5 TIPS- Painting Dark Kitchen Cabinets White (And the Mistakes I Made)

White kitchen cabinets have been trending for several years now, and don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.  It does seem like there has been a slight shift toward other colors such as gray and navy, but white still remains to be the most popular choice.  If you have been wanting to paint your dark kitchen cabinets white but still can’t seem to commit,  you are not alone.  It took me 5 years to decide to have our cabinets painted white, and immediately wished I would have done it so much sooner!!

***Just wanted to give you a FYI for this post- these are NOT my best pictures. *** But I am kind of happy about it because there is absolutely no staging here- just real life.  I took these pictures before and after we had our cabinets painted, and then we flooded during Hurricane Harvey.  So, I never had the chance to go back and “stage the kitchen.”  In fact, some of the pictures are actually after we flooded….I just cropped the pictures to take out the missing sheetrock/walls.  I am thinking I might show that part too.  Anyhoo…..just trying to keep it real.


5 TIPS FOR PAINTING DARK KITCHEN CABINETS WHITE

(And The Mistakes I Made)

Here are some before and after pictures to help you visualize.  BEFORE…… 

and AFTER…..


TIP 1:  HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR COLOR

MY PAINT COLOR:   Sherwin Williams Alabaster (SW 7008)

How do you decide on color?  Look through pinterest & houzz.com and make inspiration boards……. or ask friends what color they used.  It will give you a starting point so you can narrow the paint color choices down to 3 colors.  Then get samples of the 3 choices and paint them on your existing cabinets (or paint poster board, etc… and hang them up on your cabinets).   If you are still having problems deciding…..go back and look at your inspiration boards.  What accent colors are in the pictures you saved?  Do the accent colors lean more towards warm tones (yellow- based like oranges, cinnamon reds,  & golds) or cool tones (blue- based like pinks, purples, & silvers)? Look at the flooring color also.  Hardwoods and tiles with reddish or gold tones will pull out more yellow (warm) tones, and white tiles will bring out blue (cooler) tones.   You saved all those inspiration pictures for a reason….it’s YOUR likes.  Trust yourself- you got this!!


BEFORE….

and AFTER…..


TIP 2:  HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR PAINT TYPE

MY PAINT CHOICE: Oil-based

I know there are people who have used latex paint, and I have seen some people even using chalk paint, but I (personally) prefer oil-based paint for the cabinets.  The look of the cabinet is clean and smooth, plus you can wipe grime right off.   Latex paint seems to “hold” onto smudges more than oil based, and is less durable with scratches, etc.  I think chalk painted cabinets are fine to do if you are not looking for long term results.  Since we have 2 kiddos AND 2 dogs, choosing oil-based paint was an easy decision for that reason alone.  Now with that said…..the SMELL is horrible!!  And I mean for about 2- 3 days horrible- really!!   And the cleanup is much more difficult with oil based paint (turpentine clean up) vs. latex paint (soap & water clean up). Then in about 2 weeks, you have forgotten that it was done and all is good again.


BEFORE…..

and AFTER….. (area under the oven is part of where it shows the flood damage).


TIP 3:  HOW TO CHOOSE TECHNIQUE

WE CHOSE:  Sprayed Technique

I chose to have our cabinets sprayed (by a painter who used a high grade paint sprayer), not hand painted.  I have seen cabinets painted with both techniques, and I personally prefer the sprayed look better (***for me***).  I do not want to offend anyone here.  The hand painted cabinets are gorgeous, especially if they are aged or antiqued with dark glaze.  The hand painted technique gives the cabinets a more authentic look and seem to fit more in a traditional style home.  I feel the the sprayed technique gives a smoother, cleaner look and seems to fit more in a transitional or modern home.  The sprayed technique doesn’t look “painted,”  looks like they were manufactured that way.   Really it’s just a personal preference – they are both great techniques.  Either way you will finally have your white cabinets 😉


BEFORE…..

AFTER…..


TIP 4:  COVER EVERYTHING/MAKE PREPARATIONS

WE DIDN’T:  Mistake

Move or cover all of your kitchen contents.  If not, you may get over spray (with sprayed technique) or paint splatter (hand-painted technique).  Bottom line:  if you even THINK that something will get damaged or don’t want to clean the inside of your cabinets afterwards, make the necessary preparations.

Move your contents out or have your painter put something to block your contents….AND double check their technique.  I asked our painter, and he said that I did not need to move everything out of our cabinets and I ended up with this (see below)!!!  This is NOT DUST, IT IS PAINT.  It took me 2 weeks to clean EVERY. SINGLE. THING……and I mean EVERYTHING!!  I had to soak it all for about 30 minutes to an hour, then scrub gently with the scouring part of the sponge- BRU-TAL!!!  When I asked our painter about it, he said that for some reason, our cabinets were made differently than other cabinets (he had done) and the paint got through.  He should have checked…..AND I should have checked also.  So, now I am strongly encouraging you to check.  It will be worth your time in the end.

Those rings (below) are PAINT rings….not dust rings.  Just thought it was important to show you so this does not happen to you too 🙂


BEFORE…..

 


TIP 5:  TIME WITHOUT KITCHEN

OUR TIME:  One week

This is an important consideration when planning your kitchen cabinet paint job.  You will be completely out of your kitchen if you get your cabinets sprayed, but will have partial use of your kitchen if you have your cabinets hand painted.  When they spray the cabinets, they will have to put plastic/tarps up to protect appliances and between the connecting rooms…. so you will have little to no access.  When they hand paint the cabinets, parts of the kitchen will still be covered to protect things, but you will have access into the kitchen.  You don’t have to worry about over spray with hand painting either.

***FYI*** If you are going with the sprayed technique….have your painter put plastic or covering up on BOTH SIDES of your connecting rooms/openings.  Our painter covered/taped up from the inside of the kitchen opening, and it STILL went through. Have them put plastic on the connecting room side also (like living room or dining room sides).  That way if the over spray passes through the kitchen side, the connecting room side will block it.   It’s just an extra precaution, and so worth it.  Otherwise you may end up like me.  The picture below is a PAINT LINE, not dust- again!!  The problem with this, is that I couldn’t even tell until I moved our couch and rug back.  Just trying to save you any headaches before they happen by sharing some of my nightmares!!  The PRICE we pay for gorgeous cabinets- right??!!

 


BEFORE….. 

AFTER…..

I love the pictures showing the opening to the dining room side.  We decided to open that wall up (had a small doorway), and it opened up the kitchen and let so much more light in.  It’s amazing what paint and a little remodeling can do to make a space feel bigger and brighter.  Want more info on the this, Click Opening up Kitchen Wall to Dining Room.

BEFORE…..

AFTER…..

 

Would I do it all over again….YES,  even with all  of the mess.  I LOVED how much brighter our kitchen looked.  There is just something special about a white kitchen.  UPDATE:  We are making all kinds of changes to our kitchen right now, and I can’t wait to show yall!!  Stay tuned for more details and pictures coming soon!!

 

So, what is your preferred choice?  What was your experience like- good or bad?  Shoot me a comment- learning is living.

Have a Great Week!! Love & Hugs 🙂

 

 

Need more kitchen organization info or tips click 12 Kitchen Updgrades (You Can’t Live Without), or 15 Easy Solutions-Kitchen Organization 2018.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Jael thank you so muchfor sharing your experience. By the way spell check wants to make you Joel. Anyhoo, I did not know that you had a blog. Learn something new every day! IT LOOKS BEAUTIFUL!!!

    1. hi dawn!! thanks- those cabinets are before the flood (cry-cry, sniff-sniff)….and im hoping the new ones will look good once they are finally done! Hope yall are doing ok too-been praying for yall cutie 🙂

  2. Your Popo would be so proud of this blog. He continued to teach when to choose Oil and when to choose Acrylic. You were very young when he left this world and this shows you soaked up detailing at an early age.
    Of course you painted in your bedroom when we built. You were 5 years old, a very young student of the art.
    Very well done!

    1. thnx mom! i do feel like my diy passion began with those days spent at the “lumbie” yard with popo & granny. loved every minute of it 🙂

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