Painting Your Cabinets

To get started, you'll want to clean your cabinets thoroughly before painting them. This step is crucial in ensuring that the paint adheres to the surface properly.

Start by removing all the hardware and doors from the cabinets. Use a mild soap and water to clean the cabinets, making sure to remove any dirt, dust, or grime. After washing, rinse the cabinets with clean water and let them dry completely.

Once your cabinets are dry, it's time to start painting. You can use a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer to apply the paint. Start with a primer to ensure that the paint sticks to the surface.

After the primer has dried, apply your chosen color of paint. You may need multiple coats to achieve the desired look.

After the final coat has dried, you can reattach the doors and hardware to complete the project. With the painting done, you can now move on to adding finishing touches to your newly painted cabinets.

Adding Finishing Touches

To add those finishing touches to your newly painted melamine cabinets, consider replacing the cabinet doors and hardware to give your kitchen a fresh new look. You can choose from a range of styles and finishes to complement your new cabinet color.

Additionally, don't forget to touch up any imperfections on the cabinets to achieve a flawless finish. Taking these steps will ensure your kitchen looks its best and is ready for everyday use.

Replacing Cabinet Doors and Hardware

You can easily give your cabinets a new look by swapping out the old doors and hardware. When measuring for replacement doors, make sure to measure the height, width, and thickness of each existing door. It's also important to measure the distance between the screw holes for the hinges and handles. This will ensure that the new doors fit properly and the hardware can be installed in the correct location.

Once you have the correct measurements, it's time to select your new doors and hardware. Look for doors that match the style and color of your existing cabinets. When installing the hardware, make sure to use a level to ensure that the handles and knobs are perfectly straight. If you're installing new hinges, use a drill to make pilot holes before screwing them in.

With new doors and hardware in place, your cabinets will look brand new. Moving on to the next step, you can touch up any imperfections in the cabinet surface to complete the transformation.

Touching Up Any Imperfections

After replacing the cabinet doors and hardware, it's important to give the surface a once-over to fix any imperfections that may be present. This step will ensure that your newly painted cabinets will look flawless.

Start by fixing scratches and dings on the surface of the cabinets. You can use wood filler to fill in any small scratches or dings. For deeper scratches, sanding the area with a fine-grit sandpaper will help to smooth out the surface.

Once you have filled in any imperfections, it's time to sand the cabinets. Sand the surface lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough surface for the primer to adhere to. Sanding the cabinets will also help to remove any remaining residue from the surface of the cabinet.

By following these simple sanding techniques, your cabinets will be ready for the next step of the painting process. In order to maintain your newly painted cabinets, it's important to follow a few simple steps.

Maintaining Your Newly Painted Cabinets

Don't forget to regularly wipe down your cabinets with a soft cloth to keep them looking fresh. After all the hard work you put into painting them, it's important to maintain their appearance.

Here are some cleaning tips to help you keep your newly painted melamine cabinets looking their best:

  • Use a mild cleaning solution: Avoid using harsh chemical cleaners that could damage the finish of your cabinets. Instead, opt for a mild solution of warm water and a gentle dish soap.

  • Avoid abrasive materials: When cleaning your cabinets, avoid using abrasive sponges or cleaning tools that could scratch the surface. Stick to a soft cloth or sponge that won't damage the finish.

  • Dry thoroughly: After cleaning your cabinets, be sure to dry them thoroughly with a clean cloth to prevent water spots or damage to the finish.

In addition to regular cleaning, you can also add decorative elements to your cabinets to keep them looking fresh and stylish. Consider adding new hardware or updating the knobs and handles to give your cabinets a new look. You can also add decorative molding or trim to the edges to give them a custom, high-end look.

With a little maintenance and attention to detail, your newly painted melamine cabinets can look great for years to come.


Congratulations, you've successfully transformed your melamine cabinets with a fresh coat of paint! The hard work and attention to detail you put into prepping, choosing the right materials, and painting have paid off.

Now, it's time to add the finishing touches that will truly make your cabinets shine. To further enhance the look of your newly painted cabinets, consider adding new hardware such as knobs and pulls. This is an easy and affordable way to give your cabinets a modern and updated look.

Additionally, you can add a coat of polyurethane to protect your cabinets from scratches and wear and tear. Just make sure to wait at least 24 hours after painting before applying any additional finishes.

As you stand back and admire your newly painted cabinets, take a moment to appreciate the hard work and effort you put into this project. Not only have you saved yourself the cost of replacing your cabinets, but you've also added value to your home.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you've successfully transformed your melamine cabinets into a beautiful and updated feature in your home.

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