Day-by-Day journal of a 2022 Kitchen Cabinet Painting Project

In February 2022, we had one of our clients keep a photo diary of her experience with us so you would know what to expect when we paint your kitchen cabinets:

Color consultation:

A few weeks before the painting started, I worked with free CertaPro’s designer to choose new colors for my “orange-tone” cherry kitchen cabinets.  To hide the black appliances (which I couldn’t afford to change) we chose Sherwin Williams’ Black Fox for the bottom cabinets.  The top cabinets would be white.

Ordered new cabinet handle & hardware

I also ordered new cabinet handles that fit the same “screw footprint” as my old handles.  This meant that I had to make sure the screw holes on the new handles matched the current holes in the cabinet doors and drawers. CertaPro told me that if I chose handles that didn’t have the same “footprint” they would have to fill the holes and they may become obvious as time went on and the wood filler “sunk” into the cabinets.

Cherry cabinets with black granite counter in kitchen
Here are my 2004 “Builders” cherry cabinets.  They’re in good shape, but they just look too orange to me.
dining room full of food
The day before the painters arrive, I take 3 hours and empty all of my cabinets, clear off my counters and place my essentials in the other room


Food in bins
I did my best to keep the food organized. It still was very hard to make food while this project was going on.
plastic draping in doorway
The painters added plastic to the entrance of the kitchen while they sanded. This helped keep the dust semi-contained, but it still snuck through to other rooms.
Painter sanding cherry cabinets
Next, the painters lightly sanded the cabinets.
Cherry cabinets with doors missing
Day one:  Painters arrive at 8:30am to remove the cabinet doors. They’ll bring them to their shop to spray them. They label every door to be sure they can replace the doors in the same opening after they’re painted.


Wooden-drawer face with the letter B
All of the drawer faces are removed and drawers are labeled. This is so the drawer faces are replaced on the same drawers after they’re painted. Good news: I don’t have to empty the drawers, I simply remove them from their rollers and place the full drawers in the other room.
Painter masking the cabinets
Next, the painters spent about a day masking the cabinets for the eventual spraying they’d do. This was very meticulous work that took a whole 1.5 days – way longer than I had expected. At this point, I had NO access to my kitchen, fridge, sink, dishwasher and oven.  
masked and srayed kitchen cabinets
The painters then sprayed the cabinets – see all the plastic? That was the masking they did so the areas that were supposed to not get painted (like my countertops) were protected.    Notice that the inside of the glass-faced cabinets are painted, but the inside of the solid faced cabinets remain paint-free.
kitchen white cabinets on top, brown on bottom
The final cabinets are white on top and Sherwin Williams’ Black Fox on the bottom. This was to hide the black appliances and make them disappear.

Some hindsight:

  • Buy paper plates, keep utensils and essentials like coffee in an easy-to-reach place.
  • If you have a small fridge, plug it in and stock it with easy to make meals like sandwiches
  • It’s a great time to toss expired items – I had some sprinkles that were from 2011!
  • While the painters did a great job cleaning up, the dust got everywhere – plan on wiping down horizontal surfaces after the painters leave.
  • I had to be really careful opening and closing the doors and drawers because the paint will be “fragile” for a few weeks while it cures.
  • From start to finish, this project took about 1 week.  I didn’t have use of my kitchen for about 5 days.

Overall, painting our builders-grade cabinets modernized the look of our home and saved me from an expensive kitchen renovation.



You also might like:

Our kitchen cabinet painting services, including our average cabinet pricing

Our DIY instructions, including all of our favorite products – if you’d like to tackle this job yourself

Our color consulting services – we can help you choose new kitchen cabinet colors