Update melamine European cupboard doors with this simple painted cabinets before & after idea. It’s super budget friendly and looks amazing!
Do you wish you could update your kitchen cupboards, but can’t afford to rip them out and start over?
I’ve been there many times!
Here is an example of a super budget way to completely change the look and feel of a kitchen with a few changes. We completed this project in our previous house, and it was one of our favorite room makeovers ever.
Check out the links at the bottom of the post to see the whole room transformation. It’s a dramatic one!
Why I wanted to give my kitchen a Painted Cabinets before & after makeover:
I’m told that my cupboard doors are “European Style”. There really isn’t anything terribly wrong with them. In fact, they are the nicest cupboard doors I’ve ever had. I just had a few little issues with them:
- Trying to open the doors and drawers without knobs or pulls resulted in many a broken nail. (The wooden strips randomly flying off when you opened the doors made life interesting, too!)
- I … well … just didn’t like the look of that wood on it…(Is that terrible?) Somehow the “European” just didn’t fit in with the rest of my house.
I always got excited when I saw a home makeover show that was redoing a kitchen with these kinds of doors. I thought I would get some helpful hints. However, more often than not, they would just throw out all the cabinets and start all over. I didn’t want to go there…
So…on to plan B.
The “How To” of this Painted Cabinet Before & After Project
1.Remove doors from the hinges.
These European doors may be outdated, but they have lovely hinges!
To remove the doors, I just loosened the two screws on each one and the doors slid right off!
2.Tape off the wooden rail at the top with painter’s tape.
For this project, I was only painting the stained wood portion of the door, as the melamine portion was still in good shape and color.
To make this project easier on my back, I set the doors on top of the kitchen cabinets to paint them.
Notice I didn’t bother taking the drawer fronts off. I just pulled out the drawers and painted. It worked fine.
3. Using a disposable brush, paint on 2 coats of oil based primer.
I had oil based primer on hand for this project, and so I used it. However, the formulas for good latex primers are much better now than they used to be.
I recommend asking your local paint store for their recommendations for your project. What you need is to have a primer that blocks out any stain from bleeding through.
(I purchase cheap brushes just for use for oil-based paint and then throw them out when I’m finished. Cleaning brushes with paint thinner just doesn’t work for me… But, I have one really nice brush that I use for latex, and I clean that out well after each use.)
4. Paint 2 coats of paint that matches the color of the melamine doors.
You may need to take a door into the paint store to have a color matched perfectly to yours. The color that I used was Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White in a semi-gloss finish. Let each coat dry thoroughly before adding an additional coat of paint.
5. Remove painter’s tape from the doors.
****Important Tip Alert!!! When you’re ready to remove the painter’s tape, run an x-acto knife along the top edge of the tape (where you painted). I tried this as an experiment, and for the first time, paint didn’t peel off with my tape!
I used this same trick when I painted metal doors with plastic trim and it worked like a charm!
6. Add cupboard pulls and knobs to the doors.
Last yea,r a friend found a great stash of cupboard pulls and knobs at a garage sale and gave them to me. (Thanks, Mary!) Today the Mr. was able to help me drill the holes for the “bling”… and I already love how much more functional they are!
The cabinet door makeover before and after reveal:
So here are the cupboards before:
And here they are after a bit of “spiffing up”!
(…and I painted the window while I was at it, too. Same paint, same method. Except, I had to stand on the sink ledge!)
Other Budget Friendly DIY Home Decor ideas for a Kitchen Remodel:
Every little piece of our kitchen makeover was documented here on the blog. To find the rest of the kitchen remodel posts, click the link below:
For more tips on painting for the home, check out the posts below:
- How to Paint a Room + Favourite Painting Supplies
- How to Paint an Exterior Metal Door with Plastic Trim
- Painted Farmhouse Table
- Paint an Electric Fireplace with Chalk Paint
- Quick & Simple Painted Lamp Makeover
- Painted Farmhouse Corbels
- Painted Dresser
- Paint an Old Window with Chalk Paint
- How to Paint a Bookcase with Cottage Paint
Would you like to do a room makeover in your house, but don’t know where to start or how to do it? I created a FREE course with you in mind. Click below to find out more and join today!
This post was originally written in April, 2011 and updated March, 2022.