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5 Ways to Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets With Paint

No renovation required.

October 29, 2020

With help from our sponsor Behr—makers of high-quality paints in every shade—we're sharing color-filled paint projects anyone can pull off, whether you're a first-time DIY-er or a seasoned pro. Here, we're highlighting bright ideas for giving your kitchen cabinets a makeover with BEHR PREMIUM® Interior Cabinet & Trim Enamel.

Kitchen renovations can be a completely daunting task—often requiring the help of a professional, and plenty of time living in a construction site. Think: totally changing up the floor plan, ripping out the old floors and replacing them with shiny new hardwood, you get the idea.

One thing you’re totally capable of doing on your own? Giving the cabinets a refresh with paint.

Paint is the ultimate tool to help create stunning before-and-afters that are both low-cost and relatively simple to accomplish. So we’re sharing step-by-step instructions for painting your kitchen cabinets (no demolition necessary), plus five very doable ideas anyone can pull off. Bonus: You can finish them all in under a weekend.

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Gather Your Supplies

The most important thing you’ll need to transform your cabinets is, of course, some paint. An indoor cabinet paint designed specifically for the job, like BEHR PREMIUM® Interior Cabinet & Trim Enamel is your best bet for a professional-looking result since it dries to a hard, durable finish. As a bonus, it has a fast drying time and provides tack-free film that keeps painted surfaces from sticking together.

As for everything else you’ll need, look no further:

The Essentials

Nice to Haves

  • Gloves
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask (for sanding)

Paint Away!

The basic rules of thumb for painting any wood surface are pretty straightforward: clean cabinets to remove stains, handprints, dirt, grime, and cooking residue; sand down the surface to remove imperfections; wipe the whole thing down with a slightly damp rag; then finally, prime and paint. For a bit more detail, check out our tried-and-true method below.

  1. First things first, gather up all your tools and supplies—like the BEHR PREMIUM® Interior Cabinet & Trim Enamel and BEHR® Primer.
  2. Remove any parts that need to be painted separately (like the doors) and lay them out on a drop cloth. Remove any hardware with a screwdriver and save in a container for later. Hot tip: Label all the parts you remove so you can easily put them back in the right spot.
  3. Clean the doors and frame with a product like BEHR SWIPES™ Interior Wall Wipes to remove any residue.
  4. Sand down the existing finish with 220- to 320-grit sandpaper to get a smooth surface.
  5. Wipe down the sanded surface with a slightly damp rag and let dry completely.
  6. Tape off any parts of the cabinet, floor, or counter you don’t want the paint to touch, and lay down floor coverings.
  7. Prime and paint the cabinets with a mini roller and/or a 100% nylon brush. Make sure each coat is thoroughly dry before adding another; since the number of coats and drying time will vary with humidity and temperature, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to be safe.

How to Pick Just-the-Right Color (or Colors!)

To find a color you’ll want to live with every day, start by checking out the BEHR® Color Trends 2021 Palette for inspiration, noting which hues speak to you.

Once you’ve got an idea of the palette you’re interested in, you can start exploring specific color options on the BEHR® Website. They not only break down shades by collection, but also help you pick out complementary colors, if you’re using more than one. The good news is, you don’t need to be a color theory expert to match up similar colors with each other; just identify which colors you feel work best in your space.

Finally, experiment with lots of samples. The only way to know for sure if you’re going to like a color in your space with your lighting is to test it out. Do patch tests on the cabinets and live with them for a bit to determine your ultimate shade.

Creative Ideas for Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

1. Paint the Fronts a Bold, Bright Color

To make your kitchen instantly feel like a brand-new space, consider painting the front doors of your cabinets a bold shade that complements the other colors in the room.

2. Make the Cabinet Backs Pop

If you have glass-front cabinets, or have gone rogue with no doors, an easy way to add a pop of color is to paint the back panels of the cabinets. Stacking plates and reaching for spices is much more cheery when they’re against a baby blue or bright yellow.

3. Sneak Color Inside the Drawers

Painting the inside of your drawers is a tucked-away option that requires less work, and might just inspire you to go all out with the rest of the kitchen one day. In the meantime though, grabbing silverware for dinner just got a little more exciting.

4. Go With Different Colors on the Top & Bottom

One of the most well-loved kitchen trends of the past few years has to be two-tone cabinets. There’s a reason they’re absolutely everywhere—it’s the perfect way to incorporate two coordinating colors, as well as create balance between a neutral and brighter hue.

5. Give the Drawer-Sides a Face-Lift

Another low-risk way to add color to your cabinets is to paint just the sides of the drawers in a bold shade. Every time you reach for something in the drawer, you'll get a colorful little surprise.

Have you painted your kitchen cabinets? Tell us in the comments below!

With help from our sponsor Behr, we're highlighting beginner-friendly paint projects for every room in the house—from upgrading plain wood furniture with a pop of color to brightening up blank walls with graphic stencils. For this project, we used BEHR PREMIUM® Cabinet & Trim Enamel in Angelico to create eye-catching kitchen cabinets. Want to recreate the look at home? Always make sure to refer to the instructions on the product label and visit for the best results.

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Caroline Mullen

Written by: Caroline Mullen

1 Comment

Donna October 29, 2020
More photos please. Lots to read but inspiration needed!