I’ll tell you my friends, the transformative power of paint never ceases to amaze me. No matter how many times I pull out my paintbrush, I feel like I’m always caught off guard by just how much a bit of paint can change the look and more importantly, the feel of something.
This isn’t the first time I’ve chatted about what a BIG difference a bit of paint can make in a space. I’ve been putting it to work all over our home in a effort to update our main living spaces and help this new/old house of ours feel like home for our little family. Some new lighting, a whole lot of painting and a bit of new hardware thrown in for good measure has completely changed the feel around our home (find more before + after photos here).
As you can see in the photos above, we swapped out some door hardware & lighting, and added in some rugs to help camouflage our ugly floors, but the biggest change maker in here was definitely painting out our walls, trim and doors. It seems so simple, but I’m telling you, paint can have such a powerful impact. It’s by far the best bang for your buck in terms of simple and inexpensive changes you can make in your home.
With that in mind, I’ve had one last painting project I wanted to tackle in this space – painting out those living room built-ins. After painting most of the doors around our main floor a classic, yet bold black, I knew painting this built-in cabinet to match would go such a long way in helping this space feel more modern and cohesive with the rest of the changes we’ve been making around our main floor.
And so, after letting it sit on my project to-do list for far too long, I finally pulled out my paintbrush and got to work. It turned out to be such a simple project to do and brought such a HUGE visual impact in the end, I wish hadn’t let myself put this one off for so long.
In terms of DIY steps, I’ll share a brief break down of how I repainted this built-in cabinet below, but I’d also suggest checking out this more detailed tutorial too if you’re planning to paint out your own cabinets.
How to Paint Cabinets
- I started by removing all of the doors & drawers and laying them all out over sawhorses in our garage for easy painting. Because I planned to replace all of the old hardware after painting out the cabinets, I also removed all of the existing hardware from the doors and drawers, filling the old holes with wood filler.
- I then gave everything a quick sand to remove any dirt or grease that may have built up over the years. It also roughs up the glossy finish, giving the primer something to stick to.
- I covered it all with a coat of my favourite go-to primer.
- Once the primer was dry, I went over it all again for a quick sanding with a fine grit sandpaper.
- Finally, it was time to paint! I wanted to take this opportunity to test out a proper cabinet paint – I’ve never actually used cabinet specific enamel paint before and wanted to see what set it apart from the typical latex wall paint I’m used to using. I picked up a can of Benjamin Moore Advance, which not only dries very hard, but also dries slowly to allow the paint to self level, giving it a very smooth finish. This stuff was no joke my friends, taking 16 hours to dry between coats, but it sure did create a strong, beautiful finish in the end. It was definitely worth the extra drying time.
- I let everything sit for a couple of days just to make sure it was really set before installing the new hardware on our doors and drawers. This cabinet hardware jig made such quick work of drilling new holes for the hardware – it was definitely worth the purchase and I have no doubt we’ll find many other opportunities to put it to work in the future. In terms of hardware, I decided to go with an unlacquered brass finish (which matches the doorknobs around our home too!) – it looks quite bright and shiny to begin with, but unlacquered brass is a living finish that will age and patina over time, which is an easy way to bring in some warmth and character.
- Once we had the new hardware installed, it was simply a matter of putting the cabinet back together and of course, styling it with some beautiful books, greenery and candles.
This built-in cabinet in our living room was looking quite dated, but with a bit of paint and some beautiful new hardware, it looks like a whole new cabinet! Not only was I able to transform the dated look, but the pop of black really helps to modernize this whole corner of our living room. I honestly couldn’t be happier with the way this project turned out!
Wishing you SUCH a lovely day my friends!