Easy Guide to Painting Kitchen Cabinets

I never ever thought I’d finally get to the fun part…Painting Kitchen Cabinets…my preference…White Paint!  Sit back and enjoy or judge, but this is my way…to winter paint!  Please don’t try to commit me…nothing, I repeat nothing was ruined in the process!  Promise!  {And for those that are hyperventilating, I have a preferred Spring/Summer technique for you as you scroll down…no worries…it’s not for everyone}.

Easy Guide to Painting Kitchen Cabinets


Remove all the hardware if you haven’t yet!  Empty the cabinets.  Take the cabinet doors and drawers outside for sanding.  Sand all surfaces using pressure and moving in a circular motion.  Wipe down the cabinets with a wet cloth.  Clean the area in the kitchen near the cabinet bases, where the sand was blowing.  Return all the dishes to your cabinets…no need having over the top chaos while painting.

Wipe on oil-based deglosser and allow the product to penetrate the cabinets for ten minutes.  Add another coat.  Wait 10 more minutes.  Wipe away the deglosser and see the affect after fully dry.  Repeat if the wood is still highly glossed.  We want to be working on a dull surface.

Drape drop cloths on the floor/area rug…wherever it lands.  Open up foldable tables that you store in the garage.  Cover the kitchen table with those awful plastic table cloths that you buy after the holidays for a quarter.  Empty the top of your washer and dryer and all your cabinets and get ready to make your house into a workshop!  The more surface area…the faster you finish!  And I’m not one to be real patient so I totally strategize to bing, bang, boom…DONE!

Drawers rest well on dressers, desks, tables…any elevated, flat surface that will allow them to overhang for easy rolling.  Every single cabinet will need a place to lie during the paint process.  Yes…it’s going to be a total nightmare for four days, but seriously worth it to be able to make a rotation around all the drawers, doors and cabinet boxes {stiles} and by the time you’ve made it back around, had a sip of tea and enjoyed some chocolate before the doors are dry and ready for the next coat.  When using primer, I flip after an hour…gives me just the right amount time to make the totally rotation.  For the top coat, I continue to add coats on the back side and after three coats leave it to dry overnight.  Then I flip it so the right side is showing and roll through three coats of paint on the top…another days drying time and we’re good to through the cabinets on hinges!  Seems overwhelming, but it’s really not that bad…it’s like childbirth, you definitely don’t remember the pain because you’re so caught up in the difference it made in your kitchen and total life satisfaction!


Begin with Kilz oil-based primer and use furniture rollers intended for a smooth surface for main areas and have a Purdy angled brush for cutting in around the cabinet bases and around the trim on the cabinets.  Definitely the extra time it takes to cut into the new trim on the cabinet doors is definitely worth it…if looks could kill…these things would be deadly!  I used two coats of primer for the entire cabinetry.  Kilz oil-based primer offers GREAT coverage.  Lightly sand after each coat and gently wipe clean with a wet cloth.

After sanding, wiping, deglossing, and wiping some more, as mentioned above, I’ve found that it really speeds the process when I take my drawers and doors outside and prime them with spray paint primer {oil based kilz}.  Seriously, the spray paint with a light sand between two coats speeds the time perfectly!  You know anything with spray paint is a two second process!!!!

Next, I add flotrol additive to my final paint color.  I use my 6 inch furniture roller, intended for an ultra smooth finish and roll each cabinet up and down and then move on to my next until I’ve rotated through the drawers, doors and the cabinet base!  Then I repeat.  Using flotrol additive in the paint helps to thin the paint and reduce strokes, allowing the paint to dry with a super smooth surface.  Amazing!

My cabinetry paint color choice is Sherwin Williams Luminous White: that’s how I roll around here…I like truest white…nearly to the point you need sunglasses.  I think I like super duper white lots because it makes me feel real tan despite not getting any darker than a light cream in the heat of summer!  And during winter when I’m pasty, it really makes me feel better!

More Rancher Kitchen Updates.

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  1. Julie says:

    I love how much a coat of paint can change a space. Your kitchen looks wonderful. I saw the paint color you like to use but can you let me know what brand/type of paint you used? Was it latex or oil base? Also how have your cabinets held up over time? Do you find yourself touching them up all the time?

    • Aimee says:

      I love it too! I used Sherwin William ProMar — semi-gloss latex paint and they have held up great! In two years, I haven’t had to touch up the cabinets — even if I have to at some point, it will be worth it!!! I love bright white in this small rancher! XO, Aimee

  2. Katie says:

    Thank you for sharing! This is great information. One question: what type of finish did you get your paint in? Was it high gloss? Thanks for your help!

    • Aimee says:

      Great question! I used high gloss Katie. XO, Aimee

  3. Juju says:
  4. Anu@MyDreamCanvas says:

    Wow, this looks fantastic. I look forward to you stopping by My Dream Canvas. I am hosting a spring soiree at my home 🙂 The party also includes a giveaway by the famous tabletop and giftware brand Mikasa. Hope to see you there!! Have a great week.

  5. Sonia Corbett says:

    I love the your cabinets turned, you did a beautiful job. I would like to know the brand of the pinting you used.
    Thank you for sharing.

  6. Our cabinets are already white, but it definitely needs some retouching. This is a great guide! Thank you for sharing! I love the drawers really, even without painting the sides.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Awesome Job! Thanks for the tips! I’m hoping to do my cabinets soon. Did you use any type of top coat to protect all of your hard work?

    • Aimee - ItsOverflowing.com says:

      Thanks so much!!! You are totally welcome! No, I didn’t use a top coat…top coats usually cause the original color to yellow…I’ve read this and know from firsthand experience. The paint will continue to harden over time…mine cabinets are very durable…I scrub on them with water and a paper towel with no worries at all!!! I’m so excited for your fun cabinets remodel!!! It’s definitely worth all the hard work! XO, Aimee

  8. lindsay says:

    Holy Moly! Thank you for this. I have been talking my husband into painting the kitchen for what seems like forever. I am saving this and using all your tip/tricks. Awesome. Amazing.

  9. Jackie says:

    Beautiful and a clean look. Love it

  10. SwedishCorner-DownUnder...Pernilla says:

    Looks amazing!!

    Greetings from Australia♥

    #131 Open House Party

  11. Courtney ~ French Country Cottage says:

    Looks gorgeous! Thank you for linking up at Feathered Nest Friday!

  12. Rooms by Ann says:

    Your kitchen looks so beautiful and fresh. thanks for posting.

  13. Daffodil Hill says:

    Love the way this looks. So fresh and pretty!

  14. Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) says:

    Very well done!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  15. Janette - The2Seasons says:

    My daughter/blog partner did this to her kitchen cabinets. It was a LOT of work, but like you, she got good results. Aren’t you glad they are finished? Now, go enjoy spring!!!

  16. Heaven's Walk says:

    Super tips, Aimee! Thanks for sharing them with us after all of your hard work! Your kitchen look utterly amazing now!! 🙂

    xoxo laurie

  17. Charlene@APinchofJoy says:

    Looks fantastic! We painted our cabinets white — best decision ever! Have to say — the insides of my cupboards did not look that neat and organized during the renovation — before or after either!

  18. BEACH BUNGALOW says:

    Your cabinets look great! We gutted our kitchen least year and are sooooo happy withthe results!


  19. The Rooster and The Hen says:

    Great tips and so much work! It turned out wonderfully, you’ve got to love it! We’d love it if you wanted to link up to our Repurpose-Remodel-Reveal linky party, I know our readers would love to see it too! (It starts tomorrow- Friday, March 16th 2012 at 7:00 am and reoccures every 1st and 3rd Friday)

    -Whitney @ TheRoosterAndTheHen

  20. Shabby chic Sandy says:

    Looks fantastic–so much work–but so worth it!

  21. Erica says:

    Great JOB! SO MUCH WORK! We just painted our cabinets a few months ago and I swear it almost killed me! 🙂

  22. Delilah Love says:

    Holy cow, those cabinets look fabulous. I want to paint mine so badly but I’ve big a big ole chicken so far. Plus I have a toddler (and 4 other kids) so the logistics are a nightmare. But your after picture has me considering sending them to visit the grandparents for a week. Visiting from Whipperberry’s Friday flair. Have a great Friday.

  23. Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest says:


    You did an amazing job (and an amazing amount of hard work!)

    In my last house I wanted white cabinets so bad it almost drove me insane, but I was too tired, lazy and scared to do it – since then moved and I have light cabs now, thank GOD – but wow, your kitchen looks amazing, it is such a clean. bright and happy space!


  24. Etcetorize says:

    Wow, sounds like a lot of work, but so worth it. I love the super duper white. It just make everything look so clean~

  25. Cristy @ menemini says:

    So inspiring! We are about to embark on a kitchen renovation as soon as the chances o snow and freezing temps are behind us!

  26. Maury Kilgo says:

    Looks amazing. I painted my cabinets last year and it was the worst experience ever. It took 2 weeks and they didn’t turn out half as well as yours. I wish I’d had this information then!

  27. Gleeful says:

    Lovely! I’m trying to convince my husband that white cabinets would look really great – but he’s against the idea of painting them (even though they’re terrible old cabinets and I want to replace them one day soon anyway if I can). I’m going to work on it – I’ll show him these pictures to help my cause!

  28. Tricia says:

    I’m laughing that white makes you look tan…I like my white kitchen cabinets more already! 🙂 The finished kitchen looks great!!!!


  29. Katie @ Pincushion Creations says:

    Love the paint job!! Thanks for all the helpful tips! Would love to have you share this at my link party going on now!