When we first moved into this house, we knew that the cabinets were not a color we wanted to keep around. They were a very dark brown with ugly hardware. But we agreed that the shape and style was just what we would probably choose out today. This fact made them a great fit to be painted! I did a lot of research on how to paint cabinets and I was really worried that it would be a long process involving removing everything and lots of sanding. I was not excited about the prospect of being surrounded by open (and admittedly messy) cabinets and I truly despise sanding, I avoid it whenever possible. So I used what I had learned in my research and came up with a solution to all that!
That’s right! I did not remove any doors for this painting project and I did no sanding. Ok, that’s a tiny lie: when I filled in the holes from the previous hardware, I did lightly sand down the spackling. But that took like no time at all and didn’t create a dust storm nightmare so it doesn’t count :)
Painting these cabinets was probably the only route we were ever going to go because our remodeling options in this house are limited. Since we have no idea how long we may be here, we can’t justify spending large amounts of money on these projects. However, having a kitchen that I feel comfortable in, that feels open and clean and that I love is very important to me. I knew I wanted to change a lot and I was really thrilled that the style of these cabinets was something I could happily live with, albeit with a color change.
So it was fantastic that my method for cutting out all that terrible legwork worked out so well! I’ve had these cabinets done for about a month now, which isn’t terribly long I know, but they still don’t have a scuff on them and I don’t foresee that happening. The paint is sturdy and wipes off clean and don’t you just love the color?! It’s Behr Serene Breeze, it took me forever and like 6 samples to decide on a color and I love it! I think the minty/aqua really compliments the vintage stove.
I really considered using the Rustoleum cabinet refinishing kit as it sells itself as being easier and no sanding. However, I didn’t like that I was very limited on my color options (mint was out of the question) and that it wasn’t easy to find in store and I would have to buy it online. Additionally, I figured out that it would cost about twice as much to do my cabinets with that kit as with this method. So I’m really happy I went this route! Its a great option for anyone interested in the ease of the Rustoleum kit but not in their color options or pricing.
- Easy liquid sander deglosser //
- Primer //
- Good quality paint (I used Benjamin Moore Advance in Behr Serene Breeze) //
- Rag //
- Gloves //
- Rollers //
- Brush //
- Screwdriver, flat head //
- Spackling //
- Sandpaper //
1. Figure out the square feet of cabinetry you have, this will depend on how much product you need, although you would need A LOT of cabinents to need more than the amounts I used. I have about 170 square feet of cabinetry and used 1 bottle deglosser, 1 gallon primer and 1 gallon paint, with leftovers of the primer and paint (about a quart left of each).
2. Remove old hardware.
3. Fill holes with spackling.
4. When spackling is dry, take sandpaper to it to get a smooth finish (I used an electric sander).
5. Load liquid sander onto a rag following directions and wipe on your cabinets. I couldn’t believe how easy this was! I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into this step, just rubbed with decent pressure and watched as the gloss came off. Your cabinets should look like the picture above, no longer pretty and even but patchy.
6. Paint the cabinets with primer. I went over everything I could with a roller then I went in with a brush and then, after painting all the cabinets, I opened the cabinets to get the inside of the door and the borders and left them open to dry.
7. Once dry, paint the cabinets. I found I got the best most beautiful finish when I went over them with a brush and then took a dry roller right after the brush to smooth it out. I find rollers can easily leave behind drips and brushes are easier to control that way but I don’t like the stroke marks so this solved both problems.
I did the outsides this way and then opened the cabinets to get the inside and left them open to dry.
I did two coats of paint.
8. Attach new hardware. This was the worst part of the whole thing I think :D seriously, I think its so annoying to attach handles! But so worth it! I actually found mine at a ReStore outlet (those places are THE BEST!) for only $1 a piece. They were basically the exact ones I was going to get at Home Depot for $3 each. So score!
More than any other thing I’ve done to this kitchen, this cabinet change has had the biggest effect on opening up the space and really making it feel brighter. It’s already in an area that isn’t super well lit (which is such a bummer, I think kitchens should have the most natural light of any room!) and so bringing these cabinets to a lighter and happier shade really helped.
Of course I think the floor was the most necessary part of the re-do and helped the most to make the space feel clean (and to alleviate the smells that were bothering my pregnant self) but all-in-all I think I really am most happy with the cabinets. It was the easiest part of the room and is what really pops when you walk into it. This project went off without a hitch and there isn’t a part I look at that bothers me or seems off at all, which I honestly can’t say for the floor or the countertops
Which, speaking of the countertops! I did the feather finish concrete thing and it worked out so wonderfully! I will go a little more into depth on that in another post (where I’ll also share the before pictures and the whole new kitchen) but I won’t do a whole tutorial on it since those abound on the internet.
I was scared of this project but it turned out so well and easy so if you’re planning to paint cabinetry soon, I say go for it! But follow this method and forget all the removal/re-drilling of holes and sanding mess!
Sue J says
I’ve just painted the top half of our kitchen cabinets, too. Not nearly as colourful as yours which are AMAZING by the way, just boring old white (from yucky, orange oak), BUT… I AM planning something a little more daring for the bottom cabinets – almost black. Oooooh! lol Like you, I didn’t bother removing doors (ain’t no-one got time for that) and I didn’t sand, either. Good old Zinsser BIN! ;-) Found you via the FIY on a Budget Facebook Group. Looks like we have a lot in common! Hope to connect with you again soon. Sue J – The World of Suzy Homemaker x
Love your site Sue! And I LOVE the idea of black(ish) cabinets, I love black paint when it’s done right. Can’t wait to see it! I did a lot of searching around for cabinet painting tutorials and even the ones that claimed to be “easy” still had removal of cabinet doors so I’m glad I’m not the only one that thought it was okay to skip this step :)
I really want to paint my cabinets, because the paint is peeling off of them. However, I’m unsure about your tips concerning spackling and sandpaper. Should I do the spackling over the peeling paint or does the peeling paint just get sanded off?
I would definitely try to remove the peeling paint in your case as you won’t be able to just cover that up. This will probably require actual sanding. You can try the liquid sandpaper but I doubt it’ll work for removing peeling paint. The spackling is just to fill in the holes from the old hardware if you are replacing them.
Hope your project works out!