Learning how to paint your bathroom cabinets is one of the easiest and fun things to refresh your storage piece. After a long time of use and exposure to moisture, the cabinets may look dingy or even a bit out of date.

how to paint bathroom cabinets

With a layer of new paint, you can bring a whole new look to your cabinet, no matter what material it is made of or whether it is unfinished or had been painted before. With a bit of attention, preparation, technique, and the right tool, you can get the job done right. Let’s get started!

Tools & Materials needed for a painting
  • Drop cloths
  • Sponge
  • Roller and Roller cover
  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper
  • Natural-bristle brush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Shellac primer
  • Paint
  • Paint tray
  • Work gloves
  • Tack cloth
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Synthetic-bristle brush
  • Respirator
  • Trisodium phosphate powder
  • 5-gallon bucket

How to paint bathroom cabinets?

Step 1

To cover from sanding dust and paint, lay drop cloths on the floor around the bathroom cabinets. To do the job nicely, you should take out all the items inside the cabinets and keep them somewhere temporarily.

Step 2

In order to achieve a smooth and more consistent paint finish, you need to remove the cabinet doors.

For the cabinet doors that have the hinges mounted with clips, you need to unclip each side of the door’s hinge and then take it out of the cabinet

For the cabinet doors that have the hinges mounted with screws, you need to use some tools. Use the screwdriver to loosen the secured screws that the cabinet door is hinged to the cabinet.

Normally there are two sets of these screws on the two opposite sides of the hinge. You need to keep these screws for later use, and then pull each door and its hinges away from the bathroom cabinets. You should keep the doors and all those hinges somewhere away from the splashing paint

Step 3

You need to remove all the drawers from the cabinet, starting with the top ones. You can pull these drawers to the farthest position, and then they will automatically stop at the drawer rail’s end as the wheels stop rolling. Then, you can remove the drawers out of the rail and put them aside.

Step 4

Then you can start removing all the door and drawer’s hardware using the screwdriver. To remove the knob, you have to unscrew the back of the door or drawer face. You can take the hardware from the front of the door or drawer and put it somewhere away from the splashing paint.

Step 5

You can use the painter’s tape to cover the surrounding surfaces, such as the vanity top’s underside or the wall around the cabinet. This prevents the cabinet surface from getting all the paint and making a quick and easy cleanup process. Furthermore, you can use a newspaper to cover the bathroom cabinet interior unless you also want to cover the interior with paint.

Step 6

Now you can start putting on the painting gloves and a respirator. The gloves keep your hand clean and prevent contact with the liquid paint, whereas the respirator is extremely important since most paints can be poisonous as they produce fumes that can be harmful, particularly to the eyes and lungs.

You can use this formula: pour a one-quarter cup of trisodium phosphate (TSP) in a bucket with one gallon of warm water, then use a sponge with TSP to wipe the cabinet frame, door and drawer fronts, and the door backs. Then you use a sponge with water to remove the TSP in the cleaned surfaces. Let everything dry completely.

Step 7

You need to sand the cabinet frame, door and drawer fronts, and the door backs using the following method.

If it is an unfinished cabinet, you can use 220-grit sandpaper to sand over the cabinet surfaces

If it is covered with paint or a protective seal, firstly, you can use medium-grit (120- to 150-grit) sandpaper to sand over the cabinet surfaces to remove all the coats and paint. Then you can use 220-grit sandpaper to lightly sand over the cabinet surfaces

Step 8

You can use the dust brush attachment to clean all the sanding dust from the cabinet. You can use a cloth damped with water to wipe down the sanded surfaces and then use a tack cloth to make a final pass.

Step 9

In the process of priming the cabinet surfaces, the shellac primer or oil-based primers can be used. They have proven to be more effective than latex primer in moisture-proofing the bathroom cabinets. Between the shellac and oil-based primers, shellac primers can minimize brush marks more effectively and have more flexibility as they can be combined with both oil-based and water-based paint.

You can load the primer on the roller cover and start on the cabinet frame’s outer and inner in the wood grain’s direction. Then you can do the door and the drawer fronts. You should use a natural bristle brush with better reach to apply primer to tight corners or grooves in the door and drawer fronts.

As the manufacturer’s instruction indicates, you should wait for the first coat of primer to cure.

Step 10

You need to apply another coat of primer on the cabinet surfaces and let it cure completely if the cabinets have been painted before, particularly painted from a dark color to a lighter one. If you have that case, check the step 9 and step 10 to see how to prime the cabinet

Step 11

You can start painting the cabinet by pouring a small amount of oil-based paint or latex-based paint from a can into a paint tray and then load the paint to the roller cover.

You should apply a base coat to the cabinet frame’s outer and inner and then paint the flat areas such as the door and the drawer front in the wood grain’s direction. As the instruction from the manufacturer indicates, you should wait for the base coat to dry.

You should remember that semi-gloss and high-gloss are more moisture repelling than flat and eggshell, and darker shades cover dirt better than lighter paints. When you apply the paint, for the best outcomes, you should use the suitable tools according to the type of paint you have chosen, for example:

If you use oil-based paint, you should go with a natural fiber, polyester blend, or wool roller cover and use a natural bristle brush to paint grooves in the door and drawer fronts.

If you use latex paint, you should choose a synthetic roller cover and a synthetic bristle brush to paint grooves.

Step 12

You can apply one or two additional paint coats over the base for your desired color or look. You should remember to let each coat dry completely before putting a new one, and then let the final coat on the top dry. To apply paint to the backs of the cabinet door, check out step 12 and step 13 again.

Step 13

Now it’s time for you to remove the drop cloth and the painter’s tape from the cabinet. Then you can reattach the door hinges to the cabinet and reinstall the cabinet doors and drawers just like how they were before unscrewed.

Final verdict,

For those keen on DIY, learning how to paint a bathroom cabinet seems like a good chance to learn and practice. With some simple steps from this tutorial, you can bring a different look to your cabinets and the whole bathroom.