UPDATE: I love the paint I used (Benjamin Moore’s Advance), but I wish I would have used a oil-based primer like Zinsser Bullseye. The primer I used didn’t seal out the stain that was previously on my cabinets, and I have some bleed through. It’s not enough to make me want to re-do the project, but if I were doing it again, I’d use a primer designed to seal wood stain and be used under latex paint.
The kitchen was our least favorite room in the house when we bought the house a year ago. It’s one of the newer homes we’ve lived in, so we appreciated the modern functionality and openness to the family room. But I’ve always loved white kitchens, and this kitchen definitely wasn’t that. Here it is with a nice layer of everyday clutter.
Beside the darker, reddish cabinets, the mini island feels like it was put in backwards. I wish the doors and drawers opened toward the stove. And the backsplash, though not my taste, would be okay, except the scale of the tile feels off for that little space. It’s not helped that the tile backsplash is matched with laminate countertops, which are nicked and pulling up on the corners from use and humidity. Plus, up close, the counters are a pinkish taupe while the backsplash is a yellowish taupe, so there’s some subtle color clashing, which is subtly upsetting, visually speaking.
The estimate for refacing the cabinets, putting in a new backsplash, and replacing laminate with granite countertops was over $30K, which gave me enough motivation to paint my cabinets myself. I figured I could make it look a little better for a lot less.
I read a lot about painting cabinets. There’s so many good posts out there on painting cabinets, so I’m not going to try to do that too. (But I was greatly inspired by both Thrifty Decor Chick’s whole renovation and the Evolution of Style Blog‘s painting tips.) In the end, I opted to hand paint mine rather than spray them, though that would have been ideal. Our south Texas summer temperatures aren’t conducive to using a sprayer, and I didn’t want to wait until the winter to tackle this project.
The main things I’ll echo in the cabinet painting discussion is don’t skimp on prep or paint. There are so many steps before you even pick up a paint brush, it almost made me want to bag the whole idea. I hate sanding. And I did it outdoors in the summer heat, and it was a messy, sweaty process.
But that was a month ago, and I’m already forgetting the miserable part because it already feels worth it. I’m almost feeling ready to start the process on my lower cabinets. I used Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint and primer. (*See update above.) I read great things about this paint, and I found it lives up to the hype. Its a latex paint that lays like oil, with self-leveling properties. So it gives you time to lay it on without drag marks. I’m a fan. I went with a Sherwin Williams color, Alabaster, because that’s the white I’ve used the most around our house. It’s a slightly creamy white.
I even painted my backsplash. I tried to pry the tiles off the wall first, but I need to get a tool to saw saw the whole section off the wall, drywall and all. We’ll get to the backsplash when we can get to the counters. I still need to paint the underside of the cabinets, as you can see in the picture below.
We’re looking into budget options for our counters. New laminate or Ikea butcher block countertops are the top contenders. We’ll have a high schooler next year, and we really want to take her on some fun family trips before she graduates. So, let me know if you have a favorite, budget countertop option.
I am not sure what color the lowers will be yet. I’ve considered black, white, navy, and gray. My small community of Instagram friends weighed in a few weeks ago, and mostly encouraged me that any of the above options will look better than leaving them as they are—something I also considered.
I’d love to flip around the island and replace the microwave/cabinet combo with a cool, custom hood. We’ll need to replace the black stove and microwave before too long anyway. I’ve also thought about building the cabinets up to the ceiling. I don’t love the way they make a long horizontal line across the wall. Maybe those will be updates we get to do down the road. For now, I’m thankful for the affordability of paint.