Kitchen Mini-Reno, Part 1: Seven Things to Consider Before Having Your Kitchen Cabinets Painted
Check out what a difference a fresh coat of paint can make! I’m unveiling part 1 of my kitchen mini-reno, sharing my experience, and highlighting seven important things to consider before painting your cabinets.
Hey everybody! Today I am sharing something a little different on Baking a Moment. Instead of a recipe, I want to show you pics of my newly transformed kitchen, and talk a little bit about how this first step in my mini-reno came about!
We bought this house five years ago, and the first time we walked through it, it was the kitchen that sold me. It’s airy and bright, with a little sunroom off to the one side that I knew would be just perfect as a playroom for my kids. I could be in the kitchen, doing my thing, and they could be right there doing theirs. But the best thing of all was how spacious the room is, with tons of cupboards for storage. It all worked out perfectly and we’ve been enjoying it ever since.
The only thing I didn’t quite love was the color of the cabinets. They were a very pretty medium-brown stained wood, but I had just always had my heart set on white. After five years of hard wear and tear, from a very cooking-centric family, they were looking even worse for wear. So I got it into my head to paint them.
There are tons of articles on the internet about how to paint your cupboards, and I’ve probably read most of them. Enough to know that it’s a multi-step process, involving taking off all the door and drawer fronts, sanding, priming, and multiple coats of paint. I’ve DIY’ed many home projects in my day, but at the stage I’m at right now, in my life and career, I knew that this was just going to be way more than I could handle. I mean, we’re talking 48 cupboards in this kitchen, a few of them with glass fronts (so they’d need to be painted inside and out!), plus a very tricky wine rack. This was best left to the pros.
I’m hoping that my experience can be helpful to you, so here are seven questions I asked myself, before taking on this project. I had NO idea what to expect at the outset, so hopefully what I learned might be useful, if you’re also thinking of improving your home in this way.
1. How Much Does it Cost?
I opted to paint the walls and the trim, as well as the manymanymany cabinets I mentioned above. I got two quotes and they were wildly different. The first one was for $1800, but he had a 2-month backlog of work to get through before he could squeeze me in. While I waited, I got another quote for close to $6000. To be fair, the second quote also included painting the ceiling and installing the new pulls I had picked out. (It costs nothing to get a quote, so I would definitely recommend talking to at least 2 contractors, if not 3 or 4.) In the end, that was just more than I could afford, so I waited it out and went with painter #1. I was very pleased with the job he did. If you live in the Delaware Valley, email me at bakingamoment(at)gmail(dot)com and I’m happy to pass his contact info along.
While $1.8k isn’t exactly chump change, I knew a project like this would have taken me weeks or even months to do myself, and as someone who earns her living (mostly) in the kitchen, that just wasn’t gonna fly. Also, I knew that installing all new cabinetry would have run in the tens of thousands, and cabinet refacing would probably be at least $8k. So, I was willing to save my pennies and wait it out 😉
2. How Long Does It Take?
The painter arrived on a Thursday morning and the job was wrapped up by Tuesday afternoon. He worked from about 8:30 am ’til around 3:00 pm on weekdays, taking about an hour for lunch. He had an assistant with him for 3 of those days.
I’m glad I hired somebody I could trust. I got the recommendation from a friend. Consider this carefully: these people are going to be in your home. Alllll up in your biz-nass. If you work outside of the home, they might be there unsupervised. If you and/or your kiddos are full-time at home, they’ll be there with you. Be safe, hire someone you know or someone with lots of good references.
3. Will It Totally Interfere with Your Life?
For me it really wasn’t too bad! While the job was in process, we had no doors on our cupboards. For the first day, there were dropcloths over everything. I didn’t have to empty out all my cabinets, just the glass-fronted ones and the lazy Susan in the corner. I was able to get in the kitchen to prep a few quick recipes, but mostly I tried to stay out of their hair. They put the doors back on before the final coat of paint was applied, and we left them ajar so they could dry/fully cure in place for about 2 or 3 days. Everything looked like ass for about a week but we managed to deal.
4. How Much Work Will You Do Yourself?
Even though I hired a contractor to do most of the work, it wasn’t as if I just sat back and did nothing. After the painters packed up and left, things were in a state of disarray. It was messy, and so I did have to clean thoroughly and put everything back in order. Also, there were knobs before, and I wanted to switch to pulls, so I needed to drill holes and screw on the new hardware. My pantry cabinet doors had been put on upside-down (honest mistake), so I also needed to fix that and touch up some of the paint along the bottom edge. And lastly, I had to make a hardware store run to pick up those stick-on bumper things, and put them on every door and drawer. It took me about 2 afternoons before things were back to normal.
5. What Colors Should You Pick?
Like I said, I’ve always dreamed of white, but my kids and husband are HARD on stuff. I was afraid for the lowers, especially. I imagined white cabinets would get destroyed. Sorta like what my 8-year old did to my fridge?
Shooting hockey pucks at it, in case you were wondering. Mm-hmm. Anyhow, I thought gray might be a better choice to hide scuff marks and finger prints, so I went with Benjamin Moore’s Platinum. I’ve used this color on other items in my home and to me it’s the perfect light gray. Not to green-y, not to purple-y, as grays can sometimes be. For the uppers, I went with Pure White, off the shelf. Same goes for trim, and the walls are Lime Rickey (also Benjamin Moore), which looks cah-RAZY, almost neon on the chip, but I just adore that fresh Spring green when it’s up on the walls.
6. What Might You Wish You’d Done Differently?
I actually wish I had picked the white off a chip, instead of just going with the off-the-shelf stuff. I don’t hate it, but at certain times of day it does read a little blue-ish. It’s not an exact match for the white subway tile backsplash, and the difference kinda stands out to me. If you’re thinking of doing what I did here, I would definitely recommend grabbing a few chips and picking a creamier-toned white.
However, I am in LOVE with the gray! For something that was a “second choice,” it ended up being my favorite thing in the kitchen. I almost wish I had done everything in this color! Plus it covered the dark wood a lot easier. By coat number 4 of white, I think the painter was getting a little annoyed with my selection.
7. What about those Cabinet Pulls?
Yes, they’re gold. Or rather, brushed brass. If you haven’t gotten the memo yet, it’s coming back in a major way! I was ready to jump on the bandwagon, so I chose these pulls. My first choice was these, but at $13 per pull, that would have broken the bank at over $500 just for cabinet hardware! I knew there had to be a more affordable option, so I’m really happy I found this site.
Which leads me to the question I want to ask YOU! Now that I’ve got a few touches of warm gold, what do you think I should do about the light fixture over the island? I’m seeing 3 possibilities and I’d love to get your opinion! Click your vote in the survey below and we’ll make this decision together!
*If you aren’t familiar with Rub ‘n Buf there’s a great explanation here.
I hope this was fun for you, even though it’s not the kind of thing I normally post here. I’m hoping to make this a multi-part series, so if you really enjoyed it, please let me know by liking, sharing, tweeting, and pinning! And if you have any other questions I can answer, leave me a comment and I’ll do my best!
I love how your cabinets turned out. Picking the Pure White color was definitely the right choice for the uppers. We are currently looking to get our cabinets refinished. I will talk to my husband to see if he would like these same colors for our home.
Thank you! We’ve been really happy with the choice!
How is the paint holding up?? I really want to do this… but so afraid my three kids to scratch and make my white ( painted cabinets) filthy??
Hey Kari! It’s holding up pretty well! Been close to two years now and overall I’m pleased. Every now and then I have to give the area around the handles a bit of a scrub, but other than that we are happy with it. I think as long as you use a good primer and paint you should be good! Good luck!
It’s beautiful!! I have been dreaming of a white kitchen for years!!!
Thank you! So have I. I’m really happy with the way it came out!
I think your kitchen color looks amazing! It’s like a breath of fresh air, so light and sunny!
Thank you so much Katy! I’m still getting used to it lol, but it’s definitely a big improvement!
I’m in LOVE with your “new” kitchen! It’s so bright and looks like the perfect kitchen to do lots of baking in! 😉
Thanks Tiffany! I’m still on cloud 9, lol!
Oh my goodness! I absolutely love your new kitchen, Allie! It’s gorgeous! The lighter paint is just stunning and your aspring hockey player is just so adorable 🙂
He’s lucky he’s so darn cute, right? Thank you so much Kelly! Hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous Spring afternoon 🙂 <3
Just beautiful! I love how light it is! Great idea on the grey too!
Thanks so much Lindsay! The gray ended up being my absolute favorite 😉
The new kitchen looks amazing and I appreciate all of the insights you laid out about your experience, especially since we’re starting to plan our kitchen reno over here! I especially love the gold pulls 🙂
I love the gold handles and the color of your kitchen aid stand mixer. Your cabinet makeover turned out great and you have a beautiful kitchen. Thanks for the tips. I look forward to seeing the rest of the renovation.
Looks great! Another reason to get a pro, is oil based paint….it wears so.much.better.
That is true Maria! Although, in my home state it is becoming increasingly difficult to purchase oil-based paint. I think it will be completely phased out soon.
Hahha the hockey player is just too cute!! You have a star on your hands 🙂 Girl, I LOVE LOVE the new kitchen. I still cannot believe how much a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets will change things up. Can’t wait for part 2!
Thank you so much sweetie! xoxox
You have amazing taste, Allie. You took your kitchen from ‘meh’ to magazine centerfold. I absolutely love the colors you chose! And thanks too for all of the great tips!
You are too kind Marissa! Thank you so much for the sweet compliments <3
Holy cow you did an amazing job!!!! I mean seriously this is so incredible. I love how bright your kitchen looks!
It’s so super bright, lol! Like almost blinding. I need to get some blinds on the windows haha!
What a transformation! I am in love with your kitchen. Light and bright kitchens make me so happy. 🙂
Same here! It’s such a pleasure to walk in there now. Thanks so much Christin!
LOVE IT. I am absolutely green with envy – it looked amazing before (I love the big, airy flow of it too), but the paint job makes it look so much bigger and brighter! <3 I'd love to get something done like this to my formica kitchen, but it will never look this good – we only have one small window! 🙁 Can't wait to see the rest!
Thank you Erica! I have been wanting it forevvvvveeeeer! I’m so happy to have finally gotten my wish. It’s just amazing how much paint can do, especially for such a small budget. I hope you are able to do it someday soon!