Before I give you more before and afters at every angle imaginable, I want you to know I did this project from start to finish solo. I’m only telling you that to give you any motivation and confidence you need to do it yourself, in YOUR kitchen–even if you have a toddler. Chris would have helped me, but he was out of town and I wanted to surprise him. One tutorial I read made this task feel completely impossible and horrible and something she would NEVER EVER do again. To be real with you, my back hurt a bit during this and I sweat a lot and I would have rather been at the beach (this is pretty true of any time), but if I was faced with the same situation again–I would do it again. And actually, that negative tutorial I read gave me the push I needed to get started. I wanted to prove I could do it. The results are worth it. You can do it. I’ll tell you how.
1.) Get a bucket of soapy water (I just used dish soap) and clean your cabinets. The tops. The doors. The hinges. The fronts. I was so grossed out while doing this because I saw how dirty my cabinets were. There was grime everywhere. So even if you aren’t planning on painting your cabinets, this might not be a bad idea.
2.) This is where people tell you to sand your cabinets. I didn’t. I didn’t sand my cabinets once this WHOLE process. So, there you have it. Why didn’t I sand them? You can see in the top picture that they weren’t VERY glossy. I read a couple tutorials where they skipped this step and I felt like I wanted to as well.
2.) Take all of your doors off your cabinet boxes. If you have hardware on your doors, take those off too. I kept my hinges attached to my doors because they were an ugly dingy gold and I wanted to paint them the same color as my cabinets. At first, I brought them all upstairs to the extra bedroom. Mistake. They really didn’t fit in there. I mean, they fit, but there was no extra room for maneuvering around the sides of each door. So, I moved them all into the garage and placed them each on their own pedestal (think paint can, bucket, cooler, whatever you got) so that I could paint the sides with ease. I did not paint the backs of my cabinet doors. FYI. Also, it’s not a bad idea to use painter’s tape to number each cabinet door with a corresponding number marked on the cabinet box. I didn’t do this and there were a few moments of panic when I went to rehang the doors.
3.) Prime Time. Because I wasn’t going to sand, I wanted to make sure I got a good primer. And, because of little Greta, I didn’t want my primer to be stinky with tons of fumes. I found this primer by Zinsser:
Water-based=no stink. Sticks to all surfaces without sanding. Seals uniformly. Blocks stains. Dries in 1 hour. Use with any topcoat. Um okay. I felt like I hit a gold mine. Right there in the Walmart paint section, I found gold in primer form. So, for $17 I took it home with me. I gave all of the doors and cabinet boxes a coat of primer. I used a brush for everything. Looking back, I think I would have done 2 coats of primer, because it ended up taking 3 coats of paint. However, I probably still would have done 2 coats of paint equaling the same 4 coats, but my paint was more than double the cost of the primer. So, my suggestion–do 2 coats of primer.
This marks the end of the first day. Washing and priming everything. Day 2 I gave it my first coat of paint.
We designed the Charly line of sofas, chairs, and ottomans with perfect proportions for comfort — with wide arms, a loungey depth, and stylish and practical lumbar pillows. Available in 70 kid-friendly, pet-friendly fabrics, this line was created with families in mind.
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.
In case you missed the announcement in our Love Letter, the wallpaper is officially installed in the laundry room, and I could not be ANY MORE IN LOVE! My ultimate goal for the laundry room was to create a space that is fresh, clean, bright, and a little utilitarian (the straight-laid tile floors definitely bring that). With […]
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