I Want to Paint it Black

Jennifer —  June 17, 2011 — 5 Comments

Once we were under contract on our home I had 30 days until closing to convince my husband that we should paint our kitchen cabinets black.  Why Black?  I know it’s a bold but we have a big kitchen.  Its big and its open and I thought it would be great.  The oak cabinets were very outdated with brass hardware.  I thought about staining them but in the end I wanted to paint them.  We talked about white and we talked about grey.  I love both those colors and in my next home want to do a combination of both but in this kitchen I really was feeling black.  I wanted my kitchen to be unique and a fun place to be.  Our living room/kitchen is our entertaining space so I wanted it to be fun and inviting.    To convince my husband I made a moodboard.  I am sad to say that I don’t have it to show you because I didn’t do it on the computer.  I compiled pictures, magazines , paint swatches, countertop swatches, fabric swatches, and something for everything I wanted to do.   Here were some elements I knew that I wanted:

  • Black Cabinets ( I saw a pic in pottery barn with green cabinets and I loved it and thought…this would look good in black)
  • White Backsplash
  • Butcher Block Countertops
  • Open Shelving
  • Elements of Red and Green (this was decided by the Red KitchenAid Mixer I got for a wedding gift and my red and white Crate and Barrel dishes I got for wedding gifts)
  • Somehow, someway there was gonna be stripes…its who I am.  Naturally black and white ones would work.

I presented it to the hubs and he said those great words “okay, I trust you”  I am not sure why.  I had never really done any rehabs before but I think it was because I had a plan.  Before the plan all he could see was the color black and he wasn’t seeing anything else.  It took the plan to get him on board.  He even jumped in and wanted to pic the gray for the walls.   In the end, if he still said “No, I don’t like black”…I would have been sad but my marriage is more important than my kitchen.  I for sure would have made the compromise and gone with my second choice.  It is house and its important to me that he likes it.  Good thing the Hubs is a risk taker and he was on board with the black so after the kitchen demo we went to Lowes to get black paint.

We bought three cans of Valspar Semi Gloss Ebony and two cans of KILZ Oil Based Primer.  What I wish you could buy at the store was patience.  That is what you need most when you paint your kitchen cabinets.  Here is how we did it.  (p.s. we never put ourselves out there to be experts.  We gain more experience the more times we do it.  When we share a “how to” we share “how we did it”.  We will share our mishaps and our successes.  There are many great professional tutorials so just google it.  I love the tutorial on younghouselove.  Too bad I discovered them a year after I painted my cabinets)

  1. Sand.  Sand. Sand.  This took forever.  Since we were painting we didn’t have to get it completely down to raw wood but we had to scuff the varnish off the wood.  The hub’s mom had a hand-held sander that she didn’t use so we used that.  I couldn’t imagine doing it by hand!  If you don’t have one buy one or borrow one.  We did have to get the grooves in the front of the door by hand.  Dont just sand the doors…sand the cabinet fronts too!.
  2. Clean, vacuum, Clean again. – Once you are sanded you have to get your environment dust free.  So we cleaned all the doors and cabinet fronts with a damp cloth and then vacuumed a ton.  After we were done we did it again.
  3. Tape, Tape, Tape – Do yourself a favor…use the good kind.  I learned my lesson the hard way. I was trying to be cheap and I had to use a razor to get the tape off.  Bull Frog is the best.  Tape the Floor, tape the walls…tape everything.  If there is other demo going on in your house then hang a tarp from the ceiling all the way around your cabinets to make your cabinet area dust free.  (we didn’t have to do this step, but I did when we did our flip house kitchen)
  4. Prime all the cabinet fronts and back sides of the doors.
  5. Wait 24 hours and prime the doors and the fronts again.
  6. Wait 24 hours, flip the doors to the front side and prime.
  7. Wait 24 hours and prime front side of cabinet doors again.
  8. Paint – Wait 24 hours and then put the first coat of paint on the cabinet fronts and back side of doors.
  9. Put as many coats of paint that is needed on the cabinet fronts and back sides of the doors.  Wait 24 hours between each coat.  When that is done THEN flip the doors over to the front side to paint.
  10. We ended up putting 4 coats of paint on the doors and cabinet fronts.  (And we waited for 24 hours each time. Yep..patience is key.)
  11. Let your cabinets set for a couple of days before you have to handle them to hang them.

In the end for about $150.00 I got brand new looking cabinets.  It was well worth it.

Here are some tips:

  • Use Semi Gloss Paint because its most wipeable latex paint.
  • Spraying is the best (we now have a sprayer and its awesome…it was worth the $80.00 we paid for it) but if you use rollers get a lot of foam cabinet and door rollers.  Use a new one for each new coat of paint and primer.  This will help you  avoid getting “foam bunnies” on your cabinet.
  • Do your painting in a dust free environment.
  • Our cabinets had 3″ hardware already so we just switched it out for a different kind.  If you have to fill holes because of existing hardware…do this step before you sand.  (For example, if your cabinets had handles and you want knobs)
  • Always paint the backside of the doors FIRST.  That way you finish with the front side of the doors, the side that you will see the most.  If you paint the front first you run the risk of having to fix the front side when you flip it over to paint the back.
  • These painting triangles are God’s gift to painting.  Buy them…they are not that expensive and they are worth it!  (remember you are saving thousands of dollars by painting your cabinets instead of replacing them so buy the supplies that will make it easier)

Other things we did to save money:

  • We spray painted our brass hinges chrome.   If you let them dry for over 24 hour between each coat the paint becomes really durable.  Its been three years of opening and closing and they are still great!
  • Buy your hardware (knobs) on eBay.  We were lucky to get the ones we wanted on sale at Lowes for $1.97 a pop.  We did different handles on the drawers and doors.  When I helped my friend rehab her kitchen we bought her super nice modern knobs on an eBay store.  We spent $2.00 a knob there instead of the $5.00 a knob at Lowes and Home Depot.

It was a long process but we had fun and in the end it was worth it.  Our cabinets are in great condition and we can wipe them down and not worry about scratches!  For about three weeks of our life we claimed that our theme song was the Rolling Stones “Paint it Black”  so I will leave with you this video:

If you like a good kitchen transformation check out this one we did in Nashville.  Okay sis and bro-in-law…you gotta fix that backsplash so I can show your kitchen with your new snazzy countertops….do I need to come to “NashVegas” and do it for you?

p.s. Check out Oneprettything because iloverehabs is featured over there!  Even if you dont care about that Rachel always has great stuff over there.

Thanks for Reading,


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5 responses to I Want to Paint it Black

  1. Angela Jennings June 17, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    This looks AWESOME. Black seemed scary to me to work with, but not so…..

    • I know what you mean about the black being scary. I think it has to be the right space for it to work. My own mom thought I was crazy for picking black but when she walked in…she loved it.

  2. I love your cabinets! I think your kitchen looks beautiful. I was wondering if you purchased the ebony paint in spray can or regular paint?

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