DIY Kitchen Makeover


Ok friends! As promised, here is our “grand” kitchen makeover reveal! This was one of my very first projects when we moved into our new home.

Let’s take a little walk down memory lane to see what we were working with…

Welcome to the 90’s everyone! DARK red walls. Oak cabinets. Outdated brass light fixtures and horrible fluorescent light boxes! (That were missing some covers too! Super ugly)

Luckily, the counters were already an awesome beige composite so we didn’t have to worry about those. 

We went with Sherwin Williams “Agreeable Grey” for the walls and white for the cabinets so the kitchen was nice and bright.

Besides switching out the two light fixtures for updated lantern chandeliers, we also had an electrician close in the fluorescent light boxes and put in some disc lights. 

That made a huge difference!

I’ve had a lot of questions about my cabinet painting process so I thought I’d lay it all out step by step for y’all! 

Step 1: Prep

So that I didn’t totally  kill myself, I spread the project out over a few nights. The first week we were in the house, I painted a wall each night after the kids went to bed and before I knew it… the red was GONE!

That alone made a huge difference too! 

When it came time to paint the cabinets back in early November, I also spread this project out over a few nights.

Night #1, I prepped! 

I started on a Thursday night and degreased ALL the cabinets and doors. Next I used liquid sandpaper/deglosser to help strip the surfaces a bit to make them rough enough for the paint to stick.

After this, I did one final scrub down with soapy water to get all the cleaners/deglosser off of the cabinets.

Once this was done, I taped along the edges to protect the walls and counters.

I knew I would be painting the doors and drawers in my garage but I didn’t want the garage walls and floor to get paint everywhere. 

To protect the walls and the floors, I rolled out a very large plastic drop cloth and nailed it pretty high up the wall. It was large enough it spread out down onto the floor about 5-6 feet too. 

When it actually came time to paint, I was sure to lay plastic over the counters and the floors to keep paint from dripping on them. 

While taping, I labeled the doors with a matching label inside the cabinet itself. I also did the with the drawers to keep them straight. 

If it helps, draw a little picture of your kitchen and make a key with all your labels so you don’t get confused. 

Between the desk, the island and the cabinets and drawers themselves we had 33 pieces to remove and paint! So it was crucial we knew where each went. 

Step 2: Remove Cabinet Doors 

The following night, we took down all the doors and removed everything from each drawer. 

To keep things organized, we put the hinges right inside of the cabinets on the shelf as close to the place they would normally hang.

(If you want to go a step further to keeping your screws and hinges together, you could tape them to the inside wall of your cabinets next to where they hang. I just was running out of time!)

As I took each door and drawer down, we would take them out to the garage where they would be painted. 

Now that all the doors and drawers were down and everything had been prepped, it was time to….

Step 3: PAINT!

We used Valspar cabinet enamel from Lowe’s and tinted the paint “Fundamental White” by Sherwin Williams

Mostly, we used a small foam roller brush on everything we could reach. (Lowe’s actually sells a cabinet roller that worked really well!) For everything we couldn’t reach, we used a small angled paint brush. 

Confession time… Half way through the first several coats of paint on the cabinet frames themselves, I realized the paint wasn’t sticking quite as well as I’d hoped…

I took a second look at the paint can I asked my hubby to pick up and realized…. It wasn’t paint AND primer. Just paint! 

This slowed me down a bit and took several extra coats than it would have had I started with a basic primer or Killz layer. Don’t skip the primer!

(The weekend after we painted the kitchen cabinets, I painted all the bathroom vanities in the house since they were the same oak cabinets as the kitchen. 

I used the same exact steps to paint the vanities as I did on the kitchen cabinets but was sure to use Killz before the cabinet enamel. It made a huge difference! So take it from me! Don’t skip the primer!) 

Step 4: Spray the Doors 

On our last day of the project, we gave some final coats to the cabinet frames while I went in and out of the garage spraying the cabinet doors and drawers.

I used my paint spray gun  that I told you about in some of my other recent DIY blog posts (DIY Kitchen Table Refinish)

The spray gun is fairly easy to use. I did some research and watched a lot of Youtube videos on other similar sprayers. The gun comes with instructions and a chart on how to add thinner (and which kind for each type of paint) in order for the paint to be able to spray. 

Another confession:

Originally I thought it would be difficult to spray while pointing the gun down, so I put as many cabinet doors leaning up against the wall as would fit…

This was a poor choice as it left run marks! I ended up having to go back to those and fix them (as best I could) with a roller and re-spray a bit. 

The doors laid flat turned out perfect! SO! My advice to you is to lay them flat on a box or a paint can to be sprayed. 

To be safe when I started painting them, I started with them laying on their front so that after they were painted they never laid back on their front. (I was worried about indentations or marks in the freshly dried paint left from the box or paint can they were resting on.)

Step 5: Rehang! 

Once the drawers and doors had a good few hours to dry and cure, we started hanging them back up! A lot of them we left out overnight. (Mostly the ones I ended up having to fix from runny paint). 

If you can, it is best to let them sit as long as possible. We just were in a bit of a rush and wanted them back up! 

We can’t tell you how much we LOVE the finished product! Even better than we could have expected!

Originally I thought we would just leave the gold handles the cabinets came with, but after a day or so I realized they looked pretty 90’s! 

So I ran to Lowe’s and switched out the hardware for some updated gold handles and pulls! 





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Have you painted cabinets?  What method have you tried?   I’d love to hear from you! Shoot me an email! Be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss a thing as well as follow me on Instagram and Pinterest!

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