The AFTER cabinet photos!

I started to wonder if I’d ever be able to say this, but I am: The cabinet project is done.

painted cabinets before and after

(ok, except for some cabinet touching-up…but that’s so minor and not life-disturbing, I feel it hardly counts)

painted kitchen walls

I’m super-duper happy to have my kitchen back together and super happy to have the painting supplies and shop vac and drill and sander out of there.

white painted kitchen cabinets

It’s pretty awful to have all of your kitchen stuff not in the kitchen.


And I am very much NOT a fan of the no-doors look. Maybe that works for people who have more beautiful stuff than I do, but in my kitchen, it was a super cluttery look. ;)


So, yeah. I’m a happy girl.

painted kitchen cabinets over fridge IMG_0405

Oh, yeah. Much better.

reinstall hardware

This cabinet was very used and abused, so it’s lovely to have it refinished. When we reinstalled the door, we realized that it would make WAY more sense to have it open the opposite way, so we flipped the door over and drilled holes for the hinges on the other side of the cabinet. This meant the handle had to be relocated and the old handle holes had to be filled, but that was no big deal.

August 20132

The drawer on the left had some gouges in it, and now they’re gone. Yay!

cabinet near oven

The three under my biggest counter were in pretty decent shape.


But they still look better in white. ;)

cabinets under counter

Here you can see the fake wood laminated cabinet sides, which I was a little nervous about painting.


But I sanded them lightly, primed them, and painted them, and they look great. SO much better than fake wood.

dining room side, take 2

I also realized in the midst of the process that I’d have to paint the fake wood undersides of the cabinets too, since they’re quite visible when you sit at the dining room table.

painted fake wood laminate cabinet

They look so much less offensive in white. Having all the fake wood painted really makes my cabinets look like they’re much higher quality now. Love that.

Here’s a before and after of the main wall of cabinets. Both photos were taken with my point and shoot because my SLR lenses aren’t wide enough to get the whole space.

cabinet wall after

I was pretty sure that painting the little trim piece about the cabinets was going to kill me. I did discover that a small watercolor-ish paint brush works GREAT for such tiny spindles.


And here’s another side:

dining room wall of cabinets

And the last side.

cabinets by fridge

Remember the one cabinet I decided to paint inside?

under sink cabinet before painting

And here’s what it looks like now. I’m considering putting a coat of poly on the floor area, since the trash can gets slid in and out a lot. Regardless, this is WAY better than what it looked like before!

under sink cabinet painted

The rest of the cabinet innards are unpainted. It might be nice to have them painted, but that was WAY more work than I had energy or time for.


Once the cabinets were done, I noticed how dingy my moldings had become, so I painted all of the trim under the cabinets, around the doorways, and against the walls. It’s really lovely to have fresh white trim again.

freshly painted kitchen molding

Ok. That’s probably quite enough photos for one post.

benjamin moore cloud white cabinets

We’re eventually planning to replace the old countertops and backsplash, but we’ve got to save up some money before we take that on. And in the meantime, I think the new cabinets make the countertops and backsplash look a little better.

A lot of you have wondered about the method I used, and you’ll be happy to know I’ve got a step-by-step post in the works(in case any of you are crazy enough to take on a project like this!), so stay tuned.


  1. Battra92 says

    Congratulations on it being done! Finishing and showing off is the best part!

    I like the open shelving look but I know I am mostly alone in that. My wife hates that look and says it’s a good way to have dirty stuff. Maybe we’ll compromise with windowed cabinets. :-P

    The new hinges look great (or rather are great because they are invisible ;) ) Are they the slow close type?

    • Kristen says

      For a few cabinets, I could see it working…like for the one that houses pretty dishes or something. But the cabinets that hold stuff like spices and measuring cups and food, I just think it looks super cluttery. There’s no way to make pantry supplies look beautiful, aside from buying everything in bulk and putting it in glass jars.

      The hinges aren’t soft-close. I thought about it, but the cost difference was huge, and I decided it wasn’t worth it to me.

      • Battra92 says

        We store food in a pantry (which is a converted a closet in my office) so we don’t have the issue with food in the kitchen looking cluttered. For staples we use a combination of Rubbermaid Modular Canisters (yay for Made in USA stuff!) and Ikea Droppar jars.

        I’ve thought about doing something like this ( ) for my measuring cups but I think they will just get in the way after a while. I think the best solution is more drawers. ;)

        • Lisa says

          My mom mounted all of her measuring cups and spoons on the inside door of an upper cabinet. She used small cuphooks, though. She really likes it.

  2. says

    It looks great! Congratulations on finishing such a huge project!! One question: what color white did you choose? Choosing the right white is what’s stopped me from painting mine. I search the Internet and everyone seems to have horror stories about choosing the wrong white! Help!

  3. Sarah says

    Beautiful!! Especially against those lovely smoky blue walls! we have been thinking about painting our cabinets white as well (they’re very much like yours) so this project of yours has convinced me that we must do it! must show my hubby these before and after photos! :-)

  4. Amanda @ The Scacchi House says

    Your kitchen looks wonderful! Your cabinets are just like the ones we had in our Florida house. I was always too afraid to paint them. Now I wish I would have. I can’t wait to see your step-by-step. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Kasey says

    Looks lovely! I have two tips, the first is for under your sink where you painted your cabinet you can use some peel and stick tiles and put those on the bottom. It will look nice, is affordable and will be quicker and easier than poly. These wipe up easily when something gets spilled on its way into the garbage as well. My other tip is to check out the counter tops that you install yourself at IKEA. They are very affordable and we have been very pleased with ours! We have the black in our kitchen and receive many many compliments on them.

    • Jen says

      I second thepeel and stick tile idea for under the cabinets. We did this under our kitchen sink and now our garbage slides in and out easily. Super durable and is a harder surface than soft vinyl or contact paper. We previously had contact paper, which wore out quickly when we slid the garbage so often and was not as easy to wipe down. Very very easy to clean up/wipe down.

  6. WilliamB says

    Congratulations on your hard work, resolve, and results! I bet that for years, you’re going to look at your kitchen and smile. Glad the weather (mostly) cooperated, too.

    I’m against open shelving and even windowed cabinet doors. My cabinets are very organized and my dishes match, and I still think it looks terrible. The only places I’ve seen where it looks OK to me, are the sorts where the residents don’t have much stuff. IOW, noncooks. That ain’t me!

    • Battra92 says

      I think a lot of it depends on what you have and what you use and also how many drawers and base cabinets you have. Personally I’d love a kitchen with no upper cabinets and all lower cabinets.

  7. Paula in the UP says

    Your cabinets look marvyfab!! It brightens and freshens up your whole first floor since it is an open floor plan.

    I have not painted my cabinets once but twice, in the last 18 years. When we moved in they were already painted and very poorly I might add, in a country blue with a mauvish color inside the doors(circa 1995!). Plus as a bonus we had the fake lament butcher block counters, AWFUL! We sanded, primed and painted them a creamy white color and put in new counters. They looked great and seemed so new and fresh, after living with them blue for several years. But they never felt crisp and clean, so I once again broke a whiter white and painted them once again. The second time was less time consuming. They were already nice and smooth, we just cleaned them up, primed and painted. It’s been several years now since their second facelift and they are starting to show wear, again!

    I still hate these cabinets, they were hand built by the original home builder, but not in a beautiful custom way. They aren’t placed in the best layout, the fridge opening doesn’t accommodate our fridge, there is a whole wall with no cabinets on it where our fridge lives. So at some point we will completely tear these cabinets out and put in new.

    Enjoy you “new” kitchen!!

  8. says

    Fabulous job! I am getting ready to redo some furniture (first time!), can you recommend a sander? Also, what primer and paint do you like? I am thinking of repainting these pieces in black.


  9. Sydney says

    Your kitchen looks amazing! It’s so light and airy and the cabinets look like new! I know it was a lot of work, but it seems like it was worth the time and effort. Good job. :)

    • Therese Z says

      Where the trash can goes – consider using floor tiles with the backing still on, taped together from the back to fit the space. You can take the piece out and wipe it or around it, and it will look neat and wear very well. I do that under my kitchen cabinets and it’s so easy to keep it looking good.

  10. joyce says

    Oh we’re planning doing the same thing. But my husband will take over with his perfectionism. And I’ll let him. :)

  11. Julie says

    We bought a house earlier this year (built in 1995) and our kitchen cabinets (and countertops actually) look a lot like yours did (wonder if it was the same national builder?). I really hate them. I would prefer dark wood cabinets, but so expensive to get them redone. I like the white in your kitchen, but I wonder if I would like it as much in mine. Maybe a future project for us. I will definitely bookmark your step-by-step post.

  12. Jewlz280 says

    WOW! HUGE difference! Congrats on finishing it up and on having a ‘new’ space. And yes, for sure, the freshness of the paint makes not only the counters and the backsplash look better, but it makes the whole area look fresh and inviting — such as the transition to the dining room. :)

  13. mobi says

    All I can say is WOW! You are much braver than me. I’ve been wanting to do a project such as yours, for a few years now. My kitchen has wonderful custom real wood cabinet in a light cherry stain (built by the former owner, who also built the house). I love the color, and in any other kitchen, they would probably be fine, but my kitchen has only one tiny window and I forever feel like I’m in darkness (even with lights on). Unfortunately, my husband is not at all a handyman, and I don’t have a father or father in law to help me. We have a painter friend who has help us paint the walls in our house….but the kitchen cabinets were deemed to be too “big” a job. Oh well maybe someday….when I retire.

    As for the space under the sink where you keep your garbage can, may I offer this suggestion. Once upon a time, in a previous house, I had some extra lino from a bathroom redo. The pipe under the kitchen sink used to leak sometimes and your know what water does to laminated cabinets…
    Well I had the idea to use the lino to line the space under the sink. (just cut a piece to fit and VOILA, you don’t even have to glue it down.) Its waterproof and very easy wipe clean: it saves the bottom of your cupboard. I have done this in every house I have lived since, bathrooms too. (And if you don’t have any spare lino lying around….just check the clearance section/ or remnant section of your local homedepot. I was able to get another piece 6’x8′ for only $20).

  14. Sharon Barkmeier says

    I love the new look. I’ve been waiting for an update. I have the same type cabinets and the hinges and knobs (brass, I assume) are discolored and look terrible. I am eager to see your step by step instructions.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  15. Momofthree says

    Everything looks great!

    I read a tip somewhere about picking up some cheap peel and stick floor tiles to put in the bottom of cupboards under the sink or where cleaners are kept. That way spills are easy to clean up and it resists scratches etc. That might work under your garbage can.

  16. Kris says

    I’m late to the party, but just wanted to congratulate you on a job well done. Also, I was intrigued that painting over laminate worked well for you. We have a dresser (1970s?) with fakey wood and since it’s structurally sound, I don’t want to get rid of it, but it looks oh so retro, in a not-so-good way, and I’m wondering if I could paint it …

  17. says

    Beautiful! I have white cabinets that came with our house, and really like how the color makes the room look brighter and bigger. The only disadvantage: they show every little drip and smudge. But overall I am still happy to have white cabinets, and I know you are thrilled with yours!

  18. Emily M says

    Beautiful! One tip as a fellow white cabinet owner: You might want to add spot cleaning cabinets to the kids post dinner chore list! :)

  19. says

    Very good look! It looks better the white and gray cobination, much better than beige and gray, and it is a great job, lots of effort to get it done.

  20. Bridget says

    By chance I happened to be painting my own cabinets (also from wood to white, but a darker wood to a whiter white) when I ran across this post!
    I didn’t realize how time-consuming this project was going to be, and your in progress pictures helped me to stay motivated! Thank you! :-)

  21. Amber says

    I’ve been considering painting the cabinets at my house. We bought a foreclosure and the previous owners were border-line hoarders (NASTY!) I really like how yours turned out. We don’t want to pay someone, but we don’t want it to have “paint streaks” if you know what I mean…will you be doing your step by step post soon? I’m dying to get my kitchen finished. I don’t care what the rest of the house looks like, just that! :)

    • Kristen says

      Yes! It’s on the schedule to be posted in the next week or so…just gotta finish writing it up (it’s, uh, kinda long!)

  22. Ruth says

    Your kitchen looks great! :)
    What kind of paint did you use : oil? latex? Did you apply any finish? Wouldn’t want to pick wrong paint…

      • Ruth says

        I was so pleasantly surprised to find your reply since that was not a very recent post. Thank you so much! Also, I looked at your other furniture painting projects – it’s amazing! Well done! :)

  23. Karen Catalano says

    Hi Kristen,
    My, the cabs look GREAT! One quick Q: In the repost on 5/7/14, you mention replacing the hinges; are the round holes on the inside of doors for Euro-style hinges- the ones that mount on the inside? Again, a fabulous job here.

  24. Rachel says

    Wow!! what a difference. Beautiful and clean. Thanks for sharing. How much sanding did it take? My granddaughter wants to paint and antique and old dining set with veneer. Seems like a big project: sanding, priming and painting steps. What kind of paint did you use? What brand of primer? I’ve done this before, but have forgotten those details. I used a water based sealer (satin finish) on my final coat on the kitchen cabinet doors. It makes them easy to clean and they still look good after almost 10 years. Rachel in Florida.

  25. sheila thibault says

    beautiful kristen….in your opionon the advance… does it go on nice a smooth and level itself out well?…. even using a brush?…..i was going to spray but dont want to do it in the house for the cabinet frames and sides? did you do 2 coats and does it take the 16 hours between coats to dry as it says?….do you have a super close up picture of the cabinets?… you see brush strokes at all?……they also suggested using stix primer and dont have to sand the wood cabinets too much……thank you….

  26. says

    oh my goodness. I’ve been wondering if I could refinish our cabinets since they aren’t real wood. How are the areas of you’re that are laminate holding up? Ours are all laminate. I really want to paint ours white but I’m scared it won’t work/look good and then I will have ruined our kitchen and it will cost us a ton to get all new cabinets. eek!

    • Kristen says

      The laminate areas are holding up fine so far. Of course, they are just the sides of the cabinets, so they don’t get quite as much wear and tear. But I do have one laminated cabinet side that’s down by the floor, and that’s still hanging in there just fine.

      So it just might work!

  27. Jhen says

    Great work on the cabinets. You make it look so easy! I am about to tackle my own but have been doing some research and stumbled upon yours! I have a question though…. Since you had oak cabinets how did you get rid of the wood grain look? I am painting mine white too but worried you can see the wood grain look on the white cabinets. Do I just prime until the wood grain look disappears? Or sand it fine?

    • Kristen says

      This paint and primer worked to give a very opaque finish…you can’t really see the grain on the cabinets. I’m not sure if the paint or the primer is to credit for that, though!

  28. frannie says

    What a Beautiful job!!!!!!! I know this was no easy task!!!!!! Thank you for sharing.. Great pictures too.

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