Low-cost makeover

Painting cabinets in the kitchen and bath
Low-cost makeover

With a little imagination and a couple cans of paint, you can transform a dated, worn look into something distinctive and special to enjoy for years to come.

Are your cabinets ready for a change? New cabinetry in a kitchen or bath is the dream of many homeowners, but the price can simply be too steep for some. If you are on a budget, there's a great alternative: spend $100 or so to give your kitchen or bath cabinetry a whole new look with paint.

Painting cabinets is faster and easier than replacing them. With a little imagination and a couple cans of paint, you can transform a dated, worn look into something distinctive and special to enjoy for years to come.

Begin by figuring out your color scheme. Try visiting the websites of major paint companies. Many have idea centers with paint palettes designed by professional colorists, and "visualizing" tools that allow you to pre-test your color choices online. Local hardware stores usually have paint samples you can bring home. Put them in the room you will be working in, and see how they look against counters, walls and other nearby elements.

Prep and paint

Surface preparation is important when painting cabinetry. Start by removing the hinges, knobs and cabinet doors — this will spare you a lot of stretching, stooping and bending during the project. If you're going to re-use the hardware, put these items in a bag so they don't get lost.

Scrub the kitchen cabinets and doors with a degreasing solution to remove dirt and grime. When they've dried, sand your wood or metal cabinets to remove any loose paint and to provide better "tack" for the new coating. Use a damp cloth to wipe off any dust created by the sanding.

If bare wood or metal is exposed — either due to the sanding or from ordinary wear and tear — apply a quality latex primer to the entire cabinet. Be sure to use a corrosion-resistant primer if your cabinets are metal. Let the primer dry overnight.

Then paint the cabinets with a durable, top quality 100 percent acrylic latex paint, preferably in a gloss or semi-gloss finish. Paints with higher gloss are more stain-resistant and are easier to clean, important considerations in kitchens and bathrooms. If your cabinets are subject to excessive wear and tear, consider using a high quality latex gloss enamel rather than paint. It produces an even harder, tougher, more stain-resistant finish.

Finishing touches

Remember, you can paint your existing handles and knobs in contrasting colors and shades as well. Or you may want to purchase new hardware, readily available in a range of shapes, styles, sizes, colors and materials, to help change your cabinetry's appearance.

Ideas and techniques

For more how-to tips on home painting as well as design ideas, visit paintquality.com. The website's Design & Inspiration section provides videos, a digital color wheel and information on topics ranging from the psychological impact of color to decorative paint techniques.

—Home Improvement News & Information Center

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