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Mistakes Were Made- Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Here is the listing photo of our kitchen. Our initial plan was to replace the granite with a white/grey quartz, but OMG it was sooo expensive not only to purchase the new counters but also to have our old counters professionally removed. To save money, we opted to keep the granite and re-work the rest of the kitchen.

Kitchen Before!

Kitchen After!

The most obvious change we made was painting the cabinets- and to be completely honest we sort of messed them up.

We finished painting them around October 2018- so we've lived with them for almost two years and things are not great, ha! We took the advice of a painter and used a great primer and regular paint. This method was actually crap and we will have to redo the cabinets in a couple of years.

If you're looking at painting your own cabinets, here's some things I would do differently.


We cleaned the cabinets with Krud Kutter Degreaser which worked well, then we lightly sanded the cabinets- this was our first mistake. Our cabinets had been treated with some wax-y globby finish coat (likely by previous owner) and we didn't sand enough to get all of this off. We primed with this primer - which is pretty decent but I think our failure to sand properly kept it from working as well as it could. Seriously, cannot stress enough how important it is to have a smooth, sanded surface before priming. Finally, figure out a good way to keep your cabinet doors matched up with their appropriate box.


We used regular satin interior paint. DO NOT DO THIS. Spend the extra cash and buy a high quality cabinet paint with self smoothing ability. A good cabinet paint/enamel will seal really well which will make the paint more durable and have better stain blocking ability. A cabinet paint will also have smoothing abilities, which will be less of a pain during the actual painting process (no brush strokes!).


We didn't do anything to seal the cabinets. Looking back we definitely should have. I have already touched them up several times because they stained after hot coffee was spilled on them. Whenever we repaint them, I'll use a clear matte/flat polycrylic.

I hope you are able to learn from our mistakes and that your DIY not only looks great but also stands the test of time!




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