I gave my kitchen an instant makeover by painting my top cabinets from dark to white – no sanding!
I’ve always wanted white kitchen cabinets. They are timeless, clean, great for resale, and go with every style of home decor you can imagine.
When we were building our home, we had the option to upgrade to white kitchen cabinets for about $4,000 — um, no thank you.
We chose a darker color for our oak cabinets to save money. I knew that if I wanted white cabinets badly enough, I could always paint them!
Once we moved in, I grew fond of our dark cabinets more and more, but a part of me still wanted to have my white kitchen.
Torn between the two, I posted a pole on my Instagram stories and you guys agreed that I should pick up the brush and paint them white!
I decided to paint only the top cabinets white for now because I didn’t want to worry about trying to keep the bottom cabinets clean with four boys running around. (I have these white kitchen chairs from IKEA that I can barely keep clean now.)
Plus, two-tone kitchens with a dark bottom and light top are very trendy right now.
Going into this, I had no idea how much time or energy it was going to take to paint my kitchen cabinets. It took five days to complete, but I couldn’t be happier with the results!
Kitchen Cabinet Painting Supplies
I painted a chalkboard wall in my kitchen a few months back and I think that gave me the confidence to take on my cabinets.
I definitely could’ve gotten it done faster if I painted without removing the cabinet doors, but I’m such a Type-A Perfectionist. I wanted to take my time to make sure the job was done right.
Here is everything I used to paint my dark kitchen cabinets white without sanding:
- Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Paint
- Mini Foam Roller
- Foam Brushes
- Lawn & Leaf trash bags
- Painter’s Tape
- Plastic cups
- TSP Cleaner
I specifically chose Valspar Cabinet & Furniture paint because it doesn’t require any sanding or priming which is a huge time-saver!
I purchased a gallon from my local Lowe’s store in the color Swiss Coffee and satin finish. I love this color because it is white, but not stark white, so it’s warm and inviting.
Painting My Kitchen Cabinets from Dark to White
The first day is all about prep work. I started off by removing all the cabinet doors and placed the screws and hardware inside sandwich bags that I labeled with this.
I made sure to label the doors with painter’s tape too. Then I cleaned them with TSP cleaner diluted in water according to the directions with a sponge to remove any grease or dirt.
I headed out into the garage to set up a table, covered with a tarp and placed the cabinet doors on top of plastic cups.
I started painting the back of the cabinet doors first using a foam brush and a roller. I applied three coats on the back of the doors, but four coats on the front cabinet doors to get the results I wanted because my cabinets are so dark.
I had to wait four hours before I could apply each coat so I was still painting three days later.
The back of all the cabinet doors are done so I’m flipping them over to paint the front. I also found time this day to finish applying a coat of paint to the rest of the cabinet base in the kitchen.
I wasn’t going to remove the door hinges on the cabinets at first, but it was a PAIN to try to paint around them, and it really slowed me down. As soon as I had my husband remove them, things went a lot faster.
I finished up the last of the cabinet door fronts and the base too, so I had an opportunity to think about hardware.
I originally planned to do nothing with the cabinet door knobs until I noticed the pewter finish just didn’t look right against the new white cabinets, so I spray-painted them with Rustoleum Oil-Rubbed Bronze.
It didn’t bother me that the hardware color on my top and bottom cabinets didn’t match because the brown knobs tie together my bottom brown cabinets, and they match the door knobs I’ve spray painted from nickel to oil-rubbed bronze too!
It’s finally time to put my kitchen back together!!! I waited 24 hours after the final coat to install the hinges, hardware, and cabinet doors. I did notice some chipping here and there from the installation, so I had a little touching up to do once all the doors were up.
Had I used this adhesive primer, I probably would’ve experienced less chipping, but it’s worth noting that this paint can take up to 30 days to cure. My hope is that once it’s cured, I won’t see any more paint chipping, but I’ll have to come back to give an update this time next year.
Overall, I really loved using Valspar’s Cabinet & Furniture paint and highly recommend it for beginner and seasoned DIYers. It was so easy to brush on and it dried with a smooth, professional finish.
BEFORE & AFTER
Boy is it incredible what a few days and a little white paint can do!
My cabinets were big before but they look so much bigger now. Our kitchen is a lot brighter, and I LOVE the two-tone look more than I thought I would!
If you’re going to paint your kitchen from dark to white and are worried about keeping your bottom cabinets clean with children, consider only painting your top cabinets for now. I think two-tone kitchens may be the perfect solution while raising a family!
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