Painting Cabinets and Forniture

Painting cabinets will take several days to complete, so plan accordingly. 

Step 1 - PREP

Clean all surfaces with TSP cleaner to remove any grease and dirt. Repair damaged areas. Dents and holes can be filled with a wood filler. Use a putty knife to press it in and smooth it out. Let it dry according to the directions.

Step 2

Cover your countertops, appliances and other areas you want to protect. Placing painter’s tape on the wall along the cabinet edges is helpful. Sand everything with a medium grit sandpaper to help the paint stick to the surface. Fold the sandpaper to get into the detailed areas on doors and drawers, and in the corners on the frames.

Step 3

Clean all surfaces with a vacuum and a tack cloth. Everything should be dust free before painting.

Step 4 - PRIMING

If you’re painting the inside of the cabinets, start at the back and work toward the front. Use a brush to get into corners and detailed areas. It’s important to use even strokes and finish back into the wet primer.

Step 5

Use a mini roller on large, flat areas. Primer doesn’t have to look perfect. Its purpose is to cover the surface and provide a good base for the finish paint. Work on one area at a time. 

Step 6

When you’ve covered the surface, take your dry roller or brush (don’t reload it) and lightly go over the surface once again to remove any buildup. This is called “laying off.”

Step 7

Paint the doors and drawers. Remove the tape labels but keep them nearby. Start with the backside and apply a smooth even coat. When its dry, flip the door over and paint the front. Start with the detailed areas, making sure the primer doesn’t pool in the corners, and feather out the edges. Then work on the larger, flat surfaces with a foam roller. Use painter’s tripods to lift the doors and drawers up from your painting surface. This allows you to paint the edges more easily.

For drawers, it’s typically best to paint just the drawer front piece rather than the entire drawer. Sometimes painting the sides and bottom can cause the drawers to stick in the frames. Allow the primer to dry according to the directions. It usually takes a few hours.


Start with the cabinet frames, using a high-quality brush for smaller areas and a foam roller for larger surfaces. The technique is the same as for the primer — use even strokes with the brush and finish the stroke back into the wet paint and feather out the edges. Also, remember to lay off after the surface has been painted.

Step 9

On the cabinet doors and drawer fronts pieces, paint the backs, let them dry, then paint the fronts. Follow the paint directions for the correct dry time. Do not rush, let the paint completely cure.


Step 10

Apply a second coat of paint. This should be your finish coat. Allow the paint to dry. Avoid putting everything back together before the paint has completely cured.