So after literally years of staring at Pinterest, pinning like a mad woman, I finally had a kitchen I could change when we bought our house a year ago. I also had my husband on video promising me a kitchen makeover.

Our kitchen wasn’t terrible, but it was builder grade honey oak and white laminate counter tops with the oak on the edges…OK it was kind of terrible.

Fastforward a year and we’d painted a wall.  That was it. So I took the bull by the horns and decided to research my brand spanking new kitchen that would be Pinterest worthy.  The quotes made me want to cry. They ranged from $10K-$30K.  No way was that happening. Here’s our kitchen before:


So I decided to paint them. After countless hours and hours of research, I felt we were ready.  If you’re thinking of tackling this yourself, I highly recommend it. Our kitchen feels fresh, open, bigger, and MUCH more modern.

Here goes…I’ll give you the steps and then go into detail on each one.

STEP ONE: Buy your supplies

STEP TWO: Empty & Clean

STEP THREE: Sand..and sand some more



STEP SIX: reassemble

STEP SEVEN: pass out after doing your happy dance

It’s pretty much like the seven days of creation, with seven steps, minus the speak and let it be so part.

STEP ONE: Buy your supplies

You’ll be going back to the hardware store several times if you’re anything like anyone I know, but get out there, get your paint and brushes and the rest of the stuff. Here was my list:

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Brushes
  • Rollers
  • Extra roller covers
  • Drop Cloths
  • Tape
  • Random Orbital Sander Ryobi
  • DeGlosser
  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding Blocks
  • Masks (for sanding)

We decided after a lot of debate to use Sherwin Williams primer and paint.  We went with their Multi-Puropse Latex Primer/Sealer.


And after even more debate, decided to go with their Pro-Classic Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel. I know what you’re thinking…LATEX! BUT EVERY BLOG SAYS NO LATEX! Well, I was assured that this was the future of paint. It goes on like a latex, dries like an enamel. It’s non-yellowing, self leveling, basically idiot proof.  What could go wrong? Nothing, it was the perfect paint.  Don’t cheap out. And look for coupons! I found one that saved us a TON of money.


We only needed one gallon of this, so that was awesome.

The store recommended these fuzzy rollers because that’s what the chart said.  Stupid chart. Do not listen to the chart. Get the high density foam rollers.  And don’t cheap out on brushes.  You’re saving thousands of dollars by painting your cabinets, take comfort in that. We chose Wooster brushes in 1 1/2″ and 2″ widths.  Two brushes, two people.  I cleaned them with vinegar and hot soapy water each night and they lasted through the entire project.  They had the right amount of stiffness, didn’t shed at all and were over all great brushes.

I’m not going to lie, prep is my least favorite part. I like to get covered in paint as soon as possible, but prep is 70% of painting your cabinets. So..

STEP TWO: Empty and Clean

Start by removing everything from your cabinets and drawers.  This is an awesome opportunity to really get in there an clean! We used TSP to de-grease and clean our cabinets. You want to get everything off of them.  We removed the hardware and doors and drawers, using painters tape to label each door with a numbering system. This is key.  Putting them back up was a breeze.




The next day was Saturday, so I went out to lunch and Nick got to work sanding. I feel like this is the key to our marriage…

I came home to a Dexter-style utility room and a very dusty husband.



After using a damp soft cloth to remove the dust, I gave up and busted out the clorox wipes. GENIUS, if I do say so myself.

IMG_0174 Because I like to be thorough, I used a clorox wipe to get the sawdust off, and then used a lint-free soft cloth (AKA Nick’s old white t-shirts cut up into rags) and used liquid deglosser to get anything shiny unshiny and remove any leftover sawdust. You want to get everything off them.


We only did one coat of primer. This particular primer dried in 4 hours, so we were able to get all of the priming backs and fronts and frames done in one day, and part of the next morning. This really saved us some time.  Other bloggers used Zinsser primer or Kilz, but I felt like they took too long and they had mixed reviews. I loved the coverage we got after just one coat with the Sherwin Williams Multi Purpose Primer.

Start with the backs, that way if you mess up, no one will know.  Also, care about how you prime. There will be brush strokes but make sure not to have drips or pools of paint. Here’s some primer pics. SO EXCITING! Since we were going with white, I felt like I was getting little sneak peek at what it would look like. We used Square Plastic plates under the doors to elevate them so we could get at those edges.






We ended up doing two coats of paint on most things.  Some things like the crown molding trim and the peninsula back needed three coats.  The self-leveling paint is literally the best thing ever. It’s very forgiving.


This is after one coat. I’m sorry for my awful iPhone pictures. I couldn’t remember to get out the real one. And yes, we lived out of that crockpot for a week. And we didn’t exactly tape or use drop cloths everywhere… mostly because I knew we were springing for new countertops, so I didn’t care. If you care, then you probably want to do a better job than we did.

Let it dry 24 hours in between each coat. Since there’s backs and fronts, the painting took us 4 days. I could barely walk and I think I lost 2 lbs. So, white cabinets and a weight loss program, how great is that!?

STEP SIX: Reassemble

If you used painters tape anywhere, use a utility knife to score it so you get a nice even edge. Then carefully re-attach the doors. You want to be really careful because even though the paint is dry, it needs like 30 days to cure or harden. Match up your numbers and reattach everything.

STEP SEVEN: Pass out and Enjoy.

I’m not going to lie, this project was physically, emotionally, psychologically and spiritually exhausting.  I don’t recommend doing this in a week if you have children.  But it was totally worth it.


So there it is!

A few tips:

  • Take your time
  • If you can’t bend over, use tables and do a few doors at a time
  • Don’t cry over dripped paint
  • Prep makes perfect
  • You’ll still be able to see some wood grain, deal with it. I think it adds character… or something

Here’s the before & after shot!


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