Last year my husband and I got a quote to resurface our well made, but dated kitchen cabinets. As much as I would love to have all new cabinets and countertops, with a $20,000 price tag, it just is not our first priority right now for that amount of money. New windows have to come first. So instead, I decided to paint my kitchen cabinets to give them an update until I could afford a whole new kitchen. So this is Phase 1 of our kitchen updates.
This post contains affiliate links for your shopping pleasure. I earn a small commission if you purchase anything through these links at no additional cost to you.
First, I will share photos of my unique modern kitchen with it’s dark cabinets and 17 foot ceilings.
Our house was built in 1979 so back then this kitchen was designed for only one person to comfortably work in it (trends of the time) and is a long, but tight galley kitchen. The ceiling is 17 foot high and has faux wood paneling (again a trend of that time). Thankfully it has 3 large clerestory windows that allow in lots of natural light because the 3 small can lights provide very little light to the actual kitchen.
Imagine how much fun it is to change those lights at that height!
I haven’t painted kitchen cabinets in about 18 years.
And I swore that time would be my last time.
However, I decided again to paint over my slightly damaged and dated stained kitchen cabinets and doors.
I still didn’t enjoy it but I am glad it is finally done.
This time I decided to try Annie Sloan™ chalk paint because of all the posts on how easy it is to use and how it just covers up old cabinet stain with no prep work.
If my cabinets had been newer, a lighter color, or had less damage I probably could have followed that advice.
After the first cabinet door, I quickly figured out that using a deglosser, sanding, and two layers of primer, and then two layers of chalk paint worked best on my cabinets and doors. And it cost less in time and money than just painting lots of layers with light colored chalk paint and getting frustrated with the stain bleeding through.
I also went with the Annie Sloan™ Chalk Paint Lacquer in Gloss for a durable finish. This was a good decision and has provided a very tough top coat for the cabinets.
I started this project in early April and thought I would get it done in just two weeks. Two weeks later I was out of paint and lacquer and because of the pandemic the shops couldn’t get new stock.
For weeks my cabinet doors were scattered throughout the house, half painted or needing the gloss lacquer topcoat. It was a chaotic mess.
Finally, in late July the paint and lacquer were available again (thank you to the local shop owners who kept me informed and saved cans for me).
I finished painting the kitchen cabinets just a week before my daughter’s wedding in late August.
Since the cabinet doors were older, I thought it best if I kept the same hinges but used silver polish over them to match the new modern handles.
These T-Bar handles were a great find on Amazon and give the cabinet doors such a nice modern look even with the traditional design of the doors.
So now my kitchen is a much brighter mix of Annie Sloan™ in Paris Grey lowers, and Pure White uppers. We changed out the light fixtures over the sink and the stovetop to LED lights.
Phase 1 of our plan is finally done.
Here is a breakdown of the planned kitchen updates.
Phase I – painted cabinets and new lighting.
Phase 2 – new apron front sink, faucet, and new solid surface countertops
Phase 3 – tile backsplash
Phase 4 – new refrigerator
None of the phases are going to be a quick project for us. Especially since we intend to pay for everything in cash along the way.
Are you wondering if I like my new painted cabinets?
The answer would be a yes, especially for the lighter colors and the more modern updated look for the kitchen.
Unfortunately the old countertops now look pinkish with the gray paint. Not a good look!
Honestly, I hate the paint job though!
I am so OCD and even though I tried to get a smooth finish with the chalk paint by following the guidelines on Annie Sloan’s website and videos, I didn’t get the exact look I really dreamed about for my cabinets.
Don’t get me wrong, the Annie Sloan™ chalk paint was wonderful and easy to apply, even though it took multiple coats. But when you had planned on resurfacing the cabinets, a painted on finish by hand is just not the same!
I can see every little flaw and imperfection in my painting skills. Thankfully no one else has pointed these things out though.
This project of course was meant to update our kitchen on a budget until we either remodel the entire space or downsize to a smaller house in the next few years.
New LED Light Fixtures were installed.
We also removed the dated trim piece over the sink and replaced the dated light fixture with a more modern industrial fixture from Home Depot. The track lights allow us to focus more light on the lower kitchen cabinets.
I do like the painted look for my cabinets. However, don’t believe all the posts and claims that painting cabinets are ever an easy project.
Next time I will have them professionally spray painted.
Phase 2 is planned for Christmas.
And if anyone has any suggestions on how to decorate the top wall area of these cabinets I would love to hear them.
Jennifer Howard says
Great project!! Looks so nice.
Thank you. Every little step helps.
Kim Waldorf says
Looks great, Donna! Makes the room so much brighter. Can’t wait to see the next phase!
Thanks Kim. Me too!
Your cabinets look lovely. Pat yourself on the back – that’s a tough DIY!
Thanks Jennifer. I agree that cabinets can be tough.
Kera Jeffers says
Chalk paint for the win!!
I really like the gray! From the photos, the counters look nice to me with the gray and white, but I know it can look different in person. Props to you for tackling this project!
Carol Karl says
Your cabinets look fabulous. Can’t wait to see the next phase.
Your cabinets look lovely! My mom wants to paint her cabinets & I told her I want to help. This is great inspo for us 🙂
I’m so glad you like it. We still have more to do of course but it was a big start. Thanks for visiting.
I think they look good and make the kitchen much brighter. You know you can paint the counter top too. 😉
Hey Linda, thanks for visiting. We have discussed painting the countertops but my husband said to me that he was tired of “making do” on some things and wants solid surface or stone countertops. Of course I am not going to argue with that! LOL Hopefully by Christmas I can show phase 2.
The cabinets look lovely….I painted mine twice and that will be the last time for me….Mine were a black walnut and now they are white… Good for you for making it through until more paint was available…That would have drove me crazy!! Thanks so much for stopping by!!
Thank Debbie. I do enjoy the new brighter color. Looking forward to getting the new countertops.
Lalka Crochetka says
oh! it looks great! I can only imagine how much time and work it cost you, but now you are owner of new cabinets with updated and beautiful color 🙂
Thank you! I do like it better now.
Great job! Looks clean and bright! Yay you for living in limbo for so many months waiting on more paint!
Thanks for visiting Gena. I’m so glad this part of the project is done!