THE BEST PAINT PRODUCTS FOR KITCHEN CUPBOARDS & CABINETS
Replacing your kitchen cabinets with new ones is an expensive affair. But you’ll be amazed how easy it is to update your space without completely remodelling your kitchen. Paint can give old kitchen cupboards a new high-end designer look without breaking the bank.
Yet, only high-quality paint products formulated specifically for kitchen cabinets can deliver a flawless finish. But with a myriad of products out there, how can you choose the best one?
When choosing your preferred paint, you’ll have to consider what the cabinets are made from, their finish, the type of paint, and finish of the paint as well. To help you find the right product, our expert team has tested and rated the most popular paints for kitchen cupboards in the UK. Check out our opinions and top picks below.
OUR BEST PICK KITCHEN CUPBOARDS PAINTS
Best Of The Rest
Thirty-one classy colours and a smooth matt elegant finish add playful versatility to all redecoration projects.
One coat melamine and MDF paint – ideal for redecoration works in modern style kitchens.
A high-quality wood sheen varnish to use on kitchen cabinets, furniture and other wooden objects.
POPULAR KITCHEN CUPBOARDS COLOUR PALETTES
Deciding which colour works better on your kitchen cabinets goes beyond preference. Because even if the hue must reflect your personality, the interior aesthetics and the design of the cabinets also dictate the best colours and trends.
Your best bet is to let the style of the kitchen guide you. If the cabinets have a classic, traditional line, opt for classic, traditional paint colours. White is a timeless choice but there are more contemporary alternatives to consider. Cream, ivory, light grey, sand, and stone are popular kitchen cabinet colours that blend well in a traditional style kitchen.
If you aim to achieve a vibrant design, add colour accents and contrasting elements elsewhere in your kitchen. Light fixtures, appliances, hardware, and even countertops in a contrasting or bold colour can add an original touch to your interior.
Retro kitchen furniture pairs wonderfully with vibrant reds or fluorescent hues. In such a context, chartreuse, bright green, yellow, and even purple add personality to your kitchen.
As for contemporary designs, there are dozens of colour schemes to inspire your new look. Neutral tonalities are easy to mix and match in all décors. Darker greys, rust, copper, and dark browns are beautiful choices in an industrial style or contemporary kitchen. Pair them with natural stone or quartz countertops in matching shades for a touch of class.
Shabby chic kitchen cupboards pair with stone, light blue, or pearl pink. Black is a popular choice for all modern kitchen cabinets, above all when it comes in a chalky finish.
Multi-coloured cupboards are a popular choice in modern environments. We suggest using a lighter shade on top and a darker shade on the bottom units, but it’s easy to mix and match hues and tonalities according to your personal tastes.
Very easy to use and coming in 42 attractive colours, Painter’s Touch by Rust-Oleum is one of the most versatile kitchen cupboard paints on the market – and our favourite. This multi-purpose paint is decorative and protective at the same time. A range of finishes gives you the possibility to choose from retro-gloss, satin or matt.
Suitable for interior and exterior use, the paint is suitable for wood, metal, and ceramic. Typical applications include painting of kitchen cabinets and furniture, sanitary objects, frames, vases, door and window trims, and general DIY applications.
Of all the colours and finishes available, we tried Gloss White, which is a beautiful choice for both traditional and modern kitchens. The aerosol paint was very easy to apply, and the fast-drying formulation helped us finish work in a jiffy. Touch dry in 20 minutes, the product can be recoated after one hour and it hard-dries in 24 hours.
The paint, although exceptional, comes with a slight downside. It can only cover about 2m²/litre depending on the surface porosity and profile. When applied over a primer and on a similar colour, one coat may be sufficient, though.
Despite this, the aerosol spray makes the paint easy to work with. The product comes in 400ml containers, and it usually takes two or three tubes to achieve satisfactory results. But even if this turns into quite an expensive solution, the quality pays off in the long run.
Johnstone’s Revive impressed us with its incredible price and exceptional quality. Coming in 5 contemporary yet traditional colours, this chalky furniture paint is ideal to use on kitchen cabinets and can seamlessly integrate with any décor. Specially formulated to cover almost all surfaces without preparation, the product dries to a smooth chalky finish.
Shabby-chic colours integrate stylishly in traditional and modern interiors, while the tough and durable finish is scratch and stain resistant.
Surface protection is key to a good cupboard paint, and Johnstone’s has it in buckets. Moreover, the finish can further be protected with finishing waxes available in the same product range. Formulated for furniture but easy to apply on other wooden surfaces, the paint is easy to apply and has a great coverage.
For an easier application, we recommend using a roller instead of a brush. However, even when applied with a brush, the results are definitely more consistent.
The thing we like best is the coverage. A litre of paint is sufficient for up to 12m² and the water-based formulation make it easy to thin the product if necessary.
The only drawback is that the paint often dries to a colour lighter or darker than expected. This is of course a frequent issue with many paints, but it is very annoying.
When the time has come to renovate your kitchen cabinets, Rust-Oleum Chalky Finish certainly delivers playful versatility. Suitable for interior use and especially effective on wooden surfaces, this water-based furniture paint dries to an elegant, smooth matt finish and is available in 31 inspiring colours.
The chalky formulation is ideal to use on all high-traffic surfaces due to its exceptional resistance to scratches, while each of the colours blend well with all interior styles. From neutral to dramatic, finding your preferred tonality in the Rust-Oleum product range is easy.
Covering up to 14m²/litre, Chalky Finish can be applied on most surfaces without priming or sanding. However, if you’re painting a veneer or laminate profile, sanding and priming might be necessary.
Viscosity ensures an easy application and consistent results with either a paintbrush or a roller, but the paint dries fast and is sometimes hard to handle. Unless you’re making a substantial colour change, one coat is usually enough, while the product dries in less than two hours. If necessary, a second coat can be applied after four hours.
We also like that the paint is water-based. It has a low odour, which is great for a kitchen paint, and the product can be easily thinned with water if needed. Non-toxic, it can be handled safely in all enclosed spaces, even where ventilation is not the best. The product is supplied in 125ml and 750ml tins respectively.
Melamine and MDF are two popular kitchen cabinet materials. Inexpensive and aesthetically pleasant, these two materials have literally invaded most kitchens, replacing the nobler wood or its more expensive alternatives. Weaker than hardwood, melamine and MDF need more maintenance and are harder to redecorate with paint.
However, we found it easy to refurbish melamine kitchen cabinets with the Ronseal One Coat paint formulated specifically for melamine cupboards. Covering up to 8m²/litre, this paint is easy to apply and dries in about two hours.
Sanding the surface is the only preparation required. The product adheres well to melamine and MDF without priming and is suitable to use on cupboards, furniture, doors, and more.
One coat is usually enough to achieve a smooth, flattering result, and the product is washable and easy to maintain. Ideal to apply in high-traffic areas, this paint is also tough and durable, resistant to scratches and stains.
Leaving a stunning finish, the product is easy to apply with a paintbrush. The only thing we don’t like is the solvent-based formulation. The product is toxic and flammable, so you’ll have to pay attention where and how you use it.
If you want to revive the natural colour of your natural wood kitchen cabinets, Dulux Wood Sheen could be the product for you. Like everything Dulux, this is a high-quality product that acts as a 2-in-1 wood stain and varnish. Offering durable protection both inside and out, the varnish is suitable for interior and exterior use.
This water-based varnish comes in 8 attractive colours, is easy to apply with a paintbrush and dries to a smooth sheen finish that is durable and easy to clean. Formulated to lock the colour into the wood, Wood Sheen acts as a durable barrier that protects the material from every day wear and tear.
Brilliant and elegant, the product also has an exceptional coverage. A flawless finish requires two coats, but with a coverage up to 20m²/litre, a 750ml tin is usually sufficient to paint all kitchen cabinets. We like the quick-drying formula that helps make the whole process a breeze.
Another thing we like is the water-based formula. The varnish is easy to clean from the brushes or thin if needed. It’s non-toxic and suitable to work with in enclosed spaces. The only thing we don’t like is that the colour has been known to dry slightly differently than you might think.
HOW TO PAINT KITCHEN CUPBOARDS & CABINETS
• Furniture paint
• Drop cloths
• Painter’s tape
• Roller tray
Step 1 – Prepare The Surface
Painting kitchen furniture is creative work that requires some artistic imagination and minimal DIY skills. However, the success of the project is usually dependent on the preparation of the surface. The first step is to remove all objects from the cabinets and any hanging accessories.
The most important factor is to clean all surfaces to be painted, including all freestanding and walls units. Stains and grease can prevent the paint from setting on the surface, leading to an unflattering result.
It’s also necessary to remove all mobile parts, such as drawers, knobs, handles, and in some cases even the doors.
Once all stains and dirt are removed, smoothen all surfaces with sandpaper, then clean the dust with a dry cloth. Lay a drop cloth on the floor and seal with painter’s tape all areas not to be painted. If you’re using a spray or aerosol paint, fix nylon drop cloth on the walls to protect them.
Step 2 – Prime The Surface
On the market, there are many furniture paints that claim they adhere perfectly and provide an exceptional coverage on un-primed surfaces. We’ve tested some of them and they did provide great results. However, we still recommend priming the surface for the simple reason that paint will need less maintenance and will resist longer.
Depending on the material, choose a suitable wood, MDF, or melamine primer. Apply as instructed and cure for at least 24 hours before applying the paint.
As mentioned above, this step can be skipped when using a paint that doesn’t require a primer. You’ll still get great results.
Step 3 – Paint Your Kitchen Cupboards
Paint the cabinets in the colour of your choice using a paintbrush or roller. The best technique is to paint the edges first and then all of the remaining space. Paint first the inside of the cabinets and then the outside, without neglecting the bottom of individual accessories, such as any fixed shelves.
The last step is to paint all removed units, like drawers, knobs, and doors. Wait for the paint to dry before placing the removed parts back in their place.
If painting with a spray or aerosol paint, apply the product from a distance of at least 30cm, to ensure an aesthetically appealing result.