How to Update Your Kitchen Cabinets Without Spending a Fortune

If your cabinets are in decent shape, but look dated, sometimes all they need is a facelift. Painting your kitchen cabinets and adding new hardware can give them the look of a beautiful updated kitchen without breaking the bank, or needing any special skills.

Supplies you will need for the job:

1. Drill or screwdriver
2. TSP cleanerSELRES_930223bf-e1bc-4fd2-8b63-be0ca6c7b712SELRES_930223bf-e1bc-4fd2-8b63-be0ca6c7b712
3. Wood filler
4. Sandpaper
5. Paint Brush
6. Roller and Roller covers
7. Primer
8. Alkyd Paint
9. Knobs
10. Pulls
11. Hinges


First you will need to remove your doors and drawers from the cabinets. You may want to tape numbers on them, so you remember where they go. Remove all the hardware. Then clean the cabinets and doors with a heavy-duty cleaner. I like to use TSP because it’s easy to use, does a great job at removing the grease and grime from the cabinets, and preps them to be painted. Then if you are using different sized hardware you may have to fill in the old holes with wood filler, and also any dents and dings.

Next, you’ll want to sand the cabinets with 150 -180 grit sand paper. You just want to rough them up enough so the paint will adhere. You don’t want to go crazy and ruin the routed edges of the doors and drawers. Clean off any debris.


After that it’s time to prime the cabinets.  There are many different primers to choose from.  You can use a stain blocking primer such as B-I-N to prevent knots from bleeding through the finished coat.  In most cases that’s not necessary and you can just use an alkyd or acrylic latex primer. I used a 100% acrylic latex primer from Benjamin Moore. First I applied the primer with a paint brush, and then I went over it with a dry roller. This gives it a nice smooth finish. If there are any high spots after it dries you can sand it lightly. You should only need one coat of primer.


Once everything is primed you can start painting.  Paint sprayers work great for painting kitchen cabinets, but they can be expensive for the casual DIYer, so paint brushes and rollers will work fine. You want to use rollers with ¼” nap or smaller. I used these Mohair rollers. I like to use Alkyd paint, because it’s self-leveling, and dries hard, so it’s very durable. For these particular cabinets I used Sherwin Williams Pro Classic, and the color I chose was aged white. Another great option is Benjamin Moore Advance paint. Use the same method above. Apply the paint with a paint brush, and then go over it with a dry roller for a nice smooth finish. You will need at least 2 coats of paint.

After everything is painted, it’s time to install all the hardware and reassemble the doors and drawers. Make sure you buy hinges that are the right size and style for your cabinets.

These simple steps can transform your Kitchen cabinets without having to spend a ton of money.  A relative of mine actually came to visit recently and thought they were brand new because of how different they looked.


More DIY projects: How to Build a Barn Door


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