How to Repaint Cabinets

Years of grime, food film and even acid from fingertips take their toll on kitchen cabinets. Freshening them with new paint is a good way to redecorate on a budget. Pick one or more colors that complement the rest of your kitchen.

Put a fresh coat of paint on your kitchen cabinets.
  1. Remove drawer and cabinet handles and pulls with a flat or Phillips screwdriver. Remove hinges, cabinet doors and drawers. Put all the hardware in a container, and put the drawers and doors on the tarp. Tape off ceiling and wall areas adjoining the cabinet frames, using painter's tape.

  2. Decide whether you want to paint the inside of your cabinets and drawers. If those spaces are unfinished, you may wish to leave them alone, and you can skip instructions for those specific areas in Steps 4 and 5. If they are painted already, go ahead and refinish them, along with the rest of the cabinets.

  3. Go over each surface you plan to paint with medium-grit sandpaper, knocking off loose old paint and generally scuffing these areas to help the primer bond to the surface.

  4. Wipe surfaces with a water-dampened cloth after sanding to remove dust. Let it dry. Apply acrylic-bonding primer with a paintbrush or small roller, starting with the inside of the drawers and cabinets and finishing with doors, drawer faces and cabinet frames. Let the primer dry for at least four hours before applying the top coat.

  5. Stir or shake the latex paint until it is thoroughly mixed. Pour a third of it into a plastic container. Brush it on the surfaces as you did in Step 3, starting inside the drawers and cabinets and finishing on the outside surfaces. Latex needs time to cure and harden, so plan on a day or two of drying time.

  6. Reinstall the drawers and doors when the paint is dry. Reinstall pulls and handles with the appropriate type of screwdriver.


  • Leave the cabinets empty for a few days before restocking them if you've painted the insides. Latex scuffs easily if it has not had enough time to cure and harden.