a beautiful bathroom with green cabinets

How to Paint Bathroom Cabinets for an Easy Vanity Upgrade

If you want to save some money while giving your bathroom an updated look, then take on a DIY project and give your bathroom cabinets an upgrade. You can do just the cabinet doors or the whole bathroom vanity cabinet depending on your project scope. Learn how to paint bathroom cabinets for an easy vanity upgrade.

You can have a new bathroom look in just a few days, even on a tight budget. A fresh coat of paint to match your bathroom color scheme, a new set of cabinet hardware, and you have a great looking upgraded vanity.

Painting Bathroom Cabinets: A Beginner’s Guide

The first thing you have to do before you start your painting projects is to choose a primer based on the type of cabinet. Wood, metal, and laminate will all need different approaches. The primer should be tinted to the same color as the topcoat. Primer is most important if the original finish is dark, as without it, the wood will throw a simple coat of paint.

You also have to choose the paint that works for the cabinets. While kitchen cabinets gather grease, your bathroom cabinets are more exposed to moisture. Painting bathroom cabinets means finding paint that will repel moisture, mildew, and mold. Using acrylic enamel paint or alkyd paint are both good options.

High gloss is better than flat or matte as it’s durable and more moisture resistant. The other thing to look for is self-leveling paint. It will level out any brush marks while the paint is drying, making it great for a smooth finish.

For Painting Bathroom Cabinets, You Will Need:

Simple Steps to Paint your Bathroom Cabinets

Note: The following steps are for wood cabinets.

Step 1: Clean your cabinets. Then, remove cabinet doors, hardware, and drawers. Never leave the hardware on when you paint. Make sure to note how everything goes back together and label pieces if needed.

The drill or screwdriver should work for most of the hardware. Remember to remove any adjustable shelves along with the hardware as well. Drawers will pull out, too, just leaving you with the cabinet frames separate from the rest.

a man wiping the cabinet

Step 2: While you have cleaned off the cabinets, you will want to make sure there is no dirt or grease on any paintable surface. Using a product such as TSP can help do that. Make sure you wear goggles and rubber gloves when using them.

When they are dry, then it’s time to fill in dents and holes with wood filler or wood putty. Once it is dry, then you can use the sandpaper to dull the surface and smooth out any bumpy wood surfaces. You can then use a tact cloth or damp cloth to remove the sanding residue.

If cabinets do not need filler or sanding, you can use a deglosser that will take the gloss finish off the cabinets and help the new paint adhere well. It can save some time and mess if sanding is not required.

Step 3: Get ready to paint. Do a simple coat of primer and paint on the back of a cabinet door to make sure it adheres well and looks like you want it to. Then use the painter’s tape to protect the wall, mirrors, and other fixtures from paint drips and missed brush strokes.

Set up the drop cloth and get your gear. You can use a synthetic bristle paint brush or foam roller to start priming. Do all cabinet parts in primer first. If there is detailing to be done, then use an angled trim brush. Let the base coat complete its proper dry time before moving to the paint.

Step 4: Time to paint the cabinets. Mix paint well then pour into a paint tray. Use a roller to paint the cabinet doors first. Do one side and let it dry. While waiting, do the inside of the cabinet and shelves. Keep painting until all parts are done.

Do light coats and apply additional coats as needed. Make sure as you paint, that you do not cover the drawer slides or any of the hardware. Painter’s tape can help with that. Also, make sure to let the paint dry completely before adding a fresh coat. Then the pieces need to have their complete cure time before reassembling.

a light blue paint

Step 5: Make sure all parts are painted and fully dried, including the cabinet frame. Inside painting is not necessary unless you want to freshen it up or change the color. Once you are sure it is all complete and dry, then it is time to put it all back together. Follow your directions from when you pulled it apart and you should be fine. Once the cabinets are reassembled, then it is set for use.

Final Thoughts

a dark blue paint

Knowing how to paint bathroom cabinets as one of your DIY projects is a great thing to undertake. It’s a good way to start a budget bathroom makeover. It freshens up the room and will only take a few days to complete. You can go all out and do a full top-to-bottom redo, or you can simply clean it up and add a nice coat of paint.

Always remember to do things carefully and safely. If the paint has fumes, then try to ventilate the area well. Do not disconnect taps or other fixtures if the water is not turned off. While you shouldn’t have to deal with electricity, make sure it’s off at the power source if you do.

You do not want to be injured or damage the bathroom. The point of a DIY project is to save money, so you don’t want to have to pay to repair issues that could have been avoided.

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