How to Change the Color of Kitchen Cabinets

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Remodeling and updating kitchen cabinets can be expensive. Change the look of a kitchen, and save money, by simply altering the color of cabinets. Paint the cabinets a white or a cream color for a French country look or choose black cabinets for a polished, modern finish. Many homes also incorporate two different cabinet colors; one color for the top cabinets and another for the base. Painting cabinets takes several days of work; be prepared to paint several layers of paint and sealer on all cabinetry pieces.

Things You'll Need

  • Bucket
  • Kitchen soap
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Towel
  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Medium-grit sanding block
  • Mini foam roller
  • Paintbrush
  • Dark umber paint
  • Glaze
  • Stir stick
  • Variety of paint colors for mural or stencil work
  • Stencil
  • Stencil stipple brush
  • Water-based polyurethane
How to Change the Color of Kitchen Cabinets
How to Change the Color of Kitchen Cabinets

Step 1

Wash all cabinets with warm soapy water. Use a sponge and light scrub brush to degrease the cabinets and remove all stains. Dry cabinets with a towel.

Wash all cabinets with warm soapy water.
Wash all cabinets with warm soapy water.

Step 2

Unscrew all doors and remove all drawers. Place all items on clean plastic sheeting. Don’t forget to unscrew all hardware such as knobs and drawer pulls.

Unscrew all doors and remove all drawers.
Unscrew all doors and remove all drawers.

Step 3

Lightly sand all cabinetry with a medium grip sanding sponge. Move the sanding block in the direction of the wood grain. Wipe down and dry all the cabinetry to remove all sanding dust.

Wipe down and dry all the cabinetry to remove all sanding dust.
Wipe down and dry all the cabinetry to remove all sanding dust.

Step 4

Lightly roll on eggshell or satin latex paint using a mini-foam roller; a brush can also be used to coat the cabinetry with paint. Ensure the paint is applied light and evenly to avoid drips and sagging paint.

Roller brush
Roller brush

Step 5

Don’t forget to paint both sides of doors. Apply two layers of paint to the entire cabinetry surface.

Step 6

Allow each coat of paint to dry four to six hours between coats.

Allow paint to dry.
Allow paint to dry.

Step 7

Add decorative paint effects if desired. Lightly sand the edges of the cabinetry for an antique or worn look. Use the sanding block to lightly rub off the newly applied topcoat. Be aware the underlying coat of paint or wood will appear.

Step 8

Wipe on stain or glaze on the cabinets for a glazed look. Brush a mixture of one part dark umber paint with four parts glaze onto the cabinets. Wipe the stain off, allowing the glaze to remain in the crevices and corners of the cabinets.

Step 9

Paint the inset of doors different colors. Add a stencil or hand-painted design for an additional design element.

Add a stencil design.
Add a stencil design.

Step 10

Apply two coats of water-based polyurethane to all cabinetry. Lightly brush on the top coat in a thin layer; thick layers can appear cloudy once dry. Allow to dry four to six hours between coats.

Allow to dry four to six hours between coats.
Allow to dry four to six hours between coats.

Step 11

Replace doors and drawers to the cabinetry base.

Replace doors and drawers.
Replace doors and drawers.

Step 12

Do not wipe down or clean cabinets with chemicals for 30 days.

Wait one month before cleaning with chemicals.
Wait one month before cleaning with chemicals.

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Tips & Warnings

  • Do not use an oil-based polyurethane as a sealer; the finish will yellow with age.

References

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