Paint Or Stain your Old Kitchen Cabinets… DIY Quick Fix

Maybe Paint or Stain your old Cabinets to brighten up your old space if your not quite ready for the big remodel.

This is part of a series of articles on how to do a temporary quick fix  in your kitchen if you know you will be able to remodel in a year or two, but you just can’t stand how it looks right now. The previous article talked about the most minimal thing you can do…. change the hardware, which is a great option with a big impact. (see Quick fix …….Hardware)  But lets say your kitchen is more needy than just new knobs. Maybe it’s time to paint or stain your cabinets (just to get you by till the big remodel). There are a couple of things that you can DIY (do it yourself) with some sweat equity and about $100 bucks. If your cabinets are stained and you don’t want a painted cabinet, there is a product called Cabinet Transformations by Rustoleum. This product lets you darken or lighten your cabinets and keep the wood grain showing, unlike a paint. They have about 70 colors to work with, some are an opaque paint type finish, others a more stain like finish. If you start with a painted cabinet, I suggest you go with a new painted color finish. It appears that if you try to make it look like wood when starting with painted cabinets, you will not get any of the grain showing through. But even if you have dark stained cabinets and want lighter ones, I think the grain will still show through. I have submitted an inquiry to Rustoleum about this and I will amend this post if I am wrong. If your cabinets are falling apart at the seams and hinges though, this option may not be the best for you. Hinges you can deal with…. seams may be a bit harder. See some of my next articles if you are in this category.

Anyway,  if you go to their site you can watch a “How To” video. It will take the better part of your weekend to complete with at least 2 people and some good clean working space in a vented area. The kits cost about $60 and cover approx. 100 sq. ft. of cabinets. Measure before you buy.  Then once finished… add new hardware and viola! A new look to your old kitchen that just might make you feel comfortable enough in your kitchen to entertain… even before the big new kitchen design project in a few years.

Both of these products can be purchased at Home Depot and they have Free Shipping right now!

The second DIY option is a product called Cabinet Coat by Insl-x.  You can use this on any cabinet even if it has a polyurethane varnish coat.  I am not as familiar with this product and they don’t seem to have a good DIY video so your on your own here. However, the benefits of this product is they are not limited to the 70 colors that Cabinet Transformations is limited to. It comes in white or a tint base that can be tinted to hundreds of custom colors (at the paint store). Just remember to get the tint base if you are not going with white then have your paint center tint it for you. This option is similar to just a regular paint, but it should give you more moisture and water protection that a normal latex painted finish.

Then the third is to find a cool color that you love and just paint away. If you want a vintage look, paint a darker color first (it can be rough), let it dry completely, then paint your finish color. Once that is dry, take some sand paper, and rub lightly on the corners and raised areas till the darker color shows through. Do a little at a time so you don’t sand too much off by accident (but you can always just paint it again). This technique can give you a nice cottage or farmhouse feel. Don’t forget to change the knobs as well for even more of a change. Another idea that works well with a country farmhouse look is to remove all or most of the doors to your upper cabinets and paint them in your kitchens accent color on the inside only.  Just make sure the accent color goes well with the exterior color of the cabinets in your kitchen. This will open up your space as well and give you a place to show off all your cool stuff!

These options are only a quick fix option. If you really put the time in and have some skill, they may last you a few years, till your ready to buy new. And remember, this does not help the integrity of your cabinets. If they are falling apart,  this is not your best option. Even though it won’t cost you much out of pocket, it will take time and I think will be a waisted effort if your drawers and hinges are broken anyway. But have fun.