How to paint kitchen cabinets – the 6 steps to transforming your cabinets

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If you’re sick and tired of looking at the dull brown wooden cabinets in your kitchen, painting them is an easy fix. Painting your kitchen cabinets a bold colour could completely improve the look of your kitchen. Revamping the cabinets with a splash of paint and new handles isn’t difficult when you know how, and upcycling the cabinets is much cheaper than replacing them. Express.co.uk chatted to Abby Hesketh, Product Manager and Paint and Colour Specialist at Graham & Brown to find out how to paint kitchen cabinets.

Lockdown is the perfect time to tackle the DIY tasks you’ve been putting off. If you’ve been meaning to do-up your kitchen cabinets, don’t wait for a professional painter, do it yourself!

Abby said: “The cost to paint your kitchen cabinets is typically at least half the cost of replacing and is really easy to do. It just takes time, patience and the right paint and tools.

“If however your doors are warped, chipped or damaged it’s best to replace – paint won’t solve these problems.”

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To do a professional-looking job, you’ll need to use the right paint.

Abby said: “Any eggshell or gloss paint made for wood will do but ensure they are acrylic-based, not vinyl.

“You can look at chalky matt finishes however they will need a top coat or wax to achieve a wipeable surface which is an extra step in an already lengthy process.

“Always ensure you use a primer as well. If you’re painting onto laminate it’s recommended you use a special bonding primer, however standard wooden cabinets can take any typical wood primer.”

Once you’ve decided on a paint colour, you can start gathering the required materials mentioned below and get to work.

Abby has revealed the six steps to painting your kitchen cabinets.

Remove and unscrew

You can’t just start painting the cabinets as they are, according to Abby.

She explained: “Before starting to paint, it’s important to remove all doors and drawers from your cabinets using an appropriate screwdriver.

“You should also unscrew any handles, hinges and knobs so you’re left with just the wood to work with.

“At the end of your project, you will need to reattach (or upgrade!) these elements. Use masking tape to label the different parts of your cabinets, so you know how to put everything back together at the end!”

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Wash

Your kitchen is the prime location for food and drink spillages and greasy hand marks, so you’ll need to give your cabinets a good wash before you start painting.

Abby said: “Using your sugar soap solution or a good degreasing product, thoroughly wash your cabinets.

“Getting rid of any grease or residue will allow your paint to adhere better to the woodwork and help to give you a clean, smooth finish. Wait for them to dry before moving on to the next step.”

Sand them down

Your cabinets might not be in the same condition they were in when you first installed them, but that’s fixable.

Abby said: “Use sandpaper to even out the surface of your cabinets, focusing on any bumps or particularly rough spots.

“At this stage, you should use wood filler to fill in any gaps or imperfections, and then sand again to ensure the whole area is even.

“Make sure to dust or vacuum the cabinets afterwards. If there is still grit on the surface, this will show up when you start painting and leave you with a visibly rough texture.”

Prime

Don’t skip this step! Primer is the key to a polished look.

Abby said: “Before applying your main paint to the cabinets, prime them with a good wood paint primer, such as our Primer and Undercoat.

“This will save you from worrying about knots and stains in the wood showing through a few weeks after you finish your paint job.

“I’d recommend using a small paint roller rather than a paintbrush to avoid any streaks or brush marks.

“If needed, use a brush to finish off corners and raised edges. Wait for the primer to dry before the next step.

“If your cabinets are made of laminate, I’d recommend using a bonding primer for difficult surfaces, widely available in DIY stores and online. The topcoat needs a little extra help with this kind of substrate!”

Paint

Now it’s time to paint. Abby said: “ As with the primer, paint either Eggshell or Gloss Paint onto your cabinets using a small roller.

“Once the first coat has dried, lightly sand it to create a smooth surface for your final coat.

“Paint the back of the cabinet’s surface first so that if anything gets smudged when you’re turning the parts over, you’re sparing the visible outer surface”

All together

Once everything is dry, you can reaffix any knobs and hinges and put the doors and drawers back in place

Abby added: “This is a great opportunity to change up any features that you’re tired with – why not combine your new colours with some new handles?”

Copper and gold handles are really trendy at the moment. Think outside the box and get creative with your choices!

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