I am not sure when home developers decided that honey oak cabinets were all the rage. Somewhere between 2004-2007, some Joe Schmo had a brilliant idea to adorn all homes with builder-grade cabinets that were honey in color and high in sheen. Not that I have anything against honey per say. In moderation, hardwood floors ( or in a Hot Toddy), honey can be amazing- on every cabinet surface in my house? NOT SO MUCH.

Me being me- had a brilliant idea to update all of the cabinets in my new house by painting them white- officially 4 days after moving in. Why white you might be wondering? well, it looks cleaner, it matches with everything and it perfectly compliments my "all-over" paint (we will discuss that later). In my mind, it was going to be as simple as yanking off all of the door fronts, slapping some paint on and changing out all of the basic nobs with pretty door nobs, the idea was genius and thrifty (something my husband would be happy with).

Gotta love honey oak, builder grade cabinets- NOT


  • Valspar Cabinet Enamel Paint

  • ​We used the standard base white it comes in. This is a true bright white color

  • Kielz Paint Primer- not sure if I love this stuff for this project, its just what we had on hand.

  • Foam rollers

  • Paint brushes

  • Metal finish spray paint {if you are painting your old hinges, like we did}

Equippted with my trusted Pinterest Bible ( aka 3 pinned posts), and a dream for beautiful white cabinets, I began taking off all of the door fronts on my Master Bathroom vanity with only a screwdriver and hope. Starting with the door hinges first, I slowly removed all of the mounting hardware and placed them in a plastic bag ( to not loose any screws or important stuff). Next, I thought it would be helpful to at minimum prime all of the cabinets with Kielz paint on primer. Low and behold, that primer is wayyyyyyy thicker than it looks. I got it all over my leg and could not get it off for a good 24 hours. A thin coat of primer really goes a long way and covered the cabinet frame and fronts well. Wanting to give the primer enough time to sit and dry, I left the first coat of primer to dry for 2 hours while I watched #GIRLBOSS on the Firestick.

First coat of primer has been applied. Obviously, I am not an expert painter. Nor was I in the mood to cover this in a seamless way. In the future, I may try spray primer because I HATE priming.

After about 2 hours of drying time and a glass of wine later, I felt ready to take on the first coat of actual paint with a roller cabinet brush. The paint that I decided to go with for this project is the Valspar Cabinet & Door Paint in Brilliant White. This stuff was recommended from the young guy at Lowes and quite honestly, not the product I wanted necessarily. I knew I wanted a cabinet paint that would stand up to wear and tear and not require a lot ( if any) real prep work. The guy at Lowes ( lets call him John) PROMISED that the Valspar paint was great, low maintenance and amazing coverage- SOLD!

The first coat of the cabinet paint went on really smooth. This stuff is way thicker than regular latex paint and is low odor- which is helpful. As soon as I put on the first coat of paint on the cabinet frame, I knew 2-3 coats would do the trick in covering the Kielz primer. Almost immediately, the honey oak cabinets were BYE BYE. I started feeling incredibly hopeful and kickass on my progress and decided it was break time. Plus I wanted the cabinet frame to have adequate time to dry before applying another coat.

BUT SOMEHOW MY "BREAK TIME" turned into a full 72 hours before I made any more progress on operation cabinet makeover. Life happened, Memorial Day weekend sprung upon us and I was wayyyy more interested in finding an amazing BBQ recipe than painting the cabinet fronts. I literally left all of the hardware, all of the door fronts and my painting supplies on my bathroom floor- glaring at me every time I walked into the bathroom. IT WAS A NIGHTMARE and made me kinda wish I would of never taken on this giant project (self pity moment over).

But atlas, my mega procrastination period was over and I knew I had to finish this project. One, because my Master vanity had no doors on it and two, my husband was starting to stub his toe in the morning blindly walking onto the cabinet fronts on the floor. I will tell y'all, the hardest part of this project is the drying time! more than likely your cabinets will need 2-3 coats of paint before you will get the coverage you are looking for. Giving the coats adequate time to dry before reapplying is CRITICAL to a smooth finish.

Despite the fact that John* (remember the young guy from Lowes) said that the Valspar Cabinet Ennamel didn't need prep, primer or leave brush strokes- I think he was a bit mistaken or just a new employee. This stuff definitely can be a brush stoke culprit if you are not careful and it surely needs primer ( I tested this theory as well and it was a hot ass mess). In the future, if I dare to take on this project again, I think I would go with Milkpaint as I have heard amazing things in the Pinterest universe about it.

A quick tip when painting cabinets is to always paint the doors laying flat. When painting the sides, prop the doors on bricks, bed raisers or cans even so you can get a smooth finish. This technique helps with drying and will make your life a lot easier. It took 3 coats of paint to get the finish I wanted. I was forced to sand small areas of the cabinets where I noticed pesky paint drips that would of driven my OCD self crazy. Luckily, this process wasn't hard and I was able to touch up those areas with more paint for a smoother finish.

Orginally, I wanted to keep the existing cabinet nobs because they were in great condition and were silver in color. Now, after seeing the finished product- I feel like I may want to opt for more substantial cabinet nobs to really give the doors a spa- like look. As I am undecided on paint colors for the Master Bath, I need a nob style that is going to be functional and chic in the process. Sigh.. My Amazon search will continue until I find the right fixture finish. In the meantime, check out the after photos! I didn't take a full shot of the full vanity because 1- I hate the countertop (upcoming DIY project) and two, I gotta figure out a better organization system for all of my daily routine crap.. Anyways, This project WAS NOT EASY, but it is so worth it.

Until next time.

XOXO Nikki

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