all the beautiful things

Our musings, inspirations, and designs

A Can Of Paint Goes A Long Way!

May 12, 2019

As a long designing firm, we have seen trends come and go. The kitchen, as the heart of the home, is an area that is constantly focused on. Glossy black cabinets, red islands, brass, brushed nickel and copper. Everyone is battling to star in the show that is prime time in most of our homes.

We are called to consult and most often remodel a kitchen than any other room in the home. One solution that, I will admit, has been popularized by DIY shows is to paint the kitchen cabinets. We were adamantly against this idea as little as maybe five years ago. Mostly because the cabinets did not hold up to the wear and tear that takes place in the kitchen. But, like most things, technology has changed our stance. The products that are out there have come so far, it is definitely one of the tricks we use to remodel a kitchen, bathroom or anywhere that has a built in cabinet. (This is also great to update furniture pieces, but that’s for another day and most of the time requires different products and processes.)

When we started hearing about some of the great products out there, I decided to be a guinea pig. After all, if I didn’t believe in it enough to put in my own home, how could I tell a client it was a good plan? I am happy to say between amazing, durable products and a painter that has skills far surpassing my own, I am still in love with my cabinets almost four years later.


Here are a few of the questions we hear when we talk about painting a kitchen.


Q: Our house was built when oak/wood cabinets were the style and I’d really like to change the look of my kitchen. The cabinets, although in good, solid condition, look dark and dated. What are my options?

A: Your problem is a common one. Many people today are opting for a lighter look in their kitchens. The most expensive choice would be to replace the cabinets completely. Not a bad plan if you don’t want the foot print to stay the same- retrofitting becomes more expensive than replacing a lot of times. Your other option would be to paint the cabinets, which can be the most cost-effective of all, offering the best return on your investment.

The cabinets are functionally fine on the perimeter, but the style was not theirs.

The small island was not a good fit for the family’s needs.

                  During the remodel. We are almost done, but as you can see, the results are starting to produce a huge change in a fraction of the time and half the cost.

Q: Can I do it myself?

A: While many painting jobs can be done by homeowners, it’s recommended that cabinet work be done professionally for the best results. The cabinets should be sprayed whenever possible, resulting in the best finish possible. I have done cabinets in my own home (I do not offer to do it for clients ) and have compared the results. Not bad for a powder room that isn’t taking the beatings of a well loved kitchen but definitely a job we recommend hiring someone for. This is a case where cheap will most likely cost you more- if a painter has to strip and sand your mistakes, it is double the work and this means double the cost. Invest in a professional for this facelift.


Q: How long will it take to complete the work?

A: A small to medium kitchen will take about three days. Larger jobs will take from three to five days. If you have other dark wood work in your home – bathroom vanities, doors, casings, base, etc. These can be painted at the same time as your cabinets, giving the whole house a new look.

Gray and White Kitchen Remodel

We painted the cabinets and changed some of the surfaces such as the updated geometric tile.

After a facelift of the perimeter cabinets, this family with a busy lifestyle can enjoy an updated feel.

Before we had the cabinets painted. (The pup did not need an update. She started out cute.)

Q: Can we stay home while the painting is taking place ? 

A: Yes! Most of the products that are used are non toxic. We do recommend that you keep the area partitioned off as well as ventilate. (Be careful that dust and pollen are not blowing in the fresh paint, though!) While you can usually stay in the home, the products are not pleasant to smell. In fact, they smell bad and are strong. This will go away in a few days, though, so do not worry.


Q: How long will the paint job last?

A: If the above process is followed, the paint job should last for many years, probably longer than the finish you currently have. Of course, this will depend on the amount of traffic that goes through the kitchen. Just as the painted wood work and doors in your home need periodic painting, so the kitchen cabinets will also need maintenance. An advantage to painted cabinets is that any nicks or worn areas can easily be touched-up, thereby extending the life of the paint job.



Q: Do I have to paint them white?


A: Not at all! Cabinets in colors can be very exciting in the kitchen –: in Postal Blue, Parfait (a light peachy-pink), Whisper Gray and Sunny Yellow. Decorating magazines often show cabinets in Spruce Green, Navy Blue and weathered or faux finishes. One of the latest trends is to combine painting and staining in different areas of the same kitchen cabinets, or paint/stain in two different colors. If you are not sure what color to select, your paint professional may offer color consultations, or you may want to get advice from an interior designer. We also recommend you put a few sample boards up and make sure the colors you select work with your back-splash, counter tops and floors. If you are changing those surfaces as well, make sure the new selections all work together. And, your painter will most likely want to go last so the fresh paint isn’t nicked when the new selections are installed.


Stay tuned for a full before and after of one of our latest kitchen remodels, including the painted cabinets and to see how far this option can take you while extending your budget and saving you time!


Creatively yours,


Andrea and Kimberly



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