It seems that about every 10-15 years homeowners face the same dilemma:  what to do about the kitchen cabinets.

Many homeowners today are saddled with kitchens that were designed for the previous owners’ taste and are struggling with rebuilding costs. Faux painting them is not only a beautiful alternative but also a greener and more economical choice. Cabinets are restored, resources are saved, and significantly less money is spent.

The transformation is always stunning. Imagine dark, wood-stained kitchen cabinets becoming a light, neutral, off-white with a raw umber patina glaze. The number of base colors and accent glazes are limitless which provides flexibility in other design elements. The accent color in the paint finish can be customized to match the gold flecks in the new granite counter top, or the copper metallic tiles in the backsplash.

There are also several choices in the finish such as faux wood grain, strie, distressed and what we call an Old World decorative paint finish. The architectural details can be accented by applying a subtly darker or lighter color to the recessed areas. Dry-brushing over the faux finish in a lightly contrasting tone along the grain of the wood can also lend a gently weathered appearance.

painting kitchen cabinets

The process of faux finishing cabinets involves careful preparation. All surfaces are degreased and lightly sanded. Most hardware is removed and everything is painted with a strong, bonding primer. After they have been scrupulously prepped a custom mixed base-coat is applied. Many of the faux finish layers that happen after the base coat are made from water-base urethane, creating a strong, washable surface.

When considering whether this is a viable option, the quality of the cabinets should be a factor in your decision. Cabinets should be sturdily constructed and be able to last another 15 years. The paint finish is only as good as the company providing the service, so hire a reputable faux finisher with lots of experience and references.

Like the chefs who will use the renovated cabinetry, success depends on the materials, the recipe, and the skill of the artist. With all of these elements in place, the results are durable and aesthetically pleasing kitchen cabinets.

For pictures and more, see: Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing with Faux Painting.