Monday, May 19, 2014

HOME :: HOW-TO Repaint a Bathroom Cabinet

repainting a bathroom cabinet, bathroom makeover, DIY bathroom

Guess what is finally back? That's right, the HOME|MADE series! I am sorry for the little hiatus but sometimes that happens. But luckily I have a few projects to get you all caught up on! Everyone say YAY! ;)

As a reminder: HOME | MADE is a bi-monthly series on home renovations MADE into nicer living spaces and the things used to get it there, the supplies used and all the DIY details. ALL to make my house feel like a HOME. ;)

If you missed the latest ones in the series, you can catch them here:

 ~ "Creating a Mudroom"



So as you all may or may not remember, I am living in a 3-story condo and have 3 bathrooms to update. This particular one I am sharing with you today is a half bath that is on the main level right by the kitchen & dining room. 

This bathroom needed lots of things done to get in an updated stage and trust me, I had to do quite a bit when I moved in just to get it to this point.

I so wish I would have taken some pics of this space when I first moved in but let me try and paint the picture for you . . . dark burgundy & hunter green striped wallpaper all around the room! Are you dying right now? LOL And this is such a small bathroom and as to why someone would make it look smaller by doing that is beyond me but it has been my challenge nonetheless, so bring it! Here is a good before & after pic to start you off with. I will share MORE details on the whole makeover of this space in another post because today I just want to focus on the bathroom cabinet being repainted as it made a HUGE difference in my book and I LOVE it!

before & after pic of bathroom makeover, repainting cabinets in bathroom

old oak bathroom cabinets get a makeover, painting oak cabinets in bath

This would be my token "before" pic . . . lovely huh? ;) Are you just loving that honey oak color cabinet? Hmmkay . . . me too! ;)

Here is my 'official' list to accomplish JUST with this space:

- paint the ceiling
- paint all of the trim WHITE
- paint the door WHITE
- paint the storage closet door WHITE

- repaint the cabinet
- replace the liner in bottom of cabinet
- replace bathroom rugs
- replace door stops
- re-paint all door hardware/ knobs
- replace FLOOR

- update decor
- paint on a sealant over the cabinets

**so far I have been able to cross most things off . . . YAY! 

So here we go, the reason you are here . . .how to Repaint a Bathroom Cabinet!

Step 1: 
You will want to start by taking the doors off of the cabinet. I preferred taking them off to leaving them on as I was re-painting the hardware as well so it was the easiest way to get it done for me. Plus once I took the doors off and took out all of the things I stored under the cabinet, I realized that I would have something else to do and add to my list. I would be replacing the contact paper I had down on the bottom of the cabinet . . I mean, eeewww look at those nice stains from my candles being stored down there! Along with extra toiletries, I keep my stash of extra candles under here so that's why it looks that way. Not pretty. If I was gonna do this, I need to do it right. So it's gotta go too. ;)

remove cabinet doors, remove hardware on cabinet, bathroom cabinet painiting


Step 2:  
Make sure to remove all of the hardware on the cabinet doors so you can prep them to be painted. Door knobs, hardware and screws all must come off. Then once you have all of this done, you will want to wipe down the cabinet and the doors to make sure to remove any dirt before applying the paint primer. I suggest a degreaser to remove any yuck and grim. ;)

Set aside the hardware or toss - up to you. Some people may choose to replace all of the hardware but I wanted to use what we had, so I saved the hinges, repainted them with the same paint I was doing all of the hardware in and just replaced the 2 doorknobs since I found some new ones on clearance at Target one evening and saved them just for this project.

prepwork on bathroom cabinets, remove hardware to paint, bathroom


Step 3: 
Priming, priming, priming! My preferred go-to primer is Zinsser as I have had amazing luck with it and it has never failed me. It is a nice quality and hides everything and so far all of the things I have used it on has NOT had any 'bleed through' = BONUS!

Some people will suggest taking sandpaper and roughing up the surface and then wiping down before applying the primer, but I don't. I just make sure the surface is good and clean, apply two coats of Zinsser and let it dry. That's it!

priming bathroom cabinets with Zinsser, use primer on bathroom cabinets
step by step to repainting bathroom cabinets, priming bathroom cabinets

Step 4
Re-painting and re-lining the cabinet! 
The first thing I did here was repaint before re-lining the bottom of the cabinet so I didn't have to be too too careful. If I got any paint on the bottom liner, no biggy as it was coming out anyway.

I choose to repaint the whole inside of the cabinet white. In case you are wondering, I DID paint BOTH sides of the cabinet doors as I wanted to have the whole thing re-painted, including the inside so it looked more finished. Plus by painting the inside of the cabinet in white, it totally brightened it up under there. Looking good so far!

repainting inside of bathroom cabinets, lining bottom of cabinets, shelf liner

SO I still had the same liner in the closet and actually had plenty to re-line the bottom of the cabinet, so I got to re-use something I already had again. But if you had to buy some, its pretty cheap on the wallet.

lining bathroom cabinets, installing liner on bathroom cabinets, bathroom

Here she is all re-painted and re-lined on the left and then the candle supplies and extra bathroom necessities stocked up back under there, on the right, all ready to go.

repainting bathroom cabinets, storage under bathroom sink, toiletries


Step 5:
Painting it the color you want!! I think the hardest (but best) part of repainting something is choosing what color is going to work out best. I wanted something in a deep expresso color since you see so much of this color cabinetry in the magazines and stores right now and I wanted to see if I could match it with paint! Plus it was totally matching up with all of my hardware I had repainted and seemed like the perfect match! I ended up liking this Olympic color swatch color on the bottom left here called Phantom Mist, but used Valspar Signature paint in a semi-gloss finish for the actual paint of choice. I think I nailed the color - it looks like the expresso cabinets you see for sale at Lowe's and those places so YAY for taking a chance on this paint color = WIN WIN!

expresso paint on the bathroom cabinets, Valspar semi gloss paint, Phantom Mist by Olympic
Valspar Signature paint, bathroom cabinet painting, color matching
expresso bathroom cabinets, after pic of painted bathroom cabinets

Step 6
Putting the cabinets back on along with your hardware!! 
I made sure to let the doors cure over a weekend to make sure they would not stick when replacing them on the cabinet. I re-painted all of the hardware in this room which includes hinges on the cabinets, door knobs, door hardware and more with Rust-oleum Universal metallic spraypaint in rubbed bronze and it's the perfect shade to use for these items. 

The door knobs, as I've mentioned, are new as I found them on clearance at Target and saved them just for this project. I wanted the door knobs to be a brushed silver look to match the faucet and some of the accessories in the bathroom already. I like them. A lot.

new hardware for bathroom cabinets, brushed silver knobs, Target
after photo of repainted bathroom cabinets, expresso colored cabinets
new brushed silver hardware on bathroom cabinets that were repainted


So what do YOU think? It's a start. But a pretty good one as I have more projects done in here than not. I still need to put a sealant on the cabinets as I have heard that it prevents it from getting chips and wear and tear but I am still researching what the best one is. If you have one you like, please comment below - thanks!

AND of course, the photo that everyone looks forward to . . . the before and after!

before & after photos of painted bathroom cabinets, oak to expresso cabinets
expresso painted bathroom cabinets, step by step on repainting bathroom cabinets

**FYI update, I never put that sealant on these cabinets and it has never chipped or shown ANY wear and tear! This paint is awesome! (8-22-15)
I really hope this post helped if you are planning on tackling a cabinet re-paint in the near future as it is NOT hard at all. Time consuming just to get it right but that's not a problem right?

I would LOVE to hear if you have ever re-painted any cabinetry in your home or are planning to do so soon? What color are you planning to use?

Please comment below with your thoughts as I would love to hear from you! 

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Looking forward to seeing you again! :)


  1. Wow!! So much better. We have two bathrooms to re-do, but the particle board cabinets are literally disintegrating, so I think we'll have to replace them. Boo.

    1. thanks so much Cori - that is too bad you just couldn't paint them as it was so easy. But look at it this way, new cabinets! ;)

  2. Looks great! Gives me some motivation to do ours... I have a very similar oak cabinet!

    1. So glad I could get you motivated Stephanie - it took me awhile to get going too but once you do, it is such a great feeling to get it done & then you wonder why you waited so long! ;)


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