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How to paint kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can transform and refresh one of the busiest rooms in your home. With our step-by-step guide, discover how to paint kitchen cabinets with ease

Need to revamp a tired kitchen? Pick up that brush and put your cabinets in the spotlight for an instant makeover.

There’s no doubt that renovating a kitchen often feels like a daunting, let alone expensive, task. For one thing, where do you start? Rather than agonising over new, pricey appliances, look to the fixtures you already have. Painting kitchen cabinets is often all it takes to transform your cooking space into a place worthy of those feasts you love to whip up.

You might be thinking that repainting kitchen cabinets is not as easy as it looks, and you’re right. However, all it takes is the right paint and a little bit of expert know-how, to spruce up one of the busiest rooms in your home. Hey presto, here it is! A step-by-step guide for an updated kitchen you simply can’t wait to show off.


Choosing the right paint


Nowhere in the home takes a battering quite like the kitchen. Whether it’s traipsing in and out with a glass of red wine or fending off torpedos of food from toddlers, spills are a given. What you need is seriously hard wearing paint that’s up to the task. Dulux Cupboard Paint is the durable friend your cabinets are looking for, plus, it’s self-undercoating and quick drying.

Another option is Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood which has a lovely, mid-sheen and hard wearing finish. You'll have the job done in no time at all, thanks to the low odour formulations, so those pesky paint smells won't blend in with your curry! If you use this product on your kitchen cabinets you will need to use a suitable primer. We have Dulux Primer & Undercoat for wood and also Dulux Difficult Surface Primer for those tricky to paint surfaces.


Colour palettes for painting kitchen cabinets


Before launching into how to paint kitchen cabinets, what type of feeling would you like to bring to the hub of your home? Whatever it is, colour leads the way. Do you want a clean, airy vibe? Look to refreshing colours like Jasmine White. Stylish greys add a touch of modern elegance and act as the perfect backdrop to pops of colour, so splash on some Polished Pebble or Warm Pewter.

If you have a penchant for bright shades, kitchen cabinets are great for colour blocking and you can get creative with two or three favourites. For example, bring a tropical atmosphere inside with the vibrant shades of Enchanted EdenLemon Tropics and Blue Lagoon.  

It’s easy to test your colour ideas in the kitchen before you commit to the final choice. Buy a selection of Dulux paint tester pots online or from your local hardware store. Paint pieces of A4 lining paper, wait for them to dry to see the true colour and hang them up on your cupboards to find out how they suit your space.


How to paint kitchen cabinets


Are you ready to paint your kitchen cabinets like a professional? Preparation is the key to getting the job done right. Here’s how to do it in just six easy steps.


1. Think about this step as a great excuse to clean out all that clutter! Remove all of the contents of your cabinets and drawers (and don’t put them back if you don’t need them). Then, take off all the knobs and handles. To prepare your space, use masking tape to protect hinges or glass and put down dust sheets to cover the floor.


2. Kitchen cabinets always need cleaning, and this is especially important right before painting. Wash them down with sugar soap or a strong detergent solution. This way you’ll have a smooth canvas, free of grease and grime. Don’t forget to remove any soap residue with a damp cloth and wait for them to dry before the next step.


3. Unless you have melamine or high gloss surfaces, it’s time to use a bit of arm power and sand back the surface with fine paper. Fill imperfections, gaps or small holes with a good quality, ready-mixed filler, like Polycell All Purpose Filler. Sand it back again and you’re ready to pick up your brush.


4. Depending on the surface and the paint chosen, you may need to apply a wood or melamine primer. If your surface is MDF, varnished wood or Melamine you can use the Dulux Difficult Surface Primer. However, if you use Dulux Cupboard Paint you can skip this step as no primer is required!


5. It’s time to apply the first coat of your chosen colour. The key to a smooth, professional finish is to wait for it to dry completely, sand with a fine paper and wipe off any dust with a damp cloth. Then you’re ready to pop the second coat on.


6. Wait until the second coat is completely dry, before carefully removing the masking tape. Put the knobs and handles back on and step back to check out your show-stopping cabinets. You certainly won’t want to put any junk back in them now!


You might be surprised to find out that simply painting kitchen cabinets transforms the entire look of the room, so you can put ‘buying a new fridge’ on next year’s list of things to do. For more tips, here’s our handy video on how to paint kitchen cupboards.

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