The kitchen is one of the most used spaces in any home. Over time, the cabinets in the kitchen tend to lose their shine and charm. Instead of replacing the entire cabinetry, homeowners can refurbish the existing cabinets through spray painting.

This cost-effective technique helps transform the look of cabinets without major reconstruction.

Here, we will discuss the step-by-step process of spraying kitchen cabinets through proper surface preparation, application of paint, and finishing touches

How to Spray Paint Kitchen Cabinets

What You'll Need


  • HVLP paint sprayer
  • Random orbital sander
  • Fan (for ventilation)



  • Paint primer (white or tinted close to your paint color)
  • Latex enamel paint
  • Wood putty
  • TSP (tri-sodium phosphate)
  • Fine-grit sandpaper

Surface Preparation

Thoroughly cleaning and prepping the surface before spraying kitchen cabinets forms the foundation for a smooth, even coating of paint.

First, all contents must be removed from the cabinets. Then, homeowners should wipe down the surfaces using a damp cloth or mild cleaner to remove dirt, grease, and residue. Any existing finishes or layers of paint need to be sanded smooth using 120-grit sandpaper.

Finally, tack cloths should be used to wipe away all dust particles. Proper surface preparation ensures the paint properly adheres to the cabinets.


For best results, cabinets require a layer of primer before the topcoat. Primers create a smooth, sealed base and help the paint adhere evenly.

Water-based or oil-based primers can be used depending on the type of paint chosen as a topcoat. Primers must be applied with a high-quality sprayer following the product instructions.

At least two thin coats are needed, allowing full drying time between each. This step is crucial for spraying kitchen cabinets as it helps the paint last longer.

Gathering supplies

Having the right spraying equipment and materials is essential for a smooth spraying kitchen cabinet coating project.

A high-volume, low-pressure (HVLP) spray gun produces a fine mist without air bubbles and is better for surfaces like cabinets.

Other needed supplies include a respirator rated for spray painting, drop cloths, painter’s tape, sandpaper, cleaning supplies, and natural bristle brushes. Purchase water-based, semi-gloss paint formulated specifically for spraying on wood.

Thinner and premixed paints should be included with the paint for proper thinning and application. Gathering all supplies upfront saves time and prevents multiple trips to the store.

Masking and protective covering

Prior to painting, carefully mask and cover any surfaces not meant to be painted, like floors, backsplashes, and hardware.

Apply painter’s tape to all edges and seams to ensure the paint does not bleed into areas where it is not required.

Remove cabinet doors, drawers, and any other detachable pieces for individual spraying. Lay down drop cloths coated with an old sheet to catch overspray as a protective barrier on floors. Close up the rest of the kitchen and cover other appliances.

Proper masking is required to spray kitchen cabinets neatly without any needed touch-ups on surrounding areas later.

Paint Application

Once surfaces are prepared and primed, homeowners can proceed to apply the topcoat paint by spraying.

A high-quality acrylic or enamel paint formulated for kitchens works well. The paint must be properly thinned according to directions for spraying.

Staining paints that offer deep, rich colors are a good choice. Spray application requires lighter coats versus brushing or rolling. Start spraying from a distance of 6-8 inches away from the surface using smooth, even strokes.

Allow each coat to fully dry as directed before applying the next. Typically, two coats are sufficient to achieve full coverage and protection.

Paint Application, How to Spray Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Sanding and Touch-Ups

Once the paint is fully cured, use fine-grit sandpaper (220-320 grit) to gently sand away any imperfections or rough areas between coats.

This step helps the next layer of paint to bond smoothly to the surface. Follow with a tack cloth. Examine cabinets closely and spot apply additional coats to areas needing touch-ups.

The sanding process and adding extra paint to imperfect areas results in a flawless, polished finish.

Clear Coat Protection

For superior durability and protection, the painted cabinets must be sealed with a clear coat.

Water-based polyurethane, lacquer, or shellac protects against abrasion, moisture, and chemical damage.

Two thin coats of clear coat allow full drying in between as directed. This extra step of sealing the paint helps it withstand years of use and contact in the kitchen environment without peeling or fading.

Finishing techniques

After the spraying kitchen cabinets process is complete, reassemble cabinets by securely affixing hardware and adjustable shelves.

Lightly sand any flaws or imperfections in the finish with fine-grit sandpaper and touch up problem areas using a small brush.

Consider applying a second coat of protective clear topcoat for long-term durability and ease of cleaning semi-gloss or glossy paint.

Curing and fully drying cabinets before use prevents damage. Take precautions when moving and handling wet pieces. Completing final details using the right spraying techniques results in beautifully transformed kitchen cabinets ready for enjoyment.

Cleanup and storage

Cleanup after spraying kitchen cabinets is important to maintain equipment function and keep the workspace orderly.

Remove all masking materials and protective coverings once the paint is fully dry. Disassemble and thoroughly clean the spray gun using appropriate cleaners or solvents, replace the seals if needed, and then properly store them.

Put away all painting supplies for future use. Sweep and mop floors during final cleaning to remove dust or debris. With spray paint, overspray may settle onto untouched surfaces, requiring additional light wiping or cleaning.

Proper cleanup makes spray painting kitchen cabinets mess-free.

Important Factors to Consider Before Spraying Kitchen Cabinets:

Choosing Paint

Selecting the right kind of paint has a significant impact on the outcome.Enamel or latex paints specifically made for kitchens and high-traffic areas should only be considered as they hold up against moisture and wear & tear better.

Also, check if the paint is meant for spray application. The paint color is another crucial choice influencing the overall aesthetics.

Test spraying samples on scrap pieces helps compare and pick the most suitable option. Considering the cabinet style and kitchen décor assists in harmonizing the color selection.

Spraying Equipment

Having the correct spraying kitchen cabinet gear matching the project’s scope and paint characteristics proves important.

Compressed air sprayers offer more control over the finish than airless models but are less convenient for large areas. Meanwhile, HVLP (High Volume, Low Pressure) sprayers enable the efficient application of paint with minimal overspray.

Checking spray patterns and volume on practice surfaces initially allows us to get accustomed to the equipment. Cleaning equipment thoroughly after each use maintains it in optimal working condition. Replacing worn-out components prevents issues while spraying.

Ventilation and Safety

Proper ventilation cannot be neglected whenever spraying kitchen cabinets. Working in a well-ventilated area or outside wearing a respirator removes inhalation risks from paint vapors.

Nearby surfaces also need protection from potential overspray. Covering floors and furniture with drop cloths prevents damage.

Wearing appropriate protective clothing like goggles, gloves, and coveralls avoids skin and eye irritations. 

Application Method

An even coating delivering a smooth finish requires practicing certain techniques. Spraying kitchen cabinets in sections allows concentrated work. Starting from the top and working downward helps control drips.

Keeping the spray gun at a consistent distance and angle while moving it in long, parallel strokes maintains a uniform thickness. Pausing between coats permits some flash-off time for the paint to tack up before applying subsequent layers. Too many or thick coats risk runs and sags.

Lightly sanding between topcoats improves bonding. Care and patience during application eases achieving professional-level results.

Finishing Touches

Allowing sufficient drying time between coats and before use gives the paint film precious hours to properly cure.

Generally, sprayed cabinets take at least 48 hours or the timeframe stated on can instructions to dry completely. Meanwhile, protecting the new finish prevents premature damage. Lightly sanding and applying a clear topcoat shield seals and enhances the color.

Cleaning cabinet interiors maintain continuity. Some also prefer installing new handles, which polish off the transformed look. Carrying out these finalizing activities results in a long-lasting, flawless paint job.

Maintaining Sprayed Cabinets

Proper maintenance keeps the sprayed cabinets looking their best over their lifespan.

Regular cleaning with a non-abrasive cleaner and drying promptly avoids accumulating dirt and residues that may damage or dull the surface over time. Wiping up any spills immediately instead of letting them soak in guards against staining.

Applying furniture wax or a specialized protectant every few months replenishes lost oils and protects the coating from fingerprinting and scuffs.

Timely light sanding and recoating shield the cabinets when noted losing sheen due to heavy usage. With cautious care, a rattle-canned finish can remain vibrant for many years.

clean and maintain kitchen cabinet


Spraying kitchen cabinets provides a cost-effective way for homeowners to refresh their kitchen appearance without undertaking a complete replacement.

With proper preparation, including sanding, priming, and protecting surfaces from overspray, excellent results can be achieved. Using an HVLP spray gun and applying thin, even coats of premium latex or acrylic cabinet paint tailored for high-traffic kitchens ensures a professional, long-lasting finish. 

While it requires more effort than simply rolling on paint, spray painting cabinets allow seamless blending of paint into all surfaces for a flawless, like-new look.

With regular cleaning and touch-ups as needed, sprayed cabinetry can last for many years. Whether choosing spray applications themselves or hiring an expert, homeowners will find refurbished kitchens by spraying kitchen cabinets rather than disposing of and buying new ones. It remains a wonderful choice to modernize kitchens affordably.