Top tips for painting kitchen cabinets (+ which paint to buy)
A new lick of paint can be all that’s needed to completely transform your kitchen. Get the best results by following these golden rules.
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Image: Annie Sloan
A tired, dated kitchen can be a big, expensive job to replace, but sometimes a fresh coat of pant is all that’s required in the short term to make your space for liveable.
However, it’s important to be realistic about a DIY kitchen makeover with paint – you’ll have best results with real timber doors, not melamine, which will be more prone to chipping after painting – though it’s not the end of the world, and may be easy enough to patch up if this does happen.
Also make sure you give yourself enough time to complete the job properly – it can be a labour intensive job and you’ll need to give the doors multiple coats for the best results.
Before you get started, take a look at these golden rules to ensure the final result is deserving of your stylish new kitchen.
Clean before you paint
Kitchens are particularly prone to collecting grease, which will affect how well your paint adheres to their surface, and may even cause stains and marks to bleed through the paint. Use a cleaning product with a degreasing quality to get the doors clean as possible to start
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KITCHEN REVAMP!!! 🖤 This took me forever to take photos of as I don't have my camera on me! But I think I did well with my crappy Samsung 8. So.. As you've all been part of this journey the past 2 weeks, you all know we literally killed ourselves to get this right. I know it's temporary but we've been living in the 1980s for the past year and a half but due to the pandemic; we've postponed the renovation for downstairs for another year or so. So one day I posted on my stories whether I should give the kitchen a paint job makeover and well… we did 🙊 We painted the doors, painted tiles, sprayed the window (and added the fake crittal look🙊) sprayed the dishwasher, fridge and sink, replaced old sockets for gold ones that we found in the garage, wrapped the worktops in marble effect adhesive, created panelling effect on the old island and wall and lastly.. our cheap yet great looking flooring. All from @bandq_uk and panelling from @wickes 🖤 Feel like it's a brand new kitchen which only cost us under £300.. probably less! Worth it? I think so x #kitchenmakeover #kitchen #panelling #cladding #blackkitchen #renovation #edwardianhome #edwardian #edwardianlove #interior #paintjob #marbleworktop #woodeffect #interdesign #monochrome #love #makeover #new #old #inspiration #myhomethismonth #mymonochromehome #pimpupmypad
Remove doors and label the up
Taking the doors off the cabinetry will make painting much easier, and also more precise. This will help you get nice even coats of paint, and allow you to get into every corner and side with ease.
If you do take your doors off, be sure to label which cabinet they were from, or you may be in for some serious trial and error trying to put your kitchen back together. Why not keep all hinges and screws in a labelled freezer bag too for safekeeping?
Sand for better paint adherence
Sanding your doors is not something you should skip, even if you’re using a primer. However, you’re not sanding off all of the existing paint – you’ll just need to key the surface with a medium grade sandpaper to ensure your new paint sticks the best it can.
Make sure to vacuum after sanding, and it can create very fine dust that’s hard to see, but that will affect your paint job.
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I just love the colour of the kitchen, when we moved in last August these cupboards were quite a dark brown wood. Nicks friend @french_polisher sprayed them all for us using @vintro_paint in Esmeralde (with the pink inside the cupboards) and then we changed the handles for these cute Matt black ones from @dowsingandreynolds it totally transformed the space and for a fraction of the cost of putting in a new kitchen. The cupboards were good quality and it felt wrong just to rip everything out (and we didn’t have a spare 20k knocking about!) I painted the kitchen cupboards in our old house but the spraying looks so even and professional. Photo by @georggiaburnss #kitchendesign #kitchenremodel #kitchen #kitchenworktop #kitchenrenovation #kitchencupboard #kitchencabinets #spraypaintedkitchen #paintedcabinets #greenkitchen #greenkitchenstories #artdeco #vintagestyle #howivintage #retroaesthetic #retrostyle #retrokitchen #kitch #kitchenmakeover #goodhomesmagazine #pink #popofpink #kitchendetails #designdetailsmatter #vintro #vintropaint #galloacoustics
Prime for success
Priming your doors is a good idea – not only will it help your actual door paint (which is usually more expensive) go a bit further by creating a base to paint onto, it will also help avoid problems such as knots in the wood showing through. It does add an extra step into your project, but it’s well worth the effort.
Read more: Painting your home: 5 common myths debunked
Wait for paint to dry
Paint with your choice of roller or brush, elevating the doors on props to paint for ease. Once finished, you’ll need to wait until the paint is fully cured, not just touch dry, before putting them back on. This will help avoid any paint chipping off when handling, as re-attaching the hinges and putting back into the cabinetry is not always the most dainty of jobs.
Which paint to buy?
You’ll need to choose a paint that’s suitable for wood, but also one’s that’s wipeable – easy to clean is a must for the kitchen! Think
Traditionally oil-based paints have been used where the finish needs to be durable, however, with a growing focus on air quality and the harmful effects of VOCs, we suggest sticking with a water-based paint.
Cupboard and melamine paint
This kind of paint appears to be a no-brainer – as its specifically formulated for the task at hand. However, be mindful that there may be less colour availability in these kinds of paints, and that the job can still be done with other ranges.
Furniture and chalk paint
Chalky furniture paint will give a modern, matt finish to your cupboards, but it doesn’t tend to be wipeable on its own, so you’ll certainly have to wax for a functional finish in a kitchen.
Satin, eggshell and gloss
The rule of thumb with paint is that often, the glossier the finish, the easier it is to wipe clean. Gloss paints tend to be considered old fashioned, however, but eggshell and even some satins can stand up to the job for a kitchen. If you’re concerned about a hardwearing finish, you could also use a clear matt lacquer to seal your doors and help your paint job last a lot longer.
Considering painting your kitchen cupboards? Tweet us @goodhomesmag, post a comment on our Facebook page or tag us in your finished projects on Instagram.