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10 Simple Steps to Re-Paint your Kitchen Cabinets

This post is sponsored by Diablo Tools.
white and grey kitchen painted Benjamin Moore White Dove

Hi there!

Are you thinking of painting or re-painting your kitchen cabinets? Well, if you're here, I guess the thought of painting your cabinets has already crossed your mind.

There are thousands of tutorials out there on how to paint kitchen cabinets and most of them give you great advice. Well, one thing that everyone would tell you is that painting the kitchen cabinets is lots of elbow grease. It isn't hard, hard work.  The trouble comes with the size of the project, the fact that it can't all be done in one afternoon, and besides that, It's the room we use the most.

That being said, if you can paint a piece of furniture, let's say a table, a dresser, then, most likely you can also paint your kitchen cabinets. The great thing is that by doing it yourself you can save a good amount of dough and the satisfaction of tackling and enjoying the fruits of your hard labor.

I first painted my kitchen cabinets seven years ago when I got tired of the glorious honey oak kitchen cabinets that I'd loved for over ten years. At that time I did some cabinet tweaking. Closing the space above the cabinets, adding a range hood, fridge enclosure and well, it turned into a big makeover that you can check right HERE.

*This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

But, after seven years of daily use, the paint started to look dull and the color was looking too yellowish for my now white obsession.

So, I looked for a bright white color, grabbed some paint brushes and rollers, my favorite sanding discs and even a paint sprayer and gave that dull kitchen in the picture below another coat of paint!

The second time painting my kitchen cabinets was much easier than the first time.
Let me show you the 10 simple steps I took to repaint my kitchen cabinets:

1. Prepare the Room

Empty your cabinets. Yes, remove everything, if you can move your appliances that would be great too, but it is not a necessity, cover them. Set another area with the essentials you'll need during the following week that it'll take to bring the kitchen back to normal use.

2. Remove doors, drawers and shelves.

Remove cabinet doors, shelves and drawer fronts. Remove hardware from doors and label everything!  Sometimes hardware is tricky, it wants to stay in the same place it was before. :/ 

My favorite place to label the hardware is right there, on the same hardware. Those letters and numbers were written the last time I painted the cabinets.

My labeling method is this: I give every row of cabinets a letter and a number, the second number is the position of the hinge on the door from top to bottom.

That one in the picture above is the second lower cabinet top hinge.

Use zip-lock bags to store hardware, screws, trays, shades hardware, etc.

3. Clean all the surfaces very well.

This is gross, I know. But, that's reality.  As I explained before, I usually give my kitchen two big clean ups during the year with little clean ups in between. Well, I returned from Summer vacation to a super disgusting kitchen that needed more than a simple clean up.  :(

One of my favorite blogging friends, an expert in kitchen cabinet painting, recommended this cleaner, and that's what I used for getting rid of dirt and grease from my cabinets.

4. Make any building additions & adjustments to cabinet boxes if needed.

This time I only changed the moldings on the range hood.

5. Sand the cabinet boxes.

Fill holes and sand all the inside as well as outside of boxes with a 120-grid SandNet sanding disc.

The cabinet boxes in my kitchen were already painted, but in order for the new paint to have a better adhesion I needed to sand all surfaces.
Do the same if your cabinets have the clear shiny finish on them.

Many people dread this step, but remember, it's a light sanding to remove that clear coat or sheen. It goes fast using a sander on all flat surfaces and hand sanding all the corners and tight spaces.

6. Vacuum all surfaces very well. 

Then, wipe them down with a wet rag. Once dry, use a tack cloth to catch any particles that might be stuck to the corners and crevices.

7. Prime the cabinet boxes.

First off, tape and cover any areas you don't want painted.
If  this is your first time painting your cabinets you need to prime the cabinets after removing the clear coating. Usually two coats of primer.  If your cabinet boxes are made of particle board, you need this special primer that sticks well to that smooth surface, that'll be the base for your final coats.

I used a roller to apply the primer to all the flat surfaces, a good quality paint brush was used for the corners and moldings.

The primer dries fast, about one -two hours.  Once's completely dry sand with 220-grid SandNet sanding disc and clean all areas.

8. Paint the cabinet boxes

Since my cabinets were already painted I could skip the priming. After sanding and cleaning the cabinets very well, I applied two coats of BM White Dove satin finish.

Use a 320-grid SandNet sanding disc to sand in between paint coats.

I love the new brighter color, it's so fresh!

Work inside the kitchen is done for the moment... Now, it's time to go outside to work on those doors and shelves. →

DeWalt Sander  |  SandNet Sanding Discs  | 3M Ear Muff  | 3M Respirator Mask  

9. Sand, Vac and Tack Cabinet doors, shelves and drawer fronts.

After cleaning all surfaces very well, the next step is to sand them smooth.
I used a 120-grid SandNet sanding disc. The thing is, I used UNO solo! - only ONE disc for sanding my entire kitchen.  Well, not counting the others of different grid for in between paint coats.
And that's the thing, when you use the right products, you're saving time and money.
Sanding the shelves and doors went FAST!

Most of the shelves in my cabinets were OK except for a few, and that one in the picture above is the result of not priming before painting.  That was an extra shelf I added after the first painting was done, at that time I had no left-over primer, so I went ahead and just painted. Looks bad I know. :/

This time, I removed all the paint on that only shelf, all the others got lightly sanded.

door scratched, cleaned and sanded

oak cabinets repainted.

The cabinet doors and drawer fronts got the same sanding treatment with 120-grid paper.
All those scratches around the door knobs were sanded down to the bare wood, feather sanding the area to get a smooth transition to the other areas still in good condition.

10. Prime and paint doors, drawer fronts and shelves.

The experts recommend two coats of primer. But again, since my cabinets were already painted, I used only one coat of  Stix waterborne bonding primer on most of the cabinet doors and shelves.
Two coats were applied to those pieces where the wood grain was showing.

Use a 220-grid paper to smooth out all surfaces. Cleaning really well before continuing with the paint.

Unlike the last time when I used a roller and a paint brush to paint these surfaces, this time I used my Wagner Home Decor Sprayer and that made this job waaaay easier and I'm very happy with the end results.
I first spray painted the shelves, well, after a few try outs on other surfaces. Painting all those shelves gave me the confidence to go and paint the doors.  I first painted the back of the doors, then the fronts. Of course, waiting until the surfaces were dry to turn them around.

Three light coats were given to the front of the cabinets, on the back I only applied two coats.

How to repaint kitchen cabinets

Wagner Home Decor Sprayer |
Remember that beatened up door? This is it's new look.  Those doors that store the trash can sure get lots of abuse.

Here again, the cabinet under the sink with all the pretty hardware.

Cabinet Pulls  |  Cabinet Knobs
These are oak cabinets that were painted with a brush and roller the first time. I still see the wood grain and some of the brush strokes, but they are less noticeable now, and that doesn't bother me.

This picture below is the cabinet above the fridge, that's the only cabinet that's not oak.
The paint treatment shows way better on this one. Very smooth.

white and grey kitchen repainted  white dove

Don't be afraid to dive in and give your kitchen a total new look!

And to get you guys started on the right foot, I've teamed up with my friends over at Diablo Tools to give three lucky winners two sets of SandNet Sanding discs to make that job a lot less daunting.

Seven easy ways to enter the GIVEAWAY below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The cabinets were painted BM - White Dove - Advance - Satin finish
Range Hood and Island were painted: BM Ashland Slate - Advance - Satin finish
Cabinet Pulls
Cabinet Knobs

For more about this latest kitchen makeover check these out:

Range Hood Makeover

*This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Diablo Tools. All opinions are 100% mine*
This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Your kitchen is gorgeous Cristina. I love the hood color as well and the backsplash as well.

  2. I'm leaning towards repainting my kitchen cabinets also. I only painted them about 4 years ago but they are really starting to yellow more than I like. I did put a glaze on them, and I'm thinking that is why.
    And I took your advise and restarted my blog! It will be slow and I'm sure painful, but I will get it there with time and patience!
    Thanks again for all your encouragement as a DIYer!!!

    1. Oh Lugene, those are great news!! Both projects require a good amount of work but, as long as you keep focus you will conquer them! Looking forward to seeing updates of your painted cabinets in your blog! ;)

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