Painting kitchen cabinets can be a difficult job since there are almost as many different types of cabinet as there are types of paint. If they aren’t compatible with one another, either due to the materials or just how they’re designed, you could end up with a ruined cabinet or a lot of hazardous volatile chemicals and fumes in the air.
Even if you know how to paint kitchen cabinets, you still have to track down the paints, glosses, and finishes that you want to use, and it can be difficult to get an idea of how they perform or look without informed opinions of other customers and hobbyists who’ve used them before.
Below are some of the best paints we could find for kitchen cabinets, as well as some finishes and stains for already painted cabinets.
You might like; Interior paints.
View the Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets, Below.
- General Finishes JQ Oil Base Gel Stain
- Rust-Oleum 263231 Cabinet Transformations
- Rust-Oleum 285140 Ultra Matte Chalked Paint
- Giani Countertop Paint Kit
- Retique It by Renaissance
- KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Primer
- General Finishes MKWQ Chalk Style Paint
- Nuvo Driftwood 1 Day Cabinet Makeover Kit
- Sinopia All Natural Artisanal Milk Paint
- INSL-X CC550109A-01 Cabinet Coat Enamel
1. General Finishes JQ Oil Base Gel Stain
This General Finishes Gel Stain is heavily-bodied to prevent seeping and wood damage, making it ideal for use on natural or treated wood surfaces. Unlike regular oil-based paints, it doesn't generally leak onto other surfaces or between cracks, meaning that it's an excellent choice as both a base coat and an all-in-one coat depending on whether or not your cabinet has already been painted.
Thanks to the smooth, even finish, stains and spills can simply be wiped away after the paint has dried, and dirt or physical messes are easily swept off or mopped up. If you’ve hand-built your own cabinet, or have one that happens to be made from natural rough wood, this gel stain can make the surface more even and much less likely to cause splinters without changing it’s physical appearance too much.
However, if you prefer, you can also choose a completely different color to make all of your wood a completely unified color: if you want to make pine and oak look like ‘java’ wood, you simply need to apply a few extra coats.
This gel stain can completely transform a wood surface without damaging it or the furniture around it.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Rust-Oleum 263231 Cabinet Transformations
This Cabinet Coating System can work for new furniture and old wood cabinets alike, coming with its own instructional DVD that walks you through the process of converting, restoring and maintaining your transformed furniture. The included de-glossing kit helps remove some of the original materials to open it up for easier painting, as well as helping you get rid of any dust and grime that’s left over, allowing you to use a base coat on plain wood.
After that, you can use the glaze to get your desired wood finish or tone – the exact way and amount you use is entirely up to you since it depends on the size and wood type of your cabinet. Since the kit is entirely freeform, you can perform the process however you want – if there are specific paints you’d prefer to use as opposed to the ones in the kit, you can swap them out without needing to get a whole new kit.
This kit gives you plenty of freedom in how you update your cabinets without forcing you to choose a certain style.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Rust-Oleum 285140 Ultra Matte Chalked Paint
This chalked matte paint for kitchen cabinets can be used on a huge range of surfaces, including metal, ceramic, wood and even canvas. Distressing it for an older look is incredibly easy, but not mandatory. The paint dries in only thirty minutes and uses a latex-based, odor-free formula that’s easy to clean and mop up if it ends up making a mess, even by just using water and soap along with a cheap brush or sponge.
A single can of paint contains enough to cover one hundred and fifty square feet in a single coat, but you can also spread it across multiple coats or cabinets to create an entire set of matching furniture. It’s easy to apply even without any major prep work, drying to an ‘ultra-matte’ finish that doesn’t disturb the material underneath or leave toxic flakes and fumes in the air. It can be used with or without a primer, depending on how you want your cabinet to look when it’s done.
This paint is great for quickly re-painting a cabinet surface without having to leave it to dry for hours.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Giani Countertop Paint Kit
The Giani Countertop Paint Kit provides not only your selected color of paint for kitchen cabinets but also a range of other tools and formulas that can help it look good when it's finished. As the name suggests, it mainly focuses on the countertop itself, covering around thirty-five square feet of countertop or workstation space.
A full, heavy coat dries in about sixteen hours, which can vary depending on the exact conditions they’re under, and will be fully ready to use for all purposes within fourteen days – this is because the countertop kit is extremely durable, able to handle even knife cuts and heavy impacts without taking visible damage.
It doesn't just have to be limited to regular counters – you can use the kit on anything with a solid surface, including regular cabinets made of heavier materials. Since it's not limited to wood or even a single material in general, it can end up transforming almost any kind of cabinet or counter.
This kit gives you plenty of options without feeling restrictive or limited in what you can use it for.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Retique It by Renaissance
Retique It’s Renaissance Chalk paint lets you paint cabinets with quick, non-toxic and non-VOC coats that immediately bring a new color to its surfaces. Each can is made with at least seventy-percent emulsified recycled wood, meaning that you’re essentially layering a smooth wood formula onto your existing wood surface, allowing it to work without needing a primer.
Since it’s a zero-emissions paint with almost no odor, it’s easy to let it dry without it bothering you or harming your pets. It’s also hypoallergenic, so allergic reactions are incredibly unlikely even if you have a noted allergy to one of the ingredients. Since it’s even-leveling, you can leave a thick coat on a flat surface and watch it smoothen itself out as it dries, saving you plenty of time and correcting any mistakes you’ve made in terms of paint thickness or distribution.
The real wood used in this paint makes it a unique way to redesign your cabinets.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Primer
This bonding primer allows you to use top coats of paint on even the toughest surfaces, working as an intermediate layer that bonds incompatible paints and surfaces together. A small 1-quart can cover a whole 300 square feet, allowing it to prime entire sets of matching cabinets without running dry. It’s also quick-drying, being safe to touch within thirty minutes and being ready for a new coat of paint within one hour.
KILZ Adhesion can work on a huge variety of surfaces: PVC, glass, vinyl, glazed brick and even things like fiberglass, metal and other coats of paint, among dozens of others. It's meant to be top-coated with either oil-based or latex paints and can handle a lot of pressure or physical damage before showing any signs of cracking. It doesn't flake, even when cleaned or put in contact with water, meaning that it won't cause damage to nearby furniture or put dangerous particles in the air.
This primer can be spread across a huge range of surfaces without damaging any of them.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. General Finishes MKWQ Chalk Style Paint
Versatility is the main reason to use this matt paint for kitchen cabinets – it can be intermixed with other paints to get different colors, or combined with primers and bonding agents for easier use on hard-to-paint surfaces. It's designed to be used indoors, and can be applied with almost any tool – compressed air sprays, brushes, and rollers are all ideal for painting your cabinet quickly. Thanks to its thickness and smooth feel, you might find that this paint acts like two coats in one, completely concealing the surface beneath extremely well.
You don’t necessarily have to use a sealer to prepare the surface as long as it’s not too rough, and since it’s not actually chalk paint (being chalk style paint made of latex), it doesn’t come with any of the vulnerabilities that the chalk paint can regularly have such as chipping. This makes it a great type of paint for kitchen cabinets since it can provide the appearance and feel of chalk paint with the protection, durability, and style of a regular latex paint compound.
This paint coats the surface beneath it really well, letting you completely hide the older material or paint.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Nuvo Driftwood 1 Day Cabinet Makeover Kit
This low-VOC makeover kit lets you update your table, countertop or cabinet with a new surface without putting you or your furniture at risk. The kit provides everything you might need: aside from the paint, there’s also a brush and a roller, stirring sticks and a step by step guide on how to replace your cabinet-top surface and repaint it in the exact way you want. It doesn’t require any extra sealers or top coatings, but you can still choose to use them if you're going to apply it in a certain way.
The deadwood paint included in the kit is best used in thin layers, but each new layer you add can increase its thickness and durability without causing cracking on the surface. It’s easy to apply, doesn’t drip as long as you apply it carefully, and dries to the point where you can touch it incredibly quickly. You can use this to your advantage and so paint small sections independently to get the smoothest coating possible, something that most paints aren’t easily capable of.
This kit contains everything you’d need to completely revamp your cabinets.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Sinopia All Natural Artisanal Milk Paint
This all-natural paint comes ready to use and easy to apply in a sixteen-ounce can, but you can also choose to thin it with regular water for a more diluted covering. Every complex part of the process, from mixing and measuring to weighing and diluting, is completely optional, possibly making this the best paint for kitchen cabinets if you don’t want to stress over the complicated parts of DIY.
Not only can it be thinned with water, but it can also be cleaned up in the same way – a wet mop can easily soak up the paint without ruining either the surface it’s on or the mop itself, and there’s no dangerous chemicals or fumes to worry about while it’s sitting there drying. It can be applied with any tool, even a sponge, and worked on any kind of surface no matter how humid, dry, hot or cold the surrounding area is at the time. The matte finish it provides after it’s dry won’t interfere with other materials or compounds, keeping the end result smooth and simple.
This simple, dilutable paint can be used to cover a wide area without needing a thick coat.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. INSL-X CC550109A-01 Cabinet Coat Enamel
The factory-style finish provided by this INSL-X enamel paint can be used to cover up to four-hundred-and-fifty square feet of cabinet surfaces per gallon, making it great for long-term restorations and upgrades to a whole set of furniture at once. It can be used on any previously-painted surface, no priming or bonding agent necessary, and still provides a high quality, super-smooth satin finish that stays attached to whatever you placed it on, barely even flaking or breaking unless you use the proper tools and compounds to remove it.
The end result can resist chipping, moisture, stains, scuffing, grease and all kinds of heavy physical impacts, and will last for years of daily use without showing any obvious signs of damage or cracking. It also levels itself while drying, meaning that an uneven spread of paint will correct itself without needing much assistance. As an added bonus, it can work on multiple surfaces, including bare metal and wood that’s already been painted over.
This paint provides a factory-style finish and level of protection without needing any specialized equipment to use.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Kitchen Cabinet Paint Buyer’s Guide
Finding the best paint for kitchen cabinets can take a lot of time, and you might end up having to choose between multiple similar brands to find the most ideal type. Thankfully, if you break your search down into individual categories, it can become a lot easier to work out which ones are actually worth your time. While there’s plenty of different things to consider, some aspects stand out a lot more than others: the color, the formula, and the volume. No matter what kind of paint you need, these all play a massive part in the ones you can actually use.
While color generally doesn’t matter, it can still make a difference in what sort of paint you should be looking for. Some colors will only work properly on certain materials or with certain undercoats, so you can’t expect it to work properly on everything in the same way. If you’re trying to find a specific color, look at any example images or reviews and see if it looks normal on the specific material you’re using – you should also follow any instructions or guides included with your paint to make sure that you’re applying it properly, since leaving out an important step could leave you with a spotty or broken pattern that looks worse than it did before you painted it.
Different paint formulas can affect certain materials and surfaces in different ways and can end up creating different-feeling coats of paint after they dry. Some might also let out toxic or irritating fumes and could have certain allergens in them that might trigger allergic reactions in you, your family or your pets. If this happens, you might even have to evacuate the room until it settles, then thoroughly clean it before you can do any more painting or decorating work.
The more paint you have, the more square feet you can cover, but it’s easy to end up with too much by overestimating the amount you’ll need. It’s also easy to do the opposite, underestimating the amount of space you have to cover and leaving you with too little paint to cover your cabinet completely. If you’re trying to paint cabinets that are part of a set, and want them to all look identical, you should make sure that you’re buying enough paint to give them all the amount of coats you need.
Related: Paint Sprayers for Cabinets.
Should I try to Bond my Paint to a Surface it Doesn’t Normally Support?
Bonding agents can be a really helpful way to make paint work in places it normally wouldn’t, but there are still limits to how far you can push it before it stops being an efficient idea. The more bonding formula you require, the larger your budget will need to be, so unless you have money to spare it might be a better idea to focus on finding something that works with the material you’re dealing with.
Remember that not all bonding agents are a guaranteed success, especially on vertical or slanted surfaces. Using a weaker one to try and force a paint to stick might result in a dribbling wet mess that’s really difficult to clean up, and at worst might even erode or seep into your cabinet, causing irreversible changes that you can’t cover up with just paint.
I’ve found two Paints I like. Should I mix Them?
Mixing paint isn’t as easy as it seems on paper, and different paints using different formulas or bases might not work with each other in the way you expect. Colour can play a huge part in this – even if they are fully compatible with one another, you won’t be getting a manufacturer-set color that’s guaranteed to be the same every time, so trying to recreate it exactly for future projects could become a huge pain. On top of that, if they aren’t meant to be mixed together, you might end up with two layers of smudged, tainted paint rather than the nice blend you expect.
Prepping is incredibly important: even if you don’t need to do anything to the paint itself, make sure you’ve cleared the area so nothing can ruin the paint while it’s drying.
Did you know?
Most professionals create little labels for their cabinet doors to make sure that they’re putting them back in the right order – this is really helpful if your kitchen design needs them to follow a color pattern.