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Painting Kitchen Cabinets White

We took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend’s rental and made them look brand new by painting kitchen cabinets white.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

Have you ever shied away from purchasing a fixer-upper because of the state of the kitchen?

When our friends asked us to help prep their smoke-stained rental and made the kitchen cabinets look brand new with a coat of paint, we were a bit concerned if it would work.

Here’s how Painting Kitchen Cabinets White can transform the look of any dated kitchen.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

Blech!

Did you know that those kitchen cabinets are supposed to be as white as that appliance?

Yeah – it blows my mind too.

Our friends purchased this flip at a steal simply because of the heavy smoker living there.

Structurally this house was in excellent shape, but you were met with a wall of work the minute you opened the door.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

And the kitchen was the worst of all since it was the hangout spot.

We had our work cut out for us for sure!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

First we removed all the door fronts and started scrubbing and deglossing them.

Next we did the same to the cabinet bases.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

After removing the knobs, you see the proof of the white cabinets underneath!

Oooh – weee!!! I was concerned at this point.

This first step is crucial! I took magic eraser scrubbers and washed the cabinets – twice. Then I followed up with Deglosser – which removes old grease and dirt from the cabinets as well as acting as a liquid sander to make the paint easier to adhere.

With the condition of these cabinets – this process took one entire day – 7 hours to be exact.

But after that elbow grease, we were ready to prime.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

We primed the cabinet doors as well as the fronts and inside of the cabinets using an oil based primer that covered stains.

After it dries overnight, lightly sand and vacuum off or use a tackcloth to remove any dust.

Next we were able to paint the exterior of the cabinets. I had never used Benjamin Moore Advance Paint and wanted to give it a try. It’s heralded as being THE superior cabinet paint.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

We let the first coat dry overnight and repeated the sand/clean/paint process again for a second coat.

Grab your britches, because this reveal is a shocker!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

What a difference, right?

We completed this kitchen in just a week.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

We replaced the original aged brass hardware with knobs that my friend gave me from her kitchen remodel. The brushed nickel pops against the white!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

The hinges were tricky. I tried to match the knobs with various spray paints and couldn’t get them to look right with the brushed nickel knobs, so we opted for white hinges.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

My only regret is that we weren’t in a controlled environment, so the finish didn’t come out as smooth as I had desired. But with a tight deadline and heavy traffic, stuff getting in the paint was inevitable.

Not only those issues, but as you can tell, the house was very dirty to begin with. I would bet that we would have stuff in the paint just from the circulating air!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

Another tricky issue was the dishwasher. The plastic had yellowed so bad that it looked more like 70s Harvest Gold than white. I used Soft Scrub with Bleach to whiten it a bit. After about 4 applications over 2 days, this was as white as it got.

Although it’s not bright white, the almond color works with the countertops.

And at least it’s not Harvest Gold!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

Here are some side by side comparisons to show you how much a simple can of paint can change the look of a kitchen!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint
Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

So did this change your mind like me? I never thought you could get rid of those awful stains. Painting Kitchen Cabinets White are an easy solution to update a space.

Let’s review the steps

  1. Remove doors and clean the cabinets thoroughly and use a deglosser or liquid sander.
  2. Prime the doors and let dry.
  3. Lightly sand the doors and tackcloth or vacuum off dust. Apply first coat of paint.
  4. Paint the other side of doors.
  5. Lightly sand the first coat and Tackcloth or vacuum off. Apply second coat of paint.
  6. Second coat paint the other side of doors.
  7. Rehang Doors.

It’s a full week of work, but well worth the results! Your kitchen can go from this:

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

To this:

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

Wow!

This even surprised me.

I hope this encourages you to tackle the “I don’t think it’ll work” projects.

It’s at least worth the attempt, don’t you think?!

Pin Painting Kitchen Cabinets White for later!

Painting Kitchen Cabinets White - we took nicotine stained cabinets from our friend's rental and made them look brand new with a coat of paint

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10 Comments

  1. That is great to know! I am always looking for new solutions to problems, because each circumstance is different! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Another product that works for intense smoke is Krud Kutter by Rustoleum. It is just the best and non toxic and plus even smells good. I used it by the gallon jug but it saved a kitchen and bath from a rental. Can’t tell you how many $$ we saved and this was a large part of it too. Another investment (particularly if you are a flipper) is to invest in an ozone generator. You can ozone the place over night, fling open all the windows for a very long time and then go in and start. It really will help get rid of the lingering smoke odors too! Give it a try!

  3. Wow! That really brightened up the kitchen. Love it. Thanks for sharing with us at Summer Time Fun linky. Pinned.

  4. Hi, love your post. I would like to invite you to come share this on the CLASSY FLAMINGOS BLOG PARTY held each Tuesday evening thru Friday. You’ll get large picture exposure and shout outs on all of my social media sites. And if you get PINKED you get even more exposure! I hope you’ll come by. poinsettiadr.com

  5. Great tip on the dishwasher, Sandi! Thanks for your words of encouragement and appreciation for the hard work that went into this makeover!

  6. Alycia – I’m not too far from that ‘can’t do this anymore’ phase, but I was honored and happy to help a friend. Your kind words completely made my day! Thank you so much!

  7. Wow, the difference is amazing! I love white cabinets in a kitchen. I always love how while white walls in a house can be very blah and plain, white cabinets looks so clean and bright and happy.

  8. Good grief!!!!!! What a transformation! I admire anyone who can take on a project like this. I used to be able to do it when I was younger, but not anymore. It’s always so satisfying to see your handiwork at the end! You really hung in there with that dishwasher to hit it up as many times as you did!!!!!! Gorgeous! I hope the rest of the house wasn’t as tedious and time consuming as the kitchen!

  9. Wow, I know what you went through. My mother was a heavy smoker and cleaning the house to sell when my parents passed was a nightmare. Scrub, scrub, scrub and yes, you have to remove every surface or scrub, detoxify, degrease, and redo or refinish every surface.
    Sounds like you used the best products available. On the dishwasher, a good quality spray paint would have worked. Great post for those faced with the same issues.

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