Should You Paint the Inside of Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Bob Thomas

Yes, painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets can offer a clean and refreshed look if they’ve become worn. Dive in to learn the best practices and tips for a seamless finish.

Today we’re tackling a question I often get asked: “Do you paint the inside of kitchen cabinets?” I’ll break it down for you, drawing from my years of experience and knowledge.

I promise to be as detailed and helpful as I can, because I know that many of you are beginners when it comes to home DIY projects.

Quick Summary

To answer the burning question: Yes, painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets is a great way to breathe new life into your kitchen. However, it requires proper preparation, the right tools, and patience. We’ll dive into the steps soon: 1) Evaluating your cabinets, 2) Cleaning and prepping, 3) Priming, 4) Painting, and 5) Drying and reassembly.

Evaluating Your Cabinets

First things first: look at your cabinets and evaluate their condition. If the interiors are badly stained or carry a strong odor, painting can help cover those issues.

On the other hand, if you have high-quality wood cabinets, you might want to preserve the wood’s natural beauty instead.

Pro Tip: Be objective with your assessment. We often become sentimentally attached to our kitchen, but a fresh look can be an exciting change.

Cleaning and Prepping

Now, let’s get our hands dirty. Clear out your cabinets and give them a good cleaning.

I prefer a mixture of warm water and mild dish soap to wipe away any food residue or grease.

After that, use 150-grit sandpaper to roughen the surfaces – this helps the primer adhere better.

Materials Needed for Prep

Why It’s Needed

Dish soap

For cleaning the surfaces

Warm water

To mix with the soap

150-grit sandpaper

To sand the surfaces


Priming the Cabinets

Next, we apply the primer. I always recommend oil-based primer for kitchen cabinets because it provides excellent adhesion and stain blocking.

Remember to maintain a well-ventilated space as oil-based primers can have strong fumes.

Allow the primer to dry for at least 24 hours.

Pro Tip: Don’t rush the drying process. Patience is key here for achieving a smooth, long-lasting finish.

Painting the Cabinets

Once the primer is dry, it’s time to paint.

I’d recommend a latex or acrylic enamel paint for durability.

Using a 2-inch synthetic paintbrush, start from the corners and edges and work your way towards the center.

Apply at least two coats for the best results.

Drying and Reassembly

Finally, let your freshly painted cabinets dry for at least 24 hours before reassembling.

Be sure to handle them gently to avoid any dings or scratches on your new paint job.

Personal Experiences

From my own experience, painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets can seem daunting, but it’s a highly rewarding project that brings a fresh look to your kitchen.

I remember when I painted the insides of my old oak cabinets a soft white – the transformation was remarkable, and the kitchen felt brighter and cleaner.

Frequently Asked Questions Section (FAQs)

Q. How many coats of paint do I need to apply inside my cabinets?

  A: The number of coats can depend on the type of paint you’re using and the color of your cabinets.

However, typically, two coats of paint should be enough for a smooth and even finish.

It’s crucial to let the first coat dry completely before applying the second.

Q. What is the best method to paint the inside of the kitchen cabinets?

  A: For painting the inside of cabinets, you can use a brush, a roller, or a paint sprayer.

Each tool has its pros and cons, and the choice often depends on your comfort and experience level.

Rollers can cover a larger surface area more quickly than brushes, but brushes might be better for detailed areas.

Sprayers can provide a very smooth finish but require more setup and cleanup.

Q. Is it necessary to use a primer before painting my kitchen cabinets?

  A: While it’s not always necessary, using a primer before painting your cabinets can help to provide a smooth base for the paint to adhere to.

It’s especially beneficial if your cabinets are made from a material that absorbs a lot of paint, or if you’re painting over a darker color with a lighter one.

Q. How long does it take for the paint inside the cabinets to dry?

  A: The drying time can vary based on the type of paint used, the thickness of the coats, and the environmental conditions.

Generally, you should expect to wait at least 24 hours for the paint to dry completely.

However, some paints may take up to 48 hours to fully cure.

Q. Will painting the inside of my cabinets impact the storage space?

  A: Painting the inside of your cabinets will not significantly impact the storage space.

However, you should be aware that storing heavy items might scratch or chip the paint over time, so some care is needed when placing items back into the cabinets.

Q. Does painting the interior of my cabinets add value to my home?

  A: While it’s hard to quantify the exact value added, painting the interior of your cabinets can certainly improve the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen.

This can be particularly valuable if you’re preparing your home for sale, as a fresh and clean appearance can be a selling point for potential buyers.


To wrap it up, painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets is not just possible but also a fantastic DIY project that can transform your kitchen.

Remember to gather all the necessary materials, take your time with preparation, and most importantly, enjoy the process.

I hope this article has answered your question and given you the confidence to take on this project.

Stay tuned for more DIY tips and tricks.

Suggested Products:

  • Dish Soap: Dawn Platinum Dishwashing Liquid, Refreshing Rain Dawn Platinum is known for its grease-cutting capabilities, which will be extremely beneficial when it comes to cleaning your kitchen cabinets before painting. It will help ensure a clean surface for the paint to adhere to.
  • Sandpaper: 3M Garnet Sandpaper, 9-Inch by 11-Inch 3M’s garnet sandpaper is perfect for sanding down kitchen cabinets. It’s designed for bare wood sanding and will ensure your cabinets have a smooth and even surface ready for priming and painting.
  • Oil Based Primer: KILZ Original Multi-Surface Stain Blocking Interior Oil-Based Primer/Sealer KILZ Original primer is oil-based, providing excellent adhesion and durability. It will ensure your paint sticks well and lasts long on your kitchen cabinets. It also has the added benefit of stain blocking, which will cover any existing stains or marks on your cabinets.
  • Latex Paint: BEHR Premium Plus Ultra Pure White Enamel Interior Paint This Behr paint is a latex-based option that provides excellent coverage and a durable finish. It’s also easy to clean, making it perfect for kitchen cabinets where spills and stains may occur.
  • Acrylic Enamel Paint: Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi Purpose Spray Paint, Gloss White Rust-Oleum’s Painter’s Touch is an acrylic enamel paint that offers a durable and glossy finish, ideal for kitchen cabinets. The spray can design allows for easy and even application.

About the author 

Bob Thomas

A fully certified interior decorator and house painter , Bob Thomas brings immense expertise and knowledge amassed from many years of hands-on experience with residential, commercial and specialty painting and decorating projects of all sizes and scopes.

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