Kitchen Makeover 1.1 – Painting the Cabinets

This is kind of a funny story… you see I had thought that this was going to be a Saturday project. Bahahahahahahhahaha! Yeah, a few weeks ago I wasn’t laughing so much, more like crying! Just being honest with ya’ll! But am I glad that I did it? YES! If your thinking of painting your kitchen cabinets, just know that it is a big job. There are so many different tutorials out there and so many different ways to do it, how do you know where to start? Well, I’m going to share my experience with you complete with all the mistakes and successes. Feel free to comment or email me if you have any specific questions that haven’t been covered.

Last week I revealed my before and after photos of the complete kitchen makeover. To read the entire article and view additional photos, click here.



After viewing and considering many online tutorials, I decided to use one that I found on Pinterest detailing instructions from a professional cabinet maker. This tutorial was posted by Click on the below photo for the Pinterest link which links back to the specific cabinet tutorial.

Source: via Mary – on Pinterest

This tutorial is very detailed and extremely helpful! Things you should know that I didn’t expect:

1. The paint that is suggested (pre-catalyzed lacquer) was not easy to find. At least in my area, none of the local hardware stored carried this product. I had to drive 30+min to one of the larger Dunn-Edwards Paint Supply stores to find it. And be prepared because it is expensive – about $75 per gallon for the tinted lacquer and about $50 per gallon for the clear lacquer!

2. Prep-work takes longer than the actual painting process! I kind of knew this going in, but wasn’t expecting how much longer the prep-work would actually take. Remember, I thought this was going to be done in just one Saturday? Well, two days into the project, I was finally done with all the prep-work and ready to paint.

3. I totally underestimated the size of my kitchen. In addition to what’s pictured in my before/after photos, there is also a desk nook space and double sided butlers nook in the kitchen hallway area. Also, I decided to paint under the island the same white color in addition to all the interiors of the cabinets. Lets just say I went through way way too many gallons of paint. That was unexpected in both the budget and time spent category.

4. When using a paint sprayer, be prepared for the “paint dust” that gets EVERYWHERE! I was not ready for this. The kitchen area was well taped off and drop cloths covered every exposed area of the floor. Sounds good right? Nope! When painting, even with all the windows open, dust covered every exposed inch of the downstairs level of our home. This meant that I had to deep clean everything after the project was complete. And since this project took way longer than expected, it was a bit of an inconvenience during that period, to say the least. Not to worry, this “dust” doesn’t stick like paint — it’s just a little irritating.


So why did I choose this process over all the other tutorials out there? Well, I wanted to do it right! There probably are quicker ways to paint your cabinets, but I was going for the professional look. I’ve seen painted cabinets where you can tell that someone picked up a brush and painted them themselves, but I didn’t want my cabinets to look cheap or hand-done. Also, since I was going for a modern clean styling, it made the process a bit more difficult because it had to look “perfect”. Normally, when I paint vintage furniture pieces, I work with the imperfections and bring out the beauty of each piece with distressing techniques, etc. This was totally different in that the style I was going for did not allow for distressing so the imperfections had to be hidden and not revealed. Does that make sense? If you want more of the shabby or antiqued look on your kitchen cabinets, the process should be a lot easier than whats detailed here and you may be able to get away with a different/less-expensive paint to achieve the look you desire.

This post is getting to be a bit long and I don’t want to overwhelm you. I’ll share more tips with you on another day. I understand that I’ve been sharing a lot of the “negatives” with you thus far and I absolutely don’t want to discourage you from this process, but rather inform you so that you know what your getting into and can be more prepared than I was. I will leave you with this: I LOVE MY KITCHEN! And yes, I would do it again!

Check out all the posts in the Kitchen Makeover series!

kitchenseries1 kitchenseries2 kitchenseries5 kitchenseries3

Lots of love,

11 thoughts on “Kitchen Makeover 1.1 – Painting the Cabinets

  1. Alex @ northstory

    The end result is amazing! That’s a lot of hard work and it totally paid off. This has been on my To Do list for over 2 and a half years now and we’ve been putting it b/c I know how much work this is going to take. I like yourself, want to use a sprayer vs a brush. Maybe next Spring. Again, your new kitchen is a great new look!

  2. Auntie V

    I like the idea of you highighting the “negatives”. If I were to undergo a huge project like this, I would like to understand ALL aspects of what to expect! Great Blog Mary!
    You have a beautiful Professional kitchen, you should be very proud of yourself!

  3. Pingback: Kitchen Makeover 1.2 – Painting the Cabinets « becauseiliketodecorate…

  4. Karen

    Your hard work paid off, it’s beautiful! (I have yet to tackle my own kitchen, the paint sprayer awaits me in the garage!)

  5. Kelsey

    Your kitchen is my inspiration for my kitchen remodel, this is exactly what I want! Two questions – Where did you get your backsplash? and how many gallons of paint did you use to paint the cabinets?

    1. becauseiliketodecorate Post author

      Thank you so very much! Backsplash was from Home Depot. My exact backsplash was on clearance a few years back, but they have since come out with a glass tile that looks almost identical. I’ve been scared to tally it up and actually face how much money I spent on paint. It has to have been like 5+ gallons! Also understand that I painted the insides as well as a desk nook and butlers nook that aren’t pictured.

  6. Kristen McKinnon

    What paint is your wall color. My mom just repainted her cabinets white and is looking for a neutral gray/green to go with it. Your color looks about right?

  7. brookeulrich

    It looks GREAT! I would love to feature this project on All Things Thrifty. Send me an email if that is ok at allthingsthrifty at gmail dot com. :) I’m so proud of you!!


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