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How to prep and paint kitchen cabinets: Revamp your kitchen

Reading Time: 5 minutes
  • Best paint for kitchen cabinet painting in 2021
  • Will I need to prep and prime my kitchen cupboards before I paint?
  • What tools will I need when painting my kitchen cabinets?
  • Benefits of DIY kitchen cabinet painting

If you’re thinking about sprucing up your kitchen by adding some new life to your cupboards, avoid spending eye-watering amounts of cash by doing the job yourself.

The most commonly used paint for kitchen cabinets is relatively affordable. So, rather than replacing your kitchen cupboards or hiring a professional to handle the task, a more accessible and budget-friendly solution would be to paint them.

Still, as tempting as it may be to pick up a painting tool and start the task, there are a few steps that you need to consider if you’re trying to achieve a smooth finish.

Fahren UK is here to help our readers attain a professional finish by providing tips, tricks and secrets on how to paint kitchen cupboards. Our guide will not only help save you time and money but make the process seamless.

Whether you’re doing a complete kitchen renovation or just revamping the space, our guide on how to prep, prime and paint your kitchen cabinets has got you covered, whatever your style or budget.

Painting the Kitchen Cupboards

The best paint for kitchen cabinets in 2021

Discovering the best paint for your kitchen cabinets is the first step towards transforming the heart of your home.

Whether your kitchen needs a complete makeover or is in a perfectly acceptable state, DIY tasks are a quick, easy and affordable solution if you don’t have the budget to purchase new ones.

With so many colours and finishes available, finding the best paint for your kitchen cupboards can be difficult.

The two most popular paints used for restoring furniture are chalk paint and acrylic paint, which come in a range of colours to suit individual tastes.

While they are both similar in their use, chalk paint is a decorative paint that gives the furniture a rustic look. After using chalk paint, your cabinet surfaces will display a chalk-like matte appearance, giving the furniture a distressed or vintage finish.

The chalky, ultra-matte look is commonly found in farmhouses and city homes alike for its vintage charm. One of the benefits of using chalk paint is that it doesn’t require any prep, meaning you can use it immediately on most dry surfaces, except metal or laminate.

Acrylic paint is also a popular option for painting furniture due to its water-based properties and resistance to chips and cracks.

Although acrylic paint is best suited for pieces of furniture with light to moderate use, it offers a rich, smooth finish on all kinds of surfaces.

It is also quick-drying and easy to apply, making it an ideal choice for those who need to paint or recoat kitchen cabinets in a short period.

Acrylic paint is also relatively easy to clean; take a wet cloth with soap and water to clean the cabinet.

How much paint is required?

The amount of paint you need will depend on the size of your kitchen and how many kitchen cabinets need to be painted.x

To avoid running out of paint midway through the job, having too much is always a safer option. Remember that you might need to add two coats of paint to your kitchen cabinets in some instances, especially if you’re applying a lighter colour over darker cabinets.

While some tins might state, “one coat does the trick,” – avoid an emergency trip to the store by having extra containers in your midst. If you’re still unsure, double-check what’s printed on the tin, as some brands provide estimates of how far one paint container will go in square metres. 

Will I need to prep my cupboards?

Whether you’re using acrylic, latex or chalk paint, you will need to remove or protect the drawers and handles on cabinets with masking tape to avoid splattering blotches of colour on them.

Give your cabinets a clean to remove any dust, then gently sandpaper the surfaces to help the paint stick, especially if your cabinets are laminate or another decorative material.

Skipping the prep work could result in unevenly coated kitchen cabinets, setting you up for a more challenging task than you initially had.

Before you commit to painting, it’s best to sample paint colours to avoid regretting your decision later down the line. Given that the task is already time-consuming, repainting can be a significant hassle.

Do I need to prime my kitchen cabinets?

Unless using chalk paint, applying a primer to your furniture will be the difference between achieving a professional finish and a mediocre result.

After prepping your kitchen cabinets, use a roller or brush to apply a layer of primer, which acts as a case coat for the paint and will help prevent chips and cracks.

Adding multiple layers of primer will build up robustness and prevent stains from coming through to ensure that the overall finish is more durable.

Wood table top on blur kitchen counter.

Best tools for painting kitchen cabinets in 2021

While there are several methods you can use when painting kitchen cabinets, the finish you achieve will depend on the type of painting tool you use.


One tool you could use to paint your kitchen cabinets is a paintbrush; however, this may be the most time-consuming method.

To avoid creating brush marks and achieve a smooth finish, avoid painting against the grain of the wood.

However, paintbrushes might be a better option for touching up small areas and hard-to-reach spots than for the entire cupboard. Consider using a paint roller on larger surface areas if you want to complete the job in a shorter duration.

Paint Roller

As paint rollers cover large surface areas, they’re a popular choice for DIY paint projects.

High-quality foam rollers are much more efficient than paintbrushes as the material they are made from absorbs liquid and evenly redistributes it onto surfaces.

If you’re after an even faster painting method, you might want to consider purchasing a paint sprayer.

Paint Sprayer

If you’re painting kitchen cabinets with a large surface area, the fastest way to paint these would be to use a paint sprayer.

Paint sprayers achieve even coverage without any brush strokes. While it is a more costly method, the drying time for paint is also significantly faster than when using a roller or brush.

However, it might require more prep work as you’ll have to lay down sheets within the area you’re working in to prevent the paint from spraying on other appliances and furnishings.

You’ll also need several other supplies besides painting tools when refreshing your kitchen cabinet units. Here’s an ultimate list of the supplies required for DIY kitchen cabinet painting:

  • Degreaser
  • Drop Cloths
  • Liquid Deglosser
  • Foam Paint Rollers
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Painters Putty
  • Painters Tape
  • Painters Tray
  • Primer
  • Rubber Gloves
  • Tack Cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • Screwdriver/drill
  • Vacuum

Having the right tools at your disposal will significantly reduce the time it takes you to complete the job and save any unwanted trips to the hardware store.

What are the benefits of DIY kitchen cabinet painting?

If you want to upgrade your kitchen without maxing out your credit and debit cards, the perfect solution could be to do the job yourself.

DIY kitchen cabinet painting is beneficial as it saves you money and time. Revamping cupboards is much faster than demolishing existing units and waiting for new ones to arrive and be installed by a professional.

Suppose you only want to touch up your kitchen, then painting the units yourself is less of an inconvenience by allowing you to avoid a major renovation.

Doing the job yourself is also more environmentally friendly as the existing cabinets are being reused and repurposed instead of destroyed.

Furthermore, painting the cabinets yourself can transform your whole kitchen without altering the existing layout, thus increasing your home’s value without incurring a massive spend, which offers a great return on investment. You can match the colour of your kitchen cabinets to your hotwater tap from Fahren. We have gold, grey, silver and other boiling water taps to really raise the style and functionality of your kitchen.

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