Cabinet painting is an involved task that takes both time and dedication to complete successfully. Selecting the appropriate paints is key to ensuring a successful outcome.

Stick with oil-based alkyd or acrylic enamel paints instead, as these will withstand moisture more efficiently. Plus, they dry quickly, clean up easily and don’t emit an overwhelming odor!


Achieve professional-looking finishes requires extensive preparation. Simply applying primer and paint without first sanding allows the new coat of paint to adhere more closely with existing cabinet surfaces and provides a smooth canvas for painting.

Beginning by taking care to label each door and drawer that comes out, then unhook its hinges so they can later be reattached back onto their frames, remove all of the doors from your cabinet boxes while at the same time washing its sides and shelves with trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleanser.

Finally, use a damp cloth or vacuum to wipe the bare wood of your cabinet boxes clean of any dust or debris that has settled there. Slight sanding with 100-grit sandpaper may be required for good adhesion of adhesive materials to the wood surface; after which use either vacuuming or damp cloth cleaning up to get rid of any remaining dust and dirt created during this process.


Although paint provides color, primer plays an essential role in adhering it to surfaces properly and providing long-term adhesion. Selecting an ideal primer can address many problems related to stains, unwanted odors, uneven surfaces or any number of other issues that might arise such as stains.

If your cabinets have become heavily stained, opt for a stain-blocking primer. These quickly dry primers seal knots and other surface defects to stop any bleed-through in topcoats.

If your cabinets have lighter shades, a water-based or 100 percent acrylic latex primer might be more suitable. These types of primers are easy to work with and cleanup quickly while not emitting as much odor.


Trying out painting as an inexpensive and easy solution could be the perfect answer to cabinetry that doesn’t match your kitchen, or makes you unhappy. Before picking up the brush though, be sure to first prepare them carefully in advance.

Primers with oil-based components should be utilized since most existing cabinets feature smooth painted or lacquered finishes that make painting difficult, thus necessitating their use for optimal results.

Once the primer is dry, painting can begin. There are various kinds of paint available for cabinets; it’s best to select one that can withstand wear and tear in a busy kitchen environment while being low or no-VOC so as not to emit harmful fumes during drying time.

Professionals commonly opt for hybrid alkyd enamel paint, which comes in various brand names but all share similar properties.


Once the cabinets and doors have fully dried, it’s time to apply a final coat of paint and install new hardware. Make sure all surfaces you don’t wish to be painted are covered with painter’s tape; work in an area with ample ventilation so toxic fumes don’t distract while drying takes place.

Some woodworkers opt for oil-based cabinet paint, which provides a long-term finish and resists staining well. Unfortunately, such paint requires special solvents like turpentine to clean brush and tool bristles after application and gives off strong odors while drying.

If you prefer using a roller for faster application, back-brushing to eliminate roller marks and achieve an even surface is important to creating an elegant appearance. A paint sprayer is another viable option that is easy to manage and produces professional-looking results; some homeowners even opt for stain instead as its less glossy properties require no topcoat application.

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