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Kitchen Update: Choosing a Cabinet Color

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January 2018 Update: We’ve since moved from this home after selling it about a year after this post. We never did paint the whole kitchen, but the cabinets we did paint held up beautifully and helped us sell the house for top dollar. We love our new home and I’ve written about it extensively, including posts about our paint choices, white kitchen and lucite cabinet hardware, lighting selections, and other DIY and home decor adventures

I’ve been undergoing a kitchen renovation/facelift since August 2015! Catch up on the progress by reading post one, two or three.

Welcome to post #4 of my kitchen renovation! I haven’t updated you all with any progress since we really hadn’t made any since August. We are so slow when it comes to renovations.

This holiday break, we finally made some strides in the kitchen reno, and I’m excited to show you the progress. Here’s a peek (there’s more about the cabinets further down in the post).

These gray kitchen cabinets are amazing! This DIY tutorial teaches you how to transform kitchen or bathroom cabinets with milk paint, which requires no sanding or priming.

Let’s start with this uber gorg light fixture that we chose for our breakfast nook/eat-in kitchen area. I ended up choosing the fixture I mentioned in post #2, and I have ZERO regrets. The hubby put it up one day all by himself while I was at work, and he said it was a piece of cake.

Nerisa Chandelier Overstock

I think it instantly classes up the whole space and it adds just the right amount of light. We also have nine (yes, nine!) recessed lights in the kitchen. You can also see that we’ve primed over the original dusty aqua paint color. I loved the blue/teal paint color originally, but now I want a more sophisticated color and finish.  We also removed that floating IKEA table and replaced it with another IKEA table that I’ll show you in a future update.

Nerisa Chandelier Overstock

And now moving onto the most major decision of all…the paint color for the cabinets. I decided against the java (I know, I know…don’t hate me!) because I think it’d be too dark for our kitchen. I wanted a bright, cheery, airy kitchen, but didn’t want white cabinets. I wanted something a bit unique, still on the timeless side, and something that will be good for resell.

The folks at General Finishes were kind enough to send me some samples of their ah-may-zing milk paint in the snow white color and seagull gray color.

These gray kitchen cabinets are amazing! This DIY tutorial teaches you how to transform kitchen or bathroom cabinets with milk paint, which requires no sanding or priming.

I used a paint brush to paint some of each color on the extra cabinet door we had. I read another blogger’s review where she said there wasn’t any brush strokes, but I definitely had brush strokes. So, I switched to this foam brush, and I had flawless, factory finish results. You can still see the wood grain though, which I expected. 

After seeing both paints on the door, it was clear to me that seagull gray was perfect. It’s not too dark, it’s not your normal white, and I think it would appeal to most buyers once that time comes.

This DIY tutorial teaches you how to transform kitchen or bathroom cabinets with milk paint, which requires no sanding or priming. The results are gorgeous!

After two coats, my cabinet door looks amazing! I didn’t sand, didn’t prime…I literally just slapped the paint on with a foam brush, waited for it to dry about half an hour, and slapped on another coat. Once I start painting the actual cabinets, I will clean them thoroughly with this super amazing deglosser and seal them with my most favorite satin poly for good measure.

This DIY tutorial teaches you how to transform kitchen or bathroom cabinets with milk paint, which requires no sanding or priming. The results are gorgeous!

How to Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets With Milk Paint

Milk paint (I chose this gorgeous gray) I recommend the gallon size for kitchens and quart for bathrooms.
Foam brush (different sizes helps for beveled doors)
Sanding block* (see step 2)
Satin poly


  1. Clean your cabinets thoroughly with a deglosser. I love this one and had great results when I used it for both my espresso DIY cabinets and the milk paint ones. It really cuts through the grime.
  2. If your cabinets aren’t smooth, a light sanding is probably a good idea. I recommend this specific type of sanding block if your cabinets have bevels like mine do.
  3. Once they’re dry, get ready for paint. Milk paint is very, very thick, so stir it well before applying to make it easier to work with. 
  4. Using a foam brush, paint on thin coats in the same direction as the grain. Let the paint dry about 30-60 minutes before moving on to the next coat. Three coats should give you ample coverage. Let dry for about 48 hours (or 24 hours in non-humid conditions) before moving onto sealing. These will help you paint twice as fast by allowing you to paint both sides of the cabinet on the same day.
  5. Seal with a high quality satin poly or semi-gloss poly if you want a more shiny finish. I’d recommend two coats of sealer for kitchen cabinets and one for bathroom cabinets.
  6. Let the sealer fully cure for about 48 hours before adding hardware. 

And that’s my update! We’ll be painting the walls and ceilings this weekend, and I’ll show you all a sneak peek of that later this month. Then I’ll start prepping for painting the cabinets.

Neal Kadlec

Thursday 29th of March 2018

Monica:This is a question. I sawed-off a step-up snack bar around our sink and countertop isle and capped it off. I have already had granite counters installed and I plumbed-in a deep, 1/3erd divided, stainless sink. My kitchen is crying for my finishing touches. The only thing that is stopping me is sanding dust! When I cut-off our snack bar I got a dose of severe dust and dirt! I have an open concept kitchen/family room/dining room/and living room with 11.5' ceilings! Sanding even by hand will spread dust and dirt everyware! Any ideas? My only idea is to build a light stud wall from the top of my granite counter tops to the ceiling and staple plastic over the studs. I don't know what kitchen remodelers do but I will not be able to cope with all the sanding dust and mess in everything! What is stopping me is just building the walls to contain the dust and dirt! Maybe I should just 'build the walls' unless you have a better idea. Also, if I build the walls, I will spray my cabinets!


Saturday 17th of February 2018

Hello Monica,My wife is on a roll to re-decorate! Yeehoo...not! :) Anyway, I've seen a couple of post indicating the use of a foam brush. I would have expected some issues with air bubbles. You indicated a flawless finish, but I have to ask whether you experienced any small bubbles during application?


Monday 9th of October 2017

Hi, I'm super new to any sort of home remodel. Would you use the deglosser first or do you think it would be okay just cleaning thoroughly with TSP or something like that?

Monica Benavidez

Monday 9th of October 2017

Personally, these cabinets weren't super shiny. Some TSP and some elbow grease would suffice for 90% of cabinets, in my non-expert opinion. If you feel your cabinets are high gloss, a deglosser may be a good idea.

Echo Gray

Friday 22nd of September 2017

Can I use milk paint over the paint already on my cabinet?

Monica Benavidez

Monday 9th of October 2017

Yes, it should work just fine. I'd do a light sanding first for a smooth finish.


Tuesday 7th of February 2017

Hi there Monica looks great , have you ever thought of Spray Gun makes a fine finish

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