Painting wooden kitchen units? Experience/opinions please

(38 Posts)
SilverSixpence Sat 21-Sep-13 22:38:08

We have a traditional country style solid wood kitchen but I am bored of the wood finish (sort of medium dark oak shade) and I have had a brainwave and realised we could paint the units a nice pale sage and transform it without changing the whole kitchen. Has anyone tried anything like this? It would be a hideous amount of work (26 doors (!), including some faux door fronts which are fixed in place) as well as the unit edges , drawers etc. will it be worth the hassle?

TwatWeevil Sat 21-Sep-13 22:40:32

It is a hideous amount of work. The paint is very thick and needs a lot of coats.

Mind you, we did our old kitchen 12-odd years ago and the paint might be better by now.

For us, it was a stop-gap for a couple of years until we could afford a new kitchen, so we lived with the odd drip/run in the paint.

trixymalixy Sat 21-Sep-13 22:42:04

We did exactly this. The doors were very good quality oak, but very dark. We painted them in Farrow and Ball Bone. That was 7 years ago and they are now needing repainted.

It did make such a difference to the brightness of the kitchen. You'll need to prime them first. Don't envy you priming and painting 36 doors!!

PrimalLass Sat 21-Sep-13 22:52:10

If you use Zinsser BIN primer it dries really quickly.

I have started doing just 4 coats of that on furniture as I like the colour.

SilverSixpence Sat 21-Sep-13 23:21:21

This sounds promising! I don't mind doing the work if it turns out the way I imagine, but I'll probably be cursing myself half way through grin

Looking at the Fired Earth site for inspiration..

BrownSauceSandwich Sat 21-Sep-13 23:46:04

It will be a good bit of work, but the kind of job I quite like. The prep is the hardest bit... Sand to key, then wash thoroughly, then prime/ undercoat, then top coat. Simply because of the effort involved, be really sure that the colour is what you want long term. I did a similar job in my last house, and opted for the unimaginative but versatile off-white for the cupboard doors, and a more adventurous colour on the walls, which were easier to change. Take your time over it, and use good quality paint, and it can look as good as new.

bigbutsrus1 Sun 22-Sep-13 08:25:42

My friend had a painter/decorator do it and they did all of the above but took each door off, laid them flat & used a small roller. The finish is fantastic. I to have fallen for one of the fired earth kitchens for our new kitchen in our soon to be kitchen/diner. I like the free standing one with blue bottom cabinets and off white for the wall units. We are just going to move the old kitchen around and paint it. Trouble is I adore the tiles on there and have a feeling I may spend a small fortune on some! Good luck with your painting!

PareyMortas Sun 22-Sep-13 09:01:04

Me too, I was just about to post the same. What kind of primer and paint is best? I want to paint mine a colour not in the kitchen cabinet paint range.

SilverSixpence Sun 22-Sep-13 10:40:59

I've been doing some drooling research and apparently Little Greene oil eggshell gives a great finish. I'm going to put a couple of photos of the kitchen on my profile - would people mind having a look as the wood finish is a bit unusual.

PrimalLass Sun 22-Sep-13 10:58:43


Best ever primer. Can recoat in about 45 minutes.

PrimalLass Sun 22-Sep-13 10:58:55
SilverSixpence Sun 22-Sep-13 11:34:47

Ok uploaded photos for some reason they are sideways now but you will get the idea I hope

it's worth doing as will completely change the look ! it's very time consuming - but if you set your self a goal of a min of 3 in the morning and the same in the afternoon you will soon get through them ! if you start to get bored - do something else for a while !! if you want fresh handles nows the time to do that too - as if you want different style you may need to drill or fill holes before you paint ! :-)

SilverSixpence Sun 22-Sep-13 17:02:04

Anyone know about how to prep the actual cupboards? The edges of the units themselves as well as some other parts of the frame will show so I am planning to just sugar soap them and then prime and paint. Not sure about how we will do the wine rack part as its quite deep but might be ok with a roller??

sugar soap - 0000 gauge wire wool - give a light rub down with the wire wool - then dust then off with a lightly damp cloth - then dry with lint free cloth - then knot blocker if knotty - prime - undercoat and 2 topcoats ! or get a professional in to do it for you ?!?!

trixymalixy Sun 22-Sep-13 22:08:01

Can't see your pictures. I think you'll need to make your Photo public

SilverSixpence Sun 22-Sep-13 22:16:41

It's set to public but here is a photo from Flickr instead here

HansieMom Mon 23-Sep-13 01:09:55

Are you sure? That is a massive amount of cupboards. Could you go with a change of wall paint to make a difference instead?

That said, I think painting cupboards can make a huge difference.

We have oak cupboards and I'm tired of oak. But I'm at the stage in life where I can't be arsed, as you British would say!

SilverSixpence Mon 23-Sep-13 08:09:50

Yes I'm a bit nervous of running out of steam half way! I might get a few quotes for the work but I think it would cost a huge amount more than DIY.

Pannacotta Mon 23-Sep-13 09:19:05

I think they would look fantastic painted but agree it would be expensive to have it done.
Could you perhaps do the priming and prep so that the decorator could just paint them?
The other option is to have the re-sprayed off site, there are companies who do this and they will do the parts that cannot be removed too. This would probably be cheaper than using a decorator and less upheaval too as most of the work is done off site.

holycowwhatnow Mon 23-Sep-13 10:26:32

ooh, gorgeous kitchen and I think it would be beautiful painted. I painted my previous kitchen (before dc though) and it made a huge difference to my east facing kitchen. It went from oak to cream. I also painted my wardrobes which are laminate.

Preparation in the key. As others have said, a good rub down with wire wool and sugar soap. Wipe off the soap with a damp cloth and let it dry completely. Then one coat of a good primer and at least 2 top coats. I took all the doors and handles off and was sorry after that I didn't change the handles at the time.

It will be a lot of work but will be so so worth it.

Pannacotta Mon 23-Sep-13 11:42:53

You could use the Annie Sloan paint which means no prep though you do have to wax once done.
Have a look here for more info on painting the doors and guide to prices, it is still loads cheaper than having a new kitchen whichever way you go.

That would look awesome with a range of different subtle colours !
Greys, tapes and dusky pinks !!
Or blues greys and greens. !!
Or Creams, oranges and yellows !!
Do a mock up with the dulux or crown colour paint app first to see the best combination/ arrangement !!! They key is keep it really subtle !!!!
Could be totally unique !!!

Mandy21 Wed 25-Sep-13 12:45:02

Just my opinion but we did this, and you're right, it made a huge difference to the kitchen – we painted solid oak (which looked pine!) with F&B French Gray. We did the prep as everyone has described, but the paint has not been hard wearing at all (its been done about 2 years now and needs a complete repaint – and I've been touching up pretty regularly in the interim too). I therefore wouldn't use F&B again. I know some of the professional companies use F&B, perhaps they do something differently I don't know, but for a run-of-the-mill DIYer and a family with 3 young (clumsy) children – so the kitchen has to cope with lots of spills and general bashing – I wouldn't recommend it.

SilverSixpence Wed 25-Sep-13 17:56:38

We have a quote to get it done but it's nearly 3k for the whole kitchen shock I'm now wondering if a normal painter can do it at a reasonable cost as there is such a lot to do. Little Greene is supposed to be superior to F&B as F&B changed the formula of their eggshell to be water based now.

fossil971 Wed 25-Sep-13 22:50:17

I've painted a kitchen twice now. I used oil eggshell (Little Greene). I followed traditionalpainter's instructions to the letter basically. If you use a roller and finish with a brush you get a beautiful smooth finish.

It's more of a laborious job than a difficult one - at least a week of evenings and a quiet room or garage where you can lay the doors out.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Wed 25-Sep-13 23:00:44

I would love to do this. We have a solid wood kitchen which looks like oak but due to the previous owner being a bit odd it is in fact all pine. And soft pine at that, it is scratched everywhere and shows every mark. It is a long room with a big window at either end but we sometimes have to have a light on during the day, it's so dark. It would look fantastic painted cream, it would be so much brighter and lighter.

Marking place. smile

SilverSixpence Wed 25-Sep-13 23:16:55

Silly question maybe but do you paint the inside of the doors? What about the inside of the cupboards?

fossil971 Wed 25-Sep-13 23:33:58

What finish are the insides of the cupboards? I'd paint the back of the door but leave the cupboard carcases as they are. Might be beige melamine but at least they aren't on show. Back of drawer fronts - depends if they come off the drawer easily.

SilverSixpence Thu 26-Sep-13 00:02:59

Carcasses are solid wood - so I was thinking of doing the inside of doors but not of cupboards, thanks

InsertUsernameHere Thu 26-Sep-13 07:31:09

One plans colour ideas are lovely. Given it is a big wall of cupboards you could decide to start with painting the bottom (or top) half - that half way through it looks like a planned mixed painted & wood finish iyswim? (And if you run out of steam it wont look odd) Same thing with the wine rack - leave it to the end and then make up your mind - it might look a nice contrast?

Nyancat Thu 26-Sep-13 08:00:39

I got our kitchen sprayed, found kitchen respray guy on gumtree, we've over 20 doors, he came one day with a f&b colour chart, I picked the colour and %sheen finish, he took all the doors away an came back with them a couple of days later and did the carcasses in situ - took him about 2 hours. It was dusty but the finish is fantastic. Cost £500.

biryani Thu 26-Sep-13 08:06:14

It'll be gorgeous. I think I'd get it done professionally, though, even if it costs loads. Well worth the outlay.

SilverSixpence Thu 26-Sep-13 09:16:50

Thanks all, the more I look at it the bigger the job seems! We are getting a quote from a local painter as opposed to a 'master painter' so I am hoping it will be more affordable. The work of the traditional painter is amazing though. The kitchen is sort of divided into a smaller kitchen area and the huge wall of cupboards is a separate run in the dining area which is joined to the kitchen. So we will do the kitchen units first and then the dining area units once that's done. That gives us the option to have a change of colour if we want. I'm thinking of having a shade darker for the kitchen units than the dining area units.

We have tackled some quite challenging DIY in the past (sanding floors at 6 months pregnant!) so we could do it if the painter's quote is too high. With the money saved I could get the tiling and floor done grin

HansieMom Thu 26-Sep-13 14:48:06

The painter, not a master painter, if he is good at his craft, would likely do just fine. He might spray the cupboard doors offsite, and he and maybe his crew can be in and out quickly.

HansieMom Thu 26-Sep-13 14:50:12

Sorry, I had not read the latest replies. I'm repeating Nyancat's message.

AngieM2 Thu 26-Sep-13 16:29:46

Have a look at the October edition of Ideal Home, page 110 is a feature about a woman who made-over her kitchen cupboards including what products she used etc....

AngieM2 Thu 26-Sep-13 17:07:21

Have a look at the October edition of Ideal Home, page 110 is a feature about a woman who made-over her kitchen cupboards including what products she used etc....

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