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how to paint pre-finished cabinets {laundry room progress}

    Progress is being made in our laundry room.

    Remember the design board I created? Here it is just to refresh:


    My goal is to turn our function, yet blah, laundry room into a bright and pretty space that I’ll actually want to hang out in with the hope that maybe it will inspire me to do laundry.

    We’ll see about that last part.

    I’m surprising myself and actually following through with the plan.

    First up: painting the wood cabinets creamy white.


    I mentioned last week that I lost a gazillion photos from my camera and the step-by-step photos of painting the cabinets were part of those. Bummer. But it really was quite easy so photos are not necessary.


    1. gently sand cabinets to rough them up a bit

    2. wipe clean with damp cloth to remove sanding dust

    3. prime

    4. paint {3 coats}. I used latex even though oil paint is superior when painting cabinets. We used oil in our kitchen and they have held up perfectly. The problem with oil paint is that you have to wait at least 8 hours between coats and the clean-up is nasty. I went the lazy route and chose latex, but these are not cabinets that get much wear and tear, so I think they’ll be just fine.  I used both an angled brush and small foam roller.


    5. rub on finishing wax. This was the first time I’ve used wax, but I’ve heard good things about it’s sealing abilities.  I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I just rubbed it on and 10 minutes later buffed it off with a clean rag.


    It gives the cabinets a bit of sheen and hopefully better durability.


    Even just painting the cabinets made a big difference in the brightness of the room.

    I debated about using the gingham knobs from hobby lobby, or the numbered ones that my mom gave me for valentine’s day {from here}.

    My instagram friends voted and the numbers won out. I’m very happy with the choice.


    Coming up next: I’ll show you how I wallpapered the wall using gift wrap.

    39 thoughts on “how to paint pre-finished cabinets {laundry room progress}”

    1. What finish did u use for the cabinets? Egg shell? Flat? Semi gloss? I found the color I like for my cabinets I just need to know what finish I should get the paint in. Pls help!

    2. You can also use CAR PASTE wax (some come in creme form) to coat your washer and dryer, they will be nice looking longer… I like how your cabinets came out too!

    3. Oh My Goodness, I am painting the same doors and HOW did you have the perfect inside corners? The recessed part I mean – looks awesome!

    4. Do you find your kitchen cabinets yellowing? I used white oil based and maybe only because we have white appliances it’s not my favorite now. I might try to repaint someday with BM Advance paint, I hear that it holds up really well on trim, doors, etc without the yellowing (it’s a water clean up acrylic, not a pure latex) I agree the durability on oil based is great, though.

    5. I have GOT to have that chandelier!!! Please share where you found that perfect dose of sparkling goodness!!! Best laundry room ever!:)

    6. How smart to create a room idea board! This would help me out so much as I tend to get overwhelmed by all my ideas for one space. Thanks for the super helpful tips as always!

      1. I am really finding that it is helpful to finish the room with this clear picture and idea board. I’m thinking I should do this for more rooms in my house!

    7. ~ You’ve inspired a laundry room revolution! ~

      Never has mine been so clean, organized and almost decorated. Now I’m trying to decide between your gift wrap tutorial or your hand-painted stencil design for the walls. You know, if you could have an actual stencil designed to sell, I’m sure it would be HUGE success.

    8. looks so great Emily! And I totally love that paste wax – I use it all the time as the sealer of choice for my painted projects. Love the smooth, soft finish it gives. I used it most recently on an old dresser I finished. Check it out on my blog if ya want: here .

      Also, if you don’t have time or don’t want to mess with sanding – you can use a liquid deglosser. here’s one from home depot: deglosser .

      can’t wait to see your wallpaper tute! Looks so cheery :)

    9. My question is about the foam rollers. I’ve used them in the past (years ago) and find that the rounded end always gets really full of paint and kind of flops around. Is this still the case? I have avoided using them because of that. The doors look gorgeous, by the way. I love the knobs.

      1. I have not found the rollers to get too uneven in their application. Just make sure you push the roller all the way onto the handle and I think you should be fine.

      1. The color is called Du Jour by Valspar paint at Lowes. I just randomly selected a white that wasn’t too stark, but also not too creamy. It turned out to be a great color!

    10. So, did you not even take the doors off? And how’d that works out for you? Did you take the doors off when you did the kitchen? I am trying to get the nerve up to do my kitchen…and if I didn’t have to remove the doors I might go for it! (and what about the hinges? Did you paint them, too?) Sorry for all the questions!

      1. For this room, I did not take the doors off. I wasn’t even going to paint inside the doors, but once I got going I realized they would look much better with the entire door painted. I just taped around the hinges and painted with them on.

        In our kitchen, we painted the insides of all of the cabinets and removed all of the drawers and doors. It was much more work, but they have held up really well and look great. If you are doing your kitchen {a room that gets used a lot and also is a central part of your home}, I would take the extra time and effort to do the insides and outs of your cabinets which means removing the doors. I know, that’s way more work, but I think you’ll be happier with the results.

      1. I’ve been wondering if the milk paint would be durable. I painted my kitchen cabinets a few years ago and followed all of these steps. Sad to say the pain chips off in big hunks. After all the hard work I am so sad. I didn’t get the lower cabinets done so I was eyeing the milk paint for those.

        1. I know chalk paint is supposed to be a little more durable and also goes on well without priming. I’m not sure how milk paint or chalk paint will hold up with lots of wear and tear. Latex definitely chips easily. My personal opinion is that if your cabinets will be getting lots of use, oil paint is the way to go.

        2. With chalk paint, you may not have to sand or prime, but you do need to put wax on it afterward. Not sure if you can use the wax you used on the cabinets or if you have to use Annie Sloane wax. Either way, it’s still about the same amount of work.

      2. I know – I even tried to make my own chalk paint to give it a try and that was a TOTAL bust. If I were painting a room that gets more use, I would be fine spending the money on Annie Sloan paint, but since this was just two sets of cabinets in a room that usually has the door closed, I didn’t want to spend the money.

    11. Question: did you paint the inside of cabinet too? Wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets, but not wanting to paint insides, take too long, but would look funny.

      I do the paint brushes in plastic too, but never put in the fridge, and have always worked just fine.

    12. Your laundry redo inspired me to clean up my laundry room, only I didn’t stop at cleaning. Once it was straightened up I couldn’t stop. Now the walls and cabinets are painted and I just need some finishing touches. Those numbered knobs are perfect!

    13. Lookin’ good! Since you used a wax on it afterwards, what sheen did you use on your paint to begin with…semigloss…eggshell? I love that paper from Paper Source. It is my favorite! I have used it to paper the inside of the open kitchen cabinets before. It is such a cheerful paper!

    14. Hey Emily, did you try my tip about the photo recovery from your card to see if you can get back some or all your photos? It was on the ruffled tablecloth post. Love the numbered nobs too.

      1. I wish – thanks for the tip, but I had already used the camera to take more photos so I didn’t even try recovering the old ones. Oh, well.

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