Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Words & Images by Karla Holley

The first time I walked into our for-sale-by-owner house that was in dire need of TLC, I saw the potential it had and knew it was the right home for us. I loved it as soon as I stepped into it, but I also knew right away that I wanted to do something about the kitchen cabinets. The old hardware was difficult to clean and the color of the cabinets just made the kitchen seem dark and dreary. New cabinets were not an option since the cost wasn't in our budget of improvements we needed to make in our new home (well, it was new to us!). Also, it really wasn't a necessity like so many other projects within the house that needed immediate attention. So, I decided I would paint them. I only talked about this project for FIVE years until the week before a huge family get-together at our house motivated me to finally get it done.

I will start by saying this wasn't an easy job, but it was worth it. The most difficult task was removing the old hardware. It had been there for a very long time and was difficult to remove. So, if you don't have to remove the hardware, you're in luck.

After removing the hardware, I filled the holes with a wood filler and sanded those places once they were dry. I didn't completely sand the cabinets down before painting them. I just lightly scuffed them with a sanding sponge. After filling the old holes, I had to drill new ones for the replacement hardware since the new hinges would be inside the cabinet doors and the old pulls were a different size. I used a very good primer and paint to finish them so they would hold up to every day use. I would recommend a good quality paint and primer for your cabinets, especially a paint surface that you can scrub. I used Benjamin Moore's All-Purpose Primer and Waterborne Satin Impervo paint and they still look great after four years!

We have updated so many things in our kitchen since then, such as lighting, wall color, and decorative accents. Not only has painting the cabinets changed the look of our kitchen, I love that my Grandaddy's old butcher block stands out now against the lighter cabinets. The paint and hardware made such a difference and gave our kitchen a whole new look. Although it was not an easy job to do, I saved a lot of money doing it myself instead of hiring a contractor. I have not missed the old look of the dark cabinets and love that our kitchen looks so much brighter now.