Home Decor

Make over your kitchen for under $100: 10 easy steps to refinish cabinets

This inexpensive weekend project will fast track you to an brand new kitchen.

Dark Kitchen cabinets

Michael Graydon and Janice Nicolay

When renovating a home, the kitchen is usually at the top of most people’s wish list. A total overhaul may not be in your budget, but luckily there are cheaper ways to upgrade your kitchen — and still produce dramatic results. Start with the cabinets and add a fresh coat of paint and new hardware. This inexpensive weekend project will fast track you to an brand new kitchen.

Kitchen makeover in 10 steps:

1. Remove the cabinet doors and hardware and give them a good scrub with warm soapy water. Allow them to dry thoroughly. Note: You may need to use a strong cleaner to beat tough grease stains.

2. Prepare the cabinet doors for refinishing by filling any dings or divots with wood putty. If you want to change the size and style of your cabinetry hardware, fill in the old hardware holes as well.

3. Using 150 grit sandpaper, sand down the faces of the cabinet doors to rough up the cabinet’s finish. Be sure to get the sandpaper into an crevices or corners to ensure a smooth paint finish. When finished, wipe off any dust.

4. Choose your paint and primer. There are several different types of paint you can go with — generally a latex- or oil-based paint is best in a kitchen. I would recommend taking one of your cabinet doors into the hardware store and ask for their paint recommendation based on the type of door you have.

5. Apply a coat primer to the cabinets, painting first against the grain of the wood, then along it.

6. Using a very fine sandpaper (about 220 grit), sand down the primer lightly to remove any brush strokes or unevenness.

7. Though not necessary, applying a pneumatic paint sprayer is the best way to get a smooth, flawless finish. Start by spraying the edges first then working your way inward on the face of the door until you have a smooth, even coverage.

8. If you are using a paint with brushes, be sure to pick a chisel tipped paintbrush. Beginning on the back of the doors brush on the paint going along the grain of the wood in thin coats to avoid drips and ensure a even coverage.

9. Allow up to 48 hours for the paint to dry and cure completely.

10. Replace the cabinet doors back on their hinges and add the hardware you’ve selected. If you’ve gone with a different size or style of hardware you may need to drill new holes. Do this after the doors have been hung to verify the spacing.