Cabinet Painting in Four Easy Steps

Cabinet Painting in four easy steps is doable! That’s how you can accomplish the task of painting your kitchen cabinets in just a couple of hours each day! Let’s get started!

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update a kitchen on a budget

Have you ever painted your cabinets? We did about ten years ago when we did some remodeling to our living spaces.

After ripping down a couple of walls and moving our kitchen cabinets in a different orientation, I decided they needed to be painted. They had been natural oak – no stain just a clear coat that showed the natural oak wood and all of its beautiful grain.

The problem was the cabinets blended in with our natural oak floors!

So I went with this color combination when I decided to paint the cabinets about 10 years ago.

I’ve loved the look of this kitchen for so long but then came the day I decided to change the look completely!

how much does it cost to paint cabinets

Are you wondering how much it costs to paint cabinets? I’ll break it down for you using my kitchen. Keep in mind as you go through this post that we have a lot of cabinets!

  • 31 cabinet doors
  • 11 drawer fronts
  • 6 open shelves
  • framing for all those cabinets
  • large areas like sides of cabinets, kitchen island, and shelving unit

Yeah, it’s a lot of cabinet painting! That’s why I tackled this project in small bites! We’ll talk about that as the post progresses.

The cost for supplies for our kitchen cabinet painting project was around $143! That included the cleaner, the paint, the fine mist spray bottle, and the 2″ mini angle brush. The other supplies are basic supplies you might already have one hand so I didn’t include them in the final cost.

Isn’t that amazing?? Here let me say it again: a new kitchen for $143!! Woohoo for painting cabinets!

list of supplies:

Use the links below to purchase some of the supplies for this project! You are helping to support this blog and all the free tutorials we offer here! Thanks so much!😊

If you are looking for more Silk paint colors, Click Here.

You can also click the Dixie Belle logo below to shop for other amazing products!

organize kitchen cabinets

Are you like me? Do you open a cabinet door and realize it’s messy and then you have to straighten it then and there no matter what else is going on in your day?

Yeah, that’s what I did. But it stopped there. One cabinet got organized and cleaned and then I got back to the task at hand 😉

This step is not really necessary before painting cabinets. But it might be a good idea when you are finished!

step one

prep work for cabinet painting

The first step is to thoroughly clean your cabinets before painting. Dixie Belle offers a dry TSP cleaner that cuts grease and grime from wood and painted surfaces.

Remove the door handles and drawer pulls as you go along cleaning. You can put the hardware inside of the cabinet so you won’t have hardware all over the kitchen. 🙂

**Wear gloves when using Pristine Clean! I didn’t use gloves and my hands suffered. This stuff is powerful even though it looks and feels like regular water! It isn’t – trust me, I had to invest in Gold Bond hand cream!

But I will say it is so easy to use! Mix one tablespoon with 1/2 gallon of hot water to dissolve. Then pour it into a spray bottle (labeled “Pristine” so you don’t get it confused with other cleaners!)

Cleaning is simple, spray Pristine cleaner onto the cabinet and wipe it down with a damp microfiber cloth. It’s a good idea to have a clean bucket of water to periodically rinse out your micro-fiber cloth.

Go back over the cabinets with clear water to remove any residue from the cleaner.

step two

scuff sand the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and framing

Ok, don’t get in a dither about this step! We’re not talking about getting your power sander! We’re just talking about a scuff sand! It hardly creates any dust and goes along very quickly!

You just need to knock off the shine a bit 🙂

Use your sanding sponge and go over the surfaces back and forth with the grain a couple of times. You will have to change out the sanding sponge periodically.

Wipe down the cabinets with a clean microfiber cloth to remove the dust (there won’t be much dust at all!)

step three

prime dark cabinets

You might be able to skip this step altogether! Read on and I will explain.

Depending on the color of your cabinets and the color you will be painting the cabinets, you may or may not need to use a designated primer.

Most of my cabinets were painted in a linen color and did not need additional priming. Silk All In One Mineral Paint includes a built-in primer so when covering a color like linen with a color like Salt Water, I didn’t need to use a separate primer.

save a little money

Scroll back up to see the dark stain I had previously applied to the base cabinets. Silk would have covered the dark but it would have taken more coats to cover such a dark color with a light color like Salt Water. So I opted to prime the base cabinets with a designated less expensive primer like Zinsser Synthetic Shellac-based primer. Two coats gave the base cabinets enough coverage and helped to save a little bit of the more expensive Silk paint.

Kitchen island with cabinet doors open while they dry from cabinet painting.

YouTube video tutorial

You will be able to see the steps I go over here in the post on the YouTube video. We’ll go over each step and you will be able to see a special tool that you can use to paint around the hinges.

You will also see that I used the fine mist spray bottle to illuminate brush strokes and make the paint glide on easily. You will love the mister bottle!

Just click the video below to watch!

The latest on Youtube:

step four

paint cabinets without removing doors

Begin to paint the cabinet doors. Paint the cabinets in this order: insets, the area between insets, top and bottom, and last the two sides. Use the fine mist spray bottle filled with water on the brush or on the surface to help the paint glide on. You’ll see step-by-step how I do this in the video!

You can see in the video that I chose to not remove the doors. The first time I painted the cabinets 10 years ago I did remove them. It was summer and I could use our garage for the 10 days it took me to complete the job.

It was great to have all of the doors and drawer fronts outside but I learned a valuable lesson about painting cabinet doors in the heat and humidity of the summer months here in Delaware.

pro-tip for painting cabinets

The wood was swollen due to the humidity. It’s not visible to the eye and you won’t even notice until winter comes. Less humid conditions in the winter shrank the wood and the areas that had been hidden from the swelling became visible – and they were not painted or stained because those areas were not accessible and couldn’t be reached with the paintbrush.

It left areas all around the insets of the doors that showed the original natural oak finish. It wasn’t anything that a little touch-up wouldn’t fix but still, it had to be done months after I painted the cabinet doors!

That’s why I left the doors on this time around. I didn’t want saw horses set up in our home since it is cold in my garage so leaving the doors on made sense.

Side view of kitchen cabinets painted in Dixie Belle Salt Water Silk Mineral paint showing various kitchen items on the counter and vintage blue mason jars on the top of painted cabinets.

DIY white painted cabinets

So, what do you think? Doesn’t it look like we turned on a light?? The color is so cheery and bright – we really love our ‘new’ kitchen!

The whole project took me about 3 weeks. I didn’t work on this project every day. My hands are slightly arthritic so I had to have days of rest between painting days.

Plus, you come here to my blog each week for a new tutorial and I didn’t want you to miss any! Here are the projects I worked on for you during those three weeks.

Simply click the image to see the post!

our little cafe

Isn’t this a bright and cheery place to see each morning as we pour our cup of coffee?

Cafe area of kitchen cabinets with kitchen appliances including a small microwave, an air fryer, percolator coffee pot, ironstone sugar bowl and framed picture of a couple.

does Silk All in One Mineral paint need to be sealed?

No!! Shout it from the rooftops!! No!

Seriously, after painting all these doors, and drawers, and framing and shelving and cabinet sides, the last thing you would want to do is seal the paint!

Silk All in One Mineral paint includes the primer, the paint, and the sealer ALL IN ONE!!

**The only reason I used an additional primer was to save $$ on the paint.

Kitchen cabinets that have been painted in Dixie Belle Salt Water Silk Mineral paint for a tutorial on cabinet painting in four easy steps.

Did you notice the solid piece of wood below the kitchen sink area? That’s a new piece of wood that replaced fake drawer fronts that I’ve not liked for years. It’s not finished just yet – I’m saving that for another post!

You will also notice the kick plate is painted in black – we have a fun little addition that is coming in a few weeks – sign up for my weekly email so you don’t miss that post! Scroll back a bit to the sign-up form and join our journey!

what kind of paint to use on cabinets

This Dixie Belle Silk Paint is so practical and beautiful All in One! Haha, did you get that??

Seriously there have been many painting projects around here including cabinets like the ones in our laundry room and I must say after using several kinds of paint, Dixie Belle Silk Mineral All in One paint is the best for cabinet painting!

When these cabinets need to be painted again – in tenish years – I’ll be grabbing more of this paint!

painting cabinets in small bites

This kind of project can be daunting, I get it. But if you decide to paint your kitchen cabinets or bathroom cabinets (that’s in my future!), I suggest you do it in small bites.

Here are two ideas that should be considered:

  • Do all of the prep work in batches. For instance, remove all of the hardware, then clean all of the cabinets, then scuff sand all of the surfaces, then paint all of the cabinets.
  • Complete one section at a time. Look at your cabinets as a group, Like our little cafe area. That could be one section. The open shelves could be another section and so on. Complete all of the steps in each section before going on to the next section.

The choice is yours!

Wide shot of kitchen with freshly painted cabinets in Dixie Belle Silk Mineral paint called Salt Water.

more inspiring posts!

Here are some more posts about our easy room makeovers and updates! Click the image to visit the post!

Pin the image below to your home decor and room makeover boards! Just click the pin button at the top left corner!

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  1. Cindy, your kitchen looks gorgeous! Please share it in our link party. Everyone is going to love this. Well done, my friend.

    1. Cindy your kitchen looks beautiful! You shared great tips and information.


      1. Thank you, Cindy! We are loving the brightness the paint brought to the room! Thanks for your kind words 🙂

    2. Thank you Renae! I will be linking it up soon! Have a great day!

  2. Cindy, you are a rockstar! Your kitchen looks amazing, my friend! I wish I discovered the wonder of Dixie Belle before I painted my kitchen cabinets.
    I am hanging my head in shame that I finished mine months ago and I’m only working on the blog post now, as we speak. I would love to include your link in my post. Shoot me a mail if that is fine with you.

    1. Marieza, thank you so much for your encouragement! I really appreciate it! It would be amazing if you linked up to my post! Thanks, my friend!😊

  3. Cindy, your kitchen looks beautiful! So fresh, light, and bright! Great job! Pinned!

    1. Thank you my friend! I appreciate the encouragement and thanks for pinning!🥰

  4. Wow! It looks fantastic, Cindy, but oh my word, not for the faint of heart! It takes a lot of careful work to have them turn out looking this good!

    1. Thanks, Janet! It was so much work but so worth it!

  5. I can’t believe I am just NOW reading this post!!! How did I miss it? Wow! Your kitchen looks phenomenal! It is so bright and cheerful. You did an amazing job. Now – rest your arms, hands and knees. . . . Oh and of course I pinned your graphics. You are amazing Cindy!!

    1. Thanks Anna! The kitchen cabinets took longer than I expected but it was so worth it.😊 Thanks for pinning!

  6. p.s. I love your collection of vintage and antique canning jars.
    p.p.s. Can you tell I am an antiques dealer?

    1. Haha!! We love all the vintage stuff, don’t we??🥰

  7. What a nice refresh! I have a black island that I’d like to pain but “Handy” won’t even have the conversation with me 🙂 You make it look so easy I could maybe have it don while he’s at work one day.

    1. Grab your paintbrush and finish before dinner! Make it a special dinner and he will never notice 😉

  8. Nice post…………….

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post!