Painting Kitchen Cabinets

January 8, 2018

THE DE-BEIGE-IFICATION OF OUR KITCHEN IS ESSENTIALLY COMPLETE! THE DE-BEIGE-IFICATION OF OUR KITCHEN IS ESSENTIALLY COMPLETE! These two photos are what our kitchen looked like when we toured the house before buying. To bring it to this point of being changed into a more modern, crisp, clean delight we have changed the wall color, covered the countertops in white concretepainted the tile backsplash, and now – painted the cabinetry.

I thought about painting kitchen cabinets like it’s a really huge endeavor, but we found it not bad. Sure, during the process the kitchen looked a little hectic (not pictured!) because you could see everything in the cabinets (how do people do all open shelving?), but it was not hard deal with.

Only six work days! And that includes one day of just cleaning and taking the hardware off and another day of just putting the hardware back on.

FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-5FIRST FLOOR BEFORE from Rachel Schultz-4


And for only six work days we still did not cut corners, opting to both sand and prime. The materials are few. The method is simple.


  1. Mrs. Meyers rosemary scented multi purpose soap
  2. 60 and 120 grit sand paper
  3. Kilz premium high hide stain blocker primer
  4. Behr “ultra pure white” in high gloss paint
  5. My all-time favorite brush for painting
  6. Paint trays and four inch rollers


  1. Friday – clean everything; remove hardware from cabinets; organize doors and drawers in work area
  2. Saturday – sand everything; dust and wipe down everything; prime cabinet bases, drawer fronts, and “a” side of doors
  3. Monday – prime “b” side of doors
  4. Tuesday – paint two coats on cabinet bases, drawer fronts, and “a” side of doors
  5. Thursday – paint two coasts on “b” side of doors
  6. Friday – re-install doors and drawers!

I opted to not plastic off the interiors of the cabinets because I’d rather just do the work of cleaning the sanding debris off the dishes and insides at the end than the work of doing that. It’s a toss up though they are probably about equal in annoyance level.



rug (similar) | articulating sconces | calendar | cabinet knobs | drawer pulls | seascape print

You may be thinking what I was at first, asking myself if it was kind of a waste to inherit almost white cabinets and then go through the hassle of painting them all just to make them a bright white. This is a case study in how much the white you pick matters and how varying shades make a difference. We are totally glad we painted them.

AND my inherited mostly white (compared to many people who have to paint over wood) did not go to waste. Painting the insides of the cabinets is a significant extra amount of work (more than double even?) but if you skip it then you still have orange wood or whatever on the insides which can be ok if you’re cool with it but not ideal. So I’m still grateful for my inherited off-white cabinets because I got to skip painting the insides, and they still look generally white (like you think they’re the exterior color just plus shadows) and not BRIGHT WOOD when you have a door open.

There are a few minor lingering cream colored things – little parts of the dishwasher and fridge and then also the sink basin, but baby who cares. Those are all pretty expensive to replace and quite unnoticeable to me.

This means phase one of our kitchen is finished! Now I begin saving up for phase two which includes super exciting things. New flooring! Widening the opening between the kitchen and living room! Crown moulding! AND AN ISLAND!


My New Cookbook


Leave a Comment


  • Awesome tips! I have painted some old cabinets as before for some friends in Boston this year, and it was time consuming and we need to be patient for house painters or interior painting. I think Sherwin Williams Antique SW 6119 is a white color that sits more comfortably for a few cabinets, it blends beautifully with other colours. Keep posting.

  • Awesome job! I’m obsessed with the black sconces, they are so cool and give a fun industrial flavor to the kitchen! I love the paint color too!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thanks Christina! They are from an etsy shop called Lucent Lightshop

  • Chris

    Never even thought about painting the insides of our cabinets – what a great idea! We have many but it would look so good. I also agree about the short handled brush…sometimes my wrist acts up but not with this.
    It’s so worth it and not even close to expensive. Your kitchen is really shaping up beautifully – looks so good.

    • Rachel Schultz

      Thank you Chris! Some people do a contrasting color on the insides. Just an idea

  • MJ

    That brush is my absolute favorite too! I have used it to paint every room in my house.

    • Rachel Schultz

      YES!! And it’s not very expensive

  • What a difference a coat of paint makes. Looks great!

    • Rachel Schultz

      Seriously! Thanks Jordan!

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