So I Painted My Kitchen Cabinets, Part One

Every once in awhile I’ll get a big idea, and then about ten minutes into implementing said idea I’ll wonder what in the sam hill I’ve gotten myself into.

That’s pretty much exactly what happened when I started painting my kitchen cabinets.

But I have to say – now that it’s all said and done – that it really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It was sort of fun, actually. I think I’m just obsessive enough that I enjoy taking on a big project and then resolving over and over again that THE BIG PROJECT WILL NOT BEAT ME, OH NO IT WILL NOT. I WILL WIN.

Now before I get too far gone in this little decorating tale, I probably should explain why I decided to paint my kitchen cabinets, which led to re-working all of my accessories in my kitchen, which led to crafting some new curtains for my kitchen, which led to BIG HAPPY SMILEY JOY at the changes in our kitchen / breakfast room area.

(Sidenote: I feel like I need to tell my friend Bubba – who is a deeply gifted interior designer – that he might want to run from his computer before he sees what I have wrought.)

(Bubba, there is a lot of color on the horizon. You know how I love color. And I also know that you love me enough to forgive me of my color-related trespasses, amen.)

First of all, my kitchen cabinets looked like this before I got started.

They weren’t too bad – just outdated and pretty beaten up. Creme-colored paint on the cabinet frames and white doors. Paint rubbed off in spots. Stainless and white hardware. Very 80s. And given my love for bursts of color, the cabinets felt a little bit blah.

I mean, have you noticed my blog colors? Not exactly subtle.


When we moved in this house the walls in the kitchen looked fine, but they weren’t a color I would have picked: a deep blue called Swamp Willow. However, since the paint job was pretty stinkin’ awesome, there was no way I was going to paint over it – especially since it’s one of those textured Ralph Lauren deals – until the paint started to fall off or the color blue made my eyes bleed, whichever came first.

Much to my surprise, the color has actually grown on me over the last two and a half years. I especially love the way the leaves outside my kitchen windows pop against the blue walls. And about a year ago, I told my husband that I might want to paint the kitchen cabinets a really light – but sort of smoky – green. He smiled and sighed – his usual response when I start to get the new project glaze in my eyes since new projects tend to turn me into AN OBSESSIVE FORCE THE LIKES OF WHICH YOU HAVE NEVER KNOWN.

Anyhoo, last week there were two separate things that finally prompted me to take the paint-the-kitchen-cabinets plunge.

The first one was this painting that I showed to you a few posts ago.

Blues and greens. Oh, I do love them together.

The second one was that my cousin Paige reminded me of some fabric that I got from my mama when she and Daddy moved to a new house about four years ago.

Mama had about ten yards of it, and I thought it was ever-so-kicky and fun. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, but I figured at some point I’d find the perfect spot for it. It belonged to my Aunt Roxie, and according to Mama, the fabric is about fifty years old. I adore it.

The painting and the fabric were just the inspiration I needed. I went to the Sherwin-Williams (I joined their Preferred Customer club and got 15% off my paint since it wasn’t on sale), decided on a color, then came home and got-to-paintin’.

Here is where I will pause and offer three cabinet painting tips that I learned during this process (or as Jillian would say: PRO-cess).

1) Spend ten more dollars and buy really good paint because it will make the job so much easier. I bought Sherwin Williams’ Pro Classic semi-gloss, and it was a DREAM to work with. Worth every penny.

2) Don’t assume that you have to run out and buy all new kitchen cabinet hardware. I used Rustoleum Hammered spray paint in brown, and it transformed my hardware for about $5.

Seriously. I started with this:

And ended with this:


3) Read The Nester’s cabinet painting tutorial.

Okay – I believe I’ve rambled enough. So I will show you the shiny “new” cabinets. Just keep in mind that I’m having a devil of a time getting pictures of the cabinets where they still don’t look white – the green is pretty light, and it’s not showing up quite like it does in real life. Therefore comma some of these pictures are a little dark because I took them without a flash, oh thank you.

But nevertheless.

One unexpected bonus is that late in the afternoon the cabinets take on a completely different shade – the green darkens and starts to look just a wee bit blue-green. For whatever reason. And I do enjoy it.

By the way, there was one day last week when I decided that I was insane for painting my cabinets anything other than white or beige. But then I picked up the little man from Vacation Bible School, and he gave me two crafts he’d made.

The first thing was a bracelet, which I eventually tied to one of my cabinets as a reminder of my unexpected color confirmation:

The second thing was a cross he painted:

Blue and green definitely seemed to be the theme. So I decided that maybe I was on the right color track after all. And regardless of the color, there’s something to be said for having cabinets that are clean and fresh and crisp. It’s a welcome change of pace around here.

As soon as I can get my pictures together – and if you can muster the will to read after surviving this epistle – I’ll show y’all the curtains I “made” for our breakfast room without sewing a single stitch (thanks, Nester!).

Have a great Monday, everybody.

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  1. Your cabinents are SO FUN :D

    and well if your little one came home from VBS with matching accessories for it, then that is your confirmation from God that it was meant to be :P haha

    Have a Blessed Week :)

  2. Those look great! And holy cow, how I wish my kitchen looked like that! I suppose if I did dishes it may…

    I was thinking of you last night as I watched the new show with Amy Grant, “Three Wishes”. Did you catch it? PHENOMENAL. You absolutely must watch it. The episode last night was about Sonora CA & I don’t know when it will be on again, but you definitely have to see it! So wonderful!!

  3. LOVE the cabinets – a whole new look.

    I plan to reveal my new kitchen makeover either the end of this week, or at the latest next week – it is finally finished.

    Did you paint your cupboards to match your blog? Which came first, the blog or the cabinets?!!

  4. I am a first grade teacher who has looked forward to summer for, oh, the last nine months (kidding). Now it is here and I can’t seem to find the ummpphh to get my projects going. You have inspired me, Boo. Can’t wait to see your curtains!

  5. Debbie says:


    BEAUTIFUL color…Can not wait to see the fabric done up…Talent!Yess indeed!

  6. Looks wonderful! And you did this in a mere week?

    I love the Walter Anderson print. Is that a Pittman pattern that I don’t know? Mississippi, she is artistically gifted.

  7. Oh. My. Goodness. That picture of just your cabinets. I know you expected us to all marvel – and I did, I love the hardware – but my heart just skipped a beat. Your kitchen AND cabinets are identical to my in-laws’. I might have to forward this to her so she can deal with her awful hardware as well!

    I’m going to go ahead and assume you folks are neighbors.

  8. What a difference! I lu-HUV the color. Congrats!

  9. Gorgeous! What an accomplishment! I’m getting geared up to paint a built in desk/cabinet thingy we have in the kitchen. This was just the inspiration I needed.

  10. Yes, I did the same to my cabinet hardware and save mega bucks with the 45 or so new knobs it would have taken! Love the job and can’t wait to see that gorgeous fabric made up in your kitchen….I LOVE blue and green together, too! Perfect combo!

  11. They look great! Kudos to you for doing it cheaply and finding yourself in a new kitchen. And I just recently did mistreatments in my kitchen, too, and wonder why I ever thought sewing needed to take place. I fooled my interior designer sister-in-law, which is saying a lot. Can’t wait to see those curtains!

  12. I need to paint my kitchen cabinets. But then, I’m still stuck with the 1976 goldenrod countertop and chippy tile floor. Oh, someday we’ll have the extra to make it all spiffy-like.

    In the meantime, I just have to ignore the ugliness and know that it is purely functional right now.

    Looks great!

  13. That’s a really pretty shade of white.

  14. Green and blue = my favorite color combo too. How fun!

  15. Well done!

  16. The cabinets look great! I keep talking about painting mine, but I hate painting. Want to come paint mine for me? ;)

  17. I think they look great!

    Have you seen the paint commercial about green being calming and the kids start reading War and Peace upon entering the room?

  18. The cabinets look so great!! And I love that beautiful colorful plate on your counter!!

  19. Hey Sophie!
    I saw you from afar at VBS this week. We still need to meet up before summer if over.
    On a different note,
    we made an offer on your pastor’s house. They seem like a sweet couple. Pray they accept our 2nd offer!

  20. I am not a fan of painted cabinets. Usually. However, in your case I will make an exception, because WOW! I LOVE IT! Can’t wait to see your curtains, because I can’t sew and maybe they will bring me hope.

    I’ve been painting my kitchen walls. It amazes me how much change you can buy in one can o’ paint.

  21. Love. Love the green, love the blue, love the fabric, the whole she-bang. I have a “thing” for paint that changes colors by the hour. Gives me something to entertain myself with around here.

  22. One week? That would have taken me a month to complete. It would have had the two toned effect for a while! They look great! You are such a determined woman!

  23. Ooooohhhhhh I love it Boomama! LOVE IT. It makes me happy. It makes me smile.
    I’m so impressed with you right now. I don’t know if I could have taken that on.
    So proud of you. LOVE IT!!!

  24. Blue + green is my all-time favorite color combo,too. Your kitchen is beautiful, Sophie. And hopefully, it makes you all the happier to have done the work yourself. There’s something satisfying about that.

  25. Why does everyone think I don’t like color????? Green is the new beige Boo…and green and blue together? Harmony! LOVE the fabric!!!

  26. They look great! Little man did a great job on the bracelet and the cross!

  27. They look great! You’re always welcome to work your magic at our place ;)

  28. Wonderful color choices – and wise move on the hardware – new handles and pulls are ridiculously expensive – spray paint is our friend. I cannot paint my kitchen – when we built our house we purchased custom cherry wood cabinetry – nope – never gonna touch it with paint.

  29. I love them! I’m rather jealous, actually. We are still trying to sell, and honestly, the painted cabinets don’t go over as well here as they do in the South. Bummer for me!

  30. I LOVE your “new” kitchen!! I, too, love blue…..any shade. I have it, even if it’s just a touch, in almost every room. My poor kids….I’ve probably sickened them on blue. My daughter and her husband just built a new house and the only spot of blue is in my new grandson’s room. She is the green-yellow-bittersweet-orange type person. But, my daughter-in-law loves blue, too! How lucky is that?!?

    I love the fabric, too! I love the fact that it was an aunt’s and is a family “heirloom”. My love for blue came from a special aunt, too. Blue was not a popular decorating color in the late 60’s and 70’s when I was growing up.

    I teach fifth grade and this is my 1st day out of school for the summer. (My “baby” is officially a SENIOR!!) You’ve inspired me, Boomama, to get busy around here!!!

  31. Okay #1, I’m a little bent out of shape you’re makin’ us wait to see the curtains because that fabric made my knees go a little Jello-y and I freely admit I scrolled right on past the host of lovely green cabinet pictures to get to where you showcased the window treatments (and the angels would sing and all that!)

    #2 I do like the cabinets. Grandmama FriedOkra had cabinets that color in her kitchen back in the day and I immediately felt right at home when I saw yours. Are you not clever for refurbishing your hardware? Clever!

    Now make with the curtain photos, woman!

  32. I am a true blue & green fan too! We have both colors in the dining room, living room, and kitchen, and we have green in every other room of our house! They are so soothing and versatile!

    I just finished spray painting the hardware in my bathroom because of your tip last week about the Rustoleum hammered brown paint! I love them and can’t wait for them to dry, so that I can do more!!!

  33. Really, it’s wonderful. Very fresh and clean. What are you going to do with the fabric?

    I have been trying to work up the nerve to paint my kitchen cabinets black. But I have a LOT of cabinetry and I’m a little concerned we might look like a family of vampires. I haven’t decided yet.

  34. Looks wonderful! Can you come to TX and do mine! BTW I am loving the CD from Travis that I won! Thanks again!!!

  35. Beautiful!!! Can’t wait to see the curtains.

  36. They look Amazing!!! That was a lot of work you did there young lady and a fine job too! Makes me wish my cabinets weren’t maple and I could paint them. Great job!

  37. Good for you, BooMama! Great job on the door handles. They look like you spent $5 on EACH handle.

  38. Kellye says:

    What a nice job you did. Looks great. I love the hardware. Please give us an update in 6 months and tell us if you would do anything different after living and using it for a while. I need lots of confirmation before I take such a major step!

  39. It looks lucious, lushious? however you spell it, it looks it and cool as a cucumber too! I’m loving blues and greens right now, of course, I always wreck it up and throw in a dash of red because I own way too much red stuff.

    Hey, ever thought of painting that rim around the counter? I couldn’t see it all that great and I’m sure it is fantastic the way it is. Just you know, if you get the urge to keep painting like there’s no tomorrow.

    See you soon!

  40. Lovely! And it brings out the green tones in the blue paint. Really warms up the kitchen. Great job.

  41. Well, look at you Ms. Sophie! Painting cabinets and all. Looks really pretty & I totally like that old fabric from your mama. That’s gonna look so retro.

  42. Um, LOVE IT! And I do love that blue on the walls, too.

  43. Fabulous job! The colors are soothing and peaceful and very homey. I love the homage to Jillian. Your posts always make me laugh out loud. Keep up the good work!

  44. I LOVE IT–it’s beautiful and “just right.” I love blue and green together too. . .my favorite is when there is a thunderstorm approaching in the summer, and the sky turns that horrible yet beautiful periwinkle blue and the green leaves of the trees seem to take on a life of their own.

  45. This looks fabulous! You did a really good job on those cabinets. I watched that tutorial and it was great…

  46. Ahh, you do inspire me. I started a cabinet redo, but I’m more the take a couple of cabinet doors off at a time girl. I’ve yet to finish this little project and I’ve been at it for …. hmmm, about three years.
    I think I may just finish up those last 4 doors and put on the new hardware.

    Or I could just keep reading blogs and forget all about it.

  47. And that’s what I like to call confirmation. It turned out GREAT :)

  48. You must be too busy transforming your kitchen into a sanity haven to post your Bachelorette recap. I’m anxious to hear your thoughts. Do you think Juan had to enter the witness protection program to escape Dave’s rage?

  49. Lovely re-do! Just found your blog so hadn’t seen your post about the painting but it’s beautiful!

  50. I have to ask the question(s), although it may have already been asked and I’m not wearing my glasses so everything is a little fuzzy (kind of like the vaseline on the lens trick so that the world is in soft focus). But. Did you have to sand and prime? And did you have to take the cabinet doors off?

    Inquiring painting minds want to know. :)

  51. As I read this post, I caught myself muttering aloud, “ooooh.” As in, “that looks really good.” And, “I want my kitchen to look like that.” And, “recessed lighting. I need some of that.”

  52. Dang girl! I am ridiculously impressed. Thinking I might need my own project, but first I think I will let my children dine on Kid Cuisine Frozen dinners. Because I’m the best mom ever.

  53. Cabinets and re-working appliances and curtains…oh my…

    Have you ever read the book ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie’?

  54. Gorgeous!!!
    I painted my cabinet pulls the same way (btw, we had/have the same ones). One tip for those who might be interested. I got those disposable wooden bbq skewers and put them in the ground (outside)….the cabinet pulls sit nicely on them for all over color.
    I love the green!!!!! So sassy and fun!!!!

  55. I just found your blog and can tell right away tht we will be friends! You know why? I spot a Walter Anderson alphabet (I have “J” and “A” in my kitchen) and I do believe I spot some McCarty or Peters atop your fridge. Am I right? I’m a transplant from Meridian to Birmingham, and I’m betting you aren’t too far from me!

  56. They look beautiful and your remark about your husband was funny. Green is my favorite color. We are renting our house now, and our kitchen has very 80’s cabinets, too. Want to come over and do mine? J/k. Great job, and thanks for sharing an inspiring post (looking at my ugly, brown 80’s cabinets now with Boo Mama’s new project glaze in my eyes)

  57. I just had the chance to check the blog and see your cabinets! I think they look great! I think they didn’t look bad to begin with, but this splash of color is so warm and a better touch! I also loved the tip about the handles. I painted my cabinets about a year ago and bought new ones…dern it! :)