Cheap ideas for updating kitchen cabinets

Some people try to save time by painting everything — hinges and all — while they're still in place, but Petersik warns that it's not a long-term fix."Your cabinets and hardware will start to chip and show signs of wear within a month — or even immediately." Once the paint on the hinges starts to crack, all you can do is sand everything down and soak the hardware to remove the paint, so save yourself the aggravation.

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However, he majority of the time, a fresh coat of paint or a new stain on the cabinets makes the biggest impact.

If you are like me, you’ve seen fabulous kitchens all over Blogland transformed by washing, stripping, sanding, priming, painting, and using a lot of elbow grease.

And a more experienced DIYer might like the finish provided by a spray gun (like Jenny at Little Green Notebook uses), but it's a bit more unwieldy than a brush.

Yes, it's super annoying to wait days for paint to cure.

But for cabinets, it's important you get it right the first time: "This project is easy but it's not the kind of job you're going to want to redo any time soon if you don't like the color," says Petersik.

She suggests painting a big poster board with a tester can in the color you're considering (you can usually get a small one for just ).

"You're not trying to get down to the bare wood," says Petersik.

"You just want to take the surface from glossy to matte."Vacuum up any debris before you even think of dipping that brush in paint.

Just a few pieces of dust can ruin the look: "You'll get a gritty finish and it'll look like you painted over sand," says Fahrbach.

"To fix it, you'll have to sand it and repaint it all over again." It's tempting to skip this step, but consider this: "Your finished kitchen could look amazing then, three weeks or three months later, knots in the wood can start to bleed through your paint," warns Petersik.

Avoid these blunders to end up with cabinets you can't wait to show off: Painted cabinets look lovely, but they aren't going to look totally smooth.