Our week-long phase 1 kitchen refresh is all but done now. The most dramatic change besides rearranging the cabinets (did you even know you could do that?) was painting the cabinets this past weekend. Everyone knows how transformative paint can be, but one of my favorite aspects is one hue isn’t going to be more or less expensive than another. This deep green-gray color we chose (Sherwin Williams Thunderous mixed in HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams Infinity Line at Lowe’s in a Satin finish) is really rich, unified our kitchen added a lot of depth and made everything look a lot more intentional (and even more expensive) for very little money (we also added a bunch of this shiplap vertically as our backsplash and wooooooow! It’s a really amazing product that actually comes pre-painted white, but we painted ours the same green as our cabinets. Back to that…
Painting cabinets sounds really daunting, but this is our 4th time doing it and we’re pretty confident we came up with a system that anyone can do. We even had my niece and nephew (both 17) to help us and they nailed it! Whether you’re planning to eventually swap out your cabinets or they’re going to be there for the long haul, this tutorial is for you. And there’s a few time-saving (and sanity saving) tricks we can happily pass on! It’s even the perfect weekend project if you time it right.
Paint: We used HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams’ Infinity line in a Satin Finish available exclusively at Lowe’s. It’s an advanced hiding paint and primer and promises a one-coat perfection (we did two just because ), flawless finish and lifetime protection. It’s the creme de la creme. Lowe’s also carries an enamel paint specifically made for cabinets that has that dries super hard, but it only comes in a semi-gloss finish. Since we were trying to minimize some of the antiquing done to our cabinetry, we were happy to go with a lower sheen (Tip: the higher the sheen, the more imperfections will shine through, so if you have textured walls; or erm, cabinets, a lower sheen will minimize that!). The good news is that our paint dried hard with no tackiness at all–so far, so good!
Primer: No sanding required, but don’t skimp on the primer (even if the paint boasts it has a built in one). This is what is going to make the paint on your cabinets last! Also, primer is significantly cheaper than paint, so a coat of primer will actually help extend your paint coverage. We really love Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Interior/Exterior Multi-purpose Water-based Wall and Ceiling Primer. It’s designed for all surfaces (interior/exterior drywall, concrete, wood, non-galvanized metal), dries quickly and my favorite–adheres to glossy surfaces without sanding. Tip: If you’re going for a dark paint color like we did, the paint counter will tint your primer dark for you for free! It definitely cuts down on top coats.
Liquid Deglosser: No need to sand your cabinets and make a huge mess when you use this. We’ve tried a couple different brands and really prefer this Jasco Easy Liquid Sander Deglosser. It works on paint, varnish, enamel, lacquer, polyurethane, and stain–you name it. We’ve used it on cabinets, wood moldings and doors with great success.
Paint Applicator: You have options here. You can brush/roll by hand or you can spray. Spraying will give you the smoothest finish by far, which will help extend the life of your paint job, but it will require a bit more of an investment up front. Whether you go the paint sprayer or brush route–here’s what we’d recommend.
Plastic Wood (optional): This was one extra product that we used to help fill heavy knots (the kind that have holes in them) and old hardware holes we weren’t going to use again. It’s the consistency of peanut butter and you’ll apply it with a spackle knife. It dries really hard and then grab a sanding block (I promise the only time you’ll touch one and it’s only if you NEED to) and sand off the excess. Also, I’ll save you some confusion–it’s supposed to be stored upside down so the label is placed that way.
Okay, okay–so what exactly is the process?
We hope this empowers you to take on the task of painting your cabinets! It’s so transformative.
The color we chose is the definition of a chameleon color. Sometimes it’s sage-y. Sometimes it’s charcoal. Other times it leans blue. We love how it changes throughout the day. Our to-do list is not quite finished, we added a few shelves yesterday that still need paint and I’m determined to paint the wood window trim, along with bringing back in all of our plates and styling this kitchen! Can’t wait to show you the afters–I think with all the accessories in it and hardware–it’s going to look completely different than even these photos!!
Our wood grain Shaker cabinet fronts were designed for busy, high-traffic homes like ours. Clad with durable textured thermofoils, this line is compatible with Sektion, Akurum, Godmorgon, and Besta cabinets from IKEA. It's the perfect, practical way to add the warmth of wood to all the rooms of your home.
We have teamed up with Loloi to create a line of rugs that are as affordable as they are beautiful. This collection houses a great mix of traditional and modern rugs, in cottage-y colorways, as well as vintage-inspired beauties that you’ll want to roll out in every room.
We partnered with Stuga on a line of hardwood floors — The Ingrid is really livable, and the color is very neutral. It doesn’t lean warm or cool, it’s that just right in-between. We have really loved putting it everywhere in our house. It’s the best jumping-off point for design, no matter your interior style. In addition to being beautiful, Ingrid is really durable — we have three kids, and we always have a home construction project going on. Ingrid stands up to it all.
Looking for our favorite things? A place to shop our home room by room, or just catch up on what Julia's wearing / loving right now? Browse the CLJ shop.
Befores, afters, mood boards, plans, failures, wins. We’ve done a lot of projects, and they’re all here.
We have a long-standing relationship with DIY, and love rolling our sleeves up and making it happen.
Even when you don’t want to rip down a wall, you can make that space in your home better. Right now.
The next project we’re checking off our 2023 project list is the mudroom! This used to be the laundry room until we built out a much bigger, better laundry room upstairs. So, in the meantime, this space has been exclusively Cricket’s room. Cricket will still have a special space here, but we’re transforming this dingy […]
Another way for us to stay in touch! Joining our weekly newsletter gives you access to exclusive content, never-before-seen photos, your questions answered, and our favorite DIYs. Sign up below!
Make yourself right at home