How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

I dream of a brand new kitchen: spacious and gorgeous and perfectly planned for my ideal layout! You know, a space where I can whip up my favorite recipes: rhubarb muffins, some sabayon and lemon meringue cupcakes (yum, those were good)! Reality is not always my dream, but a refresh is always a quick and simple way to give a new look. Honestly, I have never touched my kitchen, mostly because I felt painting cabinets at home was sub par. I hated the idea of the paint chipping, not wearing well and honestly, just looking home-finished as opposed to professional. But that’s all changing because I’m going to show you how to paint kitchen cabinets.

After hours of online research, I stumbled across a paint from General Finishes that actually looks good and incorporates a top coat that provides a beautiful finish. It’s a pretty simple process:

Watch how to paint kitchen cabinets

Step-by-step process to paint kitchen cabinets

  1. To start, de-gloss the doors to rough up the finish and clean off any grease and grime. OPTIONAL: At this point, you can also sand down the doors to ensure that the paint will have no leak-through of the underlying stain.
  2. Next, apply a stain-blocking primer to ensure none of the dark, stained color bleeds through.
  3. Next, apply two coats of the General Finishes Milk Paint (affiliate link). I went with “Snow White” because I wanted clean and simple, but there are many colors to choose from. The painting was a bit tedious, but it’s a very thick paint that creates a beautiful cover.
  4. To finish, apply three coats of the General Finishes High Performance top coat (affiliate link). This gives an extraordinary finish, honestly close to a factory finish. Three coats sounds like a lot but these coats go extremely fast and are definitely worth it. (See update below!)

UPDATE: Per recent guidance from General Finishes (the manufacturer of both products used in this video), the use of the snow white milk paint in conjunction with the high performance top coat (affiliate link) can lead to unpredictable slight yellowing of cabinets over time. Before painting, please check out more of the guidance from General Finishes here.


Painting cabinets is a large undertaking but with General Finishes, the outcome is definitely worth the work. Some simple tricks and tips will hopefully leave you inspired to refresh your own projects!

Kaleb Wyse sitting on countertop surrounded by fresh white cabinets after showing how to paint kitchen cabinets
Two gallon-size jars of kitchen cabinet paint sitting on a wood-topped island in a kitchen with basket of glass eggs in background
General Finishes milk paint (affiliate link) (in snow white) and General Finishes High Performance top coat (affiliate link) (in satin finish)
Cherry brown cabinets with television, cash boxes and weight sitting on kitchen countertop along with kitchen pot tree
BEFORE: the cabinets were dark and completely stuck in the ’90s.
Bright white kitchen cabinets with television and jars full of kitchen supplies sitting on countertop
AFTER: the white cabinets are now clean, fresh and feel modern.
Bright white kitchen cabinets with glass kitchen containers and mortar and pestle set sitting on white countertop
Cherry brown lower cabinets with pulls and knobs
Close up view of cherry brown cabinets with 1980's pull handle
Matte silver drawer pulls attached to bright white lower kitchen cabinets
Matte silver drawer pulls attached to bright white lower kitchen cabinets
Cherry brown kitchen upper kitchen cabinets with items on countertop below
Close up view of silver pulls attached to bright white upper kitchen cabinets
I love the way the hardware complements the bright white while adding a bit of shine!

NOTE: As a disclaimer, General Finishes generously provided their product for my cabinets. All view are my own. Some of the above links are Amazon affiliate links. This means that I earn a small percentage when these links are used to purchase the product. Feel free to search out the products on your own if you would rather not use my links.

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  • Fantastic job!!!!! Would love to know where you got the glass mortar set in varying sizes absolutely love them.

  • You’ve convinced me to go the Snow White route versus Antique White. Our home decor and color are similar, and your kitchen makeover looks fabulous! Question: You did not mention sanding between coats, did you do this? The finish on the cabinetry looks professional – nice job. 🙂

  • LOVE this! I found your video because I am ready to paint my cabinets and am having trouble finding out how to remove the ‘plate’ behind my pulls. I noticed you had the exact same ones! How did you remove that gold metal decorate ‘plate’ behind the knobs?

    • Thanks! They have held up very well. It has been a little over a year and there may be just slight wear on the cabinet corner I touch everyday with wet hands 🙂

    • Hi Vane! Yes I have had some yellowing, it is minor but I do notice it especially where the sun hits the cabinets! Guests visiting don’t notice until I tell them. General finishes how does not recommend the topcoat I used. I’m still happy I painted!!

  • Your cabinets are beautiful. I need some advice. I hired a company to RUIN my cabinets. They used to be the color that yours were. Without using foul language, he actually sprayed them white inside my kitchen. He sprayed right over the hinges. They are horrible. Since they are already kind of white, because I don’t believe he used the
    Kilnz, he just sprayed one coat, and booked. The owner came out and declared the only way he would fix them is if I allowed this guy back in! No, was my answer. He even got over spray on my Stainless Steel, Kitchen Aide appliances. What can I do to repaint these cabinets.

  • I love the way the cabinets look. I have the 80’s look but with you video, I’m so excited to get started and transform my kitchen cabinets. I just have a few questions. What brand of spray paint did you use for the hardware/hinges? Did you paint under the frame for the cabinets? Can I go to my local menards or Home Depot for the same paint brand? Looking forward to hear back from you.

  • I watch a videos and he has the same cabinets like me you I wanna peanut I do wanna send a picture and what you were command effects service