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How to Paint Kitchen Cupboards

painted kitchen cupboards

If you want to freshen up the colour scheme of your kitchen, an easy and budget-friendly way is to paint your cupboards. This doesn’t require any real expertise or professional help; anyone with a good paint brush and pot of the right kind of paint can achieve this.

If you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve provided an easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide for anyone looking to update their kitchen cupboards.

Here’s our process on how to paint kitchen cupboards, even if this is your first time. As long as you do the preparation right, and work with good-quality tools, you can’t go wrong… unless you pick the wrong colour, so be mindful of that.

  1. Begin by removing all knobs and handles from your cupboards and drawers. To protect the hinges and glass, use masking tape and lay dust sheets on the floor to prevent any splashes of paint in your room.
  2. Continue by washing down your cabinets with a strong detergent solution. It’s important to remove any grease and dirt, and create a smooth canvas. You should then wipe off any soap residue with a damp cloth before continuing to the next step.
  3. Once the cupboards are cleaned and dried, sand the surfaces with a fine paper (unless you have a high-gloss surface). If you notice any imperfections, use a mixed filler to the areas. Opt for a product that fills in gaps, is easy to apply, dries clear, and won’t crack.
  4. Next, it’s time to apply a primer to the surface. Consider a small roller on doors to create a smoother, more polished finish. It’s also best to choose one that’s quick-drying and won’t leave a lingering smell throughout the painting process. Skipping a primer means that your cupboards are more susceptible to a messy finish. You should also consider using a brush with synthetic bristles to avoid leaving brush marks on the cupboards.
  5. Apply two coats of your chosen paint. Wait for the first coat to completely dry before applying a second. You may even wish to sand the cupboards down again after the first application for a smooth finish.
  6. Once the second coat is dry, remove the masking tape and place the knob and handle back on. Alternatively, you may wish to mix up your hardware and replace your old handles and knobs with new designs to create a cheerful, more personalized kitchen.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Painting Your Cabinets

To prevent any errors and mishaps when painting your kitchen cupboards, here are some common mistakes to avoid.

Clean The Surface

Before you start the painting process, always clean the cupboard doors first. You should wipe everything down with a grease remover. If you don’t when you add the paint to an oil-covered door, the paint won’t stick. This can result in an uneven surface with paint that won’t be long-lasting. Make sure to choose a cleaner that’s non-scratch delicate and use a gentle sponge to prevent damaging the surfaces.

Remove the Cupboards and Knobs

Some people make the error of not removing doors, drawers hinges, and knobs thinking it’ll save time and make the process much easier. Although it requires more time and effort, we recommend removing all of these items for a smoother, more polished finish. If you don’t, your cabinets will show signs of wear and chips within a few weeks.

Also, once the paint on the hinges begins to crack, you’ll need to sand down the surfaces and remove the paint, beginning the process over again.

Label Where the Doors Go

When removing your cupboards, make sure to label their positioning so you put them back in the correct place, rather than playing a guessing game. A simple piece of masking tape on the back of each door with its exact location will prevent any guessing games after.

Choose the Right Type of Paint

Another important part of this process is choosing the right paint for your surfaces. It’s vital that you consider the paint’s finish, whether that’s matte or shiny. Avoid matter and eggshell paints, as these generally won’t work well in a kitchen environment. Instead, you’ll want a surface that’s easy to wipe clean. Explore gloss and satin finishes. These finishes are hard-wearing and suitable for kitchen cupboards.

You should also think carefully about the colour of the paint so it matches the rest of your kitchen. For a complete contrast, opt for the opposite shade to your current kitchen.

Or to simply update your layout, choose a slightly different shade to your cupboards at the moment to freshen up the room. You might wish to consider testing a small patch of paint on your cupboards for a few days until you get used to the colour if it’s a huge contrast to your current colour theme.

Your Painting Technique

Finally, the correct painting technique can make a huge difference to your kitchen cupboards and the overall finish. The key thing to remember is painting with a slow technique. Rushing the process will result in imperfections and a messy finish. Applying too much paint on the brush will leave drips and splashes on the doors.

It’s important to use the right paintbrush. The best choice is an angular sash brush if you’re working with a cupboard or cabinet with grooves. This design enables you to get into the edges and paint in a straight line. Apply a small amount of paint to the brush to avoid leaving behind any drips.

Use a firm grip to hold the brush and apply the paint using long strokes from the top of the cupboard to the bottom. You can even purchase a paintbrush with an ergonomic design so it’s more comfortable to hold.