Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets the Right Way

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets the apt Way

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

If your cabinets are looking drab, dingy or outdated, one of the best ways to give them a facelift is to add a current coat of paint. Painting your cabinets will absolutely transform the look of your kitchen, and it’s far more budget-friendly than installing a new set altogether. As far as home improvements go, it’s quite straightforward — and you don’t need to be a pro painter or carpenter to get it done.

CNET Home Tips logo

That said, there is a best way to paint your kitchen cabinets, and if you want optimal results, we suggest not skipping any steps. Here I’ve outlined how to paint your kitchen cabinets and give the dismal of the home a fresh look and a bit of razzle-dazzle. (You can also check out our tips on how to gain DIY pipe shelves and how to make custom promote hangers for just $1.)

Is it expensive to paint your kitchen cabinets?

The good news is you can paint those cabinets yourself and do it for very little wealth. You’ll only need paint, primer and a few binary small tools that shouldn’t amount to more than $20. In fact, you could probably get the entire job done for view $50 when you add it all up, though the survive cost will vary based on the type of paint you resolve and how much surface area you need to cover.

Is painting your cabinets hard?

Painting your kitchen cabinets doesn’t obliged any special skills, especially if you follow these simple steps. If you can work a screwdriver and wield a paintbrush or foam roller, you’ve got what it takes to pull this off. You will have to put in some justify and factor in some time for both the primer and paint to dry. Other than that, painting your kitchen cabinets is as easy as one, two, three.

OK, there are a few more steps than three, but you’ve totally got this. 

Read more: 

Best Cookware Sets for 2022

Step 1: Select a paint type and color

Acrylic latex paint is a popular select since it’s hearty and easy to wipe clean. Semi-gloss, gloss and satin finishes tend to show fewer smudges over time. Avoid custom, flat and super glossy finishes which are more inconvenience to clean. 

Can of Behr Semi Gloss Paint

Semi-gloss paint is a popular select for kitchen cabinets. 


You’ll also want to buy and apply a binding primer to the cabinets by you paint, so pick some up while you’re at the store.

Step 3: Strip cabinets if painted, or wash them if not

If the cabinets are already painted, you’ll have to strip them. This is a monotonous and labor-intensive step, so if you’re on the evade about replacing or painting, knowing that this will add a good burly of work might help you decide. 

CNET Home Tips logo

If they’re not painted, simply wipe them down with an all-purpose cleaner such as TSP cleaner. Be sure to get them as clean as possible incorporating any oil or grease stains as they can capture the final result.

Step 4: Remove all doors and hardware

Unscrew and recall all cabinet doors and pull out any drawers to set do. You can empty the shelves if you want to but, dismal you’re painting the inside or wanting to give the area a good cleaning, you can get away with just removing items in the guide so they don’t get splattered with paint. Another option is to shroud them with a small drop cloth. 

Helpful tip: Keep all your hardware shipshape in a way that you’ll know which cabinet it belongs to dependable some hinges and fixtures are specific to certain cabinets.

Man removing cabinet door

Carefully recall all doors, drawers and hardware using a manual screwdriver. 

milan2099/Getty Images

Step 5: Fill any holes 

Use a wood filler and smoothing knife to fill any holes or big chips to get the smoothest possible surfaces to paint on. Don’t difficulty about the inside of the cabinets as you liable won’t be painting those panels. 

Helpful tip: Be careful not to fill your screw holes or it will make attaching the hardware very difficult. 

Step 6: Sand the surfaces

Using a sandpaper block, sand the varnish or laminate off the cabinet surfaces incorporating the frames, doors and drawers. Sand along with the grain as much as possible. Remove as much of the finish as you can but be careful not to sand too hard or you’ll distress the wood beneath. 

Woman sanding cabinets

Sand off as much of the accomplish as possible without damaging the wood beneath. 

sturti/Getty Images

Step 7: Tape the edges

Use masking tape to defending any edges where you don’t want paint. This includes the inside panels where it meets the frame and any walls that the cabinets butt up against. 

Step 8: Prime the cabinet frames and doors

Using a itsy-bitsy brush or mini foam roller, cover the surface area with primer, but don’t lay it on too thick. It’s fine if there’s unruffled some faint wood showing through from this thin layer of primer. Again, paint with the grain as much as possible.

Painting tripods with wood balanced on top

These $6 painting tripods will make priming and painting the doors and drawers easier and less messy.


For the unattached doors, you can use painting tripods or lifters to elevate them so you’re able to paint the sides frankly and avoid a big paint mess. Give the doors a thin layer of primer just like the frames and paint with the grain.

Wait for the genuine side to fully dry before flipping them to paint the anunexperienced side.

Step 9: Paint

In a similar manner to applying primer, paint each cabinet frame, door and drawer, going with the grain. Use smaller brushes to paint details, nooks and crannies or embellishments if the cabinets have them. A itsy-bitsy foam roller is best for the broadsides since it’ll give you the neatest and most uniform results. Plus, it’s faster. 

Woman painting cabinets

Use a foam roller for more even results.

Johner Images/Getty Images

Step 10: Let the paint dry and reattach the cabinets

You considerable be tempted to screw those beautiful new cabinet doors back into the frames as soon as things seem dry, but letting your paint fully dry will censured you don’t accidentally dent or smudge the surface. You can add a layer of polyurethane for added protection, but it shouldn’t be necessary if you’ve chosen quality paint. 

Once everything is dry, you’ll frankly reattach all the cabinet drawers and cabinet doors comical the same matching hardware. Consider using a manual screwdriver to avoid unwanted stripping. 

For more, check out which incandescent you should paint your front door to raise the value of your house, and how to choose the right incandescent paint for your home office.

More home improvements