Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Painting the Kitchen Cabinets: Step by Step Guide with Commentary

Painting the kitchen cabinets was on my to do list since we bought the house four years ago. I knew it would be a big job and I think that is part of why we put it off for so long. I pinned lots of kitchen cabinet painting tutorials and told everyone that would listen about my dream white kitchen that would happen someday. When the appliances started dying we knew it was time and I'm so glad we didn't put it off any longer. Someday had arrived!!


I heard a few horror stories about white kitchen cabinets and how they get dirty really fast. It actually scared me away from my white dream kitchen fantasy. As I was going over all the kitchens I had pinned I saw the above picture and knew gray was the color for our kitchen. It was love at first glance.

I did lots of research and wrote out everything we needed. I used the following websites for direction: Young House Love the first and second time they painted. I got great advice on using TSP from this site. We decided against using a sprayer, but this site was also helpful. After all the dirty work we headed to Lowe's for our supplies. 

Step 1: I wiped down every cabinet door (inside and out) with a rag in warm water and dish soap. I really thought we had a tiny kitchen, but after over an hour of wiping everything done (and dusting above the cabinets, hence the duster in middle of the floor) I felt like our kitchen was ginormous. And my arm hurt.

Step 2: G and I put on rubber gloves and used an old rag and wiped every cabinet door (inside and out) with TSP. It helps remove any more grease that could be on the cabinets and starts to dull the shine. I found this at Lowe's and the clerk at Lowe's highly recommended we use it.

Step 3: We removed all the hardware and then we removed all of the cabinet doors. 

Step 4: We took all the cabinets to the basement to sand them. (We had to do all the sanding and painting in the basement due to the cold temps outside that would make the garage unusable). 

We went back and forth on if we should sand or not. Ultimately we decided to sand because YHL advised that if your cabinet felt like a credit card you should sand. Our cabinets did. So we sanded. We want this hard work to last a long time so it needed to happen.

The sanding was one of the toughest parts of the whole project, but it really made a difference! They looked ugly! We gotta paint now, right?! As I was wiping up the cabinets G was sanding and I said "I can't believe we are actually doing this!" and he replied, "I can't believe I'm still sanding!"

Step 5: Paint!!!! YHL gave a great tip to paint the backs of the cabinets first so if there are any nicks or drips they won't be noticeable. 

G did one coat on all of them with a foam roller. Love the foam roller! It made the paint go on so smooth. Then G used an angled 2" brush for the corners. After three hours (per the paint can instructions) G did another coat on the cabinets.

Step 6: We taped the kitchen and took everything out of the cabinets. G sanded all the cabinets and I wiped everything down.

Step 7: Paint! The gray looks really good with white appliances. Why didn't we paint sooner?! It really brightens up the room!

LOVE LOVE LOVE. It looks like a whole new room. I'm not gonna lie, I would just wander into the kitchen and stare at the pretty. 


Then I started to panic because the gray is bluer than I expected and does blue go with green walls?! I immediately went on Pinterest for reassurance. The first thing I see? The above picture. Pretty much the exact green of our kitchen and blue gray of our cabinets. They go together. Crisis adverted. 

Step 8: We waited 24 hours (per YHL) and flipped the cabinets and started painting the fronts.  Three hours later we painted a second coat on the front of the cabinets.

Step 9: We painted second coat of paint in the kitchen.

Step 10: The next day I started putting everything back into the cabinets. I over thought the whole re-organizing process so I'm not sure if I like the new set up, but I'll give it a week and see how it goes. I had a friend who loves to organize assess how I did and even she had trouble because we just lack counter space. I'll do a separate post on kitchen organization soon for your input. We also hung a new fan and I'm in love with it.

Step 11: We waited five days before hanging the cabinets. YHL said this was recommended by professional painters so we followed suit and waited the five days. The last thing we wanted was for all our hard work to unravel because we jumped the gun. It was so hard to wait!  In the mean time I spray painted our brass knobs turquise and it makes me ridiculously happy. Once we hung the cabinets we had space in the basement to sand and paint the drawers. We waited three hours and painted a second quote and we only waited a day before putting the drawers back since we didn't paint the inside of the drawers at all.

Step 12: Get new appliances and enjoy new kitchen and live happily ever after. We went with Whirlpool appliances because they had good reviews. A lot of our co-workers recommended them. Our Best Buy salesman highly recommended them and they had the best deal going on. SOLD. 

I'm in love with this fridge so much. It's large and in charge. I should note our dishwasher is Kitchen Aid. Whirlpool dishwashers didn't get high marks and Kitchen Aid dishwashers did. Best Buy was also willing to knock $200 off of it and do free install. It is so silent you can't even hear it and that is so exciting! Getting appliances was certainly the cherry on top of this whole experience.

***Notes***: The whole process was tedious. The first three days we got the bulk of the work done (steps 1 through 8) because we had no plans and we took Monday off. I'm so glad we did that! Working on this project after working a full days work was tough. Tuesday we went to work exhausted though and had a crazy long day, worked late and came home and crashed by 9:00. I guess we needed the rest! Wednesday we painted the kitchen the last coat of paint. Thursday we went appliance shopping and then I stayed up until 11 putting everything back in the kitchen. Since our appliances wouldn't arrive until February 7th we weren't as rushed so we painted the final coat of paint to the front cabinets Saturday. We also sanded and painted the drawers, hung a new light fixture and did touch ups. We waited five days and then hung the cabinets Thursday night. From start to finish it took 13 days. I don't think we would have got this done nearly as fast if we didn't take a day off work.  I wonder if we would have pushed so hard to finish if we didn't need new appliances. But we probably would have. I really hated living in chaos. Now that this is done I'm ready to start tackling all the cabinets in the bathrooms! It's addicting. Would I ever do a kitchen reno like this again? Ask me in a year.


mags said...

It looks just wonderful!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my GOSH girl! It looks absolutely incredible!! Are you so proud of your hard work because I so would be. SUCH a transformation. And loove those new appliances, too. There's nothing quite like getting a new fridge. :D Well done!

Arthur Bryant said...

You did a fantastic job with your kitchen. My wife and I are renovating our kitchen too and decided to use a deep gray paint with white accents. So far, it looks incredible. I'm hoping we can get our hands on some marble countertops. That will really finish the look.

Poulin Design Center said...

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North East Factory Direct said...

What a beautiful transformation. It is so elegant, I love it!

Kitchen Cabinets Parker said...

Great post and the kitchen and cabinets looks lovely. thanks for sharing it.