How to Paint Cheap Kitchen Cabinets

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Paint cabinets to give them a new look.
Paint cabinets to give them a new look. (Image: kitchen image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com)

Cheap kitchen cabinets not only aren't attractive, but often don't hold up well to everyday wear and tear. Cabinets that have seen years of use may also be covered with a film of grease and dirt from grimy hands. While it might seem prudent to just replace the cabinets, painting them will prolong their life and buy you some time. Painting cheap cabinets is a cost-effective way to achieve a new look in the kitchen without tearing apart the whole kitchen.

Things You'll Need

  • Mild detergent cleaner
  • Water
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Screwdriver
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Soft cloth
  • Latex primer
  • Paintbrushes
  • Latex paint
  • Clear polyurethane sealer

Mix the mild detergent cleaner in a bucket according to directions. Clean the cabinets with the cleaner and a soft sponge. Rinse the cleaner off the cabinets with a sponge and clean water. Allow to dry completely.

Remove the hardware from the cabinets, using a screwdriver, and set aside. Remove the doors and drawers from the cabinets. Place the doors and drawers in an open, well-ventilated area. Place on a flat surface.

Sand the surface of the cabinet doors and drawers with fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe off any residue with a soft cloth.

Apply one coat of primer to the cabinet door fronts and the fronts of the drawers with a paintbrush. Allow to dry completely.

Apply a coat of paint to the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and allow to dry thoroughly, using a paintbrush. Use long strokes to avoid the appearance of brush marks. Apply another coat if desired. Allow to dry completely. Apply one coat of clear polyurethane sealer to the doors and drawer fronts if desired. Allow to dry thoroughly.

Reattach the hardware to the cabinet doors and drawers and reattach the doors and drawers to the cabinets.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use latex paint and primer for ease of cleanup with water.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area or run a fan to circulate the air.

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