How to Paint China Cabinets


Rather than replacing your furniture when you redecorate, consider giving older pieces a makeover with paint. Give a fresh look to an old china cabinet by repainting it. Repainting a china cabinet gives you a chance to conform its design to your decorating plans or current style of the room, rather than decorating around it. Even if you are sticking with the original color, a new coat of paint will refresh the piece and improve its appearance.

Things You'll Need

  • TSP
  • Bucket
  • Sponge
  • Palm sander
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Screwdriver
  • Newspaper
  • Masking tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Flat finish spray primer
  • Eggshell finish spray paint
  • Polyurethane sealant spray


  • Mix TSP, or trisodium phosphate, in a bucket with warm water according to the package instructions.

  • Sponge the TSP mixture over the china cabinet to clean the surface thoroughly and remove grease or dirt that might interfere with paint. Allow it to dry.

  • Sand the china cabinet with a palm sander and fine grit sandpaper. This will remove any imperfections in the wood and prepare the surface to accept the primer.

  • Remove the hardware on doors and drawers with a screwdriver and set them aside.

  • Tape sheets of newspaper over any glass doors in the cabinet with masking tape, leaving only the wood to be painted.

  • Place a drop cloth under the cabinet to protect the floor.

Priming, Painting and Sealing

  • Spray a flat finish latex primer over the china cabinet in short even strokes with your hand, holding the can about 12 inches away from the cabinet. Cover the entire cabinet in an even coat and allow it to dry according to the package instructions.

  • Apply two coats of latex spray paint over the entire cabinet, allowing the coats to dry between applications.

  • Apply a single even coat of polyurethane spray sealant and allow it to dry according to instructions. This will protect the painted surface and give the cabinet some extra durability.

  • Remove the newspaper and tape from the windows once the paint has dried. Replace the hardware as well.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images
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