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.


(And The Mistakes I Made)

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

and AFTER…..


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!!


and AFTER…..



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.


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


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 😉




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 🙂




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??!!




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.




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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Opening up Kitchen Wall to Dining Room

I have always liked our kitchen, but the floorplan for the connecting dining room was awkward.  The wall between the two rooms had a dead space on the kitchen side that really couldn’t be used for anything, and the dining room side had two panel doors that were taking up space that the room really couldn’t afford to give up.  I knew if we could open the wall up between these two rooms, the dining room would feel bigger…… and the kitchen would get more natural light.  Plus, it would just give the area better flow between both rooms.

BEFORE from dining room side …….(with dark cabinets- post on painting cabinets white coming soon)



The panel doors take up space on the adjoining wall and just don’t allow for enough room to move around the table.  When there is a Captain’s chair placed at the end of the table, the doors bump into it which is highly annoying.

I first thought about putting a single or double barn door here to save space, but quickly realized that decision would solve only one problem-  the “hinged door” problem.

 If I was going to change this area and spend the money, I knew opening up the wall would give me the best option for both rooms.






BEFORE from kitchen side…..  


Here is the dead space to the left side of the opening on the kitchen side.   I have tried everything in that space, and nothing seems to work properly.   I have used a rolling microwave cart, hooks for hanging functional items, decorative items, etc…. but there is just not enough room.

The rolling cart was functional so I could bump it up to the island to gain extra work space, but moving  it back and forth got old quick.  Anything that attached to the wall, only interfered with walking traffic.  Plus, when the pantry door opens (door to the left), it would bump into anything new I tried.  BRU-TAL!!








BEFORE from living room side…..


The kitchen floorplan is designed at an angle (at the bar area shown here) so that the area of focus nauturally directs the eye to the pantry door & dead space.  Since the height of the panel doors was the same height as  the pantry door, I knew something was lacking here.

This little area is also my “mama” space where I have my morning coffee and check emails.   It was essential to my sanity that I had something more inspiring to look at than a blank wall.







BEFORE …..                                                        AFTER…..

PROBLEM #1 SOLVED.  Taking out the doors completely changes the look and function of both rooms, and adds extra space to the dining area around the table.  There are no longer doors bumping into chairs or guests.

BEFORE…..                                                      AFTER……

PROBLEM #2 – SOLVED.  The dead space is  completely gone, and is now replaced with a view of the outside.   The awkward wall area is removed creating  better traffic flow between rooms and more light.

BEFORE…..                                                        AFTER…..

PROBLEM #3 SOLVED.  The opening to the dining room is higher than the pantry door which allows the focus to be  diverted into the dining room.  The pantry door is still in view, but the lamp and buffet draw your attention away from it.  The extra height also allows for more natural light to shine into the kitchen, and helps make the kitchen feel bigger.

***FYI- In this picture, the pantry door is still the old builder grade paint color, but has been changed.  I’ll show updated pictures later when I do the post on painting the cabinets white.  One project always leads to the next….am I right?


So, how does something like this come together?  Let’s take a look at the process.  Clear your dining room and kitchen as much as you can, and cover everything.  It WILL get dusty.

First, the panel doors and frame come off.  You (or your contractor) decide where to cut the wall, and move any electrical switches, plugs, etc…  I wanted to keep the light switch, but removed the plug.  I also asked that they make the opening the  same height as the arch on the other side of the dining room opening.  This will also help the room feel more balanced.


Then, they will cut out the frame and put in bracing boards on top and sides.  They will add sheet rock, and begin the tape and float process.


Closeup of tape and float and adding texture.


Next they will add the trim pieces to match existing trim, or you can buy new trim for all of it.

At this point, I chose to prime and paint the trim myself to save the $300 painting quote.  (no picture)

I also had them change out my chandelier in the dining room and the foyer, because there’s ALWAYS something new to add to every project.  The dining room light pendant is by Regina Andrews from Horchow.

Source: thetarnishedjewelblog.com

And the light pendant in the foyer is E.F. Chapman Darlana 6-Light Pendant, polished nickel.








Source: thetarnishedjewelblog.com


Have a Great Day!!  Love & Hugs 🙂




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