I gave my brand new kitchen cabinets a makeover

Anni Sofferet

When I moved into a split level home built in 1976, only the kitchen looked new. The previous owner tore down the old cabinets and installed brand new ones. But the cabinets were cheap plastic boxes that looked white and shiny.

Deciding on the project

With an old house to remodel, it seemed crazy to obsess about a brand new kitchen. But I had dreamed of a warm-hued, Tuscan kitchen, and I couldn't get used to the plastic imitations hanging on my walls. One snowy morning, I decided to paint my kitchen cabinets. I was afraid to sand them, however, in case I changed my mind later. Paint could be wiped off with chemicals, but I couldn't restore the cabinets if I sanded them down.

I remembered seeing a professional home decorator on television. Instead of sanding down a plastic table, he primed it with water-based primer before proceeding to paint the table. I decided to do the same with my kitchen.

Finding ways to spend less

Visiting a home improvement store, I spent $45 buying one can of paint, a bucket of primer, sealant, and a sea sponge. I had two cans of paint at home, left over from painting my bathrooms. I decided to save money by using them for my kitchen cabinet makeover.

Testing the idea first

I first painted a test area on the back side of one of the cabinet doors. With the sea sponge, I dabbed on two shades (taupe and sand). Then I streaked a little plum paint in a vertical line. After this, I dabbed pale hues over the plum line to fade it. The effect was a Tuscan finish, which I liked.

Painting my brand new kitchen cabinets

Deciding to risk it, I primed the surface of the first cabinet. Once the primer dried, I repeated the faux pattern I had created in my test. I took a step back and surveyed my creation. It was beautiful!

I primed the rest of my brand new kitchen cabinets that day. The next day I faux painted all the cabinets. To complete the Tuscan motif, I removed the shiny white plastic hardware from my kitchen cabinets and drawers. I then spray painted the hardware with metallic copper paint.

To protect my kitchen cabinet makeover from wear and tear, fingerprints and grime, I sealed the paint job with clear sealant. This added a golden patina to the painted surfaces.

The end result

When I was finished, my brand new kitchen cabinets looked rich and unique. The warm hues I had wanted in my kitchen turned the cold space into a warm gathering spot the entire family loves. And the whole kitchen makeover cost less than $50. It was perhaps the most unusual DIY project I was to undertake in my old home, but it is the one I'm most proud of.