Cabinet Painting

Whether you want to lighten up dark and dingy cabinets or enliven things with bold colors, paint can provide an instant makeover for most types of cabinets. Because paint doesn’t adhere well to laminate and melamine cabinets, it isn’t a good idea to paint these types.

Painting with a short (4- or 6-inch) foam roller lets you cover the faceframes with a single stroke and quickly handle the wider doors. Satin enamel paint is an excellent choice because it covers well and is easy to clean.

Remove all screws, hinges, knobs, and pulls and set aside ones you’ll be reusing. Empty drawers and pull them out. Thoroughly clean all surfaces with TSP (trisodium phosphate). Rinse completely with fresh water and allow to dry. Fill any holes with wood putty and allow to dry. Then sand all surfaces with 150-grit open-coat sandpaper and vacuum to remove any dust and sanding grit.


Mask off all adjacent surfaces and position drop cloths to protect counters and floors. Paint the parts in this order: faceframes, inside surfaces of the doors, drawer fronts, fronts of the doors. If additional coats are required, allow the first coat to dry overnight and lightly sand all surfaces with 220-grit wet/dry sandpaper. Vacuum thoroughly, then apply the paint.

Surfaces We Refinsih

Mask off all adjacent surfaces and position drop cloths to protect countertops and flooring. Begin by painting the faceframes, then turn your attention to the doors and drawers.

Next, paint the insides of the doors and, while you allow them to dry, paint the drawer fronts. Then paint the fronts of the doors.

Once the painted surfaces are dry, install the drawers and attach the doors. Carefully layout and drill holes into a jig and through the doors at the desired hinge location. Finally, install the pulls.