KITCHEN FACELIFT: How to Paint Cabinets Part II

Today I’m going to cover how I painted my cabinets. On Monday I covered the prep work involved, click here if you missed it.

1 || Painting

There are basically 3 ways to paint cabinets. Spray the paint on, brush the paint on or roll the paint on with a high density foam roller. I toyed around with spraying but decided my painting space was a bit tight and it was too cold outside for the paint’s recommended painting temperature. The foam roller can leave a bit of a texture behind with self leveling paints, so I decided for my taste I’d use a brush.

Now lets talk brushes. **Don’t skimp on your brush! Buy the $15 dollar brush so you get the right texture. You want to look for a brush with soft bristles and a feathered tip so the paint can flow off the brush and leave little to no brush strokes.

2 || Brushing on your paint

I have oak cabinetry and the grain isn’t super tight in places so overall I found that brush marks were very minimal, this is due in large part to the open grain. I tried to photograph a particularly grainy door so you can see what I’m referring to.


The side of my cabinets are laminate which means they are perfectly smooth. On these surfaces the paint left light brush marks, but I actually like them because now they have about the same texture as the oak portions of the cabinets. **Make sure you paint in the same direction as the grain of your cabinet. So if your grain is vertical use vertical brush strokes, where it is horizontal, use horizontal brush strokes. Doing this will minimize the appearance of brush strokes and the paint will also flow on the wood better.

When it comes to using primer I always use one when needed. However, I didn’t use a primer because the paint did not recommend one. **Always follow the instructions on the can! I also applied the paint in very thin coats so I would have a smoother finish. It took about 6 coats of paint to cover the cabinets. Basically, 2 thin coats = 1 coat of regular paint. Very time-consuming but the end result is worth it. You get a smooth virtually mark free shining surface.

It takes 12-24 hours for this paint to harden enough so you can use the painted surface. It takes 2 weeks or more before the paint hardens completely, so use gently in those weeks.

I can’t stress how important it is to read the instructions of your paint before you use it. Every manufacturer is different and every paint line within those manufacturers is different. But the core of my steps will be the same. You’ll want to clean, sand and then paint. You may have to add a primer if the paint you select calls for one. But I highly recommend CabinetCoat, and no they didn’t pay me to say that.

 3 || Selecting your white

There are many shades of white out there. At times it can be difficult to narrow it down to the right one. My favorite for trim that also works well on cabinets is Benjamin Moore’s Simply White OC-117. It is a clean white that isn’t too bright and lifeless.

Benjamin Moore Simply White

I had the paint store tint my gallon of CabinetCoat to Simply White. The shade of white CabinetCoat comes in was a bit bright and dull for my taste. It almost went blue it was so white. You can see BM’s Simply White used on the trim in this room. It’s just a great shade of white.

Benjamin Moore's Simply White


4 || Installing your Hardware

I think selecting hardware is the best part of cabinetry. There are millions of styles out there. And as much as I’d love to go down that road I’m just going to talk about where to install knobs. A good rule of thumb is to place knobs 2½ – 3 inches up or down from the edge of your door. There are no hard set rules that you have to adhere to, so if you like them somewhere else, put them there. In the end it is all about your comfort and ease of use.

You can purchase a plastic guide to assist you in marking where to drill your holes from hardware stores for less than $10. I didn’t have that many doors so I just measured mine, but I hear good things about them.


My hardware is from Lewis Dolin’s Bar Series in Brushed Brass.


If you have any questions I’m more than happy to answer. And, I’m super excited for Friday, I’ll have some more photos of the kitchen. I am by no means finished with the entire kitchen but I think it will be fun to share none-the-less!


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