Kitchen Reno Part 2: Painting Cabinets

To see Part 1 click here.

Now that the backsplash was done, it was onto the upper and lower cabinets which was originally a mahogany-toned wood veneer. We've seen some people keep their doors on during the entire repainting process but I would highly recommend taking the time and effort to remove them. It's worth it! And it's also a good idea to label them.

 Cabinet doors removed: yes we buy our sesame oil in bulk

Cabinet doors removed: yes we buy our sesame oil in bulk

 Our drawers were also taken apart

Our drawers were also taken apart


Upper Cabinets: White

To allow the cabinets to recess into the wall, we went with white to match the bianco backsplash. It also bounced light from the nearby South-facing window and illuminated the entire corner. For the white paint, we used leftover Behr Premium Plus interior semi-gloss enamel paint in 'Polar bear' that we used for the bathroom. As much as I love flat paints, for the kitchen semi-gloss or satin is easier to clean. Opting for leftover paint went with our reno theme of "re-use all you can".

 After removal, each piece was cleaned and wiped down

After removal, each piece was cleaned and wiped down

 Then it was sanded with 150-grit paper

Then it was sanded with 150-grit paper

 The cabinets had grooves which I filled for a more flatter, modern look

The cabinets had grooves which I filled for a more flatter, modern look

Sanding the surface was extremely tedious but it's absolutely worth it, especially working with veneer. I use 150-grit sand paper and trust me when I say, get yourself a holder or block, even if you've just got a few cabinets to treat, it's just much more effecient.

  Kilz Premium  primer

Kilz Premium primer

 Area was then patched up and sanded

Area was then patched up and sanded

  Behr Premium Plus  interior semi-gloss enamel paint in "Polar bear"

Behr Premium Plus interior semi-gloss enamel paint in "Polar bear"

After the sanding, I primed the surface with Kilz Premium primer which also acts as a sealer and stainblocker. I've used this for various non-solid wood painting projects and it adheres like a dream. Afterwards, we applied 2-3 coats of the Behr Premium Plus interior semi-gloss enamel paint.


Lower Cabinets: Green

We were for a toned down green for the lower cabinets: Behr's 'Thai Basil'. Since this wasn't leftover paint, we bought a can of their Marquee interior semi-gloss enamel. Although said to be a one-coat paint, we used two and the finish is absolutely opaque.

 We taped around the new backsplash

We taped around the new backsplash

  Behr Marquee  interior semi-gloss enamel paint in "Polar bear"

Behr Marquee interior semi-gloss enamel paint in "Polar bear"

 Two coats later

Two coats later

The reason we decided to go for this sage green as opposed to a deeper forest green (our original intent) was because with this being a corner kitchen, I really wanted to bring as much light in as possible. Darkening the green would've made the counter feel heavy and really separate the kitchen from the rest of the room: our goal was the opposite. We wanted flow and this 'Thai Basil' colour was the perfect missing piece that really tied everything together.

We also have a lot of medium-to-deep toned houseplants in this area and I didn't want to colour-match with our plants. I wanted a green in the same family but not a twin. I wanted "that aunt that's always cottaging".

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I absolutely love this colour palette: the earthiness of the floors and granite countertop works so well with the lower cabinet green. It's also very complimentary to the rest of the room with its various greys. We were originally going to change the cabinet hardware to black, but in the end kept our original stainless steel since it blended in better. This meant one less new item to purchase, and time saved. A win/win.

All we have left is the white oak open shelving! The final kitchen reveal: coming soon.


Product List:

  • Upper Cabinet Paint: Behr Premium PluS Interior Semi-Gloss ("Polarbear")

  • Lower Cabinet Paint: Behr Marquee Interior Semi-Gloss ("Thai Basil")

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