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Kitchen Cabinets: Paint by Number (kind of)

Even though our kitchen cabinets were in decent shape, we wanted to change the color. Here is the "before" shot:


We were not going to spend the money to buy new cabinets, so our options were painting or staining. Although our original plan was to stain the cabinets darker, we quickly changed our plan to painting them once we realized the inner shelves and "skeleton" of the cabinets was made of particleboard, (which can yield inconsistent results if trying to match them to a stain from what I read online). I will give props to Eric (husband) because the organization piece of this story was all his idea. To my pleasant surprise, I got home one day to find all of the doors and drawers not only off of the cabinets, but laid out and numbered! 


He used tape to number each door and each drawer with a number. Then he drew a diagram so he knew which door/drawer went in which spot in the kitchen. I thought, "Wouldn't we know where it goes just from what shape and size it is….and memory?" but evidently he had found (and read) that this was the way to go to ensure that you put your kitchen back together correctly. Makes sense, right?



Here are the drawers laid out in the living room before we moved them to the garage. You can see a small dark square on the side of the drawer above (on the white side). That is the piece of tape and there was a number on each piece of tape. Once he got them all numbered, we laid them out in the garage for priming and painting. 

After laying them in order, we put the piece of tape on the 2×4 that was under/next to each door. We had to make sure that if we picked up a door that we put it back in the right place by its rightful number. The picture below – primed and ready for paint!


The biggest pain was taping off all of the cabinets. It was worth it to not have to worry about being careful on the edges, but it took some time! (All that blue is the painter's tape…and sorry about the blurry photo…)


When talking to a pro at a paint store, he suggested using a paint sprayer to paint the doors/drawers. He said to have someone do it for us or to get a sprayer at a local home store. We took his advice and bought one, and it proved to be an excellent investment for this project! I have no doubt we will have plenty of other projects where it will come in handy. (In the photo below the paint holster is not attached yet…)



After the doors and drawers were painted, we put our newly-painted kitchen back together, with the help of our numbers and diagram, and also added new hardware. It makes a huge difference – and now I can't wait to save up for new countertops to match our cabinets! 




About Megan G

I'm a easy-going, hard-working, sport-loving gal from Michigan who is proud of her midwestern roots. Graphic designer by trade and a sports fanatic by heart. My friends tell me, "Meg, you need to slow down!" but usually I don't listen :) Some of my favorite things include traveling, playing and coaching volleyball, going to sporting events, going to the beach, finding new ways to be creative, seeing new places, and helping people and the environment.

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12 Responses to Kitchen Cabinets: Paint by Number (kind of)

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  7. Megan G March 2, 2010 at 10:08 am #

    Thanks Molly! We are really happy with how they turned out. Eric saved the day with his numbering method. Your kitchen cabinets will look awesome – go for it! Good luck!

  8. Molly March 2, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Megan, the cabinets look AWESOME! I love the color and it makes such a huge difference in your kitchen. Now I am inspired to tackle our kitchen cabinets. We will definitely follow your advice of the numbering system. Great idea!

  9. Megan G February 15, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    Thanks Sam! I never thought the numbering was that big of a deal, but turns out it was a life saver, especially after hearing your story 🙂

  10. Sam Aron February 15, 2010 at 9:28 am #

    I have to say, the “After” picture looks great! What a difference! I wish I had read this post a few years ago…Jon and I painted out kitchen cabinets at one of the first places we had. We did NOT have an organized labeling system, and when we reassembled, the cabinets never hung as well again! They were a little crooked and didn’t shut as easily. Good post!

  11. Megan G February 15, 2010 at 8:12 am #

    Thank you! It was a lot of work, but the paint sprayer really helped. We are happy with the outcome, and glad it was easy to put back together, thanks to our labeling of all of those doors and drawers!

  12. packing supplies February 15, 2010 at 7:58 am #

    The kitchen cabinet is looking so beautiful and fabulous. It needs a lot of effort to take out the cabinet doors and get them painted again to give an entirely different and colorful look.

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