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Painting your Kitchen Cabinets

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing Them

Don’t get us wrong, if you’re paying a contractor to paint your cabinetry, then we’d tell you to ensure they remove the cabinets first. A professional cabinet painter has hopefully removed and re-hung cabinets plenty of times. Yet, for many of us, the idea of doing that work ourselves can be daunting. For some of us, it could become a nightmare!

Fortunately, we’re here to say that the average homeowner doesn’t need to remove their cabinets to paint them. As long as you follow our process and ensure that you’re thorough, you can paint your cabinets without removing them, and paint them almost as well as a professional (maybe better!) Here’s our guide to painting your kitchen cabinets without removing them.

Step 1: Choose a Color

Don’t just jump into painting your cabinets. Think long and hard about why you want to paint them. What about the current color that isn’t working for you? Do your research too; we suggest scouring home décor blogs and magazines for their input on what colors to choose.

Most of all, ensure you choose a timeless color and one that you absolutely love. The last thing you want to do is pick a color that you’re tired of in a few years or one that is so unique you might have trouble selling to potential buyers down the road.

Step 2: Remove Old Hardware

Finally, it’s time to roll your sleeves up and get dirty. Start by taking a screwdriver to your existing cabinet hardware. Remove every piece, including the cabinet doors and hinges. We recommend you collect and organize your hardware in baggies for safekeeping.

Step 3: Prepare the area

Painting, even with the best intentions, can become a messy ordeal in no time at all. Prepare your space by putting down drop cloths and taping off any area around the cabinetry that you don’t want to get paint on. If you want to go the distance, then tape and paper your countertops, appliances, and any other surfaces that could be splashed by paint.

Step 4: Wash & Sand Cabinets

As much as you want to believe product labels, or other DIY bloggers telling you that you can skip this step, we’d suggest you follow it if you want your cabinet paint to last. Wash your cabinets with a chemical called TSP, which will remove accumulated grease from the surface of your cabinets.

Afterward, rub the surfaces of your cabinetry with coarse-grit sandpaper. You don’t need to completely sand the surface; you just need to rough it up enough for your paint to adhere.

Step 5: Apply a Primer

Once again, we do not recommend that you skip this step, even if it feels like a pain.  Apply a primer and sealer to any surface you plan on painting. Doing so will ensure the paint adheres, and that it will go on evenly. Moreover, a primer and sealer will hide any stains or wood grain that could bleed through your paint.

Step 6: Finish Cabinets with Paint

Okay—so you’ve done all that work to prepare for this moment. Finally, you can slap on a few coats of paint and begin to admire all the hard work and preparation you’ve committed to this project. We hope that in that time you haven’t fallen out of love with your color choice!

We recommend you use a roller to streamline painting but keep a brush on hand for the detailed work. Soon enough, you’ll see the culmination of all your hard work.

Step 7: Clean Up

After the paint thoroughly dries, go ahead and rip up all the painter’s tape and paper you meticulously applied to your kitchen. Now is the time to step back and truly see your work. We recommend you keep any leftover primer and paint somewhere cool and dry for future touch-up jobs.

Step 8: Choose New Cabinet Hardware

Last but certainly not least, donate your old hardware and get some new stuff. We offer a variety of cabinet hardware options that come in all styles. We’ve written about cabinet hardware extensively in the past, so we hope our cabinet hardware guide will help you choose something that does your new kitchen renovation justice.