My DIY Kitchen Makeover


When we bought our current house, we liked the layout and the “bones” of it, as well as the location. There were MANY things that needed fixing/updating, but we figured we could do that over time. I mean, just call me Joanna Gaines…I got this! (ha)

One thing I really wanted done was the kitchen cabinets. We thought of paying someone and got a quote, but we hated to pay for it because we could do it ourselves and would rather spend that money somewhere else in the house. I mean I’ve painted a lot of walls, how hard can cabinets be??

Spoiler alert: REALLY stinkin’ hard!! When people ask for my advice on painting cabinets I say, “PAY SOMEONE!” But if you’re reading this blog about DIY painting kitchen cabinets, you’re probably like me and determined that you can do it. So since there’s no talking you out of it, I’ll share how we did ours so maybe it will at least make it a little easier for you. If you have kids, I highly suggest sending them to grandma’s for a weekend and knocking this out (and when I say “knocking this out” I mean plan to spend at least 12 hours a day, both days). Having a construction zone for a kitchen is not easy with little ones.

Let’s start with some “before” photos:




I pretty much followed this tutorial I found on Pinterest. (Side note: I really think you can figure out how to do anything with Pinterest and/or YouTube.)  The only thing is I did not sand my cabinets very much because they aren’t real wood – they’re plywood. I just did it enough to make it a little “rough” to catch the paint. Then I cleaned them with Clorox wipes. I’ll be honest – I didn’t spend a lot of time on the prep. Here is a “during” shot. See why I said to send the kids to grandma’s?


I did my set up pretty much like she did in the tutorial. I sat out 2x4s in the garage and the spare (empty) bedroom and did an assembly line.


I did two coats of primer, two coats of paint, and two coats of clear coat….for every cabinet, front and back. If you’re good at math, you’ve figured out that is 12 coats of paint PER CABINET DOOR. Now do you see why I suggest paying someone??

Just looking at that picture gives me flashbacks. I felt like I was in prison with those cabinets for years of my life. Another tip: download a sweet album or a really good audio book so at least you have something with which to entertain yourself.

I often get asked if you have to prime. The answer is a resounding YES!!

Don’t go cheap on your supplies! Buy good painter’s tape and invest in a really good paintbrush. You will need one to make sure the brush strokes are not super visible.

I used Kilz Primer, Sherwin Williams Antique White paint (satin) mixed with Flood Floetrol to lessen the appearance of brush strokes, and Minwax Polycrylic for the final coat (I would just buy a quart of this. You don’t need much.). Some people use Polyurethane, but I have heard it will yellow over time, and I just get nervous using anything that’s not water based. I bought a glaze to do the “antique” look, but I could not figure out how to do it and it did not look good, so we just decided to leave them as is. I know my limits.

We bought the cabinet hardware from Discount Home Furnishings. It was significantly cheaper and we were very pleased with the quality.

It’s actually been about two years since the time we painted them to when I took the following “after” photos. I would say it has held up pretty well!




 Other updates we did in the “after” photos include a new range and a new backsplash my husband installed:


And although this wasn’t in the “before” pictures, we also replaced the cheap, bronze light fixture above our breakfast table with this chandelier I found at Magnolia Market since I am OBSESSED with Fixer Upper!


Have any lingering questions? Leave a comment and I will do my best to answer! And if you paint your cabinets, please share your pictures – I would love to see!

Pin on PinterestShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone

2 thoughts on “My DIY Kitchen Makeover

  1. Your cabinets look fantastic! And I really like the tile backsplash too. I am intrigued about the topcoat you applied . . . I haven’t applied any topcoat to mine, we will see how they hold up! Great job 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Melanie!! Yeah I think at least for us it was necessary. More stuff has been spilled on those cabinets than I thought possible haha!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *