Cabinet painting is one of those home improvement projects that’s easy, but not quite as easy as it looks. As a homeowner, it seems like an easy enough project to do by yourself, saving a few dollars in the process.

But when you’re knee-deep in primer and paint, sorting through unlabeled pieces of hardware, and several weeks behind schedule, “easy” is the last word that comes to mind.

So unless you want to hire a professional cabinet painting service, here are 7 tips and tricks to make painting cabinets much easier.

Make Cabinet Painting Easier with These Tips & Tricks

1. “Borrow” a Color Scheme You Love

The perfect color scheme can transform a drab and uninspiring kitchen into a bold, statement space. 

Unfortunately, many homeowners get caught up with trying to choose an original color scheme. They see beautiful color combinations on Instagram and Pinterest. But when they try to come up with a personal palette, the results feel underwhelming.

But who says you need to be original in the first place? If you find a color scheme you love, use it. Then find a way to make these tones work for your personal space.

2. Choose the Right Primer, Paint & Topcoat

Many homeowners — and even some professional painters — will use wall primers and latex paints for cabinet painting.

However, these primers and paints aren’t formulated for kitchen cabinets. When exposed to heavy usage, frequent heat, food spills, and cooking grease, they tend to degrade prematurely.

To keep your kitchen cabinets looking great for years to come, it’s important that you choose the right primer, paint, and topcoat. Rather than using a latex-based paint, you’ll want a more durable choice, like acrylic, enamel, or alkyd paints.

3. Number Doors, Drawers & Hardware

Cabinet painting projects require disassembling your cabinets and removing any hardware. This way, you can paint each cabinet door, each drawer front, and the cabinet boxes separately, without handles, pulls, or hinges in the way.

But this also means that you’ll need to put your cabinets back together after painting. And if you don’t know which components belong where, that can turn into a massive headache.

You can make cabinet painting a lot easier simply by sorting these components with a numbering system. Draw a plan of your cabinets, with a number for each door and drawer front. Then, as you remove each door and drawer front, label it with this number. At the same time, remove the hardware for that door or drawer, and put all of the pieces into a bag or container with the same number.

4. Get Rid of Grease & Grime

On cabinet painting projects, a lot needs to happen before you break out your rollers and paint brush. 

This includes thorough cleaning and degreasing of cabinet surfaces. Over time, kitchen cabinets attract a thin layer of cooking oils and grime. These residues need to be removed before you start painting. Otherwise, the primer and paint won’t stick to the cabinet surface.

So before you start work on cabinet painting, make sure that your cabinets have been thoroughly cleaned and degreased.

5. Tint Primer for Dark Colors

If you’re choosing darker colors for your cabinet painting project, you may need several coats to develop consistent color. Otherwise, your cabinets will have a “streaky” appearance, with sections where the underlying primer shows through.

One way to solve this is to use a darker primer. Another option is to tint the primer so that it’s closer to the final color.

If you do this, you’ll need to be careful with how much tinting you actually use. Too much, and the primer will lose its bonding power. But in the right amount, a little bit of tinting can save you one or two coats of cabinet painting.

6. Create a Painting & Drying Station

Cabinet painting projects largely take place outdoors. This is almost always the best place to paint removable components, like doors and drawer fronts. 

But painting outdoors is a lot harder — and takes a lot more time — if you don’t have a proper work station.

The good news is you can set up a DIY cabinet painting and drying station in relatively little time, using just a few basic materials. Ensure a sturdy prep and painting surface with enough room to work, and a drying station that can manage all of the doors and drawers you need to paint.

7. Make a Temporary Kitchen

During cabinet painting, you’ll need to avoid using your kitchen. And unless you want to rack up an impressive take-out bill, that means you’ll need somewhere else to store and prepare food.

To do this, you can set up a temporary kitchen in your home. This can be as basic as a microwave or a toaster oven, plus a cooler for storing food. We also suggest stocking up on paper plates, which will save lots of time when doing dishes.

An Even Easier Approach to Cabinet Painting…

If you’re looking for the easiest possible approach to cabinet painting, we suggest contacting the team at your local N-Hance®.

N-Hance custom color finishes are an ideal choice for kitchen cabinetry and a perfect alternative to cabinet painting. We use special primers that are formulated to resist cooking oils and grease. 

Best of all, our custom color finishes have been developed specifically for kitchen usage. These finishes cure to a rock-hard finish that’s built to withstand the heat, grease, and heavy-duty use that kitchen cabinets are exposed to on a routine basis.

Contact your local N-Hance at (855) 642-6230 today to request a FREE estimate and learn why our custom color finishes are the perfect alternative to cabinet painting.