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How to Paint Laminate Cabinets for a Budget-Friendly Update

Laminate cabinets are a popular choice in many kitchens and bathrooms due to their durable and affordable nature. However, over time, the laminate on these cabinets can start to look worn and outdated. If you’re looking to give your laminate cabinets a fresh new look, painting them can be a cost-effective solution. In this article, we will guide you through the process of painting laminate cabinets, step by step.

1. Preparing the Cabinets

Before starting the painting process, it’s important to properly prepare the cabinets to ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish. Follow these steps:

  1. Remove all cabinet doors and hardware: Take off all the cabinet doors and remove any hardware such as knobs or handles. This will make it easier to paint the cabinets and ensure an even finish.
  2. Clean the cabinets: Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean the cabinets thoroughly. This will remove any dirt, grease, or grime that may affect the paint adhesion. Rinse and dry the cabinets well before moving on to the next step.
  3. Sand the cabinets: This step is crucial in removing the glossy finish of the laminate and creating a surface that the paint can adhere to. Use a fine-grit sandpaper and lightly sand the entire surface of the cabinets, including the doors. Wipe away any dust with a damp cloth.

2. Priming the Surface

Priming the cabinets is an essential step to ensure better adhesion and prevent the paint from peeling or chipping. Follow these guidelines:

  1. Choose the right primer: Look for a primer specifically designed for laminate surfaces. This type of primer will provide better adhesion and enhance the durability of the painted finish.
  2. Apply the primer: Using a high-quality brush or roller, apply a thin, even coat of primer to the cabinets. Make sure to cover all the surfaces, including the edges and corners. Let the primer dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

3. Painting the Cabinets

Now that the cabinets are properly prepped and primed, it’s time to apply the paint. Follow these steps:

  1. Choose the paint: Select a high-quality latex or oil-based paint that is suitable for cabinets. Consider using a satin or semi-gloss finish, as it will be easier to clean and maintain in the long run.
  2. Apply the paint: Start by using a brush to cut in along the edges of the cabinets. Then, use a foam roller to paint the larger surfaces, working in long, even strokes. Make sure to apply thin coats of paint and avoid excessive buildup, which can lead to drips or an uneven finish. Let the first coat dry completely before applying the second coat.
  3. Consider multiple coats: Depending on the color and coverage you desire, you may need to apply multiple coats of paint. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next, following the instructions on the paint can.


Q: Should I sand between coats of paint?

A: Sanding between coats of paint is not always necessary, but lightly sanding the surface can help provide a smoother finish and better adhesion for subsequent layers. Use a fine-grit sandpaper and gently sand the surface before applying each additional coat.

Q: Can I paint over laminate cabinets without priming?

A: While it’s possible to paint laminate cabinets without priming, it’s highly recommended to prime the surface first. Priming helps create a strong bond between the laminate and paint, resulting in a more durable and professional-looking finish.

Q: How long do painted laminate cabinets typically last?

A: When properly prepared and painted, laminate cabinets can last for many years. However, the lifespan of painted laminate cabinets can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the paint used, the preparation process, and how well the cabinets are maintained over time.


Painting laminate cabinets can be a great way to transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom without breaking the bank. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can achieve a beautiful and durable finish that will breathe new life into your cabinets. Just remember to properly prepare the cabinets, use the right primer and paint, and take your time during the process. With a little patience and effort, you’ll soon have stunning, painted laminate cabinets that will enhance the overall aesthetic of your space.

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