The Southern Nest Blog

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

When we built our first home, I knew EXACTLY what I wanted the kitchen to look like. I wanted white cabinets, black granite counter tops, and espresso colored wooden floors. Unfortunately, the white painted cabinets offered by our builder were much more than we had planned to spend. So we decided to paint them ourselves. I know it seems crazy to paint BRAND NEW cabinets, but I was pretty stuck on getting the look I wanted, and my husband was pretty stuck on staying within budget. We chose maple cabinets so that the final look would be smooth and white after some elbow grease.

Steps to Painting Our Cabinets

1.We removed all of the doors and drawers. (We hadn’t put the hardware on yet.)

2. We sanded everything, then applied two coats of primer. (I used Gripper primer. If you are going to paint your cabinets, make SURE that you paint the primer on very smoothly. Even though it will be covered in paint, this is crucial to a smooth finish.)

3. We applied two coats of white “Painter’s Touch” by Rust-oleum paint. (With lots of dry time between all of these coats!) I used a foam roller brush for the larger areas and a very high quality synthetic brush for the detailed areas. Spend the money on good tools people….it will pay off!
4. I put two coats of Minwax Polycrylic on as a final step. (I waited for the paint to cure overnight before applying the Polycrylic.)

The paint on the walls is “Lauren’s Surprise” by Sherwin Williams.

We fell in love with the Lansa handles at Ikea. Not the obvious choice for a “French Country” kitchen, but we loved them and they added lots of character.

I love to be in my kitchen. I only wish it always looked this clean!

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  1. bonniegetchell says:

    Wow! It looks gorgeous! Great job!

    -Bonnie @ Revolutionaries

  2. Thank you, Bonnie! I hope you're enjoying what's left of the summer! šŸ™‚

  3. Mariaelena says:

    good morning Courtney…so happy to meet you and your blog….I think your kitchen in wonderful…so bright and beautiful…be happy in it….just became a follower…pls visit me too and follow along…I think you'll like it…I have a white kitchen with black granite and dark wood floors in our beach house….I LOVE it…(check it out on my blog..)….in our year round home, I have maple cabinets that we put in about 11 years ago that I'm painting in the fall when I return….glad to see yours painted…it's usually oak that people are painting and not maple….thanks for sharing and I look forward to visiting often….xo, Mariaelena

  4. Kathryn Griffin says:

    Much, much better white! It looks wonderful. Found you via My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia. Pop on over for a visit when you get a moment. Tootles, Kathryn

  5. Kristin @ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia says:

    WOW! This is just gorgeous I'm so glad you went for it, looks so clean and fresh!
    Thanks for linking!

  6. Thanks, ladies! And Kristin, thank you for hosting!

  7. Courtney ~ French Country Cottage says:

    Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous!! Well done!

  8. I LOVE this color combination and I'm pretty much in love with that milk glass bowl. Gorgeous! Found you this morning when I was searching around and excited to check back often!

  9. Pia @Jello says:

    love it!! great job!!! I'm a new follower and looking forward to seeing more šŸ™‚

  10. Looks fabulous. My wife and I love the white kitchen with espresso floors. A couple questions,

    What do you think about going with a light colored granite countertop? Cream or some other off white?

    Do the white cabinets get dirty easily? Is it hard to keep them clean?

    How did you go about sanding? By hand or machine?

    • Thanks, Arman!! I have always loved the contrast of the light and dark colors. Recently, a friend of mine installed light colored granite. She has white cabinets and dark floors, too. The result was gorgeous-it has a very clean, “Williams-Sonoma” like appearance to it.

      Personally, I think white cabinets are a great choice. If you are going for more of an antique and warm look, cream is probably best.

      The cabinets do show dirt easily, but they are pretty easy to clean, especially because of the topcoat I applied. I just wipe them down with an all purpose cleaner and a rag to clean them.

      We used a hand held sander for the faces of the cabinet doors. In all of the hard to reach places, we used a sanding sponge.

      I am not going to lie….painting cabinets is NO walk in the park. I was exhausted and cursing my decision toward the end of the painting process. However, I love them so much now, I feel it was worth EVERY bit of the work. Good luck!

  11. Amy Hebden says:

    Love your blog Courtney! I too am in the same dilemma you were. I have black granite and New brown cabinets – UGH! I was just wondering how the paint has held up. Have you had to do any touch ups…?

    • Thanks so much, Amy! It’s funny you should ask…I was looking last night and noticed I had a few chips here and there I need to touch up! But for the most part, they have held up beautifully!

  12. LOVE the result! I’m planning on painting our cabinets white as soon as remove as well. May I ask what granite you have? I have tan brown and I’m wondering if I could achieve the same result with a similar wall color. Thanks for sharing!

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