Do You Paint Both Sides of Kitchen Cabinet Doors? Exploring the Best Techniques

Are you planning to paint your kitchen cabinets? Then, you might probably be wondering whether to paint both sides of the cabinet doors. Painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets is not something that is often thought of when considering a kitchen remodel. But, doing so can add a pop of personality to your kitchen, and create a more polished look.

Painting both sides of the kitchen cabinet doors can be a time-consuming process, but it is a worthwhile one. When you open the cabinet doors, a nice burst of color and contrast is realized, making your kitchen appear to be larger, brighter, and more spacious. Meanwhile, the clean, white inside creates a sense of openness and cleanliness. So, if you want your cabinets to have a more polished look, it is worth the extra effort to paint both sides of the doors.

In conclusion, painting both sides of the kitchen cabinet doors can add depth, character, and style to your kitchen. Although it may take a little more effort, the added expense of painting both sides will be rewarded with the satisfaction of having a polished, designer-inspired kitchen. Whether you are in the market for a complete kitchen remodel or just a simple update, painting both sides of the cabinet doors is a simple and effective way to enhance the look and feel of your kitchen.

Tips for Painting Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Painting kitchen cabinet doors can be a daunting task, but it’s a great way to update your kitchen without breaking the bank. However, there are some things that you should keep in mind before you get started to ensure that your painted cabinets look fantastic.


  • Remove the cabinet doors and drawers and label them so you know where they go.
  • Clean the cabinet doors and frames with soap and water to remove any dirt or grease. Sand the surfaces with fine-grit sandpaper to provide a good surface for the paint to adhere to.
  • Fill any holes or gaps with wood filler and sand them once they are dry.


When it comes to painting your kitchen cabinet doors, you have a few options. You can use a brush, a roller, or a sprayer. Here are some tips to help you get the best results:

  • If you use a brush, choose a high-quality brush to avoid leaving brush marks on the surface of the paint.
  • If you use a roller, use a narrow roller with a high-density foam cover to avoid leaving roller marks on the surface of the paint.
  • If you use a sprayer, make sure you have enough space to work in and cover any surfaces you don’t want to paint with plastic sheeting. Practice on a piece of cardboard before you begin to ensure that you get a good finish.

Drying and Reassembling

Once you have painted the cabinet doors, you need to allow them to dry completely before reassembling them. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times. Once the paint is dry, you can reattach the doors and drawers to the cabinet frames. Make sure you have all the hinges, knobs, and pulls ready to go before you start reassembling everything.


Painting kitchen cabinet doors is a great way to breathe new life into your kitchen without spending a lot of money. By following these tips, you can ensure that your painted cabinets look fantastic and that the process is as smooth as possible.

Tips Benefits
Label your cabinet doors and drawers before you remove them Ensures easy reassembly and avoids confusion
Clean the surfaces before painting Removes dirt, grease, and provides a good surface for paint to adhere to
Filling gaps and holes with wood filler Provides a smooth surface for painting and avoids gaps in the final finish
Choose the right brush, roller, or sprayer to paint Avoids brush and roller marks, and ensures an even finish
Allow the painted surfaces to dry fully before reassembling Ensures the paint is properly cured, avoids damage to the finish, and avoids reattaching sticky hinges and knobs

Follow these tips, and your painted kitchen cabinet doors will turn out great!

Prepping Surfaces Before Cabinet Painting

Before painting your kitchen cabinet doors, it is important to prepare the surfaces properly. Prepping surfaces may seem like an unnecessary and time-consuming task, but it will ensure a successful and long-lasting paint job.

  • Remove cabinet doors: Before starting the prepping process, remove all cabinet doors and hardware.
  • Clean the surfaces: Use a degreaser or a mixture of warm water and mild soap to clean the surfaces. Make sure to remove all dirt, grime, and grease as it can prevent paint from adhering properly. Rinse with clean water and let it dry completely.
  • Sand the surfaces: Sand the surfaces with a fine-grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or bumps. This will help the primer and paint adhere better to the surface. Remove all sanding dust with a clean cloth.

After completing these steps, it is important to inspect the cabinets for any damages, cracks, or holes. Use a wood filler to fix the issues, sand the filled areas smooth, and wipe with a cloth to remove any dust.

Another important step in prepping surfaces is to apply a high-quality primer. A primer will help the paint adhere better to the surface and prevent any stains or tannin bleed-through from the wood. For best results, choose a primer that is specifically formulated for the type of surface you are painting.

Types of Primers Advantages Disadvantages
Oil-based primer Excellent adhesion and stain-blocking properties Long drying time, strong fumes, and difficult to clean up with water
Water-based primer Fast drying time, easy to clean up with water, and low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) May not adhere well to glossy surfaces and may raise the grain of the wood
Shellac-based primer Excellent stain-blocking properties, fast drying time, and works well on difficult surfaces Strong odors, difficult to clean up with water, and may require sanding between coats

Once the primer has dried completely, it’s time to paint your kitchen cabinet doors. By properly prepping surfaces, you’ll be ensuring a successful and long-lasting paint job that will transform your kitchen into a beautiful and welcoming space.

Applying Primer Before Cabinet Painting

Before starting the actual painting process, it’s important to apply a good quality primer to your kitchen cabinet doors. Primer as a base coat provides a smooth, even surface for the paint to adhere to. Here are some reasons why you should always use a primer before painting your kitchen cabinets:

  • Primer helps to seal the wood on the doors, ensuring that the paint adheres smoothly to the surface.
  • It prevents the wood from absorbing the paint, which can cause warping or uneven coloration.
  • A primer helps to cover up any small blemishes on the surface of the door, giving your new paint job a fresh and clean appearance.

Types of Primer for Kitchen Cabinets

There are different types of primers that you can use depending on the type of cabinet material. Primers come in various forms such as oil-based, water-based, and shellac-based. An oil-based primer is ideal for kitchen cabinets made from reasonably new wood. It requires extended drying times, but it provides excellent adhesion and durability. Water-based primer is great for cabinets made from MDF and is non-flammable and has low toxic fumes. Shellac-based primer is very useful for cabinets that have a lot of knots, as it seals the wood surface and prevents the knots from bleeding through the paint.

How to Apply Primer to Your Cabinets

When applying primer to your kitchen cabinets, it’s critical to ensure that the surface is clean and well-sanded to ensure the primer adheres correctly. Here are some step-by-step instructions on how to apply primer to your kitchen cabinets:

  1. Remove all cabinet doors, drawers and hardware, and hinges from your cabinets. Make sure to label and keep the hardware safely so you can replace them later.
  2. Clean the cabinet surfaces with a degreaser for cabinets that are greasy and a household cleaner for cabinet doors that do not have grease. This step is necessary because it ensures the primer adheres to the surface correctly.
  3. Sand the cabinet surfaces to smooth out any rough spots using an 80- to a 120-grit sandpaper. Wipe the cabinet doors and frames with a damp cloth to remove any debris from this process.
  4. Using a paintbrush or a roller apply the primer on the cabinets starting with the cabinet frames, then drawers, and doors. Remember to apply the primer in light coats, ensuring that you don’t add too much primer, which could cause a drip or abnormal drying. Let the primer dry for four to six hours before applying any paint topcoats.


Applying primer is a crucial step in painting kitchen cabinets that should not be skipped. It provides a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to, ensuring that your cabinets look flawless once the finish coat is applied. When choosing a primer, it’s important to understand the type of material and the level of your cabinets so you can select the primer that best for your project.

Choosing the Right Paint for Cabinet Doors

When it comes to painting kitchen cabinet doors, choosing the right paint is crucial in achieving a professional-looking finish. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Type of paint: There are two main types of paint to choose from: oil-based and water-based. Oil-based paint is more durable and gives a smoother finish, but it takes longer to dry and produces more fumes. Water-based paint dries faster and has minimal odor, but it may not be as durable as oil-based paint.
  • Color: Lighter colors tend to show less dirt and wear, while darker colors can make a bold statement. Consider the overall color scheme of your kitchen and choose a shade that complements it.
  • Finish: The sheen of your paint can also affect the final look of your cabinet doors. A gloss finish is shiny and reflective, while a matte finish is more subdued. Satin and semi-gloss finishes are somewhere in between.

It’s important to note that there are also specialty paints made specifically for cabinets that can provide extra durability and smoothness. These paints may come at a higher cost, but they can save you time and money in the long run by minimizing the need for touch-ups and repainting.

Before you begin painting, make sure to properly prep your cabinet doors by cleaning and sanding them. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and results in a flawless finish.

Wrap Up

Choosing the right paint for your kitchen cabinet doors can make all the difference in achieving a professional and long-lasting finish. Consider the type of paint, color, and finish that will work best for your kitchen, and don’t be afraid to invest in specialty cabinet paints for even better results.

Type of Paint Pros Cons
Oil-Based Durable, smooth finish Takes longer to dry, produces fumes
Water-Based Dries faster, minimal odor May not be as durable

By taking the time to choose the right paint for your kitchen cabinet doors and properly prepping and painting them, you can achieve a beautiful and functional kitchen that will last for years to come.

Painting Techniques for a Professional Look

If you want your kitchen cabinet doors to look professional, it is important to pay attention to the painting techniques used. Ensuring that you paint both sides of the cabinet doors is essential for a clean, polished look. Here are some techniques to keep in mind:

  • Preparation: Before you start painting, make sure to clean the cabinet doors thoroughly. Remove the hardware and fill any holes or dents with wood filler. Sand the surface of the doors to create a smooth surface for the paint.
  • Priming: Using a primer ensures that the paint adheres to the surface of the doors. Apply a coat of primer and let it dry completely before painting. This will also help prevent any bleed-through of stains or wood tannins.
  • Painting: Use a high-quality paint and a small foam roller to apply thin, even coats of paint. Avoid using too much paint at once as this can cause drips and uneven drying. Allow the paint to dry completely between coats.
  • Sanding: Once the paint is completely dry, use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of the doors. This will remove any imperfections and create a smooth surface for the final coat of paint.
  • Final Coat: Apply a final coat of paint for a polished look. Depending on the color and type of paint used, you may need more than one coat to achieve the desired result.

Additional Tips for a Professional Result

In addition to the techniques mentioned above, here are some extra tips to achieve a professional result:

• Use a paint sprayer for a smooth, even finish.

• Choose a high-quality paintbrush for any detailed areas or touch-ups.

• Allow sufficient drying time for each coat of paint.

• Avoid painting in areas with high humidity, as this can cause the paint to dry unevenly.

• Finally, ensure that the painted cabinet doors are completely dry before re-installing the hardware and re-attaching them to the kitchen cabinets.

A Comparison of Spray Painting vs. Brush Painting

While brush painting is a traditional and widely-used method for painting kitchen cabinet doors, it is worth considering using a paint sprayer. Here is a comparison of the two:

Brush Painting Spray Painting
Slower process Quicker process
More control over the amount of paint used Less control over the amount of paint used
Lower cost Higher cost
Good for small areas or detailed work Good for large areas or surfaces with a lot of detail
Produces a textured finish Produces a smooth, even finish

Ultimately, the decision to use a spray painter or brush painting will depend on the size of the project, the desired finish, and personal preference. Whichever method you choose, following the proper painting techniques will ensure that you end up with professional-looking kitchen cabinet doors that will last for years to come.

Maintaining Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Painting your kitchen cabinets can be a great way to update your kitchen and give it a fresh new look. However, it’s important to remember that the maintenance of painted cabinets is just as important as the painting process itself. Here are some tips to help you maintain your painted kitchen cabinets.

  • Regular Cleaning: You should clean your painted kitchen cabinets regularly, using a mild detergent and warm water. This helps remove any dirt or grime that may have accumulated on the surface of the cabinets. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, as they can damage the surface of the paint.
  • Avoid Water Damage: Water can be your cabinets worst enemy, particularly when it comes to painted surfaces. Be sure to wipe up any spills or splashes immediately to prevent water damage. Additionally, avoid placing any wet items directly on the surface of the cabinets, as this can also lead to water damage.
  • Protect from Heat Damage: Heat can also damage the surface of painted cabinets, so it’s important to take precautions to protect them. Use trivets or hot pads when placing hot dishes on the surface of the cabinets, and avoid placing any hot appliances directly on the painted surface.

In addition to the tips above, you may need to periodically touch up the paint on your cabinets to keep them looking their best. This is particularly true in high-traffic areas, such as around handles or knobs, where the paint may wear off faster. Using the same type of paint and following the original painting process can help ensure that the touch-up blends in seamlessly with the rest of the cabinet surface.

Proper maintenance of painted kitchen cabinets can help prolong their lifespan and keep them looking their best for years to come.

If you are unsure of how to maintain your painted kitchen cabinets, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional. They can provide you with expert advice and ensure that your cabinets stay looking their best.

Alternatives to Painting Kitchen Cabinets

What if you’re not a fan of painting your kitchen cabinet doors? Fortunately, there are several alternatives to consider. Here are seven options to consider:

  • Refacing: This involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts, while leaving the cabinet boxes in place. It’s a great option if you don’t want to replace the entire cabinets but still want an updated look.
  • Replacing: This is a more drastic step, but if your cabinets are outdated or falling apart, it may be time to invest in new cabinets altogether.
  • Staining: If you like the natural look of wood, staining your kitchen cabinets may be a great alternative to painting. Just make sure to properly prepare the wood before staining, as any imperfections will be highlighted.
  • Adding new hardware: Changing out the hardware on your kitchen cabinets can make a big impact. Consider choosing hardware that has a different finish or style than what you currently have to give your cabinets a fresh look.
  • Removing cabinet doors: An open shelving concept can give your kitchen an airy feel. Consider removing some or all of your cabinet doors and displaying your dishes or decor on the shelves.
  • Wrapping: If you’re not keen on painting, consider wrapping your cabinets with adhesive vinyl. It’s a popular option for renters who don’t want to make permanent changes, as well as for homeowners who want to change the look of their cabinets without the hassle of paint.
  • Decoupage: You can cover your kitchen cabinet doors with a patterned paper or fabric using decoupage glue. This DIY option is a great way to add some personality to your kitchen without the cost of new cabinets or paint.

No matter which alternative you choose, make sure it’s a decision that aligns with your personal style and budget. Your kitchen cabinets are an important part of your home, and with a little creativity, you can give them a fresh look that you’ll love.

Do You Paint Both Sides of Kitchen Cabinet Doors?

1. Should I paint both sides of my kitchen cabinet doors?
Yes, it’s recommended to paint both sides of your kitchen cabinet doors to ensure they remain durable and resistant to moisture and humidity.

2. What happens if I only paint one side?
If you only paint one side of your kitchen cabinet doors, they may warp or become damaged due to exposure to moisture and humidity.

3. Do I need to sand both sides before painting?
Yes, it’s important to sand both sides of your kitchen cabinet doors to ensure the paint adheres properly and provides a smooth finish.

4. What type of paint should I use for both sides?
You should use a high-quality, durable paint that’s designed for use on kitchen cabinets such as oil-based paints or acrylic urethane paints.

5. Is it necessary to prime both sides before painting?
Yes, it’s important to prime both sides of your kitchen cabinet doors to ensure the paint adheres properly and provides a smooth, even finish.

6. How long will it take to paint both sides of my kitchen cabinet doors?
The time it takes to paint both sides of your kitchen cabinet doors depends on the size of your kitchen, the type of paint you’ve chosen, and your painting skills, but it typically takes a few hours to a couple of days.

7. Do I need to remove the cabinet doors to paint both sides?
Yes, it’s recommended to remove your kitchen cabinet doors before painting both sides to ensure you get an even and thorough coat of paint on both sides.

A Fresh Coat of Paint Can Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets

Now that you know the importance of painting both sides of your kitchen cabinet doors, you can start planning your next DIY project. Remember to use high-quality paint, sand and prime both sides, and remove the doors before painting for the best results. Thanks for reading and be sure to visit us again for more helpful home improvement tips!