How to paint kitchen cabinets in two days without loosing your mind…haha…jk…I don’t think I can promise you won’t go a little nuts with this project. But hey! Once it’s done you can step back and admire all your work!
Our home was built in the 80’s and the kitchen was in it’s original condition when we purchased it. It took 2 years and 4 months of quarantining to push us to update it.
The kitchen cabinets are sturdy and in great condition. But they were dirty and very dated.
Since moving into our home we have been working on projects constantly finding ways to update our home and make it exactly what we want. When we first moved we removed the popcorn ceiling throughout the whole house and painted everything but the kitchen and the upstairs bathrooms.
The idea was to do a full remodel of the kitchen so why touch them now? Well it turns out that when you have a peach colored kitchen that you don’t love and stare at it every day all day for 4 months you get the urge to JUST DO IT!
Shortly after moving it we did a slight update by adding a backsplash with Smart Tiles! It gave it a slight update, but nothing compared to this!
My husband had been okay with leaving it in with all it’s 80’s glory until he started working from home and had to see it all day haha! So one night he surprised me with “Hey what if we paint the kitchen cabinets?” Um YES!
Then We Researched
Once we decided we were doing it we began to research how to paint kitchen cabinets! We started off by trying to find the best and quickest way to paint them. With 4 little ones home all day we did not want our kitchen to be inaccessible for too long.
We knew using the paint gun would be a faster alternative to using a paint roller and brush. So we decided to call my husband’s contractor uncle for some tips. The quickest way was to use the spray gun AND LEAVE THE DOORS ON!
Why Leave the Doors On?
The longest part of painting the kitchen cabinets is typically the removal and painting of the cabinet doors. You see, traditionally you would need to paint one side let it dry then paint the other side and let that dry too.
With leaving the doors attached you can paint the front and the back right after one another and leave them to try. You will still need a brush or a roller for the cracks you cant reach with the paint gun-but it will be minimal.
Leaving the doors on will only work if you get the same style of hinges that you currently have. The same style was not an issue as long as the color was different. We had to make sure we purchased the same style so the position would match and you would not be able to see the unpainted spots under the hinges.
Choosing Paint & Hardware
I knew I wanted a white kitchen from the beginning. What shade? Not sure. I did not want too creamy of a white or too crazy in your face bright of a white either.
After some research we found Sherwin Williams Snowbound was a recommended kitchen color and I loved it! We went with an exterior satin base for some extra protection since the kitchen is used really frequently.
Now for hardware- the hinges were easy. The choice was same style as what we had BUT in black. Our granite top had specks of black and we wanted to really give it some contrast to the cabinets.
I wanted to keep the kitchen cabinets simple but definitely update them so we added a simple round knob and some clamshell handles for the drawers all in a black matte!
Not only were we able to paint the kitchen cabinets in 2 days, we also gave our kitchen a full update including new lighting, paint, and new hardware all for only $500!
- Liquid TSP
- Protective Gloves
- Kilz Primer & Sealer
- Sherwin Williams Snowbound Exterior Satin Paint
- Paint Gun
- Painters Tape
- Paint Roller
- Paint Trays
- Step ladder
- Painters Plastic
- Electric Sander (OR Sand Paper)
- Moving Boxes
- Hardware ; Hinges, Handles, Knobs, Etc- if you are replacing those
So…How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets in only 2 days?
How To Paint our Kitchen Cabinets quickly was the challenge. We worked in shifts- early morning, during the boys’ nap, and when the kids were in bed.
I’m going to break up my days in this post the same way, so you can get an idea of how our work progressed.
However, I will say you can totally get this done maybe even faster if you can work all day on them!
The first night we packed up everything inside our cabinets. That night was all about taking everything out of the cabinets so we could get to work.
The original plan was to try to utilize the kitchen- let me tell you now that’s nearly impossible. We did leave out one box with snacks for the kids and things that required only the microwave.
During this time we moved out refrigerator to our dining room so we still had access and could also paint the wall behind it.
It was a 5am wake up for us! We took this time to clean the cabinets with the TSP.
It is important to follow the dilution instructions and wear protective gloves and goggles if you need. The TSP will clean any grease and gunk off your cabinets.
DO NOT skip this step.
Tape & Cover
After the cabinets were done being cleaned we then began to tape up and cover up our countertops, sink, window, our appliances, and anything else we did not want painted.
We were painting the walls so we did not need to cover the walls. However, we did create some “walls” with the plastic to stop the paint from getting into the office or our dining room.
To paint the drawers we setup a painters cloth in our garage and stood them there.
We decided to cover before the sanding to make cleanup easier for us.
After the TSP had dried it is time to sand. If you have an electric sander I highly recommend you use it to make this step faster.
If not, no problem- sand paper will work just fine. You don’t need to aggressively sand the cabinets, a light sanding will do just fine.
The sanding of your cabinets is super important before you apply any primer or paint. It will help you achieve a smooth finish and also make it easier for the primer and paint to stick well.
We used a spray gun to make the process all go faster. The first step was to primer the cabinets to help the paint stick.
You don’t need to go super heavy on this step. We aimed for covering the most we could without worrying about it being super thick.
Once both the inside and the outside of the cabinets were primed we moved on to the drawers.
To save some time the drawers were not painted all around. The inside, sides, and face were done but not the back of bottom.
You can do so but we found that if those areas were not seen we were okay with not painting them.
After this we took a little break while everything dried.
Paint Coat 1
The whole painting of the kitchen took 2 coats and then one last touch up round with a paintbrush.
To save us some time I came with the brush to get all the angles difficult to get with the paint gun and my husband came behind me with the paint gun.
The pattern of painting that we found we liked best was doing one cabinet in full at a time. Inside cabinet, cabinet face, cabinet door.
Once the cabinets were done and left to dry it was time to move onto the drawers in the garage. The same process was followed with painting the inside, sides, and then standing it up to get the faces.
* We had a roller handy just in case we needed to smooth out any of the drawer faces*
Paint Coat 2
The second coat really helped get a consistent look across the kitchen. Again, I got the difficult corners and edges with a paint brush and my husband came around with the paint gun to get the rest of it.
The second coat makes such a huge difference. You have no idea how many times we have contemplated on a second coat and then looked back at how much better it looked with it!
The Last Touches
Did you catch that 1980’s light box in our kitchen? If you noticed in my before picture there is a huge wooden light box in the middle of the kitchen.
Part of our project included removing the light and replacing it with recess lighting. This was done after the cabinets were painted.
After the lighting was done the walls and ceiling were painted to match the dining room and make our space look bigger!
After the cabinets were all done drying and our lighting was done it was time to put the kitchen back together. The drawers went in and so did all our things!
It was sooo nice to be able to use our kitchen again! And this time it looked 10x’s better!
We went with black hardware to bring out the black specks on our countertops. My husband began with changing the hinges when the boys napped until he had them all swapped!
After the hinges were done it was time to make the holes for the new knobs. A jig was used to make sure we got the same spot on all the doors.
The clamshell handles on the drawers are one of my favorite accents of the kitchen! Adding those really makes the transformation that much greater.
The painting of the kitchen cabinets took only 2 days. However, with our additional projects like painting the walls and changing our lighting we had our kitchen out of service for about 5 days.
I am so happy with the way it turned out! It’s so crazy how a simple coat of paint can transform a space so much!
Not only does my kitchen look more modern, it also feels so clean and fresh.
Although it felt like the longest 5 days of my life, it was totally worth it! I hope you enjoyed our tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets in only 2 days!