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I have changed this kitchen a couple of time since we moved here!  First I painted it a russet red (brick) because that was the kitchen color that I had in our previous house.  (see photo)

We also added a metal stick tile for the back splash.  My husband really liked this look.

But with the gray metal (gold also) and, as I painted other rooms cooler colors, like turquoise and greens,  I didn't like the way that the russet red looked anymore so I decided to paint the kitchen gray instead.

For more info on the colors, click here.




After I painted the walls gray,  I got an itch to repaint the cabinets!  I didn't like the way the golden brown looked with the gray walls.  I thought black would look so much sharper with the gray.  Plus our house is a decade old now and with several kids, the cabinets were starting to get roughed up anyway.    I was worried the black would be too dark but with the white tile floors and the big open room, I hoped for the best. 

So I took the plunge and painted the island first.  Then after that,  I was stuck redoing all of them.  lol

This was a pretty tedious project.  Took longer than I am used to (for just repainting/decorating rooms).  It took me two weeks to complete the entire process.

Because we are a large family and still used the kitchen, I did sections at a time.  I did the island first, then the side bar. Then the uppers, then the bottoms, etc.  So I never had all the doors off at one time. 



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You want to do this correctly so that it will last a long time and not decrease the value of your home.

I removed all hardware and took all the doors off.  I completely sanded and primed every piece.  That is what took the most time.  I used a rotary sander...such a mess!  Ended up sanding each door outside on the back porch. I also sanded the frames, but of course inside the house, still on the wall.   After the doors were sanded, I used my dining room table (covered) as my painting area. 


I primed each door with gray Killz Primer. I did one coat of primer on the backs of the doors and two coats on the fronts of the doors.   Front, dry, back, dry, flip, flip.

Once everything was primed, I used black (for exact paint names, click here.) I like this black because it has a cooler tone to it, more blue.  I did a satin finish because I didn't want them to be super shiny.  I did check out the Valspar paint that is specifically made for cabinets at Lowes but at $50+ a gallon, I ended up going with regular paint instead.

With the doors on the table, I did two coats of the black on the backs of the doors and one coat of black on the front of the doors. (second coat after they are put back on)  I used a brush and then smoothed everything over with a small sponge roller.  While waiting for the doors to dry, I primed and painted the cabinet frames as well.

Once the doors were done, I put the hardware back on the frames and put the doors back on.  Then I did the final front coat on the front of the cabinet doors.  I did this so that I could see the paint lines, while using the sponge roller, to make sure they were as smooth as possible in the kitchen light.


The sides of my frames were just plain particle board.  When I painted the island, I realized it looked kind of cheap, once painted.  It was almost impossible to get a perfect smooth finish with the black paint.

And the cabinet next to our dishwasher had some water damage at the bottom of it.

So I decided to put wainscotting on the sides of the island and the ends of the cabinets.

I ended up loving the way this looked!  Really made the cabinets look higher end.    I did find wallpaper wainscotting at the store but it is kind of spongy so I am not sure how long it would last on the floor cabinets, with dings and little fingernails.  But I think the wallpaper will be fine for the upper cabinets and it was super easy to hang up!

Once that dried, I painted that black as well.  I think it ended up looking so much better than just the flat cabinet sides. 


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The wainscotting was a super easy way to upgrade the cabinets.    I did end up using a textured/patterned wall paper for the front of the island.  I am not sure how long that will last because like I said, it can get dinged easily and I will have kids sitting there and most likely kicking it.    I did price using metal ceiling tiles on the front instead but it was out of my budget for now.   But in the future, if I change it to the tiles, I will update the images here. *We did update this to the ceiling tiles a year later.


For now this works and looks so much better than just the flat sides

The island is also painted a different shade of gray, than what is on the cabinets, just for a subtle change.


The finished design, with the black cabinets and some new decor pieces, ended up better than we could of expected!  I did it all on my own, with the kids in and out, and while still preparing all meals.

We love the final look!

Keep in mind that it can take three weeks for your paint to cure completely.  So be gentle with your new cabinet paint for a few weeks to avoid knicks.   I also like to use a wipe down of oil furniture polish on my painted pieces to keep the paint from sticking during those first few weeks as well. 

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