Kitchen Cabinet Makeover (How To Paint Cabinets)

Happy Friday!

Now that I’m done painting the upper cabinets, I thought I’d share some tips I found helpful along the way. As far as tools go, I used these little plastic pyramids to hold my doors while I painted them:

painters pyramids

I also used a high quality paint brush (Wooster and Purdy brushes are my favorite) and a mini roller with a head made for smooth surfaces.

Best Paintbrush and Roller

In hindsight, I wish I had used a sponge head because I think I would’ve gotten an even smoother finish, but like I told Kevin this morning, “they’re not perfect, but they’re painted!” :-)

As far as the doors go, I highly recommend painting the back of each door first. That way, the front side (the side that will get seen the most) will be the last thing you paint. I started by painting the recessed edges on the back side of each door with a paint brush because it’s easier to get into those areas with a brush then it is with a roller. Then, after I had all the recessed edges painted, I used my mini roller to paint the flat parts of each door. Doing it in this order is the best way to go if you’re looking for a smooth finish with minimal brush marks. Also, the key to the roller is to not over load it. It’s better to do several super thin coats than to glob on a couple of thick ones.

Cabinet painting tips

Once the backs were coated (four times), I flipped the doors and did the same thing on the front sides.

We’re putting the doors back on this morning (they’re closed for this photo, but we’re going to leave them open til Monday), and then I’ll get started on the base cabinets.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets | Simply White | Benjamin Moore Color | Ultra by Muralo Paintes

Truth be told, I’m pretty excited about the being able to sit down while I paint this time. πŸ˜‰ #PaintingUpperCabinetsIsn’tMyFavorite

PS- You can read about the type of paint we’re using HERE, and for up-to-the-minute kitchen makeover updates, join me on Instagram!

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Kitchen Cabinet Makeover (Part One)

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  1. dolores says

    Great tips………………….as usual……………..your always a delight to read. Have a wonderful weekend………………….and thank you………dee

  2. says

    These posts have been so timely because we’re painting our cabinets this weekend! We got a sprayer but I think brushing/rolling the bases of the cabinets will be easiest. Might have to try those little pyramids! I’ll be excited to see the rest of yours as we do our own!

  3. Amy says

    Redo is looking great! I was curious about the grey paint color on your kitchen walls?
    Many thanks,

  4. Laurie says

    Love the crisp white next to the pale blue backsplash…gorgeous! Thanks for the helpful painting tips…great to know that Wooster is your favorite brush. Bon courage with the lower set… you can do it : ) Hopefully you will feel inspired looking at the beautiful already painted ones.

  5. Dana says

    Where did you find the little pyramid things? Super good idea! I plan to paint my kitchen cabinets this summer. I’m still trying to decide between two very different colors, cream or navy.

    • Sarah says

      They are called Hyde’s Painter’s Pyramids and they are sold at Home Depot. I think 10 for $5 or something similar πŸ˜‰

      • Andrea says

        Thanks Sarah. I bought 6 packs from Home Depot at $4.97 each. I have 25 doors and 5 drawer fronts I have to paint so I was happy to see info about these posted. I also checked Hobby Lobby’s web site and the pyramids are $6.97 or so. $2.00 more a package much more than the Home Depot.

    • Cindy says

      Dana: I found the pyramids at Hobby Lobby a few months back. I used them when painting our cabinet doors; it lifts the doors up enough so that the sides could be painted. -Cindy

  6. Emily says

    I lived in Wooster, Ohio where the Wooster Brush Co is located, so I always buy those too. We just finished painting our cabinets this week and are letting them cure until Sunday. We haven’t had doors since April 12th, I am beyond excited! Your kitchen is looking cute!

  7. says

    I am loving it! My fave has always been a white kitchen. And your tile work is looking even more awesome with the light colored paint.

  8. Shanna Jones says

    I love the way this is turning out. I have an older style kitchen (builder grade oak cabinets and laminate counters) and I have been thinking I want to paint the cabinets. I’m scared though. Our backsplash is square tiles that look kind of “Earthy”…like rocks almost. I’m just not sure if I’ll regret painting them white or if I should go darker… thoughts?

    • Brooke says

      Hope you don’t mind my comment. Do you love your backsplash? If not, take it off and put up something you love! If the rest of your house has no white, if you have earthy colors, browns etc then you could paint the cabinets a warm white. Your current back splash will be better with a warm white. If you are looking for a new timeless back splash, subway is great. I adore Layla’s back splash so I am thinking of using her color in subway.

  9. Jennifer says

    I can’t wait to see the full reveal. What color did you decide to go with on the island? :-)

    • Leslie Brown says

      Sorry, Layla. I tried to leave the a link for Jennifer on your island color decisions, and it didn’t work. I couldn’t figure out how to delete my message either. I am just not too tech saavy sometimes.

  10. Rachel Carey says

    Hey, great job! I am (now) obsessed with seeing brush marks on the cabinet doors. We visited a local cabinet maker and this finish was beautiful!

    I am going to do the doors each way and see what I think! Cannot wait to see your project finished!

  11. Vicki says

    Thanks, Layla! I will definitely be getting some of the pyramid things- I will be starting a project soon! Your kitchen is looking fabulous!

  12. says

    Love watching the transformation! You really have great taste & pull everything together so perfectly! We have the Adel cabinets from IKEA in our new kitchen. They are white but not a bright white. Have you ever seen anyone paint them? Sometimes I think I would like them better if they were a true white. They are not real wood so, I’m kind of leary. Plus painting brand new cabinets we just bought last year may send the hubby over the edge;)

  13. Natalie says

    Just finished painting my kitchen cabinets, and your pointers are spot on. Starting on the backside of the door means you don’t have to worry about scuff marks on the front side. It is important to have something that will provide space between the cabinet door and the surface you are painting on. I found an empty cardboard box was perfect for providing stability while letting me paint the edges. I used Sherman Williams paint with an extender additive. This allowed me more time to roll out the paint to get a smooth finish. I used a sponge roller, and it did a great job.

    Your cabinets are looking great! I know from experience it’s a tedious job, but once it’s done it looks great.

  14. penny says

    I have been waiting for you to do your cabinets so that I could follow your advise. I cannot find the paint that you used on your cabinets here in Vermont. After your first post I sent an email to the company asking if they would be opening a store in Vermont but no response from them. The closest to me is 2 hrs. drive in New Hampshire. Do you feel that this paint is worth a 4 hour drive? I usually use Benjamin Moore but was not happy with the last cabinets I painted and was looking for something better.
    Where did you get the triangles to hold the doors up. I love that idea. Thank you for your posts they are already so helpful.

  15. Lynda says

    Hi Layla– your kitchen is looking beautiful! I was wondering if you will seal the paint with anything? We had ours professionally painted (4 coats as well) but didn’t get them sealed because he said they might yellow. Sadly, on the doors under the sink that are opened the most, the paint was wearing off at the tops in less than a year. We are going to have to re-do them and am wondering how we can prevent this from happening again (and want to save you from a possible problem!) Thanks!

  16. Andrea says

    They look beautiful. I’m painting mine the week of June 8 witha bonding primer from Lowes and Valspar Optimus in White Dove. I had already planned to do it the way you described but I’ve never seen those triangles before. Where did you buy them?

  17. Sandra says

    It looks fabulous already! I love white cabinets. Can’t wait to see the finished look. :).

  18. julianna says

    First, coming along swimmingly! Absolutely beautiful with your tile and your rug! Experience says to add your little-rubber-bumper-keep-the-door-from-slamming-things before you close them so that you have even less chance for stickage : )
    Are you going to sponge roll a clear coat for durability?

  19. Joanne says

    Thank you, thank you! I have the paint, also using white, and plan to start on my kitchen cupboards this weekend. I’m a little nervous about it so I have found your posts and others comments helpful and encouraging! I have Skechers and my son plays a mean guitar (previous post) so I guess I’m as ready as I can be!

  20. karen says

    looks amazing! you must be so happy to finally be getting rid of that icky tan color. personally, i like seeing a few brush strokes on painted wood. perfect, perfect paint jobs makes things look a bit like plastic to me. can’t wait to see the finished project!

  21. says

    Watching, listening and learning! It’s for this reason I think I may have mine sprayed… still debating! They’re new cupboards so I only want to do this once. More. Haha…

    Love the new look so much!

  22. says

    They look gorgeous, Lay! I can’t get over how “dirty” the lowers look now that the uppers are white. It makes such a huge difference! Can’t wait to see the entire set finished. :-)

  23. says

    Did you leave that beautiful rug on the floor while you painted? Whoa, showing off are we? Hehe

    Our cabinets are professionally painted (laquered) and they have not held up at all. Lots of peeling paint. Thankfully I don’t go for the perfect look. But if I had it to do over, I’d paint, like you’re doing.

    You can see about half of my kitchen in my post on cutting up watermelon that I just posted. You really can’t see the peeling paint. One thing my MiL designs into kitchens is cabinets that extend the depth of the frig That little design extra gives lots of storage (it’s where I keep baking sheets and tons of other big flat things), and it’s easy to reach.

    I can’t wait to see your finished kitchen!

    • Brooke says

      Me too! My cabs are 4 years old from a good cabinet company and I have wear already. Good excuse for me to go from cream to white but frustrating isn’t it??

  24. Beth Cook says

    I have enjoyed your blog and your progress on your kitchen. Where did you get the pretty rug in your kitchen? And the great chair your husband is standing on? Thanks

  25. Talitha says

    This post would have been so helpful to read before I did my kitchen, haha. Had never painted anything in my life and decided an entire kitchen would be a good place to start :-) . Decided to go with Chalk Paint, which was easy, fast and fun. LOVE the look of your kitchen so far! Can’t wait to see the end result!

  26. Tiffany says

    Layla, did you paint the inside of the cabinets? It looks like it, but that’s the step that’s kept me from painting ours. I think I’d have a breakdown. Any tips if you did paint the inside?

  27. says

    Wow! They look great. Look at all the light now in your kitchen. Gorgeous with your backsplash. Thanks for all the tips. We’ll be painting our cupboards at some point…Not to the kitchen yet…

  28. Kate says

    Don’t beat yourself up about the choice of your roller. I wanted a smooth finish on my doors (I live in a 1928 Cotswold Tudor). At first I used a velour roller to give me the smoothest of smooth….well, the velour roller, just like the highest quality sponge rollers produce foam!!! What a mess. I wiped off as much of my BM Aura satin gloss paint as I could, waited for it to dry so I could prep the doors again and went at it. Like yourself I have a Wooster brush and Wooster extremely low nap roller. The results were great. However, were I to do this over again I would use BM water borne oil – Advance. I did use the Advance in a upstairs small conservatory on all the woodwork and doors. The results were exquisite. Kate

    P.s. love your kitchen.

  29. CLynn says

    I plan to paint our kitchen cabinets in August. Can you tell me what color white you used for your cabinets? I looked through the posts but couldn’t find the actual shade name. (Apologies if I missed it somewhere!!) We have BM Chantilly Lace in adjoining living room cabinetry and kitchen trim. I also plan to paint the kitchen walls SW Sea Salt. Thanks!! :-)