When we bought our home in Memphis, it checked off most of the requirements we had for our second home. Big, fenced-in backyard…5 bedrooms…spacious kitchen…two-car garage…etc. The only things I knew I wanted to change ASAP were the paint colors throughout (boring beige) and painting our kitchen cabinets. They were a terrible beige/brown color, and the last owner put some type of glaze on them – not sure if they thought it would make the cabinets look better or what, but let’s just say I was reminded how much I wanted to paint them every time I opened a cabinet door. 🙂
While I really wanted to roll up my sleeves and get started on the kitchen refresh right away last year, I was six months pregnant when we moved in and between working and chasing a toddler, home projects were the last thing on my mind at the end of a busy day! And then Blakely was born, and again, we felt like things were too busy to get started on such a big project.
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So, FINALLY, we decided to start the cabinet project this April while my mom was visiting. I knew there was no way we’d be able to put in a lot of work if it was just Michael and I trying to juggle watching the kids while sanding, priming and painting – so we quickly got started a few days after my mom arrived! I’d already read a LOT about the process of painting cabinets, since I’d been wanting to do it for over a year 😉 I used a combination of tips and advice from articles I read and from friends who had also painted their cabinets – and here’s how we completed our kitchen on a budget:
- The first step is taking off the cabinet doors and hardware – and labeling them. We initially tried labeling each door and cabinet box with corresponding sticky notes, but they weren’t sticking well to the doors. We ended up writing the corresponding number in one of the door hinge holes with a Sharpie (you wouldn’t see that when the hardware is back on).
- We took all of the doors out to the garage. This is also where we sanded and painted these.
- If you are changing hardware placement, now is the time to fill any unneeded holes with wood filler putty (so you can sand it down before painting). Cost: $6
- We bought a $30 orbital sander to sand the cabinet boxes and doors. While you can certainly sand by hand, having this tool saved us quite a bit of time on the sanding process and provided a smoother finish. Some tutorials suggested bypassing the sanding process if you use certain types of primer/paint, but I wanted to ensure the smoothest and most durable finish…so we sanded. And it really wasn’t that terrible! Cost: $30
- When you’re sanding, the cabinet boxes, cover up all areas you aren’t working on to avoid spreading dust (this is especially true when using an electric sander). We actually used plastic dropcloths to enclose the kitchen area, which helped a ton with containing the dust. Cost: $5
- If you’re able to, sand the doors outside or in your garage. It will cut down on the amount of dust in your house!
- When you’re done sanding the cabinet boxes and doors, take the time to carefully vacuum everything. You don’t want any of the dust to end up in the fresh paint!
- Grab a couple of tack cloths – you’ll need these to wipe down all of the cabinet surfaces before you start priming/painting. And for your own good, wear a pair of rubber gloves while handing this cloth…it’s basically soaked in glue and it’s near impossible to remove the residue from your hands if you touch it! Cost: $4
- Before we started painting, we made a trip to Lowe’s to grab boards to sit the cabinet doors on. Lowe’s will give you the small pieces of wood that are used as part of the pallet/storage for boards – all you have to do is ask someone in the lumber department. Cost: $0
- When you’ve sanded and wiped everything down, it’s time to begin priming. We went with KILZ oil-based primer, based on some advice I’d read online. However, if I were to do it again, I would use KILZ latex primer – the odor of oil-based paint is terrible and we ended up having to leave the windows open all afternoon! Cost: $22
- I admit I usually don’t splurge on the priciest paintbrushes, but for this project, I wanted to ensure we did everything perfectly, so we ended up going with these highly-recommended Purdy paintbrushes. Cost: $30-40, depending on size and quantity
- Same goes for the paint roller – these Purdy rollers were recommended for the smoothest paint finish. You also have to buy the Purdy roller handle, since the roller covers don’t fit other brands… Cost: $20-30, depending on how many rollers you end up needing to buy.
- We had to do two coats of primer because the original color of our cabinets was pretty dark and we planned to paint them white. We only had to wait a few hours before applying the second coat, luckily.
- We purchased Benjamin Moore Advance paint in a Satin finish, at the recommendation of many tutorials and several friends. I’d also heard of several other types of paint that worked well for this type of project – but so far, we’ve been happy with the results. We have two little girls running around slamming cabinet doors and banging on them and the paint still looks perfect! Cost: $60
- We painted the cabinet boxes first, then moved on to the cabinet doors. The doors are a little more complicated, because you have to paint one side and let it dry completely before flipping it over. Always start the process with the doors face-down propped up on boards, painting the backs first, so if they get smudged at all when you turn them over, you won’t see it on the cabinet fronts.
- I used the roller and Michael went behind me and used the paintbrush to fill in the areas I couldn’t reach. This saves time, if you have someone to help you!
- We also did two coats of paint on the cabinets and cabinet boxes – and truthfully, a third coat couldn’t have hurt…but I’m d.o.n.e. with this project 🙂
- We decided to change the hardware on our cabinets, as we’re slowly transitioning all of our fixtures over to oil rubbed bronze. We got these knobs and these drawer pulls – and they are really great quality! Cost: $70
- Since we changed the hardware, we had to drill a new hole in each cabinet door for the cabinet knobs. Do this before you put the doors back on! Michael created a template to follow, to ensure the holes were even on every cabinet.
- Once you’ve rehung the doors and drawer fronts, you can begin putting your hardware back on.
- You can also add these soft-close cabinet bumpers to cut down on the noise when closing cabinet doors. They work like a charm! Cost: $8
- You made it! Now enjoy your “new” kitchen that cost less than $300!
Here’s the BEFORE
And the AFTER