Easy How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Sanding

March 18, 2020

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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The final phase of the kitchen mini-makeover is finished! Painting the kitchen cabinets is done! If you’ve ever painted your kitchen cabinets, you know it’s a very easy project, but also very time-consuming. This is one advantage to having a smaller kitchen. 🙂 Here’s a quick look at the before….

farmhouse kitchen with cream colored cabinets

I have been a cabinet-painting-ninja over here! I no sooner finished the kitchen cabinets and jumped right into the master bathroom cabinets (look for One Room Challenge master bathroom makeover posts coming soon). So, of course, now I feel like an expert. 🙂 Probably not! But I wanted to share with you the process and some things I learned along the way of painting and adding new hardware to my kitchen cabinets. Can I just say, I can not wait to share with you the tool I used to install my new cabinet hardware! It is the bomb!! But first, let’s talk paint.

Having just finished painting my hardwood kitchen floors white, I knew I wanted to make my lower cabinets pop. So, I went with a medium shade of gray…Benjamin Moore Chelsea Gray-to be exact. For the uppers, I chose Rustoleum Linen White Chalk Paint. (Amazon Affiliate Link) The combination is beautiful and exactly what I was looking for!

farmhouse kitchen with cream colored cabinets

A huge shout-out to all of you who helped me decide on these kitchen cabinet colors. I love hanging out with all of you over on Instagram, where all the magic happens. I encourage you to come on over and join the fun!


The process for the lower cabinets looked different than the upper cabinet process. On the lower cabinets, after removing all of the cabinet doors, I primed them all with Kilz(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Girl painting kitchen cabinets doors white

Then added a couple coats of Chelsea Gray paint, followed by three coats of topcoat. Here’s a link to my FAVORITE poly (topcoat) on the market. (Amazon Affiliate Link) So strong and durable-holds up well to our family of seven!

General Finishes can of Poly

The uppers process really didn’t look much different-except for the biggest advantage to using chalk paint–no need for primer. With chalk paint, you just clean the surface and you’re ready to paint on your chalk paint! So simple! Added a few coats of poly (topcoat) and that was it!

Of course the process of painting kitchen cabinets (or any cabinets, for that matter) is easy. It’s just time-consuming, as anyone who has ever tackled this project will tell you.

To save on time, you could leave all of the cabinet doors attached and just paint directly on them (which is what I did for my master bathroom). Either way works well, when you take your time and make sure you don’t have any paint drips.

I do love how it all came together…

kitchen cabinets painted gray and white


However, as you can tell in the picture above, the hardware was by far, the hardest part! Hence, why some of the handles are missing in the picture above. When installing kitchen cabinet handles, the measurements have to be oh so perfect! This proved to be VERY challenging and VERY time-consuming! After averaging about two handles per day, I had had enough! As the saying goes: work smarter, not harder! So off to Amazon I went and found this nifty tool. (Amazon Affiliate Link) When it arrived two days later, I knocked out 9 handles in a little over an hour….

installing hardware tool

It was truly the best $32 I’ve spent in a long time! If you are installing kitchen cabinet handles, you need this tool! Trust me, it will make your life a lot easier!

I am loving this entire kitchen mini-remodel. You can check out this post to see all the changes made to the entire kitchen/nook area. I always say, it’s amazing what paint can do! Next kitchen project: painting or replacing the countertops. Still not sure which way to go on this. Stay tuned! 🙂

beautiful kitchen with gray lower cabinets and white upper cabinets


pinterest pin

Until next time,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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