How To Paint Old Kitchen Cabinets

Are your old kitchen cabinets looking worn out and outdated? If you're not ready to replace them, painting them is a cost-effective way to give them a new look. With the right tools and some patience, you can transform your old kitchen cabinets into something fresh and modern.

Before you get started, gather all the supplies and tools you'll need. You'll need sandpaper, a screwdriver, primer, paint, a paintbrush, and a roller. Make sure to also have a drop cloth to protect your floors and some painter's tape to cover any areas you don't want to get paint on.

Once you have everything you need, it's time to start the process of painting your old kitchen cabinets.

Key Takeaways

  • Prepping the cabinets properly is essential for a successful paint job, including removing hardware, cleaning with degreaser and sanding the surface lightly.
  • Choosing the right primer and paint is important, with options such as oil-based, water-based, and shellac-based primers depending on the condition of the cabinets and colors that complement the kitchen's style and color scheme.
  • Applying paint in thin, even coats is crucial, and patience is required for each layer to dry before reinstalling doors and hardware.
  • Painting old kitchen cabinets can be a cost-effective DIY project that can bring new life to the kitchen and increase the home's value.

Gather Your Supplies and Tools

You'll need to gather all your supplies and tools before you can transform those old kitchen cabinets into a work of art. First, choose paint colors that will complement your kitchen décor. You could opt for classic white or go bold with a bright pop of color.

Make sure you also have all the necessary prepping supplies, such as sandpaper, painter's tape, and a degreaser.

Once you have your colors and prepping supplies, it's time to prep the surfaces. Remove all cabinet doors and hardware, including hinges and knobs. Clean the surfaces thoroughly with a degreaser to remove any built-up grime or grease.

Sand the surfaces lightly to create a rough texture that will help the paint adhere better. With all surfaces prepped, you're ready to move on to the next step of transforming your old kitchen cabinets.

Remove Cabinet Doors and Hardware

First things first, take off the cabinet doors and hardware to make the painting process much easier and smoother. This step is crucial as it allows you to access all the parts of your cabinets that need painting.

Use a screwdriver or drill to remove the screws on the hinges and pull the doors off gently. Place them on a flat surface, making sure to label them so you know where they belong when it's time to reattach them.

As for the hardware, use a screwdriver or drill to remove them from the cabinets. It's important to keep them in a safe place to avoid losing them. Consider storing them in a labeled plastic bag or container. If you plan on replacing them, you can dispose of the old hardware properly. Proper disposal may include recycling or donating them to a local charity or thrift store.

Once you've removed the doors and hardware, you're ready to move onto the next step: priming your cabinets.

Prime Your Cabinets

Now that your cabinets are stripped bare, it's time to give them the love and attention they deserve with a flawless primer coat that will ensure your cabinets look brand new. Applying primer is an essential step in the painting process, as it helps to seal the wood and create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. Here are some tips and tricks for applying primer and choosing the right one for your cabinets.

Firstly, it's important to choose the right primer for your cabinets. There are several types of primers available, including oil-based, water-based, and shellac-based. Oil-based primers are great for cabinets that have been previously painted or have a lot of stains or discolorations, while water-based primers are ideal for cabinets that are new or have minimal damage. Shellac-based primers are great for cabinets that have a lot of knots or damage, as they help to seal the wood and prevent any bleed-through. Once you've chosen your primer, be sure to apply it in thin, even coats using a brush or roller, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Now that your cabinets are primed and ready, it's time to move on to the fun part - painting!

Paint Your Cabinets

Once the primer has dried, it's time to add a pop of color and personality to your refreshed cabinetry. Choosing the right color can be overwhelming, but don't fret!

Start by considering the overall style and color scheme of your kitchen. Are you going for a classic look or a more modern feel? Neutral colors like white, gray, and beige are always a safe bet, but don't be afraid to add a bold pop of color like navy blue or forest green for a statement piece. Remember to also consider the size and lighting of your kitchen, as darker colors can make a small space feel even smaller.

Before you start painting, make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials, including paint, brushes, rollers, and painter's tape. For a smooth finish, start by painting the edges and corners of the cabinets with a brush before using a roller to cover the larger surfaces. Apply thin coats of paint and allow each coat to dry completely before adding another layer. Don't rush the process and be patient for the best results.

Once you finish painting, let the cabinets dry for at least 24 hours before reinstalling the doors and hardware.

Transitioning into the next section, reinstalling the doors and hardware will complete the transformation of your kitchen cabinets.

Reinstall Doors and Hardware

With a fresh coat of color on your cabinetry, the finishing touch is to reinstall the doors and hardware, bringing new life to your kitchen.

Before reinstalling the doors, make sure to adjust the hinges if necessary. If your doors were previously rubbing or not closing properly, now's the time to fix that. Use a screwdriver to loosen or tighten the screws on the hinges until the doors are aligned and closing smoothly.

Next, update the knobs or pulls on your cabinet doors and drawers. This is a great opportunity to add a new style or finish to your kitchen.

If you're replacing the hardware, make sure to measure the distance between the holes on the cabinet doors and drawers to ensure the new hardware will fit properly. Once you have the new hardware, simply screw it into place, and your newly painted cabinets will look complete and refreshed.


Congratulations! You've successfully transformed your old kitchen cabinets into a stunning new feature in your home. By following these simple steps, you've proven that anyone can take on a DIY project and achieve amazing results.

As you stand back and admire your newly painted cabinets, you can't help but feel a sense of accomplishment. The transformation is truly remarkable. Your kitchen now looks like it belongs in a magazine with its fresh, clean, and modern look.

Your friends and family will be amazed at the difference a little bit of paint can make. Not only have you saved a significant amount of money by not having to replace your cabinets, but you've also added value to your home. A freshly painted kitchen is a great selling point and can increase the overall value of your property.

So, pat yourself on the back and enjoy your beautiful new kitchen!

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