An Amateur’s Guide to Painting Cabinets White

I swore I’d never do it again…but I did. I just love a white kitchen and I hate spending money on something I can do myself. So Joey and I spent the two weeks before Thanksgiving transforming our outdated oak cabinets into a beautiful, clean white kitchen that we LOVE. Here’s how (and the harmless marital arguments that arose as a result 😉 ):

  1. Clean the nastiness off.
  2. Remove cabinet doors from their frames. We kept drawers in place. And we kept bottom doors on until the last minute because THIS little girl loves to empty a well-stocked cabinet.

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    She found our one pane-less french door within days of learning to walk. 🙂

  3. Sand all surfaces down using fine grit sandpaper. 150-220. Move sandpaper in same direction as the woodgrain. (Marriage Tiff #1) Cover your countertops/dishes/stovetop if you don’t want sand dust on them.
  4. Wipe dust off surfaces with a damp cloth.
  5. Use that blue tape to tape around borders, floors, and where the wood meets the countertops and walls.
  6. Prime all surfaces using a small-medium sized paint brush to get into all the cracks. Per the Lowe’s Paint Lady’s recommendation, we used PVA primer. IMG_2342
  7. We waited 3 days because it was raining. We didn’t want to spray-paint outdoors in the rain or humidity.
  8. Rain stopped.
  9. While Joey used his dad’s paint sprayer in our side yard and painted the cabinet doors–as well as everything behind and beside them: fence, rain-collection barrel, new A/C unit, bench, grass… (Tiff #2), I used Valspar Dove White semi-gloss paint as a first coat in the kitchen. (I love this color!)IMG_2377IMG_2378IMG_2383
  10. Most people would probably remove and replace all hinges/hardware, but we loved the quality of ours and didn’t mind that they were painted white.
  11. The paint sprayer didn’t work as well as we had hoped. The paint dripped and it was hard for Joey to keep bugs off the wet paint. It felt like the first, sprayed coat was a waste of time and fence. (Tiff #3) So he put the doors back on their frames to finish with a brush.
  12. Over the next two evenings and nap times, we painted the second and third coats. Joey’s idea of a “final coat” and mine were different. (Tiff #4)
  13. Use Trigger Point foam roller to work out all the kinks in your low back and shoulders. Ouch!
  14. We decided to keep one cabinet door off and open. Joey filled in the hinge holes with spackling putty. Then we sanded and painted over it.
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  15. Light a candle, clean the floors, blend up a green protein shake and enjoy the finished product. FullSizeRender 29IMG_2384
  16.  Reminisce about what it used to look like!

BEFORE: Joey’s dad put in a new backsplash (beveled white subway tile with light gray grout) for us when we moved in last December. We also changed the lighting.




AFTER: We don’t love the granite counter tops the previous owners chose, but they’re much more bearable now!

16. Go on a date. Apologize for being a jerk over paint. We enjoyed seeing Spectre (007) in the balcony at the Warren! Thanks, Aunt Melinda, for babysitting! FullSizeRender 31

17. Swear you’ll never paint cabinets white again…