Friday, March 29

Painting Cabinets DIY

Happy Friday to us all! If you were here last week, you probably saw my kitchen update with our spiffy white cabinets (and this post about how we updated the cabinet doors).

I am SO glad that we painted them and so glad we chose white. They look like new cabinets and the white is so bright in a room that doesn't get a ton of daylight. Here's a little before/after action:

So today we're going to go through the nitty gritty details of our cabinet painting adventure. Not a super fun read, but hopefully helpful if you've considered painting your cabinetry. Let's start with a shopping list:
  • Deglosser (for getting any shine off pre-finished cabinets so the primer will stick better. you won't need it for raw cabinetry like the ones we built, but we did use it on our existing cabinetry.)
  • Sandpaper (a power sander would be a great investment if you have a lot of cabinetry!)
  • Primer (we used Benjamin Moore's Aqua Lock)
  • Paint (we used Benjamin Moore's Aura in Marscapone)
  • Dropcloths
  • Painting supplies (brushes, small foam rollers, paint trays, tape, etc.)

Our first step was sanding. A power sander is a big help for this! For the pre-finished cabinetry we sanded it enough to rough things up a little. Our new cabinetry needed a little more sanding to get everything nice and smooth before painting (check out our door makeover here). This will get dusty, so if you're able to take the doors outside to sand them... do it!

Next was deglossing all our existing cabinetry. Pretty much anything with a finish on it. It was an easy step, just brushing a couple coats onto the cabinets and the doors, front and back. This is definitely an outside job as it's kind of fumy, for the built in parts be sure you have lots of ventilation. I've heard there are no-VOC versions, but I couldn't find any locally. Boo. 

Then it was time to prime. We ended up using Aqua Lock primer, which is also by Benjamin Moore and was recommended at the store. It's stain blocking, water based, and low odor. Plus it only takes one coat! We just used a small foam roller for most of the work, and a beveled brush for any small spaces and edging.

We laid out all the doors on a drop cloth in the basement since the weather was already cold (note to self: save painting for the summertime!). It helped to use a couple 2x4 boards to bump them up off the floor while we painted the edges. We started with the back, then let them dry before we flipped them over to prime the front sides.

After waiting a couple days for the primer to cure, we were finally ready to start painting! We were so naively excited. We had no idea what we were in for. ;) We used a top of the line Benjamin Moore paint called Aura because we're really trying to get this to hold up for the long haul. It has a built-in primer which makes the wood even less likely to bleed through, plus it's low odor! The color was called Marscapone. I wanted a creamier white, nothing too stark, so I narrowed it down to a few I liked and then picked the one with the best name. Very scientific. FYI, any colors named after food are 10x more likely to make the cut. We ended up doing 3 coats on the cabinetry to make sure it had good coverage. We started with the back of the doors again (so if they get scuffed when we turn them over it's not such a big deal since no one will see that side anyway) and did two coats, waiting at least the recommended amount of time in between. We let them cure for several days before flipping them over to paint the fronts, which got 3 coats like the cabinetry.

We actually spent several days on the whole painting process. We did a coat at a time in the evenings after B went to bed.

I guess that's pretty much it. It's not very complicated, just takes a bit of a time commitment and some quality paint. And yes, I'm still leaning towards repainting the walls. Probably a lighter version of the green we used in the living room. I want something light since the room tends to be dark, but I feel like the yellow makes it feel all dreary and casts a yellow tinge on everything when the lights are on. I'm just really not crazy about it.

We still have loose ends to tie up, but I feel like we're closer to the end than the beginning. Which is a nice change. :) Here are a few more pics of our new kitchen vibe:

I really like the direction we're headed. Hopefully we get there soon. :) What have you guys been up to lately?


  1. It's looking so great, I love it! I also love the details you added to the cabinets to give them all a similar look. Really nice. I can't wait to see what you do next!! ~Angela~

    1. Hey Georgia! Looks great :) I was just wondering what materials you used to put the detail on the front of the cabinets? I am looking to add something like that to mine but I have no idea where to start!

    2. We used a thin plywood cut into strips - you can see how here:

      It's a great way to dress up your cabinets for a low cost!!

  2. Thanks for the share, I've been postponing painting my kitchen cabinets for a few weeks now. Great motivator!

    1. It's definitely and easy project to postpone... :) Let me know how it goes when you get started!