How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?


Wood cabinets have been a kitchen staple for centuries. In kitchens around the world, they’re used to store food and to work on it. They are also used in a large range of ways including serving as work surfaces and shelves, storage space, seating, and more.

However, wood cabinets don’t last forever. Over time, wood wears out and cracks. If you want to extend the longevity of your cabinets and keep them looking their best for longer, painting is one solution you might consider. In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to paint kitchen cabinets: from tips for preparing the surface to tips for applying the base coat and top coat. We’ll also cover tips on protecting your cabinets with a finish such as a varnish or polyurethane after painting them.

Tips for painting kitchen cabinets

Preparing the surface

When painting kitchen cabinets, it is important to prepare the surface. You can use a cleaner or a degreaser to remove any dirt, dust, or grease from the cabinet. After cleaning, you can apply a primer to the surface. This will help improve the overall adhesion of the paint. Next, you can choose a color that matches the walls and trim of your kitchen. It is also a good idea to test the color on a small area before applying it to the entire cabinet. Finally, apply the paint using either a brush or a roller. Once the paint is dry, you can finish the job by adding any desired decals or trim. These steps will help you transform your kitchen into a stylish and functional space.

Preparing the doors and drawers

Before painting your kitchen cabinets, it is important to prepare them for painting. You must remove any hardware or locks if present. If the cabinet is made of wood, sand the surface with 100-grit sandpaper to remove any imperfections. Apply a primer to the entire cabinet before painting. This will help protect the cabinet from damage during the painting process. Choose a color that will harmonize with the rest of your kitchen decor. If you are painting over an existing color, make sure to use a paint with a similar tone and quality.

Paint your cabinets evenly by using a brush or roller. Wipe off any excess paint with a damp cloth or a dry erase marker as you go along to ensure a uniform finish. Remember to take care when cleaning your painted kitchen cabinets, as they may be more prone to scratches and stains.

Preparing the upper panels and trim

If you are planning on painting your kitchen cabinets, it’s crucial to prime and sand the upper panels and trim before painting for a smoother finish and better adhesion. It’s also important to clean the upper panels and trim thoroughly with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt particles before painting. Masking off any areas of the upper panels and trim that should not be painted is a great way to reduce the risk of damage during the painting process. Next, apply a base coat of paint to the upper panels and trim before applying the final coat. This will help ensure the paint covers all surfaces smoothly and evenly.

Paint kitchen cabinets in a timely fashion to avoid any damage to your cabinets and make them look their best.

Applying the base coat

Priming kitchen cabinets is an important step before painting them. The base coat of paint needs to be applied to give the cabinet a smooth and uniform finish. Different types of paint finishes may be used for kitchen cabinets, such as semi-gloss, gloss, or satin finish. Besides, applying a base coat with a sprayer, brush, or roller is recommended. Laminate kitchen cabinets need to be prepped properly with a deglosser before painting. Besides, glazing can be applied on top of painted or stained kitchen cabinets to give them an aged and antique look. Some vintage kitchen cabinet doors may require additional treatments such as painting or staining to look their best.

Applying the top coat

Painted kitchen cabinets are a quick and easy way to update your kitchen. Whether you are updating your cabinets to bring them in line with the latest trends or just looking for a new update, painted kitchen cabinets have many benefits. The best part about painted kitchen cabinets is that they are easy to update and spruce up with a top coat. You can use a protective clear top coating, such as polyurethane, to preserve the finish of the cabinet and make it look like new without replacing or re-painting it.

Glossy finishes are easier to clean and less prone to staining than matte finishes. This makes them more desirable for kitchens where there may be a high level of bacteria or food particles. Additionally, some cabinet companies pre-finish their cabinets with a top coat, which makes painting them much easier and quicker. However, if you decide to paint your own cabinets, it’s important to use the right top coat when applying to painted cabinets to ensure a durable finish.

Painting the cabinets

Before you start painting your kitchen cabinets, it is important to clean the surface with a degreaser. Use a primer to protect the wood from moisture and staining. You can use a quality paint that is designed for wood surfaces. Ensure to coat the cabinets with two coats of paint if needed. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when painting the cabinets as this can damage the finish. After you have finished with the painting, it is important to allow the paint to dry completely before using the kitchen cabinets.

Protecting the cabinets with a finish

When painting your kitchen cabinets, it is important to protect them with a finish. This will help prevent damage to the cabinets over time. There are a variety of finishes that can be used for this purpose, including varnish, lacquer, and polyurethane. These finishes protect the cabinets from scratches and wear and are typically more durable than paint. Before painting your kitchen cabinets, it’s important to test the finish on a small section of the cabinet to ensure that it protects the entire cabinet. When applying the finish, always clean the cabinets thoroughly before painting them so as to avoid any residual dirt or dust. After painting, it’s important to ensure that all traces of the previous finish are completely removed so that you can achieve a uniform look between different sections of the cabinet.

Sanding and finishing the surface

Sanding and finishing kitchen cabinets can be done using a variety of methods. The type of finish applied will depend on the look desired and the type of cabinet being painted. Glazing gives cabinets an aged, antique look, and is applied by wiping off and leaving thicker deposits in the fine details and bevels. Lacquer is applied with a sprayer, brush, or roller and cures to a hard shell with glossy finish. Laminate cabinets are built on top of a medium-density fiberboard with glue-bonded laminate sheets. This type of cabinet is typically made from wood pulp or wood fibers mixed with other materials such as plastic or metal. It has a good lifespan and provides a uniform look across the surface.

Lacquer finishes are best used in climate-controlled spaces since wood expansion and contraction can crack the lacquer.


While it is all about what you want and how much you are willing to spend for painting kitchen cabinets, the most important thing is that you prepare your surface properly. There are a lot of tutorials on YouTube to help you out with this. You can also go through magazines, books, or even ask others who have already painted kitchens for expert advice.  This will ensure that the job gets done perfectly and that there are no unwanted surprises in the long run.