If you are looking for an easy and budget-friendly way to update the look of your kitchen cabinets, a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference. It’s a relatively simple job that you can do yourself if you are feeling extra handy. With the right tools and preparation, you can have professional-looking cabinets in just a few steps.

First and foremost, you want to make sure you start with clean cabinets. Any dirt or residue will prevent the primer and paint from adhering correctly. Even if your cabinets look clean, it is important to give them a thorough scrubbing with a degreaser or all-purpose cleaner to remove any stubborn grease. Once you have your cabinets prepped, you will want to sand them lightly by hand with a medium-grit sandpaper. This will give the primer and subsequent layers of paint something to bond to.

For best results, use painting tape to ensure straight edges and protect the areas you don’t want to paint.

Now it’s time to apply primer. Primer not only helps the paint stick; it also seals the wood and prevents the underlying wood tones from bleeding through. You will only need to apply a thin coat, which should be dry in 30 minutes or less. After the primer is dry, the next step is to apply your paint. For the best results, you want to use high-quality latex paint, as this will offer the most durability and color retention. Be sure to dilute the paint and use light coats – you can always add more if needed, but you don’t want too much paint in one spot.

Once your first coat of paint is dry, you want to inspect it for any unevenness. If you spot any areas that are not as smooth as you’d like you will want to fix them now, before moving on.

Re-sand the area and then paint a thin coat. Often thick paint will create bumps.

If you need, add a conditioner to your paint to create even more smooth cabinets. A paint sprayer can also help prevent uneven paint, or if you don’t have a sprayer, use rollers for a more even finish.

Cabinets will need 2-3 thin coats of paint, with plenty of drying time between each coat. When complete, always use a top coat finish like polyurethane to protect your hard work.