If your bathroom cabinets are old, ugly, tired, or all of the above, you’ve probably thought about painting them more than a few times. And if you’re like us, you may have done a bit of research but failed to take it further for fear that they won’t end up looking decent. But the truth is that if you follow the directions of those who’ve been there before (and, especially, if you heed their warnings regarding shortcuts and mistakes), you can transform your bathroom pretty easily. This list of do’s and don’ts will help guide you.
Do: Get a paint sprayer: A paint sprayer will give you the cleanest, most professional look. You can buy a pretty basic unit for under $100, but for about the same cost, you can rent one for the day and get a much better version.
Don’t: Fret if a paint sprayer isn’t going to work out. A foam roller and brush can give you a pretty clean finish.
Do: Buy several of them in different sizes and shapes. They’re cheap, so stocking up won’t cost much, and having a variety will help you to easily get into corners, nooks, and crannies.
Don’t: Use a crappy product. The last thing you want is to walk into your bathroom every day and scowl at the poorly done bathroom cabinets – kind of the way you do now. One of our favorite DIYers from The Turquoise Home found a great product that we can’t wait to try: “Ace’s amazing Cabinet, Door and Trim Paint. You can brush it on and it will level and not leave any brush strokes!”
Behr Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel is another favorite for painting bathroom cabinets. “It basically performs like an oil-based paint but without the horrible smell and difficult clean up,” said Provident Home Design.
Do: Take the time to sand. We’ve tried the lazy girl’s version of painting right over other paint and it just doesn’t work out well. Admittedly, sanding is a terrible, tedious process, especially if you have detailed panels that require you to get into lots of little corners, but it’s well worth it in the end.
Don’t: Sand inside. Take it outside and put a mask on while you’re at it. The dust you kick up is unkind, especially if anyone in the house has asthma.
Do: Clean the surfaces thoroughly. You’ll want to use a degreasing product like “trisodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner and a scrubbing pad or sponge (to) thoroughly wash all surfaces to be painted,” said Lowe’s. “Then rinse at least twice with fresh water and a sponge.” And after sanding, you’ll also want to make sure you vacuum up all the dust and wipe down all the surfaces thoroughly so you don’t get little pieces stuck in the paint.
Don’t: Leave the doors and hardware on when you paint. You can’t easily get every part of the door if you don’t take everything off, and the paint you inevitably get on the hardware will make it look like a DIY job.
Don’t: Forget to number your cabinet doors so you know how to put them back on when you’re done. This is not a fun thing to figure out after the fact.
Do: Label the hardware, too. See above.
Don’t: Paint with your animals in the room. Just trust on this one.
Do: “Let the paint settle for a couple of minutes and then look back over it for paint pooled in the corners or drips underneath the edges,” said The Turquoise Home. “The paint will still be wet enough to clean up those areas and will still level and dry flat.
Don’t: Quit after one coat. You’ll probably be dying to be done after one, but remember: A little more effort here goes a long way.
Do: Prep, prep, prep. Tape stuff. Use dropcloths. Make sure everything you don’t want covered in paint is nicely protected, or you’ll be scraping paint off of it FOR LIFE.
Don’t: Use flat paint. Because it’s not washable, it won’t hold up as well as another finish.