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How To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets: Bobby’s Pro Tips

Design: Samantha Burkhart

On Queer Eye, there’s one transformation Bobby tackles in nearly every space: painting kitchen cabinets. Not only does it have a major impact on a room, but it’s also an easy and cost-effective way to get a whole new look. And today, we’re offering up all the tips you need to paint your kitchen cabinets like a pro. 

Bobby recently sat down with Elle Decor to share all his best dos and dont’s for how to paint kitchen cabinets (the right way). And we’re bringing you his step-by-step instructions to ensure your paint job goes smoothly – and looks great!



For more of our paint tips and suggestions, check out The 5 Paint Tricks You Need (To Add Interest To Your Space)The Best Kitchen Paint Colors: Bobby Shares His Top 6 Shades, and The Biggest Paint Color Trends of 2022: Our Predictions.

How To Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

1. Think About Time & Cost

Anyone (and we do mean anyone) can paint their kitchen cabinets. But before your tackle the task, be prepared to commit to the time and effort it will take. A standard-size kitchen will take about 7 days to complete and can cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the paint you choose and the condition of your cabinets.


2. Take A Look At Your Cabinets 

Before you pull out the rollers, take some time to examine your cabinets. Wood, wood laminate, and veneer cabinets are all materials that can be easily painted. Any small chips or cracks in the doors can also be repaired with a wood filler, but if the cabinets are warped or the veneer is coming off, it might not be worth the effort.


3. Prep Your Cabinets & Remove Doors

Proper prep work will make the task of painting a whole lot easier. Start by cleaning all the cabinets thoroughly with soap and water to remove any residue (a magic eraser can also come in handy here). Then empty all contents and remove cabinet doors with a drill (setting the hardware aside). With doors removed, cover your counters, walls, backsplash, and floors with plastic and painter’s tarps. To prepare the cabinets and doors for painting, use liquid sandpaper to clean, smooth, and degloss the surface. (This miracle product means you don’t have to do any sanding- or deal with sawdust).



“By painting cabinets, you are immediately creating a change that is noticeable without having to make a major investment in both time and money.”
Design: Tina Rich

4. Grab Your Materials And Apply Paint 

With your cabinets prepped, it’s now time to choose paint and get started. Lay your cabinet doors on a tabletop or over sawhorses in a well-ventilated area. You’ll first want to apply a primer to make sure cabinets have a solid base coat. You can apply primer with a brush, a foam roller, or for the smoothest and fastest option (but also the most expensive) a paint sprayer. Once the primer coat has fully dried, you’re ready to apply your paint. Bobby recommends a hybrid oil and urethane paint, which is super durable, scratch resistant, and won’t yellow over time. Depending on the color you choose, you’ll want to apply at least 2 coats for full coverage.


5. Reinstall The Cabinet Doors 

Wait at least 48 hours for the paint to fully dry before you remove all plastic protective coverings and reinstall the cabinet doors. Then reattach hardware (or add new pulls or knobs for another simple refresh) and enjoy the all-new look in your kitchen!