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See all Interior paint how-to »

How to Paint a Cabinet

Skill:  Advanced DIY'er

Refresh your kitchen and add a pop of color by painting your cabinets.

For Best Results:

If you are painting a cabinet that was previously painted with a glossy paint, thoroughly scuff-sand or degloss the surface for proper adhesion.


Suggested Supplies

  • Brush (2"-2½")
  • Bucket
  • Bucket Grid
  • Vinyl Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Paint Can Opener
  • Paint Tray
  • Paint Tray Liner
  • Rags
  • Roller Cover and Frame
  • Sandpaper (150-220 Grit)
  • Stir Stick

Color Used in This How-To

Riviera Sand
Visualize   •   Save       Buy Paint

The Stiles and Openings

Step 1

Begin your painting project by pouring thoroughly mixed paint into a bucket and dipping a quality 2"-2½" wide nylon/polyester brush into the paint.

When using more than one gallon of paint, combine the colors for better color uniformity. This intermixing is called "boxing."
Step 2

With your brush, paint the inside edges of the cabinet door openings.

To avoid drips, tap off the excess paint against the inside wall of the bucket.
Step 3

Paint the middle stile from top to bottom following the wood grain. Then paint the remaining stiles in the following order: top, bottom, left, right.

Reload the brush when necessary to maintain a wet edge.

The Side Panels

Step 1

Using your brush, paint (cut in) around the perimeter of the cabinet where it meets the ceiling, walls, countertops, and floor.

Step 2

Pour paint into a paint tray. Work the roller into the tray until is fully loaded with paint. For best results, use a ¼" roller cover.

A brush may be used in the areas where a roller is not suitable.
Step 3

With your roller, paint the side panel of the cabinet. Be sure to roll over the cut in area as well. Continue until all side panels are complete.

Lightly roll over the entire panel to create a smooth, uniform finish.

The Paneled Doors

Step 1

Using your brush, paint the edges around the perimeter of the door.

Step 2

With the door open, begin painting into the recess of the door panel. Start at a corner of the recess and continue around its perimeter.

Reload the brush when necessary and maintain a wet edge.
Step 3

Continue painting the remainder of the panel until the entire panel is complete. Wipe away the excess paint that has overlapped onto the door frame.

A roller may also be used on the larger open areas of the cabinet to avoid brush strokes.
Step 4

Paint the door frame in the following order: top, bottom, left, right.

Step 5

Again with your brush, paint the backside of the door. Repeat the process until the project is complete. Leave the doors open until the paint is completely dry (dry times will vary depending on temperature and humidity).

For optimum results in quality of color and finish, apply a second coat.