How Do You Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

If you’ve ever considered having your kitchen cabinets painted, then you’ve probably wondered about the process itself as well. What’s involved, and what do the steps look like?

Well-intentioned DIY television shows make it look quick and easy, but there’s actually a lot involved, and it requires specialized skill, tools, and products. That’s why we always recommend hiring a professional to handle your update. The kitchen is just too important (and high-value!) a space to experiment, or make expensive, disappointing blunders. 

When it’s done correctly, cabinet painting is a SERIOUSLY awesome alternative to a full replacement, saving you time, money, and avoiding a whole lot of remodeling/demo mess. Check out this article for a few awesome tips!

Kitchen transformation with new blue cabinets.

So, ready for a closer look? 

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Step 1: Prep the Room

This involves clearing the room, emptying cabinets, and covering any surrounding surfaces. Protect those countertops too!

Step 2: Prep the Cabinets

80% of ANY painting project’s success is dependent on careful, skillful surface preparation. Seriously. In this case, prep includes:

  • Cabinets should be cleaned first to remove substantial grease, food, and spills.
  • Scuff all surfaces with a fine sanding block, carefully getting all the little edges and corners.
  • Cabinets need to be cleaned again, especially the nooks and crannies. 
  • Remove hardware, including hinges. Don’t forget to label EVERYTHING, including which side of the hinge was on top. Scrambling the deck leads to disaster.

Pro Tip:

Don’t use tack cloth! Tack cloths can leave a wax residue that negatively effects adhesion.

Step 3: Prime the Cabinets

Primer is your foundation, and it sets the stage for strong, secure adhesion. This contributes to a long-lasting, durable finish - just what you want in a hardworking kitchen space.

Step 4: Paint the Cabinets


  • We recommend using a paint that is specifically formulated for trim and cabinets, meaning that it dries hard and doesn’t “block” (stick to itself when the doors close)
  • Apply a minimum of 2 coats
  • We recommend spraying for a smooth, even finish, but fine brushes can work too (just pay attention to the direction and order of the brush strokes)
  • Let it dry thoroughly before handling
  • Replace hardware, install, clean up, and repack your cabinets

Cabinet paint can take up to 30 days to fully cure and harden, so be prepared for it to appear soft during this window. 

Pro Tip:

Don’t want to use a sprayer? We like brushes better than rollers, but you can roll first, then brush the finish to add a nice stippling effect. 

Professional cabinet sprayer set up.

How About Cabinet Staining or Toning?

If the painted look isn’t for you, you’ve still got some Serious options. Check out the video below for a look at refinishing and retoning with Gavin.

Have a Question About Kitchen Cabinet Painting in Bend, OR?

We’re here to help! Contact us today to learn more, get your questions answered, and schedule a free consultation. 

Our staff is made up of the friendliest, most considerate craftsmen in Central Oregon.  The team we’ve put together cares to be the best and works hard every day to give you exceptional service. Our goal is that your interaction with our company will be the best service you’ve received all day.