How I Painted My Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing The Doors!

I have debated back and forth as to whether or not I would do this post. The reason is because I cannot seem to find pictures that I took of this process. However, the number 1 question that I get in my inbox and comment section has to do with how I painted my kitchen cabinets.  Because of that, I can’t delay any longer. Below are some tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding or removing the doors. It has been 7 months since I painted our cabinets and they holding up well. I hope that this helps you find the courage to give it a go with your cabinets!

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


I had been wanting to paint my kitchen cabinets for at least a year before husbs agreed to let me paint them. The kitchen just did not match the rest of the house, as you can see in the picture below. Husbs agreed to let me paint them on a Monday and by Friday morning, I got to work. When I woke up that Friday morning, I hadn’t planned on painting my cabinets but my work for the day was canceled because it was raining. This left me with a clear schedule for the day. I left the house and made a trip to Benjamin Moore to scope out what they had. I watched a few Youtube videos and got the basic idea of what I need to do. I also talked with my friend who had just painted her cabinets and given me her left over paint. That was all I needed to get going.

Here is what the kitchen looked like before!



Here is the after:

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo

white kitchen





For your convenience, this post contains some affiliate link. Click here to read my full disclosure. 

Here are the products that I used for this project.


Clorox wipes

Deglosser (if you choose)

scrub brush


Paint Primer

Benjamin Moore furniture paint (I used the color FOG MIST)

3″ paint brush

2 1/2″ paint brush

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


1. Clear and tape off the counter.

This one is pretty self explanatory but I had to move all of my little goodies off of the counters and tape off the counters because I did not want to get little droplets of paint all over the counters. You can do the same with your floors especially if they are wood. Mine are tile and paint usually comes off of them pretty easily and so i wasn’t worried.

2. Wash all of your cabinets multiple time with 1 part vinegar and 1 part water.

This step took forever! Well, let’s be honest, all of the steps take forever but this one feels like it takes longer than the other because you don’t really see results as you do it.  You will be tempted to skip this step but please don’t. You need to get all of the grime and grease from cooking off of your cabinets. Paint or primer will not stick to a greasy surface and so you really need to get this squeaky clean.  For some of the areas right above the stove that were extra greasy, I used a Clorox wipe to get it clean. I put this mixture in a rag and used a scrub brush to scrub the cabinets and then I wiped them with the rag. I did this 2 different times. It took about 3 hours because of the amount of cabinets that we have.

A quick note: If you have time to sand your cabinets down, I highly recommend that you do this. The very best way to ensure that the paint is sticking to the cabinets properly is by sanding it down to the wood finish. I did not do this because my cabinets do not have a smooth finish and so the slight roughness of the cabinets allowed for my paint to stick without sanding. I also have used this method enough times to know that it would work for me.

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


3. Use caulk to fill in holes and cracks.

Ok, I completely forgot about this step until after I had done my last coat. I am inserting it here because it should be the next step that you take. It will save you some work. I had to go back and do one more coat on those areas after I was done with my 3rd coat because of that little mishap. Don’t do what I did! Caulk before you start painting!

4. I used a primer that sticks to glossy surfaces

I don’t know if there is a primer out there that does not stick to glossy surfaces. I always assumed that they all did but to be sure, I made sure that it did say that it would stick to a glossy surface.  I used INSL-X Aqua Lock plus. The other option I had was to replace the first step with a deglosser instead of the water and vinegar. I have this thing against using chemicals if I can help it and so for me, skipping the deglosser was one thing that was important to me but if you don’t mind, just use the deglosser and it will ensure that the primer adhere to the cabinets better. This step is exciting because here, you start to see the transformation.

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


5. I did not remove my cabinets or drawers.

Here, I bet you are wondering if I removed my cabinets or drawers and the answer is ” no, I did not.” I kept all of the items in the drawers and I left everything in the cabinets. If you look at the picture below you will notice that there is a gap between my cabinet doors and the cabinet fronts when the doors are open. I took advantage of that and kept the cabinets on and just opened the doors to that sweet spot where it stays open by itself.

This allowed me to be able to paint both sides of the cabinets at the same time that I painted the front of the cabinets. I did not have to wait hours for the one side to dry so that I could flip it to do the other side and I did not have to spend time removing and replacing the doors. It took me about 3 hours to paint all of the cabinets.

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


You can see that there is a space between the door and the cabinet. If you have the kind of door hinges that are hidden, I think that this should be true for you. The disadvantage of course is that I had to paint over the hinges but it was a small price to pay since the hinges on my cabinets are on the inside!

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doors


6. Wait the recommended wait time on your primer’s instructions before you do a coat of paint. I used the Benjamin Moore Cabinet paint.

By the time I got to my primer, it was about 3 in the afternoon. At that time, all I could do was prime and then go to sleep. When I woke up at 6 the next working, it had been about 12 hours of drying time. At that time, I did a coat of paint on all of the cabinets which took about 3 hours. I was done with that coat at about 8 in the morning. I waited until 8 pm that night and did my other coat of paint and then I went to sleep. The next morning, before church, I did the exact same thing and then, I let every thing dry until the next day. From the time I started my first coat of primer at 3 on Friday afternoon until Monday night, the cabinet door and drawers remained open. I never shut them. I needed for everything to stay still so that things could dry.

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


7. After at least 24 hours, do a coat of polyurethane

So, I did not do this step that week. However, I would recommend that you go ahead and to this 24 hrs after your last coat dries. I painted all of these cabinets by myself that by the time that Monday came and the last coat was dry, I closed all of the cabinets and enjoyed my creation for about 2 weeks. After those 2 weeks, I did a top coat and we drilled the holes and added the hardware that I found off of Craigslist for $10. I used Minwax Polycrylic. The picture below is of the satin finish but I used the glossy finish.



This is what the cabinets look like today. We have had them painted for 7 months now and they are doing really well. I have had to touch up a few spots where the cabinets rub each other but otherwise, the paint has held up well for us.

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doo


white kitchen


white kitchen

If you like it, Pin it!

paint kitchen cabinets white in one weekend without removing doors feature

If you have any questions at all. please let me know. Make sure you use the link below to see how we completely gutted the kitchen when we bought this house and the process we took to get it to where it is now.

Many blessings,


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45 thoughts on “How I Painted My Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing The Doors!

  1. I love this tutorial, Vanessa! I bet it saves so much time doing it this way. This room’s transformation is amazing! That dress island will always be my favorite 🙂

  2. Well done! This looks amazing. We did ours when we first moved in 6 years ago but we took them off but now I don’t like the colour so not having to take them off makes it much easier!

    1. Laura, I am sorry that you don’t like your original paint job. I know to have to do them again would be a pain but yes, not taking the doors off make it much easier!

  3. Wow! That’s such a huge difference! So much brighter now 🙂 We’re moving soon and my husband wants to paint the kitchen cabinets, so this post was super helpful.

  4. Groan, seeing how awesome your kitchen/cabinets look makes me want to do ours. For small kitchen we have lot of cabinets. Your kitchen looks so clean and tidy, love gray on walls. Your ceiling fan is pretty too.
    Can’t sand cabinets as they are typical mfg. home vinyl covered, yuk. We have 16×80 single wide. We’ve painted part of kitchen with same very light gray used in living room, kitchen is in middle and seen from l/r. Have one long wall is back of house, common in l/r, kitchen and on into mudroom. Have partial wall between kitchen and mudroom.
    Sure have to hand it to you for doing all that work yourself, think I will be hoping for hubs assistance, he’s much better painter than I am. Will really have to scrub cabinet faces as when we bought this place could see grease from cooking on them, yuk, and inside them was awful. Whole house was filthy and a nurse lived here, was surprised at condition of house.
    (If a nurse reads this please don’t be offended.)
    Have great rest of week.

  5. The “before” photo is about 1/2 inch high on my screen…is it visible anywhere else? I’d love to see both photos…your after shot is amazing! Lovely kitchen!

    1. Never mind….about ten minutes later, it opened! I must have a slow browser. Your kitchen looks great. Thanks for the tips on products.

  6. Thank you for sharing your tips! When we sell our house, I’ll have to paint our cabinets. So I’ll definitely be coming back here. 🙂 And the white color and wall color REALLY brightens up your space! I love it!

    1. I am glad you found this to be helpful Shanna! I do like the cabinets white…they are much much much brighter!

  7. Hi! Do you mind sharing what kind of polyurethane you used? I’ve tried poly on white before but it didn’t work well for me. Love this tutorial, and you have a beautiful kitchen!

    1. Bailey, no i do not mind. I used Minwax waterbased polycrylic in the glossy finish. I updated the post with a picture of the the can but in the satin finish.

  8. This is gorgeous!!! I am so impressed how fast you did this and by yourself, you go girl!!!

    I have a HUGE kitchen that is Brazilian cherry that I loved in 2006 =) I loved it soooo much that I also have the same color wood floors and almost all furniture is this same color cherry. Our 2 houses prior had oak and when I got to pick my wood color I was over the moon to get cherry everything, ugggg!!! All I see is brown, everywhere!!!

    The problem is my hubby is not put off by the monotone brown everywhere and thinks it’s crazy to paint over a quality product. I see all these painted cabinets like yours and am in love, almost enough to learn how to cook. After enough gentle persuasion (persistent nagging) he agreed to let me do it. Lets roll!!!! This was over a month ago and I still have a very brown kitchen =( We decided on a light grey (think it’s called escape gray SW) for main cabinets and jersey (SW) for island.

    We are going to remove the built in desk, dates our kitchen. Replacing it with bench seat and open shelving above. Hubby decided that the soon to be removed desk is a perfect place to experiment and get our process down and I agreed a month ago. However, the process is nailed down and he loves it but can’t get him to put the first stroke on a cabinet and will find any reason to not paint on any given day.

    He just left for business and will be gone 3 nights, and I say “lets roll”. My hope is once the island is done he will love it and be excited to do the rest of the cabinets. I kept trying to find people that left doors on and you were the first person I found that did a beautiful kitchen without removing doors. This will give me enough time to finish this before he comes home. Thank you for posting your beautiful kitchen and sharing on how you did it without removing doors, looks amazing.

  9. Are your kitchen cabinets real wood or particle board? My cabinets are particle board and I would like to do this exact same thing.

    Thanks, Vanessa.

  10. Very nice work!! I think I would do this method if the previous owners hadn’t used a nubby roller to apply the paint. Looks like it’s sanding for me!

    1. Thanks so much Jackie! I made this wall color so i am not sure but since i’ve had so many people interested here lately, I m trying to match it now to give you guys a good reccomendation!

  11. Vanessa, love your beautiful kitchen. Just thinking I wouldn’t have the energy for all that. What do you think about using chalk paint to keep from having all the prep work.

    1. Joette, thank you! if I had to do it all over again, I would have used chalk paint ? I would have bought the paint I wanted and made my own chalk paint ?!

  12. Hello Vanessa,
    I am curious as to how they are holding up? This method seems to be my best option as I cannot sand my cabinets and the hardware of my cabinets is too complicated to remove the doors. (1950’s cabinets)

  13. I was wondering if the polyurethane “yellowed” your cabinets at all? Your kitchen looks pretty, by the way. Is it still holding up? Thanks for posting.

  14. I am totally stoked to see you did not take your doors off. I have been wanting to paint my kitchen and three bathroom cabinets for a while. I love Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and have had great luck painting furniture with her great colors. Personally I wouldn’t make chalk paint — not when ASCP works like a dream and a little goes a very long way. You have truly inspired me to go forward with my project. I will be using Old White, with a bit of distressing. Thank you!!!

  15. Hi! Your cabinets look so great. I have a small kitchen with no natural light. I’m considering painting my cabinets white to brighten it up. I’m a bit concerned about how white will hold up with cooking and 4 children. Have you found the white easy to keep up with without fading or yellowing, or would you recommend a different color? Like maybe a light grey or even using a faux finish? Thank you!

  16. Looks great. I recommend placing for 3/8″ felt pas on the canibets to prevent them from touch and having paint removed.

  17. Love this! Been wanting to paint my cabinets for a VERY long time!! Totally unsure about what color though. I didn’t see any mention about the old hardware. Did you take it all off or paint over it?

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