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So in my first post about my kitchen I showed you how I replaced the upper cabinets doors.  Taking the arched doors out and adding new shaker style doors updated the look instantly.  The next process was to paint the kitchen cabinets.  I have done this in previous homes and I was kind of dreading it.  It isn’t super difficult, it is just time consuming.  I am the type of person who isn’t going to do something half-hearted.  I will do it completely correct start to finish…well except when I break rules (see below).  I knew painting these cabinets was an investment of time and some money and I wanted to do it well and have it hold up perfectly.

kitchen-before (2)

In a previous Family Handyman magazine issue they featured the top tips for painting cabinets.  One of the products they recommended as one of the best paints out there for cabinets is the Benjamin Moore Fresh Start Enamel Underbody and the Advance Paint.  I took their advice and noticed quite a few of my blogger buddies used the exact same thing.  I had never used this paint before and I have to say I am in love with it. The coverage is amazing and the leveling on it is awesome.  Two thumbs up from this happy cabinet painter.  I needed less than a gallon of each the primer and then I chose to do White Dove OC-17 on my upper cabinets and Cinder AF-705 on the bases. FYI: Cinder is a really close match to the Bodbyn Gray cabinet color from IKEA.


I ended up hand painting all the bases.  I purchased the 1.5†Corona Chinex brush after my painter friend, Josh, said it was the best he ever used.  I will say the paint goes on smooth similar to other brands of brushes I use. However, the clean up is way easier.  The paint just falls off the bristles.

To prep the bases I removed all the doors and drawers and then I sanded lightly (just enough to take off the sheen) with a 3M Fine Sanding sponge on all of the bases.  I wiped them all clean with a damp rag.  Next I used 3M Painter’s tape to tape off the walls, shelves, trim, etc.  I also used sheets and drop cloths to cover my appliances and the floors.  I painted the uppers with 2 coats of the primer, sanding with the 3M sponge between coats.  And then I followed that up with 2 coats of the Advance White Dove satin paint.  The bottoms I only did one coat of primer and then I sanded and followed that up with 2 coats of the Cinder.



I was committed to eating in my kitchen each night so I did only one coat a day.  The recoat time on the Fresh Start Enamel Underbody and Advance paint is longer than most paints at 16 hours, so you can only get one coat in a day. However, the pro to the longer dry time is that the paint levels better removing brush strokes from the surface.  Way worth it in the long term!

So the doors are a different beast altogether.  I opted to spray those with the Home Right Paint Sprayer.  It retails for like $79.99 (but it is on sale now!) and worth every penny to have a beautiful brushstroke-free finish.  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!  However, because the Fresh Start is an enamel it is a bit harder to clean out of the paint sprayer.  You need paint thinner or mineral spirits to clean out your sprayer.  But still worth it, I promise!  The Benjamin Moore Advance can just be cleaned out with water.  I recommend adding on the cleaning attachment to help make clean up quicker.  However, in order to spray the primer you will need to thin the paints a bit.  You can thin the Advance with water but the Fresh Start you need to thin with paint thinner.  Follow the paint sprayer’s manual to figure out exactly how much to thin it.  It isn’t scary I promise.

To prep the doors I used a sander to quickly go over the doors with a 120 grit sandpaper.  Then I used my sanding sponge to get in the corners really well.  This was my least favorite part of the project but it is a must to get a good adhesion.  Wipe each of the doors down with a wet cloth.  If you have any gaps between the door frame and the inset you might want to caulk those.  Once your doors are completely prepped, then spray away.

I got a huge tarp from Harbor Freight and spread it out onto my driveway and sprayed them.  I used scrap pieces of wood to elevate the doors off the tarp.


Like I said, the dry time on Advance is 16 hours.  However, I am a rule breaker.  I waited about an hour and recoated so I wouldn’t have to drag everything in and out for like 2 weeks.  I did however, wait 5 days once they were completely dry to cure before I re-hung them.  I figured that was a good compromise to make sure they were a dry, hard cure.  However, if you are a rule follower go ahead and follow exactly what it says on the can. 🙂


The sprayer gave it such a beautiful finish.  I am thrilled with the results.  I purchased the Varna pulls from IKEA.  They matched the tall pantry I did in the kitchen earlier this year.  Then the larger silver knobs are from D. Lawless Hardware.  They are a bit larger than most knobs but I have really tall ceilings and cabinets and I liked the larger ones.  I will talk more about my beautiful kitchen peninsula soon!



As you can tell I am not done yet.  I still have to do a tile wall, change out light fixtures, declutter and add pretties to the space.  But what a difference a little paint makes!



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  1. I noticed you didn’t mention getting new cabinet doors. The scalloped cabinet doors are not square. This makes a huge difference.

  2. Your cabinet doors do not match. You must have replaced the cabinet doors. As Jenny Johnson stated the original cabinets had scallop design on them and now your cabinet doors are square.

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