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How to Paint
Kitchen Cabinets

With special contributions from
Pam Haskins of @44marketplace

DIY: Painting Kitchen Cabinets In 5 Easy Steps

If all this extra time spent indoors has you noticing a few household improvement projects that could use a fresh coat of paint (those kitchen cabinets, perhaps?), now is a great time to get them done! You might be wondering, can you paint kitchen cabinets? And to this, we say yes! There are some instances where you probably shouldn’t, but we’ll get to that later.


Besides the fact that we spend roughly 40% more time indoors during the winter months than in the summer, manufacturers are more likely to offer better paint deals in the late fall and winter. And trust us, the quality paint you use for a kitchen cabinet repaint is crucial to how they’ll turn out. Plus, if your cabinets are in good shape, the cost of painting them will be far less expensive than replacing them. All you need to do is throw on your paint clothes, grab your paintbrushes, pick a color, and follow these simple steps for how to paint kitchen cabinets!

Before You Paint…

Assess Your Cabinets

Before you buy all the necessary supplies for painting kitchen cabinets, be sure you should, in fact, paint them. While unfinished, painted, and stained woods are among the best cabinets to repaint, laminates aren’t. You can paint them if you’d like, but don’t be surprised if your paint job lasts just a short time. Also, stained wood and glossy finishes need to be de-glossed before they are repainted.

Choose Your Paint Type

When it comes to painting kitchen cabinets, you have multiple paint options: oil, latex and many specialty paints like chalk paint, acrylic paint, ceramic based and more. The user-friendliness and easy clean-up of latex paint along with the specialty paints make them the more popular choice among homeowners. That’s not to say oil paint doesn’t have its benefits, too! Painting pros will often say oil paint offers a harder, more durable paint film and levels out better for a smoother finish. Latex paints can also take longer (up to three weeks longer than oil) to cure. No matter which you choose, you’ll get a great finish.

Pick the Right Brushes

Believe it or not, the secret for how to get a smooth finish when painting kitchen cabinets with brushes is picking the right ones! A triangle paintbrush is going to be your best friend for tight corners, small surfaces and raised panels, while a chiseled wedge paintbrush will take care of edging, trim and large flat cabinet surfaces. Zibra’s paintbrush kits include several paintbrushes ideal for both oil and latex paint, so you can reuse them for different projects afterward.

Great for detail work
Triangle Paintbrush
$10.50
5 Steps!
1. Prep
Empty and thoroughly clean your cabinets, this is the most important step in the process. There should be no sign of dirt, grease, or sticky food left! Remove all knobs and handles, doors and drawers. Any paint-free surfaces (hinges, countertops, appliances, etc) should be taped off, and any holes or imperfections should be filled with a wood filler and sanded smooth. All cracks and crevasses between cabinet boxes/ trim should be filled with caulk for a more finished look
2. Sand
3. Prime
4. Paint
5. Top Coat
Put it all together!
Make sure you take time to listen to our podcast interview with Pam Haskins of 44 Marketplace, she is an expert at painting kitchen cabinets and offers great advice!

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