This kitchen makeover has been a long time in the making. I’ve stared at my kitchen cabinets for many a moon dreaming about painting them; envisioning a bright, airy space where the hubs and I could prepare meals and entertain company. I also wanted to include it on the blog as part of home tours and seasonal decor posts.
So why didn’t I do it sooner?
First, I knew it’d be a ton of work and it’d take me a few weeks of working on it on and off to get it done. As you can see our kitchen is big with lots and lots of cabinets. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve always loved our kitchen in the sense that it is very comfortable to work in and has a lot of well thought out storage space. But when it came down to painting all those bad boys, I didn’t love it so much.
Second, I feared that I would put in all that work and end up not liking the results as much in reality as I did in my white kitchen fantasies. I loathed the thought of putting in all that time to paint them and they ended up not looking any better than before, let alone if they looked worse. Either of those outcomes would royally suck.
But, the problem was that if I didn’t paint those cabinets, I would never include the kitchen in any of my blog posts ever, and when you’re a farmhouse style blogger, the kitchen is kinda the centerpiece of all the rooms in your home. I didn’t even want to catch it in the background if I was taking photos for the blog. So it basically boiled down to there was no not doing it.
Here’s how it looked before:
This picture was taken shortly after we moved into the house. It was a nice enough kitchen, but it just didn’t “pop” like I wanted it to.
We didn’t change everything in one big swoop. A few years ago we repainted the main living areas of the house from the cocoa color you see in the above photo to the gray it is now (the wall color is Pelican Gray by Benjamin Moore. It does tend to go blue in natural light, so if you don’t like that, be forewarned). We changed out the lights over the kitchen island and above the cabinets a couple of years ago. My husband changed out the tile last year. The only thing left to do was paint the cabinets.
The paint I chose for the cabinets is Valspar Reserve Interior Satin in Ultra White. You can buy it at Lowe’s. Since I chose to use Ultra White, it meant I could grab the paint right off the shelf and buy it without having someone in the paint department add color to it. I kinda liked that.
UPDATE: Valspar has discontinued their Reserve paint line. I recommend Valspar Signature paint to use for painting kitchen cabinets. I’ve used both the Reserve and Signature lines and I can’t tell any difference between the two, which is probably why Valspar discontinued their Reserve paint line.
People I know in real life have asked me what primer I used with this paint. Well, I didn’t use a primer.
Now before everyone starts ripping off all their clothes and running into heavy traffic, let me explain my reasoning behind not using a primer. First, the paint I used is supposed to be both paint and primer. Second, at my husband’s very insistent prodding, I did try a primer underneath the eating bar just to get him off my back. The results? Whether I used primer or not, I had to put three coats of paint on the cabinets in order to get full coverage of the wood. Then once I allowed both sections to dry overnight I gave each section the fingernail scratch test. The section I primed first scratched up a little easier than the section with no primer. So if you think you always have to use a primer in order to put on fewer coats of paint or to make sure the paint sticks to the cabinets, let me be the first to tell you that isn’t always the case. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t use primer ever; but with this paint, I really didn’t need to. It took 2 1/2 gallons of paint and three coats to paint all the cabinets.
I used Krud Kutter to clean the cabinets before I painted them. I didn’t sand the cabinets before painting them. The polyurethane on the cabinets wasn’t the real thick shiny kind, so I felt safe not sanding them.
I worked in sections, taking the cabinet doors off, removing all the hardware, cleaning the doors and cabinet fronts with Krud Kutter, taping off the inner sections of the cabinets I didn’t want to paint with painter’s tape, painted three coats on both sides of the doors and the cabinet fronts letting everything dry thoroughly between coats, attached the new hardware, removed painter’s tape, reattached cabinet doors, rinse and repeat almost every day for six weeks.
I used a paint brush on narrow areas such as the cabinet faces and door fronts and a foam roller on large, flat areas such as the cabinet sides and under the eating bar.
I know a lot of people struggle with whether or not to paint the inside of the cabinets, and as a purist I did too. I thought if I didn’t paint the insides it would look unfinished. I made the decision not to paint the insides purely on the added amount of time it would take to paint them all. We also have built in lazy susans and roll out shelves in some of the cabinets which would have been extremely difficult to paint. I know that if I had tried to paint the cabinet innards, I would still be working on it now and completely hating life instead of typing this. And you know what? It doesn’t look unfinished at all. I just painted the inner part of where the doors hang, taping off the bottom shelf and the sides of the upper shelves with painter’s tape in order to get a clean edge. And the best part? I didn’t have to take everything out of the cabinets!
I set up the doors to paint on our kitchen counters between the kitchen and dining room. These are the only doors with glass; they are from underneath this counter on the dining room side and serves as a china hutch. I did paint the inside of those cabinets since you can see inside. I’m sure glad these were the only doors with glass because it was a pain in the ol’ keister to tape off all the glass on both sides.
You might have noticed that the cabinet doors are not sitting directly on top of the tarp. That’s because I used painting pyramids that hold the doors off of the tarp. This makes it a lot easier to paint around the edges and the doors don’t stick to the tarp once the paint is dried. You can find the painting pyramids on Amazon along with the painter’s tape and hardware I used.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links for your convenience to help you find the supplies needed for this project. I make a small commission if you order through my links, but it doesn’t cost you anything more! If you do purchase through my links, thank you so much for helping support this blog!
After six weeks of backbreaking work, I finally got it all done. And honestly? I am in LOVE with the results. It is BETTER than I could have ever imagined. It’s like we have a brand new kitchen! All the other little changes we did beforehand were nice, but painting the cabinets brought everything together and made it gorgeous. Yes, I know I’m bragging my kitchen up, but I don’t care – I am SO happy that I love the results!
Let’s take a look at a couple before and after photos:
And a few more after photos:
I hope you enjoyed my farmhouse kitchen makeover reveal, and I hope you love the results as much as I do! If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section below!
So open and airy now. It’s amazing what a little bit of time and paint will do for a space. It looks beautiful.
Thanks so much Emily! And I agree – it is amazing what paint can do! 🙂
Thank so much for sharing great tips on this project. It looks absolutely beautiful.💖 I couldn’t help but fall in love with it but also with the color you painted your walls with. Would you mind sharing the paint color you used on your walls? I would really appreciate it. Thanks.
You’re very welcome, and I don’t mind sharing the paint color with you at all! 🙂 It’s Pelican Gray by Benjamin Moore. It does tend to go blue in natural light, so if you don’t like that you might want a warmer gray.
Did you use a clear coat after the white?
Hi Amy! No, just the three coats of paint. So far it’s holding up well (it’s only been 2 weeks) and I am impressed with how easily spills can be wiped off the paint with a soapy sponge. I even spilled a few drops of coffee on one of the cabinets in the morning and didn’t see it until the afternoon and the coffee had dried on the cabinet. I was able to easily wipe it away with a soapy sponge. On the paint can it claims that the paint is “stain fighting” – and that seems to be the case! 🙂
Cindy Lou says
Fantastic ! Great job ! Beautiful farmhouse kitchen !!!!! LOVE
Wow, so much lighter and brighter! Totally worth it but I understand the pain of painting cabinets. Been there, done that. We are in the middle of a kitchen reno right now…been 4 months because of a back-ordered cabinet. It finally came and it’s full speed ahead!
Thanks so much Jess! And I feel your pain – it seems like there’s always something that holds up a big project. Happy to hear the cabinet came in so you can finish the reno! 🙂
Hi! Your kitchen looks amazing! I love it!! You truly did an awesome job with it all. I am wondering how long in between coats did you let it dry? Also, do your cabinets feel sticky? I ask because I painted my island a few months ago and the paint doesn’t have a nice feel to it. It feels a bit sticky and the doors and drawers stick a little too. I did use good paint and good brushes. Thanks 🙂
Hi Dianne! I would leave the paint dry at least a couple of hours between coats. No problems with stickiness. I’m really happy with the paint I used and how well it’s held up so far.
Kari Rogers-Miller says
I love your kitchen makeover Michelle, you were right to go with white cabinets as they make your kitchen pop. I did the same thing several years ago, as I had honey colored cabinets with black granite counter tops. I have never regretted the white cabinet choice and it makes my kitchen so much brighter. Great job.
Thanks so much Kari! It’s amazing what a little paint can do!
Martha Gilkey Chasteen says
I loved the white kitchen make over. All looks great.
Thank you Martha! And thanks for popping in to see me when I went live in the group! 🙂
I might of missed it , but what type of paint did you use? Love, love you kitchen by the way. So welcoming and bright. Going to try it myself.
Hi Esther! The paint I used is Valspar Reserve Indoor Satin in Bright White, but Valspar has discontinued the Reserve line. You can use Valspar Signature paint in its place.