The cabinets in my laundry room are a 90s favorite – oak wood cabinets. We just completed a major addition that involved ripping up the wall and ceiling of our laundry room. As a result, it had to be re-drywalled and re-painted. We painted it a very light gray with white trim. The room looked much brighter and airier than it had previously…
…with the exception of the oak wood cabinets. They were an eyesore. We plan on re-doing the laundry room when we re-do our kitchen (which has the same oak wood cabinets) but that's a few years off. In the meantime, I was looking for an inexpensive way to re-do the cabinets so they didn't stand out like a sore thumb.
I did a lot of research online trying to find ways to easily change the cabinets. I didn't want to have to do a lot of sanding or scraping of the old cabinets. There is a lot of information available online on various ways to do it. Most of the methods centered on the type of paint used. Most of the recommendations said to use a milk paint product. I decided to give it a try.
Finding the Right Paint Color
I found a highly recommended paint, General Finishes Milk Paint on Amazon. The paint comes in a lot of different colors so there were options aplenty. Originally I wanted to paint the cabinets gray but didn't want to risk picking a gray that clashed with the very light gray we had in there already.
I decided to go with white as it would match the trim and the various doors in the laundry room. In order to add a little pizazz to the white cabinets, I found some cute laundry-themed cabinet knobs on Etsy.
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- General Finishes Milk Paint
- I ordered one quart in Snow White
- General Finishes High Performance Top Coat
- I bought 1 pint but ended up not using it because the paint can itself said not to use the top coat on Snow White because it could cause the paint to yellow. Had I been using a color like gray, I would have used the top coat
- Paint Deglosser
- I found this at Home Depot
- Foam Roller
- Paint Brush
- Cabinet Knobs
- I found these adorable ones on Etsy
I had all my materials ready to go. The next step was to remove all the cabinet doors from the cabinets.
I detached each door from the cabinet, removing the existing knobs and scraping off the round bumper pads at the bottoms of the doors.
Then I soaked a towel in the deglosser and rubbed it on each door, front and back. Finally I rubbed down the cabinets on the wall. The cabinets and doors felt a little rougher afterwards but not overly so. From what I'd read online, that was exactly how they should feel. The roughness helps went you paint as it gives the paint something to adhere to. The deglossing doesn't take long nor does it take a lot of effort.
Let the Painting Begin
Once the de-glossing was completed and dried, I opened the paint. It was a lot thicker than regular paint you would use to paint your walls. The directions said you can thin it out with water but I decided to use it as is. My theory was the thicker it was, the better coverage I would get. I began painting. I painted each door front and back using the brush for the first coat.
While the first coat dried on the doors, I painted the cabinets on the walls.
I was a little nervous after the first coat because there wasn't the amount of coverage I expected with such a thick paint. The brush strokes were very evident as well. I stayed positive though and pushed forward.
For the second, third, and fourth coats I used the brush to get in the ridges and cut in around the raised areas only. For the bulk of the painting I used a dense foam roller to get a smooth coat. The combination of the two made for a much more thorough and smooth coating without the brush marks I had after the first coat.
After the second coat dried I started to feel more confident. The paint was delivering as expected and starting to really cover up the oak. I pushed forward with the third coat.
The third coat was probably sufficient although it still had a bit of a distressed look. If that's the look you're going for, three coats should do it. I wanted more full coverage and less distressed look so I applied a fourth and final coat.
I was very happy with the way the paint adhered to the doors and the cabinets. Four coats of paint did the trick and I was ready to move on to the final stage.
Once the paint had fully dried (about 3 to 4 hours to be safe), I started re-attaching the doors. Once the doors were all in place, I put the new door knobs on each door.
And finally the laundry room cabinet makeover was complete.
All in all I'm happy with the end result. I was a little skeptical at first, especially after just one coat of paint. With each coat of paint I became more and more confident that it would look great when finished. It took more coats than I was expecting but I was able to do all the painting with one quart of the paint (with a little leftover for touch-ups if needed). Compared to buying all new cabinets, it was definitely worth the cost of the materials (under $50). I was able to complete the work in a weekend, although had I started earlier on the first day, I could've finished it all in one day.
Overall I'm calling it a success!