How To Paint Unfinished Cabinets

Are you tired of looking at your unfinished cabinets and wishing they had a fresh coat of paint? Painting your unfinished cabinets can be a daunting task, but with the right tools and techniques, you can transform them into a beautiful and modern addition to your home.

In this article, we will guide you through the steps on how to paint your unfinished cabinets, from cleaning and sanding to finishing and protecting them for long-lasting durability.

To start, you will need to clean and sand your cabinets to ensure a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. This step is crucial in achieving a professional and flawless finish.

Once your cabinets are prepped, it's time to choose the right paint and primer for your project. With so many options available, it's important to select a paint and primer that is specifically designed for cabinets to achieve the best results.

In the following sections, we will discuss in detail how to choose the right paint and primer, pick a color and style, apply the paint and primer, and finish and protect your cabinets for a beautiful and long-lasting finish.

Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning and sanding the cabinets is essential before painting.
  • Choosing the appropriate primer and paint for the material of the cabinets is important for a long-lasting finish.
  • Consider the finish and select paint specifically designed for cabinets and trim.
  • Applying a sealing option such as wax, varnish, or polyurethane can protect cabinets and keep them looking their best for years to come.

Clean and Sand Your Cabinets

Before you start painting, make sure to give your cabinets a good cleaning and sanding to ensure a smooth and flawless finish. Prepping surfaces is essential to achieve a professional-looking outcome.

Begin by removing hardware such as knobs, handles, and hinges. This will make the process easier and protect your hardware from getting damaged.

Once you have removed everything, it's time to clean your cabinets thoroughly. Use a mixture of warm water and mild soap to remove any dirt, grime, or grease that may have accumulated over time. Rinse with clean water and let it dry completely.

After cleaning, it's time to sand your cabinets. Sanding will help the primer adhere better to the wood and create a smooth surface. Use a fine-grit sandpaper (120-220 grit) to sand the entire surface of the cabinet, including the corners and edges.

Make sure to sand evenly and avoid leaving any rough spots. Once you have finished sanding, wipe the surface with a damp cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Now that you have prepped your cabinets, it's time to choose the right paint and primer.

Choose the Right Paint and Primer

Ensure a flawless finish by selecting the appropriate primer and paint. The type of primer you choose will depend on the material of your cabinets. If you have unfinished wood cabinets, use a wood primer to help the paint adhere better. If you have laminate cabinets, use a primer specifically made for laminates.

It's important to choose a high-quality primer as it'll help the paint adhere better and last longer. When it comes to choosing the right paint, consider the finish you want. A gloss finish will give your cabinets a shiny, reflective look, while a satin finish will be more muted. Satin finishes are also more forgiving, as they don't show imperfections as much as gloss finishes.

Whichever finish you choose, make sure to select a paint specifically designed for cabinets and trim. Once you have your primer and paint selected, you're ready to move on to the next step: picking a color and style.

Pick a Color and Style

When it comes to picking the perfect color and style for your cabinets, there are a few key points to keep in mind. Consider your personal taste and the overall aesthetic of your home.

Coordinate with your existing decor by selecting a color that complements your furniture and accent pieces. By keeping these factors in mind, you can create a cohesive and stylish look that'll elevate the overall design of your space.

Consider Your Personal Taste

As you envision your dream kitchen, picture the finished cabinets as a canvas for your unique taste and style to come to life. When choosing a color and style for your unfinished cabinets, it's important to consider your personal taste.

Color psychology can play a big role in how you feel in a space, so think about what colors make you happy or calm. DIY hacks like distressing or adding a glaze can also give your cabinets a unique look that reflects your individuality.

If you're someone who loves bold colors, consider painting your cabinets a bright shade like turquoise or red. Alternatively, if you prefer a more classic and timeless look, a neutral color like white or gray can work well. Think about the overall aesthetic you want to achieve in your kitchen and let that guide your decisions.

Remember, your cabinets are a major focal point in the room, so choose a style and color that you love and that will make you happy every time you walk into the space. As you consider your personal taste, it's also important to coordinate with your existing decor.

While you want your cabinets to reflect your individual style, you also don't want them to clash with the rest of the room. Consider the colors and textures of your countertops, backsplash, and flooring, and choose a cabinet color and style that complements them.

This will create a cohesive look in your kitchen and make the space feel more polished and put together.

Coordinate with Your Existing Decor

Don't forget to consider your existing decor when choosing the style and color of your kitchen cabinets. It's important to create a cohesive and visually appealing space that you'll love spending time in.

One way to accomplish this is by mixing and matching the colors and textures of your DIY accessories with your cabinet color. For example, if you have a white cabinet, you can opt for colorful or patterned tiles for your backsplash or use a bold, bright color for your kitchen island.

When coordinating with your existing decor, it's also important to think about the overall style of your kitchen and how your cabinets fit into that aesthetic. If you have a more traditional or rustic kitchen, you might want to choose a wood stain or a muted color. If you have a modern or industrial style, you can go for a sleek, glossy finish or a bold, matte color.

Once you've chosen your cabinet color and style, it's time to apply the paint and primer.

Apply the Paint and Primer

First, you'll want to apply the primer and paint to your unfinished cabinets to give them a beautiful and polished look. Before starting, make sure you have all the necessary materials, including a high-quality paintbrush, sandpaper, primer, and paint.

Begin by sanding the cabinet's surface to remove any rough spots and create a smooth base for the primer to adhere to. Then, apply a thin coat of primer to the entire surface of the cabinet, making sure to cover all areas evenly. Let the primer dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Once the primer is dry, it's time to apply your paint. Choose a high-quality paint that is specifically designed for use on cabinets and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application. Use a paintbrush to apply a thin, even coat of paint to the entire surface of the cabinet.

After the first coat dries, apply a second coat of paint, being careful not to overapply and create drips. Allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step of finish and protect your cabinets.

Finish and Protect Your Cabinets

Now that you've applied the paint and primer to your unfinished cabinets, it's time to move on to the final step in the process: finishing and protecting your cabinets. This step is crucial to ensure that your cabinets look their best and last for years to come.

There are several sealing options available, including wax, varnish, and polyurethane. Each option provides a different level of protection and shine, so it's important to choose the one that best fits your needs.

Wax is the most natural option and provides a soft, matte finish. It's easy to apply and maintain, but it doesn't offer as much protection as other options.

Varnish provides a glossy finish and is more durable than wax, but it can be more difficult to apply and may require more maintenance.

Polyurethane provides the most protection and is the most durable option, but it can be more difficult to apply and may require more time to dry.

No matter which option you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and apply it evenly to ensure a smooth, consistent finish.

Once your cabinets are sealed, be sure to follow proper maintenance tips to keep them looking their best, such as avoiding harsh chemicals and using a soft, damp cloth to clean them regularly.

With these tips, your newly painted cabinets are sure to look beautiful and last for years to come.


Congratulations! You've successfully transformed your unfinished cabinets into beautiful and functional pieces of furniture. You can now enjoy your newly painted cabinets for years to come.

Remember, just like a garden needs constant care and attention to thrive, your cabinets need regular cleaning and maintenance to keep them looking their best.

As the famous saying goes, "A coat of paint can do wonders."Painting your cabinets is like giving them a new lease on life. It's like a facelift for your kitchen or bathroom, making it look fresh and modern. But, just like a facelift, it requires patience, attention to detail, and the right tools to achieve the desired results.

So, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done! Your cabinets are now ready to be admired by all who enter your home.

Don't forget to share your newfound DIY skills with your friends and family, so they too can enjoy the satisfaction of transforming their unfinished cabinets into works of art.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *