The topic of painting the kitchen cupboard doors was raised immediately after the first viewing of the house. Don’t get me wrong the individual components of the kitchen; the slate floor, ivory Howdens units, oak worktop, grey gloss metro tiles and cool neutral walls were all fabulous in their own right. However, combined together they just didn’t work for me. This room lacks sunlight and after about 11am the ivory cupboard doors seemed to develop a nicotine stain tinge and the room always felt dark.
You may remember my previous kitchen pinning session revealed I had a penchant for pale floors and dual-painted trendy grey cupboards (not dissimilar to Charlotte’s inspiration). However, with a limited budget the worktops and flooring had to stay and I had to disregard my dreams of a DeVOL style kitchen and instead decided to tackle those cupboard doors.
Like Charlotte, I was quoted an astronomical sum of money to spray the kitchen. Think around the region of £3K. (Yes, that much!) I was so convinced a DIY job would be so laborious I nearly caved and then James reminded me I would be blowing the bathroom budget and wouldn’t be allowed a new bath for at least two years. I quickly changed my mind. I will point out here a kitchen respray could be perfect for you if you have a smaller or older kitchen which shows a lot of signs of wear and tear. They repair all the doors and make good but this wasn’t a requirement for us as the original kitchen was very new.
On to option two, the spray gun which was right up my street as I’ve always fancied a paint sprayer. They look to make light work out of any job and it appeared it would be a breeze to recoat the many doors and drawers. James rigged up a Dexter style booth in the garage and went off to transform a door using a Black and Decker Hand Held Spray System. One thing we hadn’t anticipated was the volume of air the gun produces to distribute the paint, and the fact unless you have a completely dust-free environment your surface will end up caked in whatever particles are around. Essentially our cupboard door ended up covered in a load of dust. Not really the finish I was after.
DIY Paint Brush and Roller
The only remaining option was to call in the troops and paint the kitchen doors by hand. My dad is a painter and decorator by trade and very kindly offered to help with the project. He’s obviously a professional at this game and his roller technique is second-to-none but I don’t want you to think you can’t do this yourself – you need good planning, patience and a few pairs of hands. In fact we treated the whole project like a bit of a production line with James focused on prepping and priming and my dad leading on the painting. I helped out a little and in total we spent about 35 man hours transforming the 22 doors and 10 drawer fronts for around £100.
I can’t tell you how many comments and emails I’ve received about this project so I’m hoping to answer a few of your questions in this post. Here we go with step-by-step instructions on our technique for tackling the laminate coated wooden doors.
Products We Used
- Good quality mini gloss roller with fine sponge and various high quality paint brushes
- 2.5 litres of eggshell paint. We used Farrow and Ball All White Estate Eggshell.
- Adhesion promoter for plastics. We used the U-POL spray version which you can find on eBay. A friend who works in the paint spraying industry recommended this as although the doors are wooden they have a laminate coating.
- Roughly create a pencil drawing of your kitchen giving each individual cupboard and drawer a number
- Remove all doors from hinges. Leave hinge in place on the cabinet so you can easily rehang later without having to adjust.
- In the hole on the door where the hinge resided, pencil in the number of the corresponding cupboard or drawer making it doddle to relocate later on
- If you’re planning on changing the location of your handles or knobs, fill in the hole with filler and leave to dry
- Lightly sand door with a normal grade of sandpaper
- Take doors and drawer fronts to a well ventilated area and apply the adhesion primer. James used a spray version for the fronts and a liquid version applied with a brush for the cabinet edges.
- Apply two coats of chosen paint with a mini roller using a brush for the smaller areas. As we wanted a low sheen finish we used Farrow and Ball Estate Eggshell and applied to both the front and back.
- Leave to dry and then rehang doors in position.
We didn’t feel the need to add any varnish to the doors as the finish is so robust. It’s been about three months since the paint job and so far they are holding up really well to a good clean down with a sponge and various visiting toddler hands. I know it sounds ridiculous but I can’t explain how happy it makes me to see the sink match (rather than clash) with the cupboards.
I’ll be back soon with all the snaps of the whole kitchen and all the sources but I will mention the nickel knobs were an absolute steal from Screwfix, the splashback is formed from Heritage Star tiles from Porcelain Superstore and those copper utensils in the header were gifted to me by the very lovely people at Wilko. Until then feel free to ask any questions around the kitchen door makeover and I’ll try my best to answer.
Photography by Adam Crohill