…kitchen time series: painting cabinets

I have painted an entire kitchen full of cabinets with interior paint from Home Depot using paint like Behr or Benjamin Moore. Dear Husband and I bought our first home 13 years ago and did a TON of renovations. It was a home built in the 1950s and we needed desperately to update it. Oh, and we had to do it ourselves with a limited budget. Since then we have built 2 homes from the ground up so we kinda know what we are talking about.


The deal with paint is that it is instant gratification! There’s not much in this world that can claim that and for a person like me with not patience whatsoever, it’s perfect.

I get it that it’s super scary because there are usually alot of cabinets in a kitchen and in a row! But, I look at painting furniture like this: if you hate walking into the room and seeing the piece/cabinets, if they make you feel depressed, if they give you anxiety and pull down your mood, if you are frustrated that your kitchen will never look pretty and you have no place to renovate or move, if you feel stuck with dull, old, dated. Dated is the worst one. Then let me convince you here & now that YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE. Yes, I guess I might, maybe, warn my husband/partner/roommate that it was coming. Maybe.

1. The Look. What look are you going for? Start by looking at magazine pictures & Pinterest & Houzz. Do you like white/light/airy? Do you like cozy and a bit darker? Do you like more contemporary? If you don’t know what you want to do then do white. You will never be disappointed with a white. Promise.


1. Color. Pick a color that is not crazy bold. Just don’t do it. Unless you are a super famous modern interior designer, red will not look good. Purple and pink are also bad choices. They are pretty in the can, but not for a space where you cook you scrabbled eggs in the morning. I’m okay with the grey family. I’m good with the beige and browns. I’m great with the white family. If you want to try a Benjamin Moore color, check out the wall color posts I did because I think any of those colors could look great.


2. Paint. You can use a Benjamin Moore or interior paint found at your hardware store or you could Annie Sloan Chalk Paint.  If you buy paint from your hardware store be sure to tell them that it is for a kitchen. They will advise you on the finish. I have a dear friend that painted her kitchen cabinets in Annie Sloan Coco and they came out beautifully! They used 2 coats, no wax and the color was rich and warm. If you have wood stained cabinets and you want to lighten your space and use ASCP, I’d consider Pure White or Old White.


3. Clean. Clean your cabinets thoroughly. I just used soap and water and a soft rag. Just make sure all the dust and any dirt particles are wiped down. You don’t want these sticking to your paint. Yuck!

3 1/2. So, DH would probably insist that you take off your cabinet doors to paint. For me, I’d totally cut this part out and paint on the hinges. Probably that patience thing I was talking about. I’ll leave it up to you.

4. Sand. Yes, you really should lightly sand your cabinets down if you are using an interior paint. Just take you 3M block and a light sandpaper and do a once over. If using ASCP the beauty is that you don’t have to!

5. Tape. I hate taping anything and have designated DH as the taper in the family. But, you must. Tape off where the cabinets meet the wall and basically where you don’t want the paint to go. Make sure it’s straight and take your time. It will be worth it in the end. Yes, this is tedious, but please do a good job because if you have bubbles in it and it’s not flat then you will see these areas when you pull the tape off for the big reveal. Use blue painters tape or Frog tape.


5. Remove handles. You can do this with a screw driver. Easy. Put them in a baggy. We will talk about replacing these to help update your space.

6. Cracks & Indiscrepaencies. If you have cracks in your cabinets or weird holes or something, use your wood filler. Slap it in there with a putty knife and smooth down. Let it dry, sand and then it’s ready to be painted. If there are small scratches don’t even worry about these or at least I wouldn’t.


7. Test. Please test your color and make sure you like it. Do this in a spot inside a cabinet where no one will be able to see. Do a few samples if you are trying to decide.

8. How. Use a good, small brush that will not shed. You want to be able to control your paint when you apply. You also want to get into the corners easily. You can start with the doors first, but I would recommend doing the interior of the cabinets as well because you may not want to see the ugly interior brown in there where your dishes will go. You want the space to appear new & fresh. Obviously if you use an interior paint like a Benjamin Moore , you paint and you are done. Yeah!


If you use ASCP you may want to use the waxing process and sanding if you want the distressed look. THIS WILL BE JUST LIKE YOU ARE DOING A DRESSER OR CONSOLE. I would start with the exterior and be sure to really buff in the clear wax. If it were me, I’d consider leaving the interior un-waxed. You need to play and see what works for you. I must put a caveat in here to say that if you have some type of shiny poly or stain on your cabinets AND THEY ARE NOT WOOD, the ASCP may not adhere. You will know this immediately because it will almost “sponge” off. Meaning, it won’t stay and look like it is bubbling off and look like a sponge. If it happens to you, you know what I’m talking about. If this is the case you will want to use an interior paint from your hardware store. This may happen if your cabinets are not wood. Don’t be discouraged. (I will talk more about this in weeks to come.)

Other things to consider:

If your kitchen is small, one way to open it up is to take off a few of the cabinet door over the counter. This will give the appearance that you have glass doors. It will make the kitchen feel more open and airy. We did this in our first home and then stacked each shelf with white dishes and clear glasses. This is not a space to put your Frosted Flakes! Use these cabinets for some white dishes or glassware.


If you think you are going to want to use a single knob and you previously have a handle, you will see that you now have 2 holes where you took off the hardware. You will need to fill one of these holes with wood filler. It’s so easy. Just putty the filler in, let dry and sand. Paint as you do the entire cabinet. You will then only have the one hole left and you can now put your new knob on. Get it?


I get that this is alot of information, but you can do this. Once you get your first door painted you will begin to see the transformation. Once again, if you hate your kitchen cabinets and they are dark and depressing then what do you have to lose?

NOTE: If it were me, I would use my ASCP Old White, distress a bit and clear wax. Done. (Of course the Duck Egg Blue-ish color above is really tempting!

Images via Pinterest.





  1. Trisha winters says:

    Hi there! I enjoy following your blog. I have taken the plung and have started to paint my kitchen cabinets that are dark walnut color. I am using ASCP old white and I am
    Loving the results! So far, I have painted the island and vent a hood. I have aloe of cabinets so this will take me a while! How do you recommend to clean up spills on the ASCP?

  2. Hi Christin…totally love to read your blogs but I have to say that misspelling important product names just don’t go well with me as a reader. The paint you described as something you used from Home Depot was Bear paint, it’s actually Behr paint. That being said, I misspelled your name purposely just to give you an idea of how annoying it is to misspell important info.


    • Diana, I would recommend unsubscribing. The information is free and you can choose to read it or not. My beloved Readers can forgive my misspellings as they know my busy life with 3 kids. THERE IS ONLY ROOM FOR KINDNESS HERE SO YOU WILL NEED TO LEAVE.

    • Wow Diona, seriously get a life. If you’re going to insult someone’s spelling, you should really do it with correct grammar. It’s people like you, making mountains out of molehills, that make this world such a bitter place. However, it’s people like Christen, who I know personally, that help make the world better and somewhere I want to raise children. She’s kind, loving and generous. Please kindly let us know where you’re from so that I can make sure to never subject my children to your disgusting attitude. By the way, please note how I misspelled your name just to prove a point.

      Love you Christen! Stay strong!

    • Diana here is what my 2nd grader is learning, don’t = do not, and doesn’t = does not.

  3. christina larsen says:

    Love this info. I am hoping to move and the house that I want needs a cabinet overhaul. Have been thinking of doing the Old White on them. That Duck Egg blue is fabulous, though! However, I am practical, probably Old White. Hope you are feeling better.

  4. I love that you’re doing this series!!! I had a lot of great feedback from when I redid our kitchen last September in Old White ASCP, but I still enjoy reading about refinishing kitchens. We are probably in the same position that you and your husband were in with your first house and working with a limited budget. We have been in our first home for 3+ years and know that we will be moving again in the next couple years. I’ve had big plans for our kitchen in my dreams, but due to both the budget and reality that we will not live in this house very long term, I really enjoyed at least giving the cabinets a refreshed look. For anyone who wants to see cabinets done in Old White, here is the link to my before & after post! http://chelseasgarage.blogspot.com/2013/09/kitchen-makeover.html

    Can’t wait to read more in your kitchen series, Christen! And boy, do I love that last image with the Duck Egg cabinets! Our kitchen is the reverse – Old White cabinets and a light aqua blue on the walls, (not Duck Egg by ASCP, but another color by Behr). Perhaps our next house I’ll do the blue on the cabinets and keep the walls white…. 🙂

  5. Thank you SOOOO much Christen!
    I moved into my home last September. Since then I found you and have completed 10 furniture pieces so far with ASCP. I have been planning to paint my kitchen cabinets for the last 6 months but have been dragging my feet since there are 32 cabinets!! Oy!! But I am going to start today! It’s snowing and seems like a good time to paint!! I have been looking at SO many different color options. I will be sure to send photos!! Thanks again!! Hope you are feeling better!! Sending prayers!! XOXO

  6. I love your blog and your videos! And, I love that you only have room for kindness here. Who cares about a misspelled word here? And, I’m an editor. Ease up folks.

    I’m thinking of helping my mom paint her old, cheap kitchen cabinets with the Annie Sloan chalk paint. I love it so! Thanks for the step-by-step, color suggestions, and pics.

    Happy and healthy days to you and your family!

  7. I think someone has a case off “Green Eyes” Shame on you Diane. Keep up the Great work and Get Well soon. Your fan Vikki aka hikchik

  8. Tell us more about not using wax with ASCP. How does it wear? Is it just a matter of what finish you like such as chalky vs sheen? Especially on kitchen cabinets, how would it stand up to spills, finger prints and general cleaning.

  9. Rose Beckhurst says:

    Hello Christen,
    I’ve been following your blog for just over a year now and you seem to do these fab little series just when I need them. My hubby and I are in the middle of buying our first house and O MY LORD THE CABINETS ARE AWFUL!!! that being said i’m sure you will help me through this little project as you always do. Hope you are feeling better i have been praying for you everyday so i hope my prayers and good wishes are making it across the water from England 🙂 and as for Diana asking her to leave is probably a lot more polite than i would have put it!!! with all you have been/going through i just find amazing that you find the kindness in your heart and the strength in your body to help out everyone else with there home projects/decor. Thank you times a million xoxoxo

  10. Dear Christen,
    Thank you so much for giving us inspiration with your enthusiasm and no fear advice.
    I have kitchen cabinets that are made of press board and a vinyl covering that peels off.
    YUCK!!! Like you said , what can it hurt, they can’t look any worse if I paint them. Do you think the ASCP will stick? After finding your site last year I did two dressers for my bedroom and I love them. We are in the dead of winter here in Minnesota and I need a pick me up. I love looking at all your pictures and projects, keep inspiring us.

  11. Paula Stanley says:

    Hi Christen, I look forward to reading your blog and have learned so much about ASCP, but I have a question concerning NEW UNFINISHED builder grade oak cabinets. Would I need to sand between any coats of paint if I used ASCP ?
    Thanks and continuing to prayer for your complete recovery.

  12. baileywife says:

    Wow! Perfect timing….just getting started on ASCP Old White in our kitchen this weekend! And I soooooooo wanted to ask you lots of questions about this!! So , in your friends kitchen they didn’t use wax?? Did they poly them afterwards? My husband is concerned that the wax will show grease splatters that may happen…. I just don’t know which way to “finish” them…..thanks for any answers you may give! Still praying for your healing daily! ~Kim

  13. I love your blog because it’s always women encouraging other women (with the exception of a few wormy apples!) I am happy to say that I redid my kitchen a few years ago and love everything about it… It’s small, cozy and so us. There is one major thing missing though. I could not get my beloved farm sink!! It wouldn’t fit in the space. I sigh a little every time I see a beautiful one. Maybe I’ll just have to get some free roaming chickens instead to make up for not having my farm sink! 🙂

  14. Oh how I want to paint my cabinets. Like I think about it every. single. day. My husband is so leery it’s comical.

    On the other hand I belong to a group called “Get it Done” 9 ladies who swap houses getting projects done.. If we start it he has to jump on board right?? 😀

    I think what worries me the most is getting an even finish on the inside of the cabinets where it’s so hard to paint. Thoughts?

  15. Hello Christen,
    I am a spelling and grammer nut! I strive for perfection, but that is my own personal challenge. I also strive to be a nice person, that is a more valuable trate. I cannot believe how rude Diane’s comment was and I am smiling at your response.
    I read your blog daily after I check my emails and facebook, I so look forward to it.
    You share your life and teach your readers and we all love you for it.
    Get well soon and keep inspiring!

  16. Love love love your cool ideas and your wonderful personality!!! I can’t believe I haven’t heard of ASCP before!!! I’ve been wanting to revamp my kitchen cabinets but dreaded getting involved in the necessary (or so what I thought was necessary) beginning part. Thank you for all your time I you invest in the YouTube videos!! Those videos are what gave me the confidence to place my huge $$$ order for my AS products today to get started!!! Wish me luck!!! Lol

  17. Jackie Fulton says:

    Hi Christen
    I painted my kitchen cabinets a few months ago with ALCP in white. They had a white two pac shiny finish which was pretty knocked around.
    I sanded lightly and went ahead and painted with two coats.
    The paint adhered perfectly then I finished with AS clear wax.
    I ended up with a slightly textured finish due to the brush strokes.
    In retrospect maybe I should have used a roller to get a smoother finish.
    Anyway job done and I am very happy with the finish and it looks great.
    Brisbane Australia

  18. With all the prayers going up for you, and the obvious determination you have through the pain and rough days to provide material for all of us, I cannot believe that another female (you know the gentle, kind, and nurturing souls that God created to shape future generations?) human being would have the thought, let alone the nerve, to write such a catty and unkind comment, and a really stupid one at that!! Post concussion or not- you have our permission to misspell words- you have our permission to do anything you like, really- because this is YOUR BLOG. Thanks for sharing from your experience painting kitchens

  19. I love your blog, mis-spelling and all. We are all human with busy lives. I truly appreciate you sharing your life and your design style with all of us – checking this site is a highlight to my day! You are an inspiration.

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