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How to paint your kitchen units like a professional

How to paint your kitchen units like a professional

ALT="Yellow kitchen interior"

Kitchens....the beating heart of the home and very often the first room that we tackle in a new house. With the classic English painted kitchens becoming ever more popular, who hasn't thought about repainting a tired kitchen oneself? If blowing a huge part of your renovation budget isn't an option, or the kitchen in place is a perfectly functioning craftsmen made example of cabinetry, then why not? If the existing design of the kitchen works and the kitchen units are in good order, a simple repaint can result in a dramatic makeover giving a whole new look to your kitchen. A professional finish is surprisingly easy to achieve, here we share step by step how to repaint your kitchen cupboards like a professional.

ALT="Repainting a kitchen cupboard"

Painting kitchen cupboards is a straightforward project although it is time consuming and it's important to give the project time and attention to do a professional job. A top tip is to create a space where you can set up a production line in another room maybe: enabling you to paint a couple of doors at a time, this way you avoid living in complete chaos whilst you repaint. This applies whether your kitchen is large or here goes, how to paint your kitchen cabinets...

1 Choosing the paint for your kitchen cupboards

The first thing you need to decide is the type of paint to you want to use, consider how durable you require the finish to be. Oil based egg shell will be harder wearing but is less straight forward to apply than a water based egg shell paint and will take longer to dry between coats. It is always advisable to test the finish on a cupboard surface not visible to the eye (the inside of a door for example) before tackling the project in full.

Secondly, consider the colour and the look you are wanting to create. When considering this, it's worth factoring in your lifestyle and by this I really mean children!  Chic off white cabinetry is stunning, but maybe not so when covered in sticky hand prints. Bold yellow kitchen units are very much of the moment, but you also need to consider whether the chosen colour will date or maybe not appeal to prospective buyers should you look to sell your home. Classic blues, racing green or period house colours from such as Farrow & Ball or Little Green are perhaps a safer option.

And finally on the subject of kitchen cabinet paint, it's worth asking your local decorating shop to mix the water based primer paint in a colour close to your chosen eggshell paint. This will ensure that the eggshell covers the primer base more easily. Using a primer on your kitchen cabinets will ensure a more durable finish to your cupboards.

For an average sized kitchen you will need:

  • 2.5L egg shell paint (oil or water based)
  • Degreaser & Cleaner Spray (we used Zinsser)
  • Filler & filler knife
  • Medium and fine grit sandpapers
  • Colour matched water based  primer ( ask your local decorating store to advise you on the best brand)
  • High quality synthetic paint brush (suitable for oil or water based paint depending on your choice)
  • Small foam roller
  • Paint tray
  • Good quality masking tape (price really does make a difference here!)
  • Replacement kitchen handles and drawer pulls (if replacing)

2. How To Paint Your Cupboards 

  • Remove the cupboard or drawer front from the fitting.
  • Remove drawer handles or drawer pulls and if replacing with an alternative style fill any holes. Likewise examine the door for any scratches or dents and fill. When the filler has dried rub with sandpaper to create a smooth surface. You may need to repeat this process if the hole is deep.
  • Apply degreaser to both sides and clean thoroughly, any residual grease on the surface will prevent from the paint from adhering to the surface and give a less durable finish.
  • Apply two coats of primer, use a brush to ensure all the details of the panel are covered, use the foam roller to apply light coats to the surface area
  • Leave to dry completely
  • Apply two to three coats of your chosen colour, it is best to use a brush to apply the eggshell coats to avoid creating a stripy effect with a roller. Allow the door to dry completely between coats.
  • Use the masking tape to protect areas you don't wish to paint, for example tape the floor when painting the trim at the base of the units. Take extra care when painting these areas, the finish on the edges adds to the overall professional look to your kitchen
  • Finally add your new handles, a brass cup handle to the centre of your drawers will instantly create the look of a high end bespoke kitchen.                                                                                                                             
3. Adding the finishing touches     

After all that hard work, there are a few hacks that will instantly give your repainted kitchen cabinets the look of a British Standard or Plain English kitchen. Better known as design accents, the first of these are cup handles. Whether you plump for smart brass, antique iron or a chrome cup handle, this small detail will have a huge impact on the overall look or the kitchen drawer and overall kitchen. 

Like wise a matching cupboard pull for each of the cupboard doors will give a professional touch to your transformation.

Adding further antique style kitchen accessories such as kitchen hooks for tea towels and kitchen hook rails  will also add the finishing touch.

ALT="Brass cup holder"

Polished brass cup handles will add the finishing touch to your makeover.

ALT="Repainted grey kitchen cupboard"

Antique brass cup handle added to the drawers with matching antique brass drawer knob on the cupboard door.

ALT="Antique style kitchen cupboard handles"

4 Maintaining your repainted cupboards

  • Be sure to replace the lid securely on the paint tin and if need be label  the paint!
  • If you should need to repair any damage, apply the degreaser and then a fresh coat of the top coat. Repaint the whole door rather than a small area, this will result in a less obvious repair.

    ALT="Shabby chic white painted kitchen"

    The white painted cupboards of this kitchen continue the texture of the beamed ceiling, creating a striking decor. The designer has chosen traditional pull handles for the cupboards which continue the wrought iron style of the decorative shelf brackets.

     ALT="Dark blue painted kitchen cupboards"

    Repainting kitchen cupboards in a rich dark blue can create a dramatic look, the blue units in this kitchen look crisp and clean against the white walls and simple open kitchen shelving. The brass cup handles soften the overall look, adding an antique finish.

    ALT="Dark green painted kitchen"

    This dark green kitchen shows how effectively you can match wall and cupboard colour and in this example match the tiles too. The antique brass handles contrast beautifully against the paint colour, imagine how stunning  flowers  will look against this green palette.         

    ALT="Grey painted kitchen interior"           

    Grey is a popular colour choice for kitchen cupboards, creating a bold eye catching look whilst also being easy to live with. The decorator here has added a lovely stripe detail to the wall, which works well with the work top and cupboard paint.