The Best Paint Finishes for Do-It-Yourself Kitchen Cabinets

Whether you are refinishing kitchen cabinets to update the kitchen or painting kitchen cabinets that you crafted yourself, the paint you use determines the finished product. You do not have to use a wood stain on kitchen cabinets you unless you are looking for a natural-wood look. Pair different paint colors and accessories with cabinets to give them a fresh and customized look -- without the customized cost.

Oil-Based Paint

Old wooden cabinets are refreshed with a new coat of paint.

According to Lowes, the best paint finish to use for kitchen cabinets an oil-based paint. These paints stand up well to temperature, humidity and cleaning. An oil-based paint, however, will turn yellow over time; therefore, you can use a semigloss instead.


Refacing cabinets is a costly project that essentially gives cabinets a completely new face. To reface a cabinet, you will first have to remove the cabinet doors and all of its hardware. Then wrap a thin strip of wood veneer around the door to reface the cabinet. You can find refacing veneers in white, black and natural-wood finishes.


Refinishing cabinets is a process that involves removing cabinet doors, washing them, sanding them and applying a primer coat before a final coat of paint. When refinishing cabinets, it is important to not only wash the doors thoroughly, but also to strip the old paint from the doors to prevent a caked or thick paint look. Refinishing, according to Service Magic, is the most cost-effective way for a homeowner to update kitchen cabinets.

Accents and Hardware

When repainting cabinets, the hardware that worked with the old color and style may no longer work with the new color and style. Therefore, you should update the hardware to match the new style of the cabinets as well. Look for handles and hinges that match the theme of the kitchen and paint. For example, a Tuscan-style kitchen pairs well with bronze and copper hardware, while a country kitchen pairs well with white or black handles.

About the Author

Shailynn Krow began writing professionally in 2002. She has contributed articles on food, weddings, travel, human resources/management and parenting to numerous online and offline publications. Krow holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles and an Associate of Science in pastry arts from the International Culinary Institute of America.