What Is The Best Way To Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

If you're looking for a budget-friendly way to update your kitchen, painting your cabinets can be a great DIY project.

Not only is it a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a fresh look, but it's also a satisfying project that you can do on your own.

However, painting kitchen cabinets isn't as simple as just slapping some paint on them.

Proper preparation, priming, and painting techniques are crucial to ensure a smooth and durable finish.

In this blog post, we'll guide you through the best way to paint kitchen cabinets and provide tips for achieving professional-looking results.


Preparation is key to ensuring a successful cabinet painting project.

Skipping this step can lead to disappointing results, such as paint that doesn't adhere properly or peels off easily.

Here are some important preparation steps to take before painting your kitchen cabinets:

  1. Cleaning the cabinets: Before you can start painting, you need to ensure that the cabinets are thoroughly clean. This means removing any built-up grime or grease that may have accumulated over time. Use a degreaser or a mixture of warm water and dish soap to clean the surfaces. Pay particular attention to areas around the handles, as these tend to accumulate the most grime. Be sure to rinse off the cabinets with clean water and let them dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  2. Sanding the cabinets: Sanding is a crucial step to ensure the paint adheres properly to the cabinets. Use fine-grit sandpaper to rough up the surface and remove any glossy finishes. This will help the primer and paint adhere to the surface better. Sand in the direction of the wood grain, using a light touch to avoid damaging the wood. Be sure to wipe off any sanding dust with a clean cloth to ensure a clean surface for painting.
  3. Removing hardware and labeling doors and drawers: Before you can start painting your kitchen cabinets, you'll need to remove all the hardware, including hinges, knobs, and handles. Removing the hardware makes it easier to paint the cabinets and ensures you don't accidentally paint over any of them. You can use a screwdriver or drill to remove the hardware. Place the hardware in a container or plastic bag to keep them organized and avoid misplacing them.

Labeling each door and drawer with a piece of tape and a number will make it easier to put them back in the correct place after painting.

This is particularly important if you have a lot of cabinets, as it can be easy to forget which door goes where.

Label each door and drawer with a number that corresponds to a diagram you've created of the kitchen layout.

This will save you time and frustration during the reassembly process.


When it comes to painting kitchen cabinets, priming is an essential step that is often overlooked.

Priming is important because it provides a smooth and consistent surface for the paint to adhere to, ensuring that your paint job looks professional and long-lasting.

Additionally, it helps to seal the wood, preventing stains or tannins from bleeding through the paint.

Without priming, the final result may look uneven or splotchy, with visible brush strokes or roller marks.

There are several types of primers available on the market, including oil-based, water-based, and shellac-based.

Each type of primer has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it's important to consider the type of surface you're painting and the type of paint you'll be using before making a choice.

For example, if you're painting over a surface with stains or tannins, an oil-based or shellac-based primer may be the best choice to prevent bleeding through the paint.

Water-based primers, on the other hand, are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and dry quickly, making them a good choice for those who are sensitive to chemical odors.

When it comes to applying primer to cabinets, it's important to apply it evenly and thinly using a high-quality brush or roller.

Avoid applying too much primer, as this can lead to a thick and uneven surface.

It's better to apply multiple thin coats of primer than one thick coat.

Also, make sure to sand lightly between coats to remove any imperfections and to ensure the surface is smooth.

Let the primer dry completely before moving on to painting.

This will help ensure that your paint job looks smoother and more durable.

Proper priming will help ensure that your painted cabinets look great for years to come.

It may take some extra time and effort, but the end result will be worth it.

With the right type of primer and proper application techniques, your cabinets will look like they were painted by a professional.


When it comes to painting kitchen cabinets, choosing the right type of paint is crucial.

There are several different types of paint available on the market, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Here are some of the most common types of paint used for cabinet painting:

  1. Oil-based paint: Oil-based paint is known for its durability and resistance to wear and tear. It provides a hard finish that is easy to clean, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas like the kitchen. However, oil-based paint takes longer to dry than other types of paint and requires solvents for cleanup.
  2. Water-based paint: Water-based paint is a popular choice for those who are sensitive to chemical odors. It dries quickly and is easy to clean up with soap and water. However, it may not be as durable as oil-based paint and can be prone to chipping or peeling.
  3. Chalk paint: Chalk paint is a versatile paint that is known for its matte finish and ability to adhere to almost any surface without the need for sanding or priming. It is easy to distress for a vintage or shabby chic look. However, it may not be as durable as other types of paint and may require wax or sealant for protection.

When it comes to applying paint to cabinets, there are several tips to keep in mind.

First, use high-quality brushes or rollers to ensure a smooth and even finish. It's also important to apply the paint in thin, even coats to avoid drips or streaks.

Additionally, make sure to work in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.

Finally, it's important to apply multiple coats of paint to ensure a durable and long-lasting finish.

The number of coats required will depend on the type of paint you're using and the color you're covering.

Generally, 2-3 coats of paint are recommended for best results.

Be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying the next one.

Drying and Reassembly

Once you've finished painting your kitchen cabinets, it's important to allow the paint to dry and cure properly before reassembling them.

Here's what you need to know about drying and reassembly:

  1. Drying and curing time: The drying time for paint can vary depending on the type of paint you're using and the temperature and humidity of the room. In general, it's best to wait at least 24 hours before touching the cabinets to avoid smudging or damaging the finish. However, it's important to note that the paint may not be fully cured for up to a month after painting. During this time, it's best to avoid heavy use of the cabinets or any contact with wet or damp objects.
  2. Reassembly: Once the paint has dried completely, you can start reassembling your cabinets. Begin by attaching the hardware to the doors and drawers, making sure to use the correct screws and fasteners. Then, replace the doors and drawers in their correct locations, using the labels you created during the preparation process. Double-check that everything is properly aligned and adjusted before tightening the screws and fasteners.
  3. Cleaning up: After you've finished reassembling your cabinets, it's important to clean up properly. Remove any painter's tape or protective coverings from the surrounding area, being careful not to damage the paint. Dispose of any used brushes, rollers, or other painting supplies properly. Wipe down any spills or drips with a damp cloth, and sweep or vacuum any dust or debris from the area.

By following these steps for drying, reassembly, and cleanup, you'll be able to enjoy your newly painted kitchen cabinets for years to come.

Remember to be patient during the drying and curing process, and to take care when reassembling the cabinets to ensure a smooth and functional finish.


Painting kitchen cabinets is a great way to update the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank.

However, it's important to take the time to properly prepare, prime, paint, and reassemble your cabinets to ensure a professional-looking and long-lasting finish.

By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this post, you can achieve great results and enjoy your newly painted cabinets for years to come.

Whether you choose oil-based, water-based, or chalk paint, remember to be patient during the drying and curing process and to take care when reassembling the cabinets.

With a little bit of effort and the right tools and materials, you can transform your kitchen cabinets into a beautiful and functional space that you'll love for years to come.