When you’re looking for an inexpensive update to your kitchen, consider painting your kitchen cabinets. While newly painted kitchen cupboards look great, the project is not one to take on without considering the work involved. The key to success is knowing how to paint kitchen cabinets.
Why Choose to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?
Painted cabinets can change the way your kitchen looks. Most kitchen cabinets are available in various wood grains, which means they come in different shades of brown. When you paint your cabinets, you have an endless palette of colours at your disposal.
If your kitchen units are looking outdated, you could spend thousands on professionally installed new cabinets. This isn’t always a reality for every homeowner. Instead, with a few litres of paint, you can make your kitchen look new for under £200. If you hire a professional painter, you could spend hundreds.
Home design magazines are loaded with pictures of kitchens painted white, gray, blue, or green. Some have wall units painted one shade, and the floor units painted in a different colour. When clean, prepped and painted correctly, your tired kitchen can look like one that belongs in a magazine.
If you are tired of your old kitchen cabinets, painting them can bring excitement and new life to your kitchen. coloured cabinets can make your appliances pop. If you have an open-planned home, painted kitchen cabinets can make your kitchen coordinate better with the rest of your home.
Preparing the Kitchen
Learning how to paint kitchen cabinets begins with properly preparing the doors and drawers. Remove all of the drawers and doors from your cabinets. Don’t forget to label the drawers and doors so you can return them to their original spots. Use a simple numbering system with masking tape on the drawers, doors, and casings.
Remove Items from Drawers and Cabinets
Some homeowners will completely block off their kitchen while painting the cabinets. Some people can function in a kitchen that doesn’t have any cabinet drawers or doors in place. If you are painting your cabinet shelves and the interior of the drawers, you will need to put everything in a temporary location.
Removing everything from your kitchen will prevent any accidents from happening. After you take the time to remove, clean, sand, and prime your kitchen, you do not want anyone to make a mess of your work. To be safe, move your food prep area to a different room. Setting up a temporary kitchen will allow you work without disruption and save time in the long run.
Cabinet Material Matters
Before buying any products for your kitchen cabinet paint project, figure out what materials your cabinets are made of. Some cabinets are made of fine hardwoods, while others are made of MDF or plastic. Cabinets made of wood require different paints and primers than cabinets made of plastic or MDF.
Organize Your Cabinet Hardware
If you are going to keep the hardware, put each door hinge and handle in a plastic bag. Don’t forget to put the screws in the bag, too. Doing this makes it easier to fit the cabinets back in their proper places.
Cleaning the Cabinets
Then, take the time to clean the exterior finish of your cabinetry. You should use a grease remover to thoroughly clean away all of the grime that builds upon the walls, doors, and drawers of your cabinetry.
Use an abrasive kitchen sponge to get into the decorative ridges and grooves on your cabinets. Clean the front, back, and all of the sides. The doors and drawers closest to the stove and dishwasher tend to get the dirtiest.
After you’ve removed the grease, use a wood filler to fill any pits or scrapes in your cabinets. The flaws might not show up on the wood grain, but they will show when you paint the flat surfaces of your cabinets. Before doing anything else, let the filler dry.
To thoroughly clean your drawers and doors, remove all of the hardware, including the hinges. If you have outdated cabinets, you probably also have outdated handles or knobs. Buying new hardware might bring an added cost to your kitchen cupboard paint project, but it’s worth it.
Newly painted cabinets look even better when new, coordinate hardware is added. Cabinets look terrible when homeowners paint over their hinges instead of removing them.
Tape Surfaces for Safety
The last step before doing any work on your cabinet surfaces is to tape off any areas, like appliances and walls, that you do not want to get paint on. Then, snap some pictures of your kitchen so you can compare them to your new finished look once you’ve completed the project.
Sanding the Surfaces
After the wood filler has dried and you have cleaned your cabinets, the next step is to sand the surfaces. Stained cabinets need sanding so the paint can penetrate the wood. If you don’t sand your cabinets, the new paint might scrape off if you scratch the cabinets.
You should use a sandpaper with a grade between 150 and 200, which is medium-grade sandpaper. These grades are suitable for preparing and finishing. Do some test sanding on the backsides of the cabinets. If the sandpaper scratches the cabinets, use a finer grade. Use a palm sander or a small power sander for the best results. When the sheen is gone, you are done.
After you have sanded the cabinets, clean them again. Use a vacuum cleaner to suck up all of the dust. Then, wipe them with a damp cloth to be sure you have removed all of the fine powder. If you have any dirt on your cabinets, it will show up under the paint, giving it a sandy look.
Priming the Surfaces
Once you have cleaned the surfaces, the next step is to prime them. Use a primer created for blocking stains on wood. Some wood grains have knots that seep into the paint. An oil-based, stain-blocking primer will prevent the knots from showing through the paint. You don’t want to use the same type of primer that you use on plastered walls.
When you prime your cabinets, get every side of the doors, drawers, and bases. Kitchen cupboard paint is easier to apply when you use painter’s pyramids to elevate them. Otherwise, you can only paint one side at a time. Use a two-inch angled brush for the best results.
Most primers are oil-based, so you will not want to use the same brush for priming and painting. If you don’t use painter’s pyramids, start with the back and let that side dry. Then, flip it over and get the front.
Some people like to brush on their primer, then go over it with a foam roller. Brushed-on primer will streak, so the foam roller smooths it out for a clean finish. If you do not use a foam roller after priming, you might have to use fine-grade sandpaper to smooth the brush strokes before you paint.
Painting the Cabinets
The sheer number of paint colours is intimidating. If you cannot choose a paint colour, try a few different colours. Using a piece of poster board, apply the paint, let it dry; then, put the poster board on your cabinet base. Trying out different colours makes it easier to commit to one. No one wants to repaint if the colour is wrong.
Along with choosing a colour, you have to pick the best kitchen cupboard paint. When learning how to paint kitchen cabinets, experts will give you plenty of advice about the best type of paint to use. The best choice is to pick the paint sheen you like. Since families use kitchens frequently, choose a high-end, durable colour that is easy to clean.
Latex or water-based paint is easiest to use. Matt and eggshell finishes are tough to keep clean, but they look fantastic. Semigloss, gloss, or satin are good choices if you are messy in the kitchen, or you have young children. If you want a matt finish, try chalk paint.
After the primer dries, the next step is to paint. By the time you get to this step, you have probably had your cabinets off for a least three or four days. Start by painting the back of the cabinets. Then, wait for those to dry. After they’ve dried, flip them over and paint the front.
If your cabinets have grooves, you will want to use a brush. To remove the brush strokes on your cabinets, go over the paint with a foam roller. Most likely, you will need at least two coats of paint. Use the foam roller to finish all of the coats. Don’t forget to do the same thing to the frames and faces of your cabinets.
If you prefer to avoid using brushes altogether, you can paint your cabinets with a sprayer. You might want to take the drawers and doors outside for best results. If you use a sprayer for the built-in bases and faces, be sure to tape off everything in your kitchen.
Paint Inside the Cupboards vs. Laying Shelf Liner
When you paint your cabinets, you have some decisions to make. One is whether or not to paint the inside of your cabinets. If you have a lot of cabinets and they are deep, painting them can be a physical challenge. It also means you have to remove all of your dishes to get to the shelves.
Some people prefer to put shelf liner on the shelves or leave them in their natural wood colour. If your shelves have polyurethane on them, you might want to leave them as they are. The polyurethane keeps moisture out of the wood and is difficult to scratch. If you paint the cabinet shelves, the paint might show scratches from your dishes, pots and pans, and canned foods.
Reassembling the Kitchen
After you have painted your kitchen units, the final step is to reassemble. This is exciting because you finally get to see your new kitchen! Hopefully, you labeled all of your cabinets, so they are easy to put back in place.
When you reassemble your cabinets, be careful with your hinges and hardware. It is easy to slip and scratch your cabinets with the screwdriver head. Be patient.
If your kitchen hardware doesn’t look clean, soak the pieces in a one-to-one solution of vinegar and water. After two hours, the hardware will look like new. If more cleaning is needed, use warm water and dishwashing liquid.
After all of the doors and drawers are in place, it’s time for a photoshoot. Show off the after pictures of your project on social media. Or, invite your friends over to celebrate your new kitchen style. Most likely, you’ve spent at least a week painting your kitchen cabinets.
You’ve been patient, and you learned how to paint kitchen cabinets. Since you saved yourself hundreds of pounds by doing the project yourself, you might be able to splash out on a few new items for the kitchen. Wouldn’t a new table and chairs or a new set of dishes make your fresh kitchen paint look even better?