Kitchen cabinet makeover for $170

A few years ago we bought our house which is just a tract home with no real detailing or upgrades. I hated the orange-y cabinets that came stock but didn’t have the budget to redo them. So with the help of my handy dandy dad, we painted them. I am happy to say 3 years later they’ve held up beautifully, and the best part? It cost a whopping $170.

Here’s the “before” shot of our stock oak cabinets. Nothing was wrong with them, I just wasn’t in love with the color and cheap appearance. (Ignore the mess and clutter.)
…and the “after”!

First, we counted the cabinets and made little tape labels. “U”s for “upper”, “B”s for “below”, and “I”s for “island”. Then we taped them on so when we unhinged them we would know which went where.

Here’s what we used. I really utilized my dad’s knowledge of this stuff while he was here visiting from Michigan. Thank goodness for handy dads!
Light sandpaper- to smooth any rough edges and also helps adhere paint to wood.Mineral spirits- to wipe over sanded wood to get it clean and dust free.Rags- for mineral spirits. You could use any ol’ rag though4″ foam rollers and rolling pin- the foam rollers keep paint really smooth & even.One gallon of Behr paint & primer in one in Sweet Molasses. Two quarts probably would’ve been enough, but now we have enough for the bathroom cabinets too 🙂
-Not sure what the Floetrol was for but we didn’t end up using it-

Start by lightly sanding the doors you took off. Thank goodness my dad helped with this! It was a blazing 105 that day in Phoenix!

Next up: Mineral Spirits. We worked out in our garage, but I guess you could do this project inside- the mineral spirits don’t have a strong scent.

Next is painting. We chose Sweet Molasses by BEHR. If you don’t use the Behr paint/primer in one , you’ll want to put a primer on before you paint to help it adhere. But getting the paint/primer in one seriously saves time. You can also spray paint cabinets, and I know some people who have had great success with that too, but you have to bag off your whole kitchen to prevent overspray, and the smell can be strong in badly ventilated areas.

While the cabinets and drawers were drying, we painted the shell of the cabinets. We did the inside lip of the cabinet drawers but not the drawers {as pictured} because once the drawer was on the track you wont see that anyway.

We chose this modern hardware from Home Depot.
Last step is adding little rubber bumpers to the inside of the doors so they don’t slam.


It seriously looks like brand new cabinets… you can even see the wood grain through the paint.

The day we finished I was watching HGTV and this couple had brand new cabinets installed that were the exact same color and hardware, and it cost them $2000! {Didn’t they know you can paint wood?!} All this cost us was a gallon of paint, hardware and minor supplies! Total: $170.{there’s that orchid again…always making a cameo!}
We have a really open floor plan where the kitchen looks out into the living room through a half wall. All our furniture is espresso, so now our kitchen is finally cohesive with the rest of the room.
I decided to take the stuff down from atop the cabinets to give it a more minimalistic, clean look.

And there you have it! Before you spend big bucks installing new cabinets, first try DIY. Painting them is easy, cheap and makes a BIG impact. I’ve seen black, white, even turquoise- look amazing! Next up for us- new floors and a back splash.

I originally posted this on my former blog, so you may have seen it before. I hope it inspires a new weekend project that won’t break the bank but can update a dreary kitchen (or bathroom!) Happy painting! 🙂

This entry was posted in DIY, Home.

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