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Repainting Cabinets

Updated: May 14, 2021

Repainting cabinets is a pretty easy DIY to save some money and make a big impact! In just a few steps (clean, sand, prime, paint) you will feel like you have brand new cabinets!

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Our built in bookcases as well as all our bathroom and kitchen cabinets were a dark brown stain when we moved in. We decided to paint them to match our white trim and doors around the house. The white brightens up the room and helps everything feel lighter and cohesive. We started with our built in book shelves and are moving onto the kitchen and bathroom cabinets next but the process is the same.


First thing's first, pick your paint! We chose to match our trim so we took our paint can to Home Depot and had them color match the white for us to ensure it would match perfectly. Typically you want to go with a semi-gloss paint so it is not too shiny or matte showing scuffs and making them hard to clean. We got our paint and primer for cabinets and trim. Other supplies you will need:

  • Paint

  • Primer

  • Painters key

  • Painters tape and pen

  • Screw driver or small drill

  • Multipurpose cleaner & rag

  • Sand paper

  • Paper or plastic sheets for covering (I used a roll of butcher paper)

  • Brush or roller and tray (we used a brush on everything because I like that texture look better)

  • Painters pyramids


Next you'll want to label and remove your drawers, doors and hardware. Use small pieces of painters tape to mark doors and drawers and their hardware (A, B, C, etc) so you make sure to put them back in the same place. This will save lots of headaches when reassembling later.


Now you will clean off all the surfaces you will be painting with a multipurpose cleaner. You need to get off any grease or dirt that would keep the paint from sticking. Let the surfaces dry before moving on to the next step.


Now it's time to sand. Using sand paper, lightly sand all surfaces that you will be painting. Be sure to get into all the corners. You do not need to scrub too hard, you are just trying to roughen the surface and get rid of the shine of the existing top coat or stain. Wipe away all sanding dust with a clean dry rag.


Before priming, tape off all surfaces you do not want to get paint on. For small areas, like the walls and inside of cabinets, use painters tape. For larger surfaces like counters and the floor, use plastic or paper sheets taped down with painters tape to protect the areas.

Once everything is taped off and protected, it's finally time to grab your paint brush. Wipe clean the surfaces one more time with a clean dry rag to make sure all dust and particles are gone and paint a thin coat of primer. Use painters pyramids for the doors and drawers that have been removed to keep them clean and off your work surface. Allow primer coat to dry according to can directions (usually a couple of hours).


After your primer coat has dried, it's time for your first coat of paint. Paint a thin layer making sure the get all the corner and nooks. Allow first coat to dry according to can directions. After your first coat has dried, paint a second coat. Allow to dry at least 24 hours before reassembling or putting any hardware back on.


After your second coat has had sufficient time to dry, grab your screwdriver and start reassembling! Remember to match up your labels that you made in step 2. Use a manual screwdriver for all reassembling to ensure you don't accidentally scratch your beautiful new paint job with electric tools.

Congratulations! You have beautiful new cabinets. Enjoy :)



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