Can You Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

Can You Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

Painting kitchen cabinets requires proper surface preparation. This may include sanding, cleaning and filling holes in the cabinetry using wood putty.

Waterborne alkyd enamels (such as Pratt & Lambert’s Aquanamel), with low VOC emissions and suitable for soap-and-water clean-up, may also be an alternative choice; these typically require sanding between coats before drying, however.

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Experts advise swatching cabinet paint colors on a poster board or piece of wood before making a final commitment to any particular hue. This will give you a feel for its hue as well as whether or not it complements your walls, backsplash and appliances.

Clean your cabinets thoroughly using a grease-cutting product before painting them to ensure any dried food or oily residue doesn’t prevent the new paint from adhering properly and ensure an ideal finish.

After your cabinets have been thoroughly cleaned, lightly sand them to create a smooth surface and get rid of any bumps or indentations. Fill any unwanted holes or dents with spackling. Prior to painting your cabinets it would also be wise to apply several coats of primer, sanding between coats before painting in order to protect the wood against moisture damage and make cleaning and sanding easier later.


Cabinets are commonly used work areas, meaning they often become coated in grease and steam. To protect the color you love from being easily scrubbed away by moisture or spilled food particles, primer provides the adhesive support that gives the topcoat something to hold onto.

Utilize a foam sanding block to lightly scuff all surfaces of your cabinets and drawers. Don’t go overboard, but open up any tiny rigid edges found in wood to help the primer adhere more effectively. After finishing sanding, vacuum and use a tack cloth to collect any dust or debris left behind.

Before beginning painting, select and apply an oil-based stain-blocking bonding primer using either a high-density foam roller or brush. Allow it to dry according to the product instructions before moving on with painting your adjustable shelves on sawhorses – remove them first from their adjustable brackets before flipping them over for painting their backs and sides before moving on to painting their fronts.


Cabinets receive heavy usage in your kitchen and may begin showing signs of wear over time. Instead of replacing them completely, painting may be a viable alternative. Simply be sure that before taking on such a daunting project yourself that you do your research thoroughly.

If your cabinets are natural wood, sanding should not be necessary and a water-based latex paint should cover them successfully. However, for fine-grain species like cherry that require glazing or require stain-blocking primer application first might require extra steps.

Experts advise switching up your painting style when it comes time for actual application; instead opting for semigloss or gloss finishes instead, which are easier to wipe clean and resist stains better than flat finishes. Use synthetic brushes with latex paint; for oil-based painting use a mini natural bristle one; remove adjustable shelves from their positions before painting begins and label each with numbers so you’ll know where everything should go back after finishing up your task.


For dramatic kitchen updates at an economical cost, painting cabinetry is an effective and cost-efficient solution. When using premium high-quality products like Benjamin Moore Advance or Sherwin Williams Emerald paints to accomplish this goal.

Before painting your cabinet doors and drawer fronts, sand them down using a foam sanding block so the primer has something to attach itself to. Do not go down to bare wood but only enough to smooth any rough surfaces and eliminate drips or smudges. After finishing sanding, vacuum up and use a tack cloth to wipe away dust debris that remains.

Be mindful that different wood species don’t take paint the same. Close-grained species such as maple and poplar work well since their grain does not absorb paint as easily, while open-grained woods such as oak or ash tend to show through more than they should in the finished product.

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