How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

You don’t need to hire a professional to paint your kitchen cabinets! With the right tools, anyone can accomplish this task with ease.

Follow our complete how to paint kitchen cabinets guide for all the tips and tricks you need to be successful.

Spray Painting Kitchen Cabinets

When you want to save time, it is wise to consider spray painting the kitchen cabinets. Instead of rolling or brushing the paint, a high-quality paint sprayer can have the job done in a fraction of the time.

The key to perfectly painted cabinets lies in the quality of preparation work. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Clean all the Cabinets

It is imperative that you clean the cabinets thoroughly to remove the years of dirt and grime before painting. If you don’t take this step the primer and paint will not be able to adhere properly.

Then, label each cabinet properly. Remove any hardware and label that accordingly as well. Now is a great time to take your cabinets to the garage or workshop. Then, stick tape into the hinge holes to keep unwanted paint out.

2. Sand and Prime

Many people want to learn how to paint cabinets without sanding. It is possible, with certain paints and finishes. Otherwise, it is wise to scuff up the surface before priming. You can use this as a time to sand any damaged areas. Generally, a 320-grit sandpaper will work well for this.

Then, follow these steps:

  • Fill areas with spackling compound
  • Sand the doors and frames with 320-grit sandpaper
  • Don’t sand too hard, just enough to remove the shine
  • Vacuum the dust
  • Wipe down the cabinets with tack cloth
  • Apply stain-killing primer
  • Once the primer has dried, sand the cabinets again gently

Use a gloss or semi-gloss latex enamel paint for your cabinets. Its hard, shiny finish resists stains and fingerprints.

3. Spray Paint the Cabinets

Prepare your area for spray painting. It is also important that you prepare the materials according to the spray painter’s manufacturer directions. Thinner paint will provide a finer finish.

Test your spray pattern on cardboard first. Here are some more tips to remember while spraying:

  • Spray 10 to 12-inches away from the surface.
  • Sweep your arm back and forth across the panel.
  • Don’t use your wrist to spray.
  • Use a block of wood to elevate the doors.
  • Spray the backs first to practice.
  • Overlap the paint by 50 percent until you reach the bottom.
  • Allow the paint to dry overnight.

4. Install the Hardware and Cabinets

Once the cabinets are dried and everything looks good, you are ready to reinstall the hardware. Hopefully, you followed the instruction to label everything carefully which makes this task much easier.

All that’s left is to hang the cabinets and enjoy your hard work.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the common things that people want to know when learning how to paint kitchen cabinets.

What Kind of Paint Do I Use on Kitchen Cabinets?

Spraying kitchen cabinets with earlex paint sprayer

It is a common question to wonder what kind of paint to use on kitchen cabinets. This is one of the biggest struggles that a homeowner faces.

You can use a variety of paints as long as they are compatible with your sprayer. How to Nest for Less prefers to use latex paint because, “they don’t yellow over time, have quick drying times for your second or third coats, and it’s easy to clean your brushes after each day (just a little water and dish soap).”

A good rule of thumb to remember is that you don’t want to use a matte finish paint on kitchen cabinets.  It is also best to stay away from an eggshell finish. It is important to create a surface that’s durable and wipeable. By doing this, you’ll avoid painting the cabinets again for at least a few years.

If you don’t want to use a sprayer, there are several people that swear by using spray paint in an aerosol can. In fact, First Home Love Life shares “how to get professional looking spray painted cabinets for less than $20!”

Should I Use White Paint for Kitchen Cabinets?

While it is perfectly acceptable to use white paint for the kitchen cabinets, you don’t need to stop there. With a wide array of kitchen cabinet paint colors available, you can choose most any shade that suits your taste. In fact, one of the top picks by A Piece of Rainbow is, “Rich natural wood with the prettiest blue.”

Even if you do decide to go with a white color, there are many shades of white to choose from as well.

What is the Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

Determining the cost to paint kitchen cabinets will depend on the materials you decide to use. If you are using a paint sprayer, you’ll have to factor in that cost as well. When purchasing a paint sprayer, you need to keep in mind that you’ll have it to use on future projects. It’s more of an investment. To find a quality sprayer, be sure to read our Best Paint Sprayer for Cabinets Reviews.

It is possible to paint your cabinets on a budget. Designer Trapped said, “When I painted my kitchen cabinets, we were able to update the entire kitchen for $700, including flooring, fixtures, everything–the whole shebang. Y'all, that price can’t be beat! New cabinets alone would put most kitchens well over the $700 threshold.”

Do I Need to Be Experienced to Paint Cabinets?

Woman painting furniture outside with bosch sprayer

When you are looking at tackling DIY kitchen cabinets, you might feel a little intimidated by your lack of experience. There is no need to be worried. Every task that needs to be completed to paint the cabinets can be performed by a beginner.

The key will be taking your time and doing each step properly. A lot of the result will depend on the preparation of the cabinets as well as your spraying techniques. If you aren’t a professional paint sprayer, simply take some time and practice with the gun on a spare piece of cardboard or wood first.

This will help you get the hang of the movement and you can make setting adjustments to get the flow right. When you consider the cost associated with purchasing new cabinets or having a professional paint them, it is clear to see the savings you will enjoy by doing it yourself.


Painting the kitchen cabinets yourself is a great way to save time and money. While it can seem like a big task to undertake, it doesn’t have to be cumbersome. Take the time to do the necessary preparations and ensure you have the right equipment for the job.

Then, you’ll be amazed at how great your kitchen cabinets look after the job is complete.

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