We moved into our CT home seven years ago (man, time flies!) and the very first thing we did was sand down and paint the dark wood kitchen cabinets white to bring some more light into the small kitchen.
Let’s just say that years (and one toddler) later, the paint job had gotten a little dingy and worn in places, and I kept wondering when I’d ever have the time to refresh my kitchen cabinets, since the original act of painting them was such a big process.
Give the Cabinets a Light Sanding
Once your wood is clean, use some fine sandpaper (I like this brand) to gently rough up the paint in the areas where you want to do a paint touch-up. You don’t want to sand through down to the wood, so don’t feel like you need to sand very hard.
A light scuffing of the surface will help the new paint stick a little better. I also like using a sanding sponge with a foam back so I can sand an area and then wipe off the dust with the soft foam part.
Add some Touch-Up Paint to the Bare Spots
I like to use a brush (this is my favorite one) for hard-to-reach areas of the cabinets, but painting wherever I can reach with a foam roller really gives you the best look overall. Use that where you can on any flat areas (make sure to take off your cabinet knobs and pulls first).
I was just going to paint the most worn areas of my doors, but once I got going, I realized that it’s actually pretty quick to do the full door or drawer when you’re just doing a touch-up coat of the same color.
So, I just painted all the fronts and it really didn’t take much longer. And if you can take out your drawers first, that can make them a lot easier to paint as well.
As you can probably guess by now, I’m assuming you know what paint was used on the cabinets last time they were painted so you can get more for a touch up.
So, if you don’t already have a way to keep track of what paint colors you use in your home, I highly recommend writing it down somewhere so you can reference the list as needed!
If you don’t know the exact color, you can bring home a million paint swatches until you find one that looks super close, but you’ll probably need to paint the full cabinet door rather than just one corner in case the color isn’t a 1,000% match.
Also, if you have a “kick plate” area like I do at the bottom of your cabinets (it’s where your baseboard/quarter round is near the floor), touching that up while you’re painting is a great idea. It gets kicked and scuffed a lot with your feet (hence the name)!
It’s a relatively small area and it only took 4-5 minutes to repaint mine, but it definitely helped the whole thing feel new again.
Replace Old/Worn Hardware (Or Clean It)
It was pretty obvious to me that tarnished hardware was another reason that our kitchen was looking a little grimy. So if that’s the case for you as well, giving your hardware a cleaning or a polish can also really help make them look as good as new.
And, you can work on this while your paint is drying, so it won’t take any longer either! It may also be a good time to do a hardware upgrade if you chose a more budget-friendly option the first time around.
I personally love Schoolhouse hardware and find it wears really well over time.