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How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets for a Fresh Look

Are you tired of the outdated look of your kitchen cabinets? Painting kitchen cabinets is a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a fresh new look. Whether you want to update the color of your cabinets or simply refresh their appearance, learning how to paint kitchen cabinets can be a rewarding and transformative DIY project. In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of painting your kitchen cabinets to achieve professional-looking results. Follow these instructions and soon you’ll be enjoying a kitchen that feels brand new!

Materials You Will Need

Before you start painting your kitchen cabinets, gather the following materials:

  1. Screwdriver
  2. Sandpaper (80-grit and 120-grit)
  3. Tack cloth
  4. Painter’s tape
  5. Drop cloth or plastic sheeting
  6. Primer
  7. Paint brushes
  8. Paint roller
  9. High-quality paint in your desired color
  10. Polyurethane sealer (optional)

Step 1: Preparation is Key

Preparing your cabinets is the most crucial step in achieving a professional finish. Follow these steps for a successful preparation process:

  1. Remove all cabinet doors and hardware using a screwdriver.
  2. Lay them on a flat surface, preferably covered with a drop cloth or plastic sheeting.
  3. Clean the cabinets thoroughly with a mild detergent and warm water to remove grease and grime.
  4. Sand the surfaces of the cabinets with 80-grit sandpaper. This will remove any existing finish or varnish and create a rough surface for the primer to adhere to.
  5. After sanding, wipe down the cabinets with a tack cloth to remove any dust or debris.

Step 2: Apply Primer

Priming your cabinets is essential for achieving a smooth and lasting finish. Follow these steps for primer application:

  1. Apply painter’s tape to protect any areas you don’t want to paint, such as hinges or glass inserts.
  2. Use a paintbrush or roller to apply a thin, even coat of primer to the cabinet doors and frames.
  3. Allow the primer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This usually takes a few hours.
  4. Lightly sand the primed surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper to create a smooth base for the paint.

Step 3: Paint Your Cabinets

Now it’s time to apply the paint color of your choice. Follow these steps for painting your kitchen cabinets:

  1. Stir the paint thoroughly to ensure an even color distribution.
  2. Begin by using a brush to paint the surface areas that are hard to reach with a roller, such as the corners and edges of the cabinets.
  3. Use a roller to apply a thin, even coat of paint to the remaining areas. Roll in smooth, overlapping strokes to avoid any streaks or visible brush marks.
  4. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second coat. This will ensure a more durable finish.
  5. If desired, lightly sand the painted surfaces between coats for a smoother finish.
  6. Apply additional coats as necessary until you achieve the desired color and coverage.
  7. Allow the final coat to dry completely before reattaching the cabinet doors and hardware.

Step 4 (Optional): Apply a Protective Sealer

To protect your newly painted cabinets from everyday wear and tear, consider applying a polyurethane sealer. Follow these steps for application:

  1. Ensure the painted surfaces are clean and dry.
  2. Apply a thin, even coat of polyurethane using a brush or roller.
  3. Allow the sealer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Lightly sand the sealed surfaces with fine sandpaper for a smooth finish.
  5. Apply additional coats of polyurethane as necessary for added durability and protection.


Q: Can I paint over laminate kitchen cabinets?
A: Yes, you can paint over laminate cabinets. However, it’s important to properly prepare the surface by cleaning and sanding it before applying primer and paint.

Q: How long does it take to paint kitchen cabinets?
A: The time it takes to paint kitchen cabinets will depend on various factors, including the size of your kitchen and the complexity of the cabinet design. Generally, it can take a few days to complete the entire process.

Q: Do I need to remove the cabinet doors to paint them?
A: It is recommended to remove the cabinet doors and hardware before painting them. This allows for easier access and ensures a more professional finish.


Painting kitchen cabinets is a fantastic way to rejuvenate your kitchen without breaking the bank. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can achieve a professional-looking finish that will transform the overall appearance of your kitchen. Remember to take your time, properly prepare the cabinets, and use high-quality materials for the best results. So go ahead and unleash your creativity, and soon you’ll have a kitchen you can be proud of!

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