Makeover Monday: Painting Cabinets


This project started out in one of the best ways possible. Sitting around on a Friday night at my in-laws’ house, my mother-in-law mentioned that someday she wanted to paint the bathroom cabinets to give them a fresh look. I loved the idea, and before we knew it, we were Googling away for cabinet painting tutorials. Just thirty minutes later, we hit Home Depot with a shopping list and that lovely buzz of energy that only comes with starting a new project. What a fantastic way to spend a Friday night!

As you can see, the cabinets started out dark, scuffed, and adorned with hardware only the late 1970s could love.

Our first step was to take the cabinet doors off. We then removed all hardware and began the messiest part of the renovation: sanding. Using both an electric sander and sandpaper by hand, we gave all the surfaces, as well as the nooks and crannies a good roughing up. Next, we filled in the holes from the old hardware pulls.

While I read that oil-based paint can be very good for cabinets, we decided to go with a creamy white latex. The key with this paint was to allow ample drying time between layers and before reattaching the doors. In fact, we waited about three days before putting the doors back on so that any painted surfaces that touched wouldn’t stick and so that nothing would get knocked or scratched before the paint hardened.

Waiting a bit longer was also important for one of the final steps: gently sanding the edges of the doors and drawers to create a “shabby-chic” look.

The lighter color really brightened up the whole room. It change even made me appreciate the darker counter top color.

One of my favorite parts of the makeover is how Deanna used a variety of ceramic knobs instead of pulls that all matched.

This makeover provided a much-needed bathroom face lift at a very low cost: just so me paint, sandpaper, and new pulls (we re-used the old hinges to continue the country look.) The main resource you need for this type of project is time. We got all of the sanding and one layer of paint done within a few hours on Friday night, but had to go back to add a second layer of paint, and then flip the cabinet doors over and paint two layers. This took the rest of the weekend. It was hard to wait for everything to dry well over the next few days, but the payoff was definitely worth the wait. (If you live in a climate that isn’t as humid, you might not need to wait as long as we did. This all took place over a particularly rainy weekend.)

I recently moved into my own house from the 1960’s and I was actually a little sad that the home didn’t need this kind of cabinet updating. Really, I am lucky that the cabinets had been recently replaced. However, I’m sure I’ll find plenty of projects to get those creative juices flowing. Sometimes, it just takes that lightening strike of inspiration on a Friday night.


3 Responses

  1. Kim of The Made Thing

    December 4, 2012 6:42 am

    My future mother-in-law did this years ago to hers and I recently saw photos of what it looked like at one time. Oh god, I’m so glad she did it! It’s a cheery blue and really lightens up the room compared to the dank, dark color before.


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