How It Works

Select the work to be done
Let us know what project you need help with and when you need it done - we'll match you with the right pros for the job.
Compare matched pros
Verify pro credentials, read reviews, ask questions, discuss availability, and request project estimates.
Complete your project
Hire the pro that's right for you and your budget. After the project is complete, let your community know how it went.
Powered by

The Home Depot

5 Tips for Cabinet Painting

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Cabinets & Countertops > 5 Tips for Cabinet Painting
5 Tips for Cabinet Painting

Kitchen and bathroom cabinets look good when they are painted. This is true of new and existing cabinets alike. It is an inexpensive way of giving your cabinets a fresh new look in a short time. You can match the color of your cabinets to the décor of your kitchen or bathroom or give them a color that will make them stand out.

  1. 1.Rules and Regulations

    Most cabinet painting jobs are easily doable for even a first-timer. All it takes is a little time and effort coupled with some research ahead of time.

    You do not need any permit or approval from the local building authorities when painting the cabinets in your house. However, if you are bound by the Homeowner Association regulations, you will have to ensure that your plans are keeping with the association’s guidelines.


    Most cabinet painting jobs are easily doable for even a first-timer. All it takes is a little time and effort coupled with some research ahead of time. Once you have all the preparations done and the necessary material on hand, it is just a matter of time before you have colorfully painted cabinets. Depending on the number of cabinets you have to paint, it can take you anywhere between a couple of days and a week to get the task done.

  2. 2.Preparations

    Firstly, decide on what colors you want to use on your cabinets. You can acquire some paint samples and try them in inconspicuous areas before making your choice. Things that you will need include oil-based or latex paint, paint sprayer or a roller, a paint brush, a drop cloth, a paint tray, some putty and a putty knife, masking tape, a screwdriver, some household cleaner, and new hinges and knobs if needed (make sure you either remove them or tape them off before painting with some blue masking tape). Once you have stocked up on these supplies, empty the cabinets of everything inside. You can spread a drop cloth on the ground to catch any paint spills.


    The masking tape can be applied on surfaces that you want to keep paint-free. You can then move on to removing all the doors and hinges off the cabinets and laying them flat on the drop cloth. The cabinet doors, drawers, and bases must then be cleaned with a mild soap and water or some household cleaner before wiping them down with water. After this, you can examine the surfaces to ensure that there is no damage. If there is any damage, then it can be fixed with some amount of putty. The next step would be to sand down the cabinets doors and drawer fronts. This may not be necessary in all instances but doing so can ensure that the paint will stick.

  3. 3.Priming and Painting

    The primer can be applied with the same tools you would use for painting—brush, roller, or sprayer. Once the primer dries, apply on the other sides too one by one. You will need to use a new brush or roller for applying the paint if you want a really smooth finish. You will have to apply at least two coats of paint to obtain a lovely, marvelous, and professional finish. After this, you will have to wait for a couple of days for the paint to dry completely. That could be a little extreme, the paint will be dry in a couple of hours. The last step is to screw the doors back on again and to replace all that you removed from the cabinets.


    If you taped off the cabinet and drawer handles and knobs, wait for the paint to dry, perhaps a couple of hours as just mentioned, and then gently pull the blue masking tape off.

  5. 4.Some Tips

    When painting the drawers, it is possible that some paint might enter into the knobs or the handle holes. If this happens, you must quickly clear them out with a sharp, pointed object like a toothpick or something similar. A spare ice pick comes in handy here. When you are choosing the paint for your cabinets, you will come across those which are oil-based as well as those which are latex based. The advantage of the former is that its finish is one that will not show brush strokes much. In the case of the latter, it will dry quickly and can be cleaned with water. Paints made specifically for the kitchen and bathroom are available in hardware and paint stores and using these would be ideal.

  6. 5.No Big Deal

    Once your kitchen and bathroom cabinets are all painted, you might want to throw a small party to show off-the new look of your home. Or you can allow people to see your home improvement gradually without any boasting or showing off.

Find Pros

Get your home project started today with help from Pro Referral’s qualified network of pre-screened and background-checked professionals available in your neighborhood.

Get Expert Advice

Submit your toughest home improvement questions to our knowledgeable experts and receive free personalized solutions, product recommendations, how-to advice, and more–all within 48 hours or less.