What Type of Primer & Paint to Use for Kitchen Cabinets


Painting the cabinets is a quick and inexpensive way to give a kitchen a whole new look. Choose the best primer and paint for a professional appearance.

Oil or Latex

  • Oil-based paints provide a traditional look but create noxious odors and have a long drying time. Latex paint is quick-drying, cleans up with water and has relatively little odor. Decide on the type of paint you want, then choose a matching primer.

Stain Blocking

  • Many types of wood, including cedar and pine, leach tannins that can discolor paint. Choose a stain blocking interior primer to prevent stains.


  • Paint finishes range from flat to high-gloss. Glossy kitchen cabinets add luster and are easy to scrub. Flat and eggshell paints reflect little light and are not recommended for cabinets.


  • Neutral kitchens can appear dated and boring. Many homeowners choose bright, welcoming colors such as orange or red. If your paint color is bold, select a tinted primer for best coverage.


  • Avoid the cheapest brands of paint and primer, which may contain lumpy extenders or be too thin to neatly apply. Look for thick, evenly textured products, which are easy to apply and not prone to runs or drips.

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