Paint Transformations

The Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets: 8 Successful Cabinet Transformations

January 5, 2018

These 8 successful cabinet transformations are proof that you can paint your kitchen cabinets and love the results! Learn about the best paint for kitchen cabinets and see the amazing transformations for yourself.

kitchen cabinets

So, I think we should start a support group or a survivors' club: I painted my cabinets and lived to tell about it.

No other project seems to frighten, baffle and confound readers quite as much as painting cabinets. I get asked about it all the time. Here’s the deal, ya’ll—I get it.

Kitchen cabinets make a huge impact on the overall look of your kitchen. I would say, aside from walls and flooring, cabinetry is probably the biggest source of decorating anxiety. When cabinets look bad, they look BAD. There’s no way to avoid them. You might face a big orange or tan eyesore front and center in your kitchen.

Painting cabinets seems like a lot of work. We’ve all heard nightmare stories of sanding, priming, yellowing, pealing and flaking. It feels like so much effort to put into a project when you aren’t sure it’s going to turn out like you hope. It’s a big leap of faith. This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won't cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

Well, I promise you, it can be done! I painted my kitchen cabinets with NO SANDING OR PRIMING. Now, I’d love to brag about it and claim it was all my decorating genius and magic touch, but I’ve got to be humble and give props to the true hero of the story: the paint.

My project success is all about having found the best paint for kitchen cabinets. For my cabinets it was General Finishes Milk Paint. I want to sing their praises from the rooftops, ya’ll! They’re amazing (and no, I am NOT on their payroll and was not paid by them for my how to paint kitchen cabinets post)! It was easy to use and went on like a dream. This is hands down, my favorite paint. You can read more about it in this post.

Now, painting kitchen cabinets is a pretty intensive project. It took us two weekends and several weeknights. It was a big undertaking. We worked hard on our cabinets, but it was well-worth the effort. I realize now, skipping the priming and sanding saved us TONS of stress and time.

So, I decided to do research on a few other kitchen makeovers out there. What IS the best paint for kitchen cabinets? What kind of paints are used and recommended? Who ended up with great results? 

If you're ready to take on the dreaded challenge, here are some successful kitchen cabinet projects to take a look at so YOU can find the best paint for kitchen cabinets and join the success club!

8 Kitchen Cabinet Transformations You Have to See!

First up, if you haven't checked out my post about how we painted our kitchen cabinets without priming or sanding, that should be your first stop. We saved a lot of time by doing it the way we did and 4 years later, they still look AMAZING despite daily abuse from our family of 4. Here's is a look at our transformation. As I mentioned above, we used General Finishes Milk Paint. If I had it to do over again, I would 100% make the same choice in both the paint we used and the protective top coat. I have ZERO regrets and even the contractor that installed our laminate backsplash was shocked that we painted them ourselves and that the paint is so incredibly durable. You can read more about our kitchen cabinet transformation in this post.

But I'm not the only blogger who has successfully painted my kitchen cabinets, so let's take a look at some more successful cabinet transformations using different types of paint from others around the blogosphere.

Confessions of a Serial DIYer

Christy's cabinets turned out beautifully using a basic latex paint! After her experience, she does, however, recommend using a paint with a built-in primer (she primed separately) for better coverage.

Christy offers a great tutorial on her blog and walks you through her cabinet painting process, which is quite different than the process I used, but clearly still as effective! Click here to head over to her blog for her full tutorial and to for information on exactly what paint she used!


Kassandra DeKoning

Kass at Little Dekonings walks readers through an awesome step-by-step tutorial to upgrade cabinets. She cleaned and primed her cabinets before painting them using Benjamin Moore Advance Paint in Pearl Finish and achieved beautiful results! You can click here to see her full tutorial and get the details on the color she used (which is soooo pretty).

Okay, guys, can I just say how much I love the pearl finish on those cabinets with her kitchen?! Holy cow, they look great! That silvery finish with the stainless-steel appliances—gorgeous!

Little Dekonings' cabinet project was a success. If you're looking for the best paint for kitchen cabinets, give this tutorial a look and take some of these recommendations!


Nina Hendrick

Nina used an acrylic satin enamel paint (Insl-X Cabinet Coat) that I had never heard of, but I'm impressed with the results she got! But, where Nina's process really stands out from all the other projects (including my own) is how she managed to COVER THE GRAIN! Gorgeous, factory-level professional results! These cabinets are stunners.

She’s very up front about her process—this isn’t a project for beginners. It’s uh…involved, to say the least. However, if you’re really dying to get ultra-smooth cabinets with a “paid-top-dollar-for-this” look, click here to check out her tutorial that will walk you through all the steps.

If you’re teetering between splurging on high-end cabinets or going all-out to cover the grain in your existing cabinets, this is the tutorial to show you how!

This is one of the most amazing kitchen cabinet transformations I have seen!

The Penny Drawer Blog

The Penny Drawer Blog’s laminate cabinet tutorial was a must-include because the transformation is SO SHOCKING! I love it because it’s proof of why you should never pass up a house just because of ugly cabinets or cosmetic fixes! There so many easy DIY projects to transform your home.

This blogger used Behr Marquee Interior Collection paint–you can click here for her full tutorial.

One thing that amazed me is that she used a $5 sample size to cover her whole bathroom vanity. Talk about a budget-friendly solution! One of the other things I love about this tutorial is how my girl used a SAMPLE size paint to complete her whole bathroom vanity! Get this—for $5! Speaking to my heart, right there!

The transformation from pretty awful 80’s-style laminate bathroom cabinets to absolutely beautiful dark grey is truly something to behold. This post is serious inspiration, y'all.The Penny Drawer sure found a great paint for her cabinet painting project. If you're looking for the best paint for kitchen cabinets, check out this post and pick up a few pointers!

U-Create Crafts

Kari at U-Create shared her cabinet nightmare! Her first attempt at painting cabinets was traumatizing (like so many have experienced). Her cabinets turned out yellow and terrible.

Fortunately, the second attempt worked out much better. She used Valspar Cabinet Enamel paint that is specifically meant for cabinets. She reports coverage with one coat, but she opted for two to give her cabinets a more polished look. Kari reports she’s very happy with her second results! You can click here to head over to Kari's blog to learn more about the paint and process she used.

There are many options for cabinet-specific paint. Many of these paints don’t call for sanding or priming. They’re created specifically to work with common cabinet finishes, so they are definitely worth considering!

U-Create Crafts found what she thinks is the best paint for kitchen cabinets with her awesome and successful kitchen cabinet project! More details in the full post. Click to read it now.


Practically Spoiled

Over at Practically Spoiled, she took her…ahem…”classic” oak cabinets (I feel your pain!) from embarrassing to Pinterest-worthy with primer and paint. To cover her cabinetry she used Sherwin Williams ProClassic Waterborne Interior paint. She sealed her cabinets with the same top coat we used on our cabinets. While she reports the painting took a lot of work, she is also happy and satisfied with her results.

To really add polish to the look, she removed beadboard and added trim and wainscoting to her cabinetry. The transformation is incredible!

Practically Spoiled took on a huge challenge with painting oak cabinets but she found the best paint for the job. If you're ready to take this project on, check out this tutorial with some recommendations on the best paint for kitchen cabinets.

Lauren McBride Blog

Props to Lauren for recognizing she had quality cupboards that needed painting to make her dreams of white kitchen cabinetry come true! Lauren used Benjamin Moore Advance Satin Finish and she used a sprayer! After initially not being sure she loved the look, she reports once the paint dried and leveled out the brush strokes on the trim were undetectable and stunning! You can click here for Lauren's full tutorial and more details about the paint and color she used.

Painting cabinets and NOT going crazy? Lauren must have a secret... Maybe the best paint for kitchen cabinets? Check out the details and see just how easy this "dreaded" project can really be.


Inspiration for Moms

Laura at Inspiration for Moms had the familiar “orange is the new yuck” oak cabinets (why did everyone LOVE those in the 80s and 90s?!). She painted her cabinets a gorgeous grey as part of her total kitchen makeover.

Laura used Benjamin Moore Advanced Interior Paint which she chose because it’s self-leveling and is water-based, BUT it “acts like an oil based paint.”

Like Lauren, Laura used a sprayer for her cabinets as well. She highly recommends the particular sprayer she used to get a super smooth surface. You can click here to get her full tutorial and all the details on the paint and sprayer she used. Her finished results look great and with the subway tile and extenders on the top of the cabinetry, it’s a show-stopping transformation!

If you're looking for the best paint for kitchen cabinets, this post is for you! Get results that you'll love for years, with no regrets.

I hope you’re feeling as inspired as I am after checking out these great cabinet transformations! You see, there are plenty of people who’ve had cabinet painting success and there seem to be several options when you are searching for the best paint for kitchen cabinets. You absolutely can paint your kitchen cabinets and be happy with the results! These tutorials are proof that the best paint for kitchen cabinets exists out there and YOU can find it and love your new cabinets!

Be sure to save this post on Pinterest and/or share it on Facebook if you want to be able to find it again later!

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  1. Lori says:

    I literally re-hung the last of the painted doors last night! My advice on painting your cabinets: pay someone to do it for you :)

    I used Sherwin Williams ProClassic after sanding and priming. It took me several months to finish this project, but that was mostly because I live in a tiny condo without an actual workspace, and I had to do the project in stages. The biggest challenge was keeping my dog away from the wet paint!

    One thing I hadn’t thought of in advance: the “daylight” bulbs in my kitchen, which had been very bright and cheery on the orangey veneer, looked super harsh and overly blue on the new paint (Pure White). I swapped them out for “warm white” and the difference was astounding.

    I gave the paint at least a week to cure before rehanging the doors and putting the hardware back on, but I’m a little worried about the paint sticking to the pulls if I ever want to swap the hardware in the future. Anyone have any experience with that?

    • Tasha A. says:

      Hi Lori! Painting kitchen cabinets definitely isn’t for everyone, but I’m so glad we painted ours–it just wasn’t in our budget to hire out the job. I haven’t tried removing our hardware, so I’m not sure about the paint sticking to the hardware. Thanks so much for reading!

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