How To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets (With Awesome Results)

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

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

Aside from your sprayer and the paint you are using, there are some tools and materials you will need to make the previous paint job appear professional and complete.

  • Sanding blocks
    Use light sanding blocks of various grits to remove any surface scratches or burrs or brush strokes before painting doors and painting cabinets and after applying the appropriate primer.
  • Painter’s tape and masking
    Unless you are removing the cabinets, you will want to tape off and mask (plastic sheeting or plastic bag or tack cloth or drop cloths) areas where you don’t want the wet paint to land.
  • Screwdrivers
    Unless you like a challenge, it is much easier to remove cabinet hardware such as handles and closures before you paint.
  • Sponge or horse-hair brush or foam roller
    For a durable finish look, or to apply design elements, you can use a sponge or synthetic bristle brush and roller (foam roller) on the final coat or second coat or third coat or next coat before the fresh coat or first coat of paint dries. 
  • Personal protective equipment
    Covers your eyes, clothing, and face with proper PPE.
  • Lighting 
    You will most likely be working indoors and have a lot of the other flat surfaces or flat areas covered. Make sure you have enough lighting to see what you are doing. Halogen stand lights are an excellent light source.
  • Ladders 
    You may need to reach above your head to get the entire cabinet. It is a better idea to use a sturdy ladder.
How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

How to Successfully Spray Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

When you want to save time, it is wise to consider spray painting cabinets.

Instead of rolling or brushing the oil based paints, a high quality paint sprayer can have the job done in a fraction of the time.

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

1. Clean all the Cabinets Thoroughly

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

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

2. Sand and Prime (So Important)

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

Then, follow step by step instructions:

  • The first paint-prep step after cleaning grease from cabinets is usually filling unwanted holes, dents and dings with spackling or wood filler. Fill areas with spackling compound or bare wood filler
  • Sand the cabinet doors, drawer fronts and cabinet frames with 320-grit sandpaper or brown builder's paper or putty knife
  • Don’t sand cabinet doors or paneled doors, cabinet frame and drawers too hard, just enough to remove the shine
  • Vacuum the dust from cabinet door
  • Wipe down the cabinet boxes and cabinet door with tack cloth or drop cloth
  • Apply stain blocking-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. However, they can be more susceptible to stains and do take up to three weeks to fully cure.

3. Spray Paint the Cabinets (All The Surfaces)

Prepare your area for spray painting door and cabinet painting.

It is also important that you prepare the materials according to the spray painter’s manufacturer directions.

Thinner paint will provide a finer and smooth 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 good surface.
  • Sweep your arm back and forth across the panel.
  • Don’t use your wrist to spray.
  • Use a block of wood grain to elevate the cabinet doors.
  • Spray the backs first to practice.
  • Overlap the right latex paint by 50 percent until you reach the bottom.
  • Allow the first coat to dry before applying second coat means allow the spray paint to dry overnight.
Woman painting furniture outside with bosch sprayer

4. Install the Hardware and Cabinets

Once the cabinets are dry completely and everything looks good, you are ready to reinstall the new hardware. Hopefully, you followed the manufacturer's instructions to label everything carefully which makes this task much easier.

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

Useful Tips When DIY Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Spray painting process of cabinets isn’t a difficult task. There some things you can do to make the painting projects more enjoyable and easy, though.

  • Remove all hardware
    If possible, you will want to remove the handles, closures, clasps, and hinges. Removing cabinet doors and drawers off will help you get full coverage without having to worry about the cabinet doors and drawers getting painted shut.
  • Gather all of your materials before you start
    You will want to make sure you have everything you need to start and smoothest finish the kitchen cabinet  doors and drawers paint job. It is better to have everything on stand by than to have to stop in the middle of the project to run to the local paint store for extra supplies. Paint stores usually offer the widest selection and the best advice.
  • Use cheesecloth
    After you sand the old paint off, use a cheesecloth to remove any lint, debris, and dust from sanding. Cheese cloths won’t leave lint behind and are cheaper than microfiber.
  • Take your time
    While you may want a finished project right now, it is better to take your time and exercise patience. Allow each coat of paint to fully cure before applying the next, so your finished project looks clean and professional. Replace the drawer fronts, reattach hardware like reattach doors and newly painted cabinets and generally focus on making your room fit for cooking again.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting FAQs

What Kind Of Paint Do I Use On Kitchen Cabinets?

There are many paint options for kitchen cabinets, but choose one that works with your sprayer. Avoid matte and eggshell finishes, and opt for a durable and wipeable surface.

Should I Use White Paint For Kitchen Cabinets?

Yes, white paint is a good option for kitchen cabinets. Many colors are available, so you can choose what you like best.

Do I Need To Be Experienced To Paint Cabinets?

No, beginners can paint cabinets by taking their time, following proper steps, and practicing with the sprayer beforehand. It can save you a lot of money compared to buying new cabinets or hiring a professional.

Can I paint kitchen cabinets without priming or sanding?

No, it's not recommended to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding and priming. Sanding removes old paint finish and wear marks, while primer helps the new paint adhere to the surface, making it last longer and resist chipping and peeling.

What Is The Cost To DIY Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

The cost of DIY painting kitchen cabinets varies from $100-$1000 and depends on the materials used, including the cost of a paint sprayer if you choose to use one. Keep in mind that purchasing a sprayer is an investment for future projects.

How much will it cost to have kitchen cabinets painted by a professional?

Professional painting of kitchen cabinets typically costs $697 on average according to Home Advisor. However, the final price can range from $384 to $1110 due to factors such as location, type of paint, and hourly labor costs.

Can laminate kitchen cabinets be painted, if so, what type of paint should I use?

Yes, you can paint laminate kitchen cabinets, but it's not easy. Laminate is not easily painted, and you need specialty paints for the job. First, use a laminate primer designed to stick to laminate. After the primer has cured, use latex-based paints over the primer to paint your chosen color.

Can I spray chalk paint on kitchen cabinets?

Yes, you can use chalk paint in a sprayer for kitchen cabinets. Sand and clean the cabinets before applying paint with a sprayer. Use a thin layer of primer before applying the chalk paint in thin, even layers. Multiple coats may be needed for a polished finish.


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 choose the right paint and equipment for the kitchen cabinet paint job.

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