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How to Give Your Kitchen Cabinets a Professional Spray Paint Makeover

Did you know that you can achieve a professional-looking makeover for your kitchen cabinets without spending a fortune? The average cost of having your kitchen cabinets professionally painted is around $5,000, but with the right...

Did you know that you can achieve a professional-looking makeover for your kitchen cabinets without spending a fortune? The average cost of having your kitchen cabinets professionally painted is around $5,000, but with the right information and a few basic supplies, you can do it yourself. Spray painting your kitchen cabinets is a DIY project that you can tackle with confidence, and we're here to guide you every step of the way. In this article, we'll provide you with a complete guide on how to spray paint your kitchen cabinets, covering everything from preparation to technique and helpful tips.

Why Choose Spray Painting for Your Cabinets?

Spray painting your kitchen cabinets is an excellent way to update the look of your kitchen without emptying your wallet. A fresh coat of paint can make a dramatic impact on the overall aesthetics of your kitchen, and it's a much more affordable option than replacing cabinets or hiring professionals for refinishing. With proper preparation and the right tools, you can achieve a high-quality finish at home and save a significant amount of money.

There are two main methods for painting kitchen cabinets: brush painting (using brushes and rollers) and spray painting (using a paint sprayer). If you're looking for a professional-looking finish in less time, spray painting is the way to go. With a good paint sprayer, you can apply smooth coats without brush marks, and the process will be much faster compared to using brushes and rollers.

Tools and Materials You'll Need

Before you embark on your spray painting journey, it's essential to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here are the items you'll need:

Paint Sprayer

The first and most crucial item you'll need is a good paint sprayer. With the wide range of options available on the market, make sure to find a sprayer that fits your budget and requirements. Conduct some research to find the best paint sprayer for your specific needs.

Paint Sprayer

Drill or Screwdriver

To remove cabinet doors and hardware, you'll need a drill and/or a screwdriver.

Plastic Bags

Plastic sandwich bags will come in handy for securing removed screws and hardware. By keeping everything organized and labeled in separate bags, you'll have an easier time putting everything back together.

Drop Cloths and Painter's Tape

Protect your floors, countertops, appliances, and walls around your cabinets by using drop cloths and painter's tape. Plastic drop cloths are affordable and easy to use, and rosin paper can be used to protect floors and countertops.

Choose the Right Paint

Cabinet paint is recommended for a smooth and beautiful finish, but any high-quality acrylic paint will work. Take the time to explore the different types of paint available for cabinets and consider various color options.


Unless your cabinets have already been painted, it's important not to skip the primer. Priming helps the paint adhere to the cabinets and can also help cover imperfections. If you're only updating the color or touching up cabinets that have already been painted, priming is not as crucial for spray painting.

Preparing for Spray Painting

Proper preparation is key to achieving excellent results when spray painting your kitchen cabinets. Although some of the steps may seem tedious, they will undoubtedly pay off when you see the final smooth finish. Follow these essential preparation steps:

Empty the Cabinets

Start by emptying out your cabinets and drawers. Use boxes or plastic tubs to store your kitchen tools and dishes outside of the kitchen while you work on spray painting.

Disassemble Where Possible

For easier spray painting, remove cabinet doors, drawer faces, and hardware as much as you can. This process may be time-consuming but is much simpler than trying to paint around hinges and handles. Keep track of all the hardware and label each cabinet panel to make reassembly a breeze.

Kitchen cabinets with doors removed for spray painting

Sand and Patch the Surfaces

Lightly sand all surfaces with fine-grit sandpaper to smooth out damaged spots and create a surface for the paint to adhere to. Patch any minor cracks, holes, or dings with wood filler. If you plan to change the hardware or handles and need different holes, fill in the existing holes now.

Clean the Surfaces

Remove any dust, dirt, or grease from the cabinet surfaces. Use TSP (trisodium phosphate) or white vinegar to wipe down cabinet doors and frames, and allow them to dry completely before moving on to paint.

Set Up a Work Area

Choose a suitable area for painting your kitchen cabinet doors, such as outside if you have the space or a well-ventilated room. Protect the area with drop cloths. Set up a drying area where you can move the painted pieces to dry without touching any surfaces.

Protect Adjoining Surfaces and Appliances

Before starting to spray paint, take a few moments to protect everything in your kitchen that you don't want to get paint on. Tape off areas around the cabinet frames, and cover walls and appliances with plastic drop cloths. Don't forget to cover the inside of your cabinets if necessary.

How to Spray Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Now that you've completed the preparation process, it's time to start spray painting your kitchen cabinets. Follow these steps for a successful paint job:

  1. Practice First: If you're new to using a paint sprayer, practice on a piece of cardboard or scrap wood before moving on to your cabinets. Get a feel for the sprayer and adjust the settings to achieve the desired spray pattern.

  2. Prime: Once you're comfortable with the paint sprayer, it's time to prime. Thin the primer according to the manufacturer's instructions for your sprayer. Prime the cabinet frames, doors, and drawer fronts, and let them dry for at least 24 hours. Apply a second coat of primer if necessary.

  3. Paint the Cabinet Frames: You can use a brush for the frames, but a sprayer will provide a faster and smoother finish. Painting the frames may require covering up most of your kitchen to protect everything.

Adjacent surfaces protected with rosin paper

  1. Paint the Cabinet Doors: Take your time and be patient when spray painting the cabinet doors. Move the sprayer smoothly over the surface to achieve a light and even coat. Let everything dry for at least 24 hours before applying a second coat of paint.

  2. Clean the Sprayer: After each use, clean your sprayer according to the manufacturer's instructions to ensure it remains in good working condition.

  3. Reassemble the Kitchen Cabinets: Once the paint is completely dry, reassemble your cabinets using the labeled panels and hardware. Take your time to ensure everything is put back in its proper place.

Tips for Spray Painting Kitchen Cabinets

  • Tint Your Primer: Ask the paint store to tint the primer the same color as your paint to enhance the richness of the color.

  • Don't Touch Too Soon: Wait for the paint to fully dry before touching it to avoid leaving fingerprints or smudges.

  • Lay Your Cabinet Doors Down: Paint the cabinet fronts while they are laying horizontally to minimize the chances of drips and achieve an even application.

  • Sand Between Coats: After each coat of paint has dried, lightly sand the surfaces with fine-grit sandpaper to ensure the next coat adheres well and provides an even finish.

  • Set Up a Temporary Kitchen: As the spray painting process may render your kitchen unusable for a while, set up a temporary kitchen in another room of your home. Use a folding table and basic kitchen tools to prepare meals and snacks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is priming essential?

Yes, priming is essential to achieve a smooth and long-lasting finish. Priming helps the paint adhere to the cabinets and prevents peeling or flaking. The only exception is if you're spray painting kitchen cabinets that have already been painted with the same type of paint.

Do I need to paint the inside of my cabinets?

Painting the inside of the cabinets is optional. If the inside is in good shape, you can skip painting them unless you want to.

How long does spray painting kitchen cabinets take?

The time required for spray painting your kitchen cabinets depends on the size of your kitchen and the amount of time you can dedicate each day. Plan for a minimum of 4-5 days, but it could take up to 1-3 weeks to complete the project. Allow at least 24 hours between each coat of primer and paint for drying. Additionally, the preparation and reassembly stages will also require time.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have all the information you need, it's time to gather your supplies and get started on transforming your kitchen cabinets with spray paint. We hope you found these tips helpful and that you enjoy the process of giving your cabinets a professional-looking makeover. If you have any questions or need further guidance, don't hesitate to reach out. Good luck, and enjoy your beautiful, freshly spray-painted kitchen cabinets!

Ready to Learn More?

If you're interested in exploring more about painting kitchen cabinets, check out our Painting Kitchen Cabinets hub page. There, you'll find everything you need to know about cabinet painting, including costs, step-by-step guides, reviews, and more.