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Taupe greige grey beige painted kitchen cabinet cupboards with chalk furniture paint

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cupboards

February 05, 2024
Author Rosanne Korteland
Did you know that design trends change more frequently in kitchens than any other room in your house? It can be easy for kitchens to feel outdated quickly, and very costly to renovate them.

The good news is, there's an easier, cheaper way to give your kitchen a whole new look than completely replacing your cabinetry!

In this tutorial we'll show you how to refurbish your kitchen with Country Chic Paint products for a beautiful and durable finish. With 50 paint colors to choose from, there's something for every design style!

To show you these techniques in action, we refinished our own Country Chic Paint headquarters kitchen. Here's what it looked like before:
Wood kitchen cabinets and turquoise wall

Step 1) Start with a thorough cleaning

DIY Tutorial For Refinishing Cabinetry #DIY #furniturepainting #kitchencabinets #tutorial #videotutorial #howto - www.countrychicpaint.com/blog

The very first thing you’ll want to do when refinishing your kitchen cabinets is to take all the doors off their hinges and give them a good cleaning. Since there are often food contaminants, grease, and oil in kitchens, cupboards are prone to getting quite messy.

We recommend giving each door a good wipe down with a mixture of water and vinegar to start. No matter what you choose to clean your cabinet doors with, make sure you follow it with a thorough wipe down using just water to remove any last remaining surface contaminants. You don’t want cleaning products leaving a residue that might prevent the paint from adhering properly!

Tips:

  • Keep all your hardware including knobs, pulls, and hinges in a Ziploc bag so they don’t get lost.
  • Come up with a number system and label each drawer and cupboard door with painters tape so you remember where they go. This is a life-saver when it comes time to reassemble your kitchen!

Step 2) Test your adhesion: Do you need to prime?

DON’T SKIP THIS STEP!

We know it’s exciting to start a new project and it’s tempting to just dive right in, but painting a whole kitchen is a big job, and you want to make sure your hard work will last for years.

Before you start painting we highly recommend painting a couple of small test patches to make sure you’re getting great adhesion and you’re not seeing any bleed through.

Paint scratch test

How to do a scratch test:

  • Paint a few small (roughly 2″x2″) patches on your cupboards. Aim to test doors from different areas in your kitchen, and make sure you do at least one test on the front of a cabinet door, and one on the back (if you plan to paint the backs).
  • Let your paint swatches dry overnight.
  • Scratch the paint the next day with your fingernail. If the paint seems to be sticking well, you can go ahead and paint the rest of your doors and drawers.
  • However, if the paint peels off easily you’ll need to start with a coat of our Clear Bonding Primer* to guarantee your work will last for years to come

*Please note that our Clear Bonding Primer is not a stain-blocking product. If you’re seeing any bleed through, you’ll need to use a stain-blocking primer such as Shellac.

Step 3) It’s time to paint!

Applying greige beige chalk furniture paint to kitchen cabinets

Any of our 50 paint colors can be used for kitchen makeovers! For our office kitchen makeover pictured here, we chose a timeless warm greige color called Soiree.

If you’re having trouble choosing, we have some inspiration photos for you here. If you’re still not sure, it’s always a good idea to order one of our color cards so you can see the real colors in person, compare them to your existing wall colors and decor, and be 100% sure you’ll be happy with your decision.

Tips for applying paint to kitchen cupboards:

  • Shake and stir your paint well, then pour some off into a clean container to avoid contamination of your entire jar.
  • Apply paint in one direction to ensure a smooth, even finish with minimal brush strokes.
  • Our favorite application tools are an Oval Paint Brush, or a Painting Sponge.
  • It’s always better to do two thin coats than one thick coat of paint. This will make sure you get better adhesion and a much smoother finish with minimal brush strokes.
  • Make sure you allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step!

Step 4) Seal with Clear Coat

Clear Coat top coat application on beige grey painted kitchen cabinets

Because kitchen cabinets need to withstand a lot of daily wear and tear, we recommend sealing them with Clear Coat. It will give your cabinets a very high-end, durable finish that can stand up to daily wear and tear and will wipe clean beautifully. Two or three coats is best for optimal protection.

Tips for applying Clear Coat to seal your kitchen cupboards:

  • Make sure your last paint coat has had AT LEAST 24 hours to fully dry before you begin this step. Longer is better, if time allows. Particularly if you’re working in cold or humid conditions.
  • Stir your jar of Clear Coat very well for at least 2 minutes. DO NOT SHAKE! Shaking Clear Coat will incorporate bubbles that you don’t want in your finish.
  • It’s best to apply Clear Coat with a Painting Sponge for the smoothest finish possible.
  • Apply in long, smooth strokes working in one direction, and keeping a wet edge at all times. Be careful not to overwork the product as you apply it or you’ll end up with an uneven, streaky finish.
  • Allow your first coat to dry for approximately 2 hours before applying a second coat.
  • 2-3 coats is optimal for very high-traffic projects like kitchens.

Stop by our Clear Coat application tutorial for even more detailed tips on how to apply Clear Coat.

Keep in mind that it takes about one week for Clear Coat to gain full strength, so be extra careful if you decide to use your kitchen straight away.

Kitchen makeover after painting - greige cabinets olive green wall

Here’s our “after” look! What do you think?

Our kitchen cabinets were painted in the color Soiree, and if you’re curious about the beautiful deep olive green wall color, we used Neverland from our 2024 limited edition Decade Collection!

Next up:

If you want to give your kitchen cabinets a bit more dimension, or perhaps an aged antique look, check out this tutorial next!

Did you enjoy this tutorial? Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to get access to all of our instructional videos!

We would love to hear what projects you’re working on, so make sure to leave a comment or post a picture of your project to our Facebook page or Instagram (@countrychicpaint)!

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