Painting Unfinished Cabinets

Painting unfinished cabinets can transform a room and is something that you can do by yourself. Yet, not many people take on the task and prefer to enlist professional help. 


While a professional is going to do a great job, we are here to give you a step-by-step guide to doing it yourself. 



Preparing the surface is as important as the painting itself. Here is what you need to do before you open your paint can.  



Before you do anything else, you need to make sure that your cabinets are clean. If the cabinets are new, with new wood, then you can skip this step. 


Clean the surfaces with soapy water, rinse them off, and let them dry. This stage of the process also includes removing anything else from the cabinets, such as stickers. 



Now that your cabinets are clean, you can remove any handles and knobs, and anything else that is going to get in the way. Be sure to collect all of these in a safe place, and remember where they go if you are going to put them back on after painting. 

Fill & Sand


If there are any holes or other areas that need to be repaired, you can fill these holes now with wood filler. You may be filling holes from recently removed knobs and handles. Make sure to give yourself time to allow the filler to dry before sanding. 


You now want to sand the areas that you have filled along with the rest of the surface. The smoother the surface, the easier it is going to be to paint. Start with rougher sandpaper and move towards a finer one. 

Tape & Protect


Now, you can tape off all the small areas. Use painters tape to tape around hinges and edges. Use plastic roll or drop sheets to cover any countertops that may have paint dripped on them, and do the same with appliances. 


When everything is protected, you are ready to paint. 

Prime & Paint


You are ready to paint, you should have the paint and brushes, so let’s get started. 



Priming is going to give the final coat of paint a better look and it is going to help to seal the cabinets. Priming is especially important if you are moving from one extreme to another, color-wise. The priming will help the transition. Basically, it makes everything better. 


Before you paint, ensure that your room is well ventilated. Paint with the primer, making sure to apply an even coat across the surface and give it time to dry. When the paint is dry, sand it down with some fine sandpaper. 



We always recommend using high-quality paint. It may cost a little more, but it is going to last a lot longer, protect your cabinets, and look better. In the long run, it is going to save you money. 


Again, ensure that the room is well ventilated. For cabinets, you are going to want to paint two coats. Use a fine brush and apply the first coat of paint evenly. Let the paint dry, sand it down, and paint a second coat, sanding that one too when it has dried. 

Clean & Finish


Make sure that you give yourself time to clean up the area. When the paint has dried, remove the coverings from your countertops and appliances, as well as removing the tape from around the hinges and other areas. Be sure to slowly peel the painter’s tape so that the line is straight and neat. 


When you are done painting, you can re-attach the handles and knobs. You may find that the cabinets look so good that you want to buy entirely new hardware. Go for it!

Final Thoughts


Painting cabinets is not as daunting a job as many people think it is. It is a job that is done well by professionals, but that does not mean that you cannot do it yourself. As long as you take your time, you can have professional looking cabinets in your home. 


If you follow our step-by-step guide, you can create a lasting look in your kitchen, or anywhere else. This is something that you can do as long as you plan for it. 


Of course, if you would rather call in the experts, that is perfectly fine too.