How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

June 23, 2016

It’s embarrassing how long I have wanted to write this blog post and that I’m just now doing it. After we painted our kitchen cabinets in our new house this past January, I have had more e-mails asking for tips on painting cabinets than I would have ever imagined. Everyone seems to want to know how we got them so smooth and without any brush stokes. Here’s a recap of our kitchen before we moved in and what it looks like now.

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

I’ve painted many a cabinets in my short days but honestly, with just a few pointers anyone can do it and do it well. I am not a professional just a girl that loves DIY projects. With that in mind, here’s what I’ve learned over the years when it comes to painting cabinets.

Prep work: No matter how tempting, NEVER skip the prep work. This is by far one of the most important steps.

  1. Remove all hardware, clean all cabinets and doors with a de-greaser. I have found TSP works great for this. If you do not get all the grease and grim off your cabinets, your paint will not adhere.
  2. After deep cleaning your cabinets, let them dry. Next is sanding. I’ll admit I hate sanding more than anyone. Trust me! Sanding is huge. I use 80-120 grit sand paper along with my handy palm sander. Using a palm sander gets the job done much quicker than sanding by hand. Vacuum up the dust first and then wipe off all cabinets with a damp cloth.
  3. Fill any holes, cracks in your cabinets with wood filler and re-sand those areas.

Buying Paint: Choosing the right paint can seem overwhelming and confusing. I’ve heard of people using chalk paint, spray paint, etc. I’ve always used latex, cabinet paint. I really love Benjamin Moore’s cabinet paint as well as Valspar’s Reserve line.  Both are great quality and hold up to heavy use. You can use a Polyacrylic as a top coat if you chose. I usually do not and mine have always held up great!

Painting: There is a couple different methods. You can certainly use a paint sprayer which works great! I actually did not use a paint sprayer with my kitchen cabinets. Some one was borrowing it at the time so I used my tried and true method.

What you need if you’re not using a sprayer: A good quality brush. Here is the brush that I always use on projects like this one. A small roller with a foam cover or a cover rated for smooth- semi smooth surfaces. I personally use the foam rollers for cabinets.

To start, paint the back of the doors first. This way, when you go to flip them, if you scuff them while painting the front side the scuff mark is on the back. Thinner coats of paint are always better than really thick coats. You want to avoid running and or puddling. I apply at least two coats, three if needed. Let them completely dry overnight before flipping to paint the front side. Once the back sides are dry flip the doors. If your doors have raised centers or if they are shaker style use your paint brush to paint any edges or cracks where the roller can not get. You can see in the photo below where I used my brush first and then rolled the rest after.

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

You then can used your roller to roll the rest of the paint onto the doors.

The cabinet bases are painted in the same way. I use a brush to paint all inside corners and then use a roller behind it to cover all the flat surfaces. I also use the roller on all of my drawer fronts.

Make sure to let your paint cure for a couple days before reattaching your doors.

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro


I clean my cabinets with warm soapy water and for tougher jobs I use Clorox wipes.

The key is making sure to take the time to prep your cabinets and not to rush while painting. I’m the worlds worst when it comes to this part. I always want to hang the doors up before they’re completely dry. I’ve paid the price for it in the past. Don’t rush my friends! You’ll be so happy you took the time when it’s all said and done.

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

How To Paint Cabinets Like A Pro

You can find cabinet hardware like ours here and here.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I’m hoping to get some patriotic touches out around our house this weekend. The fourth of July will be here very soon!



This post does include affiliate links for your convenience as well as to keep this little blog going šŸ˜‰

You can see a painted bathroom cabinet that we did last year as well – Guest Bathroom Makeover




  • Reply Kelli Beavers June 23, 2016 at 11:17 am

    Hi Amanda! Thanks so much for this article! The cabinets are gorgeous. I’m curious … are the hinges also the Cosmas brand you linked for the pulls and knobs?

    • Reply Amanda June 23, 2016 at 3:31 pm

      Thank you so much Kelli! I apologize that I didn’t include those. Yes, they are the same. Here is the link to the hinges – I hope that helps!

  • Reply Melanie June 25, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    What is the cabinets color?

    • Reply Amanda June 25, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      The color is called Fieldstone by Benjamin Moore.

  • Reply Melanie June 26, 2016 at 7:28 am

    Thanks! šŸ™‚

  • Reply Cynthia Reid August 16, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Hello, just wondering whIch line of Benjamin Moore paint you used for the cabinets? I absolutely love them!

    • Reply Amanda August 17, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Cynthia, for the Benjamin Moore it would be the Regal line of paint in a semi-gloss or satin. Thank you so much! šŸ™‚

  • Reply 5 Home Updates We’ve Loved & Those We Regret | The Tale of an Ugly House April 11, 2017 at 9:29 am

    […] You can take a look at the kitchen’s before here. The cabinets were that 80’s orange stain. They’re solid pine which is great because it was easy to sand them down and give them new life. We have done a number of things in our kitchen to bring it up to 2017 but if painting the cabinets was all that we had done, it would have been enough. It’s amazing how bright and cheerful the kitchen is now that the cabinets have a fresh coat of paint. If you’ve been wanting to dive in but are a little intimidated, you can read my how-to and tips here. […]

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