Kitchen Makeover Phase Two: Painting the Cabinets

The Kitchen Makeover is moving along….

It’s been quite the undertaking, especially since the space has had to remain in working order throughout the entire process.  To be honest though, it really hasn’t been too bad, but I am very thankful that it’s almost done.  After the completion of the countertops last week, this week’s task was to paint the cabinets.

What do you think??

After much thought (and a few sleepless nights), I decided on a color that is primarily taupe, but has undertones of blue, green, and gray.  The actual color is Benjamin Moore – Berkshire Beige.  I have used this color before and it is truly one of my favorites!

Thanks to my gracious friends at Benjamin Moore who kindly supplied the paint for this project, I was on my way to transform these beauties. 

Bye-Bye to oak and Hello to taupe!

For this project, I used the Benjamin Moore Aura paint in a semi-gloss finish – It’s an amazing product and gives complete coverage!

As you’ve seen a few times from other posts, the before cabinets were a stained oak finish.  I had updated the hardware last year (which I love), so that was the only element that was remaining.  After the countertops were transformed with the Rust-oleum Transformations Kit, I was ready to get painting.

If you haven’t seen the kitchen before, here it is…

I started off with the peninsula section of the kitchen. Using a latex based primer, I applied the paint with the ‘W’ technique. Note: Many DIYers like to use Oil based primers and paints for cabinets because it’s more durable and is easier to clean, but I felt comfortable enough that in this application, the latex paint would be fine and hold up over time.

After this part was done, I worked on the remainder of the kitchen in sections.  I first removed the upper cabinets, painted them and the face frame, then moved on to the base cabinets.  Because my kitchen had to be functioning at all times, it was best to break it up and work in “small doses” instead of removing every door at once.

Design Tip

The key to creating smooth brush and roller strokes is to use a paint additive, like Flood Floetrol.  This was the first time that I’ve ever used an additive when painting and it gave amazing factory finish results.  And the cost?  Less than $10 a bottle (depending on the size).

Once the doors were off, I was ready to paint.  I used a brush-and-roller-combination technique (fancy, huh?!).  I first used the brush to get into the recessed crevices of the door, then worked my way to the outside panel and sides, and finished the center area with the roller.  Once the cabinet face is covered with paint, it’s important to go back with the roller to smooth out any ridges or roller marks (very important to create a smooth finish).

Tip: Roll the roller in the same direction as the wood grain.

Moving on to the cabinet face.  Using the same brush-and-roller-combination technique, I painted the cabinet fronts. ( I can’t believe I’m letting you peak into my cabinets…they’re a mess!)

All the cabinets are complete…they’re done and you’re so excited.  BUT wait right there…it’s time to remove the painter’s tape.  For me, this is always the tricky part because I find the tape often pulls off the paint.  The solution to this is to use a sharp blade to score the line where the tape meets the painted surface.

If some paint does peel off, lightly sand the area, then use a small brush for touch-ups.  Take a look at my areas of oops, the paint peeled

After a few touch-ups, I really was finally done with the cabinets.  And here are the results~

I still am resisting to show you the entire space because there is still some more to do before this makeover is complete.  Did you happen to notice anything else in the kitchen that is new???

Check back next week for Phase Three of this kitchen makeover!

The product mentioned in this post was provided by Benjamin Moore, but the review and opinions provided are 100% my own.

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  1. says

    I recently installed a new backsplash in my kitchen and painted the walls. I have been soooo wanting to paint my cabinets black, but have been afraid they wouldn’t look professionally done. You have given me courage to try. Now I just need to find time! I have looked at the Rustoleum countertop transformation kit. Did you do it yourself? Was it easy?

  2. says

    Did you use primer on all of the cabinets (it doesn’t look like it) or just on the peninsula? I would think you would want to use primer everywhere? DId you sand the cabinets first? You don’t mention it but I would think you’d want to.

    • Jenna says

      Hi Kyra ~ I did use a primer for the cabinets. On the peninsula, I used a basic white primer, but for the remainder of the cabinets, I had the primer made to match the cabinet color. I actually didn’t sand the cabinets. I thought I was going to need to sand as well, but when I did a trial run on one of the cabinets, the paint was adhering great and there was no need to sand. Depending on the wood when using a primer, the sanding step can sometimes be eliminated. For my cabinets sanding wasn’t needed, but for other woods it may, so lightly sanding them will help the paint penetrate more. Honestly though, using the Benjamin Moore Aura paint was amazing – it is GREAT to work with. xo Jenna

  3. says

    It looks WONDERFUL!! I think about doing that in our kitchen (esp the counters) and I fear I will really mess it up!! I love to decorate- recently my husband asked if one of the ladies from church had made any comment on our house after being here… I laughed.. she is SUPER creative and not in the least ordinary.. she should have a blog… my house would be what she would probably describe as a cookie cutter look. Don’t get me wrong I like it, but it is not orignal. I am sure in every state at least 4 dozen houses look just like mine! ;) I couldn’t even bring myself to paint a dresser I found on the side of the road….. but someday I will and then watch out world… it could get scary!! BTW the curtain is new…right??

    • Jenna says

      You are so sweet, Jen! Thanks you for leaving such a kind comment. I am really loving the color…the kitchen finally is cohesive with the rest of our home! xo Jenna

  4. says

    Looks great Jenna! That’s pretty much the same color that’s on our walls. I like it better in a smaller dose, like on your cabinets. : ) Nice job. I can’t wait to see the final revel. Oh, and I love the backsplash tile! ~ Catie

    • Jenna says

      Thanks Catie! I’ve used this color (actually variations of it) alot around my house and I love the richness it has! So you saw the backsplash?? stay tuned…

  5. Miss Kitty says

    thanks for posting these great tips on painting cabinets! Yours look amazing. I saw your post over at “Tatertots and Jello”.

    • Jenna says

      Thanks so much Jenny! I have been wanting to tackle this project for so long and was SO overwhelmed thinking about it, but it really wasn’t too bad. I think moving forward in small steps helped with the anxious thoughts of a kitchen makeover. Stay tuned for the final reveal! xo Jenna

  6. says

    Hey, it looks great! I would have never thought of using taupe, but I love how it looks with your black countertops. Visiting from Amaze Me Monday.

    • Jenna says

      Thanks Ellie for visiting SAS Interiors! I’m REALLY happy with the taupe cabinets. I was so back and forth on what to do, and I’m loving the color! I really appreciate your kind words and check back soon for the final kitchen reveal. xo Jenna

  7. FABBY says

    This is wonderful too, you sure are a great designer!! Love it! I’m into kitchen posts, as I just posted my total kitchen rebuilding at AMM and MM at, Susan’s BNOTP. Hugs, FABBY

    • Jenna says

      Thanks Fabby for stopping over to SAS Interiors to take a look at my kitchen makeover. I’m still working on the finishing touches, but it’ll be done soon! Your sweet words are so kind!! xo Jenna

  8. says

    hi jenna, i just repainted my kitchen cabinets last week. you can see them here

    i still need to paint the bottom cabinets. i did the top in a creamy white and the bottom is going to be done in a medium gray. i can’t wait to get it all finished…..

    yours look great. i didn’t prime mine either. heck, i didn’t even sand them except where the knobs go.

    p.s. i am your newest follower

    hugs, cindy

    • Jenna says

      HI Cindy! Thank you so much for visiting SAS Interiors and for becoming a follower ~ I really appreciate that! I will definitely head over and check out your new kitchen. Thankfully mine is almost done. I’m putting on the finishing touches within the next few days, but it feels so nice to have a freshened space and I spent close to nothing! Thanks again. xo Jenna

  9. julie says

    Looks great!!! Did you not use a primer on these..or did you tint the primer? Also did you sand these first?How is the paint holding up?

    • Jenna says

      Hi Julie, Thanks for the comment. I did use primer – in the first few pictures, I showed that I used white primer, but for the doors, I used a tinted primer. I did not sand the doors since the paint was adhering so well and with primer that step can sometimes be eliminated depending on the condition of the doors. They are holding up great so far, but it has only been a few weeks, ha! Thanks, Jenna

  10. says

    Jenna!!! I can’t believe I JUST NOW saw this! (I’m doing SU) It looks gorgeous! You did a great job with the cabinets. I’ll definetly have to try that floetrol stuff! Thumbs Up’d this post! ~ KIM

  11. Aimee says

    I am so glad to find you! We have been wanting to paint our oak cabinets for a couple years now, however, we were scared off by things we read online. We actually wanted to paint the cabinets grey as well, so it was so nice to see how yours turned out. They are beautiful! Can’t wait to see more pics. Great job!

  12. Sarah says

    We have the exact same cabinets and I’m about to undertake the task of painting them white. My main concern is do I need to sand them. I’d really like to avoid this step but I’d rather not have to come back later and fix problems so I’d like to get it right. Did you sand, and if not, has it held up over time?

    • Jenna says

      I gave my cabinets a nice scrub to get all the existing grease and such off. Once they were dry, I added a coat of primer to avoid the sanding. You should be okay with a good gripping primer. It’s been 2 years since the cabinets were painted and they’re holding up GREAT! Yes, they’re are a few dings, but nothing that’s not normal for a family of 4 (with 2 kids). I would give it a try. My favorite paint is the Benjamin Moore Aura paint. You can read more about my kitchen in my post update one year later:


    • Jenna says

      Nothing special, just a damp sponge and a mild soap. You may want to try a degreaser if your cabinets are really greasy or maybe a wood cleaner / conditioner. Good Luck!

    • Jenna says

      I did use a primer for the cabinets. On the peninsula, I used a basic white primer, but for the remainder of the cabinets, I had the primer made to match the cabinet color.

      • says

        Oh okay, why would you want the primer to match the cabinet color if you were painting the cabinets… please excuse my silly questions, but I’m curious! =]

  13. Venessa says

    Gosh I really love your cabinets – the paint color is beautiful! We just painted our cabinets white and our counter tops black (also used the same products you did – Rust-oleum) but this Benjamin Moore – Berkshire Beige is gorgeous! I might just change my cabinets…again!

  14. Mary says

    Just wondering how the paint is holding up on your cabinets? Do they clean up well? or do you notice any of the paint coming off on the cleaning rag/wipe? About a year ago, we painted our bathroom cabinets this same way, using latex paint, but when I clean them, a small bit of paint comes off on the cleaning cloth. Just wondering if we should use some type of clear finish over the paint.

    • Jenna says

      For years later, my kitchen cabinets are still doing well. They’ve held up great. I’ve only touched up the paint one time in 4 years and it was little work. There are a few dings and some wear, but that’s typical for most surfaces – especially a family of 5. I’ve been very happy. I’ve never had paint wipe off. Did you use a polyurethane over the paint?

      • Mary says

        Thank you so much for your reply… We did not use any poly over the paint. Did you? If so, what did you use and was it a brush on or spray on?


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