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Galley Kitchen Remodel: Painting Kitchen Cabinets

This is my fifth kitchen renovation (can you believe that?!!?), and I’m starting to feel like I sort of, kind of know what I’m doing now. Our galley kitchen remodel is coming along quite nicely! After (finally) deciding on a floor plan, we decided to paint the kitchen cabinets. Painting kitchen cabinets are something I’m no stranger to—I am a firm believer in the power of paint, especially when you are doing a kitchen remodel on a budget!

If you remember where we left off last time, we had just demoed the majority of our kitchen after removing the popcorn ceiling and changing our mind about the layout 100 or so times. 

Kitchen Cabinet Ideas

row of white painted kitchen cabinets with window

Believe it or not, you have a lot of choices if you hate your kitchen cabinets! Here are some simple kitchen cabinet ideas that you can try:

  • paint your kitchen cabinets
  • use a gel stain 
  • remove the cabinet doors and wallpaper the backs of the cabinets for cute open shelving
  • remove your upper kitchen cabinets and opt for tile or open shelving
  • use removable vinyl to add stripes or polka dots to your cabinets (renter-friendly!)
  • order a custom glass panel to turn your cabinets into a showcase
  • rip all the cabinets out and start over again 😉

wanted to go with the last option. The cabinets were honestly SO gross, you guys! Covered in grease and dirt and who knows what else. However, we didn’t have the budget for that, so we instead opted for paint. Actually, there was a brief moment where we had our crew remove the upper cabinets, because I wanted to do a wall of tile with some open shelving, but the next day I decided we didn’t have enough storage in our kitchen (it’s tiny!) and we asked them to pull it out of the bulk trash and put it back. Oops! 

row of dark wood cabinets in an galley kitchen under construction

See the spot on the upper right where cabinets used to be? Yeah, we definitely need those. So we put them back. Phew. 

Cabinet Paint 

So, paint it was. And, of course, we are no stranger to painted cabinets. We did a two-toned navy and white kitchen in our last house. 

We knew we wanted white cabinetry since our kitchen is tiny, but there are only like 2309432908 shades of white to choose from (what is UP with that??!)! Rather than just picking a white we liked, I tried to think really strategically about my choice. We ended up going with Soft Wool by Valspar for Ace because it matches the white Ikea Bodbyn cabinetry (thanks to Chris Loves Julia for this super helpful post!). My thought was, later down the line we have some room to add cabinets, or maybe do a built-in Ikea pantry like we did at our last house. This way, the Ikea items, should we choose to add them, will blend in.

And in the meantime, we get to enjoy the pretty warm white on our cabinets! Also, as you’ll note in the photo below, we had the soffit boxes on top of the cabinets removed and drywalled. More decorating space….holla! 

white painted kitchen cabinets with spot for fridge

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

There are so many ways you can choose to paint your kitchen cabinets—kits from the hardware store, gel stain, chalk paint, etc. In the end, the best way to paint your kitchen cabinets is to hire a crew to do it for you. LOL. I’m half joking, but seriously, if you can swing it, this is one task worth hiring out. Especially if you are pregnant. 😉 

Our crew prepped the area by taping off all the places we didn’t want to be painted, and used a spray paint gun to apply a primer and then the color. They used oil paint, which has worked perfectly! We’ve had our kitchen cabinets painted for months now, with no signs of chips! Woohoo. That’s great news, considering our last kitchen did not have the same lucky fate, as I discussed here. 

Interested in learning how to paint cabinets yourself? Check out my friend Tasha’s post!

So, here’s our back wall of cabinets painted all nice and white! 

wall of painted white kitchen cabinets

Here’s a before/after of the island side—remember we opened up the wall!

kitchen with wood cabinets under construction

white kitchen cabinets in a kitchen under remodl

Please also scroll back up and check out the floor in the before pics. Terrible! The plastic laminate faux tile was cracked in some places, completely uneven and just gross in general. So happy with our new floors! 

Also, see the corner with the stacked boxes in the photo above? That’s where some future cabinetry could go, but it was a bit out of our budget. So, we did something really fun there—come back next time to see what! 😀 

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  1. I would love to tear out my cabinets. Since that isn’t happening I will probably end up painting the cabinets. Yours look so clean and fresh. I love the white, so classic.

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