DIY Painted Kitchen Cabinets

We’re currently in the process of giving our kitchen a budget-friendly facelift. While we’re still working on a few more projects for the space, we’ve finished one step that has already made a huge difference: painting the kitchen cabinets!

New cabinets were not an option, and the floor and countertops are also staying. With so many things staying, painting the cabinets was an easy and cost-effective way to still make a major impact! Today I’m sharing the process I used for this transformation – it took me about three days of actively working on it (while my parents watched our kids) to get the whole kitchen finished so it’s a good project to tackle over a long weekend.

Materials

deglosser

-lint-free cloth

primer

-paint

-foam roller

-angled brush

-painters tape

The first step was to remove all the cabinet doors. We have a little electric screwdriver that makes quick work of this step, but a regular screwdriver would work too.

Ideally, we would have removed the drawer fronts as well; however, when I started trying to unscrew one, I realized that the previous owners had used screws and a nail gun to attach the fronts. I have no idea why they did both, but we would have had to pry all the fronts off – a laborious process that possibly would’ve caused some damage to the drawers. We chose to leave them attached to the drawers and just painted the fronts and sides and left the backs as is since they’re rarely visible. Assuming your drawer fronts aren’t nailed on, I would absolutely recommend removing them as well and following the same process as with the door fronts.

After unscrewing the door from the cabinet, I removed all hardware (hinges and knob). While wearing a latex glove, I poured some liquid deglosser onto a clean cloth and rubbed it all over the surface of the front and back of the doors. This process is a substitute for sanding and prepares the previously stained wood so that paint will adhere better to it. It saves so much time compared to sanding!

Once the deglosser is dry, the doors were ready to be primed. I buy Kilz 2 primer in bulk because I use it so often and it worked well for this project. I recommend starting with the back of the cabinet doors so that once you flip them over, the front will be finished last. The painted wood has the potential to get a nick or scuff when it’s flipped over and I much prefer that if that happens, it happens to the back side

After the primer has dried, it’s time to paint! After a lot of deliberation, I landed on Sherwin Williams Link Gray – a nice warm grayish-green that coordinates well with all the brown and gold tones in our kitchen countertop. I recommend getting a higher-quality paint for the cabinets because they’ll get a lot of use. I chose the HGTV Showcase line from Lowe’s (in a satin finish). There are brands out there that specifically have paint for cabinets but I used this brand when I painted our basement kitchen cabinets last year and they still look perfect!

I used an angled brush to paint the inset edge first . . .

. . . then I used a six inch foam roller to cover the rest of the door.

This paint boasts “one coat coverage” and that may be true for walls, but I found that the first coat didn’t quite get everything and a second coat was needed. That being said, I chose not to do a second coat on the backs of the doors since the coverage was really pretty good and the backs aren’t often visible. This allowed me to also do the entire kitchen with just one gallon of paint!

I waited about four hours and then flipped the doors over to repeat the same process of primer + paint on the fronts. Again, I used a brush to paint the inset first and then used the foam roller for everything else.

When painting the fronts, I like to set them on top of paint cans or other small items where they can be lifted off the ground so I can roll the edges as well.

After letting the fronts dry for at least two hours, I applied a second coat.

For painting the cabinet boxes, I followed the same process of deglosser + primer + two coats of paint. I used painter’s tape to protect the floors and underside of the countertop. Personally, I like a smoother finish on cabinets so I used the foam roller for as many surfaces as I could and saved the brush for edges and corners that the roller couldn’t reach.

I recommend letting the cabinets and fronts cure for at least 24 hours before reattaching the fronts. I have two little kids around and couldn’t leave my fronts off that long, so I reattached them sooner but after the kids went to bed, I opened up all the doors and drawers so they could continue to cure without touching (if the paint isn’t fully cured and a door front rests on the cabinet, it could lead to the paint sticking).

I wish I had a better “before” picture of this angle, but all I have is this crummy screenshot so it will have to do.

And now here’s that same stretch of cabinets:

I honestly can’t believe what a big difference paint made. Same floors, same knobs, same countertop, same backsplash (for now), yet the kitchen looks completely different! And since I could do the whole cabinet with one gallon of paint, this transformation cost me around $50. Well worth it!

I wish I had more “after” pictures to show you, but we’re already well underway with the next step of updating all the backsplash. So stay tuned for more of this kitchen transformation soon!

Friday Features

Happy Friday!

Today, I felt inspired to write up a different kind of blog post than my usual. I typically share a lot of our day-to-day moments on Instagram and save the bigger things for the blog (like finished home projects, family milestones, etc). I’ve talked about this before, but as much as the blog is a fun way for me to share things with others, it’s also a great way for me to document parts of our life for us to look back on in later years. There are a lot of little things that, while they aren’t worth dedicating an entire blog post to, I’m feeling inspired to create a little space for on the blog. Friday seems like the perfect time to round-up a random hodgepodge of things from the past week or two and I love that it just gives a little glimpse into our life right now. I do plan to write little Friday posts like this more often, although I’m not sure how often they’ll pop up. We’ll see! For now, here’s what’s been on my mind lately:

Summer Weather

This week we had several days in the 70s which is just fine with us! We broke out the water table and other summer toys and cannot wait for fun in the sun.

Plant Refresh

I had several plants that were getting too big for their planters so the start of spring felt like the perfect time to do some transplanting. I bought a few new pots and just switching out a few plants and planters has everything feeling so fresh around here!

LJ and Vi Comparison

Earlier this week we went to a park we haven’t been to in a long time. Vi has recently started doing slides 100% independently and she is so proud of herself! I snapped this picture of her and it immediately gave me a flashback to LJ using that exact same slide when he was about her same age. I had to dig through my archives and I found a video of LJ that I screenshot so I could do a little comparison of my babies!

Spring Cleaning Closets

This past week, I went through LJ and Vi’s dressers and removed anything that they’ve outgrown or is not the right season (LJ is still in 3T, but doesn’t need sweaters for the spring/summer months). I also checked for anything that was stained or had holes or other major signs of wear – anything that fit this category went straight into a bag that I’ll drop off at a local company that accepts fabrics in any condition for textile recycling.

I keep large clear tubs in each of their closets to store clothes they’ve outgrown. I keep the bin organization simple – I keep sizes separate by using a piece of cardboard as a divider and slipping a piece of paper with the size marked in the bin so it’s clearly visible. It’s nothing fancy but this system works!

Consignment Closet Refresh

The vast majority of my children’s clothing is either hand-me-down from friends or was bought secondhand at a consignment store. I don’t like spending lots of money on their clothing. They outgrow sizes so fast that it doesn’t seem worth it to spend $20 on a shirt they’ll only wear for a couple months. Plus. let’s be honest. Kids are messy! I’m constantly removing stains from food, dirt, markers, etc. I prefer to spend $3 or less on a shirt – if it is still in good condition after it’s outgrown and can be passed down to another child, great! If it has holes or stains and needs to be recycled instead, it doesn’t feel too wasteful because it’s already been worn a lot. Secondhand clothing is cost-effective for me and sustainable for the planet – a win win!

We’ve already received a lot of hand-me-downs that will fit my kids this summer, so after going through their closets and getting the next sizes ready, I made a list of things they still needed. We took a trip to the consignment store yesterday to fill in their wardrobe gaps – LJ especially had fun getting to pick out some shirts for himself! We got all these items (plus one shirt he already wanted to wear) for $40.

Herself Podcast

I’ve talked before about the HERself podcast but I listened to episode 69 while painting the kitchen cabinets that really resonated with me. Their guest, Elicia, is a stay-at-home mom and talked about the balance of staying at home but also wanting to have something for herself outside of motherhood. She personally had a passion for her kids AND also had a passion with connecting with other women so she’s joining the podcast as an employee while staying home with her kids. They talked a bit about finding little opportunities to fulfill a passion or have a role outside of the role of mom. This spoke to me so much! I am so thankful that I am able to stay home with my children (though I’ve been honest that it isn’t always easy) and love being able to fill this role for my children and our family, but I’m also a wife and a woman who has passions and interests beyond motherhood. Reading is a way for me to rest and recharge, and I also find a lot of joy in using this blog as a creative outlet. Over the past two years, I’ve also really leaned into updating our house and sharing all our projects, big and small, and it’s become a huge passion of mine. I’m learning the value of the word and. I love my kids AND I enjoy some alone time. I like completing home projects AND reading bedtime stories. I love to nurture AND create. My kids are a priority AND so am I.

Aldi Juice Find

Does anyone else love Aldi? It’s my favorite place to stock up on all our basic grocery needs! I love that it’s inexpensive and you don’t get decision fatigue because there aren’t like, 82935792348 brands of ketchup to choose from. They also have lots of great organic options at a fraction of the cost of other grocery stores. I saw these juice pouches in the Aldi Finds section and decided to try them out – they have been a HUGE hit with my kids! They don’t drink juice very often but these pouches make for a nice little treat with less sugar than other brands of juice.

ASMR Home Video

I’ve been watching this video on repeat – it’s so satisfying to hear all these little sounds of home!

First Covid Shot!

Indiana opened up eligibility for those 30+ last week and I jumped at the chance to schedule an appointment. I got my first dose of Pfizer last Wednesday and was SO excited! My only side effects were a sore arm and some fatigue around the 24-hour mark (but after a nap, I felt great!) I’m so thankful for the efforts of scientists to make this happen so quickly. I’m feeling hopeful for the future and “normal” activities resuming soon!

Note: I’m not interested in debating vaccines on the internet. There are lots of great resources out there to help make your own decision – I personally found @kinggutterbaby and @jessicamalatyrivera to be great sources of information for me.

Have a great weekend!

March 2021 Book Reviews

No tricks, just treats today as I’m kicking off April with my favorite kind of post: book reviews!

In March I read three books and mostly (you’ll see) enjoyed them all. Let’s dive right in!

One To Watch by Kate Stayman-London

One to Watch: A Novel by [Kate Stayman-London]

Bea is a successful and popular plus-sized fashion blogger, and after writing a scathing about the lack of diversity on the reality show Main Squeeze, she is approached by the producer to come on the show and give a new look to the franchise as the lead for their next season. I’ve watched the Bachelor/Bachelorette for years (although less frequently in the past 5 years) so this was a really fun read for me. I liked the characters, I liked the parallels to the franchise we all know and love (or love to hate), I liked how it gave a peel-back-the-curtain feel to “reality” TV . I found Bea to be a charming and relatable heroine and I was rooting for her to find love. Most of the other characters are also really likeable and I loved that in between chapters we would see what was happening around the country – what were people saying in podcasts or writing in articles or talking about in group chats. That’s really what Bachelor Nation is like and it broadened the plot beyond Bea’s personal experience. The real Bachelor franchise is currently experiencing a major reckoning with lack of racial diversity over the years, and they also never have contestants with body diversity either. It was really interesting to imagine a scenario where they would move in this direction! I loved the message that everyone deserves love and size isn’t (or shouldn’t be) what people judge you on. I’ll give a little warning that while the Bachelor has producers to edit out language and sexual content before viewing, this book doesn’t, so be aware of that if that’s not your cup of tea. If you’re a fan of the Bachelor franchise, I really think you’d enjoy this book but I also think those who aren’t fans would enjoy it.

Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Long Bright River: A Novel by [Liz Moore]

Mickey is a cop whose beat includes a tough Philadelphia neighborhood overwhelmed by the opioid crisis. Her sister Kacey is an addict who lives on those same streets. After Kacey disappears around the same time as a string of murders begins, Mickey becomes obsessed with finding both the killer and Kacey.

This was a book chosen by my book club. I’m not sure I would have chosen to read it otherwise, but I can say with a good amount of confidence that if I had chosen to read it on my own, I doubt I would have finished it because the plot absolutely dragged. It’s not really a mystery and not really a thriller, though it had elements of both. It was a character-driven novel, but I struggled because I didn’t actually like Mickey, the sole point of view and main character, very much. It is very slow-moving and covers a lot of hard subject matter like drug addiction, exploitation, murder, single parenthood, homelessness, etc. There are a lot of little side plots and a lot of time spent on Mickey and Kacey’s history and childhood. By page 200 I was really having to force myself to keep reading and I think had it not been a book club pick, I would have quit. But then, all the sudden, something happened in the plot that changed everything for me and I couldn’t put the rest of the book down! I absolutely flew through the last third of the book and loved it. Everyone in my book club agreed that the last portion of the book was so different than the rest; it felt like “this is the book I wanted to read!” To be honest, I don’t know if I recommend it or not. I think it definitely depends on the reader. It needed to be 100 pages shorter, but I did ultimately really enjoy where it ended up. I’m glad I finished it!

What you Wish For by Katherine Center

Samantha and the rest of her colleagues at school are reeling from the loss of their beloved principal. Just when it seems like things will never be good again, Duncan Carpenter is announced as the next principal. Sam’s history with Duncan at a previous school gives her hope that he will bring much-needed fun, joy, and life back into the school. But when Duncan arrives, the rule-following, safety-obsessed authoritarian is nothing like the guy she remembers. Is the old Duncan still in there? And can Sam help coax him back?

I wanted to read something fun and interesting, with a bit of depth but not too much and this was the perfect choice. I found the characters, both main and side, to be interesting and likeable, I loved the relationship between Sam and Duncan, I enjoyed that there were only a couple side plots included and they were all meaningful to the story. The setting in a unique school in the beachside community of Galveston was fun to picture and I easily felt like part of the school community there. I will say, this book does cover the heavy topic of reasons why safety in schools is important in this day and age, which might be triggering for some people. That being said, it didn’t really feel overly light or overly dramatic – it just hit a nice middle ground, like a Hallmark movie with some depth. I enjoyed it!

My April stack is growing so hopefully I’ll be able to devote quite a bit of time to reading because I have several books I’m excited about reading soon! What books have you been loving lately?