The Three Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make Painting Their Own Cabinets

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Painting kitchen cabinets can be an excellent way to refresh the look of your kitchen without a full-scale renovation. It’s a popular choice for homeowners who want to update their cabinets on a budget. However, while the task may seem straightforward, there are several common mistakes that homeowners often make when attempting to paint their own cabinets. In this article, we will explore the three biggest mistakes homeowners make when painting their own cabinets and provide valuable insights to help you avoid these pitfalls.

kitchen cabinet sanding
priming of a kitchen cabinet

One of the most crucial steps in achieving a professional-looking paint finish on cabinets is thorough surface preparation. Many homeowners underestimate the importance of this step and end up with disappointing results. Failing to adequately clean, sand, and prime the cabinet surfaces can lead to paint adhesion problems and a less durable finish.

To avoid this mistake, start by cleaning the cabinets thoroughly using a grease-cutting cleaner to remove any dirt, grime, or kitchen residue. Next, sand the surfaces to create a smooth and paint-friendly base. Use a medium-grit sandpaper to scuff the existing finish, ensuring the primer and paint adhere properly. Lastly, apply a high-quality primer suitable for your cabinets’ material to enhance adhesion and provide a solid foundation for the paint.

best brands of paint for kitchen cabinet finishes

Choosing the right type of paint for cabinets is essential for achieving a long-lasting and professional finish. Many homeowners make the mistake of using the wrong paint, such as flat wall paint or low-quality options, which can lead to chipping, peeling, or a less-than-desirable appearance.

For painting cabinets, it is recommended to use a high-quality, durable paint specifically designed for this purpose, such as a semi-gloss or satin finish. These types of paint are easier to clean and more resistant to moisture, stains, and everyday wear and tear. Another common mistake is applying the paint incorrectly. Thin, even coats are crucial to achieving a smooth finish. Rushing the process and applying thick layers can result in drips, uneven surfaces, or extended drying times. Take your time, allow each coat to dry fully, and sand lightly between coats for optimal results.

Another common mistake is applying the paint incorrectly. Thin, even coats are crucial to achieving a smooth finish. Rushing the process and applying thick layers can result in drips, uneven surfaces, or extended drying times. Take your time, allow each coat to dry fully, and sand lightly between coats for optimal results.

cabinet painting in Denver

Mistake 3: Neglecting Proper Curing Time

After the paint has been applied and dried, homeowners often make the mistake of rushing to reassemble and use their cabinets too soon. Proper curing time is essential for the paint to fully harden and reach its maximum durability.

Failing to allow sufficient curing time can lead to nicks, scratches, and a compromised finish. Follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions regarding the recommended curing time, which typically ranges from a few days to a couple of weeks. During this period, avoid placing heavy objects on the newly painted surfaces or subjecting them to excessive humidity or temperature changes.


Painting your own cabinets can be a cost-effective way to transform the look of your kitchen. However, it is important to avoid the common mistakes that homeowners often make when undertaking this project. Remember to thoroughly prepare the surfaces, select high-quality paint suitable for cabinets, apply it correctly, and allow adequate curing time for the best results.


By avoiding these three biggest mistakes – insufficient surface preparation, poor paint selection and application, and neglecting proper curing time – you can achieve a professional-looking finish that enhances the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen while ensuring the longevity of your painted cabinets. With patience and attention to detail, you can successfully tackle this DIY project and enjoy the satisfaction of a beautifully painted kitchen for years to come.

Who are Walls by Design?

When it comes to transforming your kitchen cabinets into stunning focal points, Walls by Design stands out as the premier choice in Denver, Colorado. With their exceptional craftsmanship and eye for detail, Walls by Design has earned a reputation for being the best company to offer painting services for kitchen cabinets. 

Their team of skilled professionals combines expertise with creativity to deliver flawless finishes that breathe new life into any kitchen space. From meticulously preparing the surfaces to utilizing top-quality paints and techniques, Walls by Design ensures that each cabinet is treated with the utmost care and attention. Whether you desire a modern, sleek look or a timeless, classic aesthetic, Walls by Design will work closely with you to bring your vision to life, resulting in a kitchen that exudes beauty and elegance.

"Extremely impressed"
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I used Walls by Design recently, and was extremely impressed with every aspect of the company. From scheduling the initial consultation to doing the final walk-through, they were helpful, professional, and seemed genuinely passionate about their work. Even though our project was small, I felt as though our home painting was just as important as a much larger and more expensive project. They arrived on time and took great care of my home. I would definitely use Walls by Design again, and have already recommended them to my friends and family.
Erika Lampe
...was done ahead of schedule...
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Very pleased with the quality and attention to detail. The team, Brent, Matt and Chris, were very pleasant and treated my home and family with respect. The job, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, railing and mantle, was done ahead of schedule. They always left my home spotless. Can't wait to hire them again.
Kevin G. super dope my newly painted black cabinets looked...
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Nick and his team at Walls by Design were great to work with and did a very professional job on the painting of my kitchen cabinets. I was so impressed by how organized the process was and how super dope my newly painted black cabinets looked. I would recommend WBD to anyone looking to get their painting project taken care of. Price was very fair for the quality of the work.
Denise Larsen
He was on time, meticulous and the results are amazing!
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Matt Steele painted my cabinets for me and did an awesome job. He was on time, meticulous and the results are amazing. The company was wonderful to work with. They had a wonderful color consultant Marnie who helped pick a great color for me which was included in the quote. The preparation was thorough and all appointments for prep and the work happened when they said it would. I am very pleased!
Courtney Gaudet
I cannot say enough about the superb experience
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I cannot say enough about the superb experience I just had with Walls by Design. The entire process was perfect! I love that they include a color consultant in the process, employ talented painters (rather, artists!) and are led by such thorough project managers. Our cabinets look fantastic -- can't wait to use Walls by Design for our bathroom remodel.
Colleen Campbell
...he was so wonderful ...
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We have had such a great experience with Walls By Design. The process of getting an estimate, booking them, and project planning was made easy by their efficiency. Garvin painted our kitchen and bathroom cabinets and Kylie painted our banister and wall trim. They were both efficient, friendly, and kept our space clean. Both did an amazing job! Garvin is coming back in January for a second project -we requested him since he was so wonderful the first time! Highly recommend.
Kara Taylor
Walls By Design is a buttoned up team...
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November 2022 Our latest project with Walls By Design was once again a fabulous experience and we couldn't be happier with the finished product! Justin was prompt, respectful and friendly. He's a hard working, fast and talented painter who did an amazing job throughout the house, ESPECIALLY with a challenging tri-color room! The entire process of working with Walls By Design is unrivaled by any painting company we've ever worked with. Thanks again to Justin and the entire Walls By Design team for the care and attention you give to your customers. We'll be back!!! Fall 2021/January 2022 We have had interior walls and our kitchen cabinets painted by Walls By Design. Kylie and her team did a great job on our walls, and Brian’s care and attention to detail on our kitchen cabinets was incredible!! These painters were friendly, considerate, prompt and never left a mess. We didn’t mind having them in the house at all! Walls By Design is a buttoned up team of organized, communicative and accessible professionals who are so easy to work with. We will definitely use Walls By Design again.
Mandy Mason
Could not have asked for a better experience
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Could not have asked for a better experience and outcome. From the first call until the end of the project, we were beyond happy. Very professional, very quality work, and good people. What more can you ask for? Our painter extraordinaire, Kate, was amazing. She was personable, tidy, and extremely knowledgeable. Our cabinets are stunning, AND she finished a day early! You rock, Kate. A heartfelt thank you to the entire WBD team!
Jakalyn Helling
We won't have anyone else!
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WBD is great to work with. Staff are all friendly and very professional. Justin did the painting of our downstairs. He is so personable, thorough, and so accurate. He's the best!!! This is the second time they have painted in our home. We won't have anyone else!
Mark Chankij
Setting up the project was a breeze
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We had Walls By Design help us with a few different projects. We asked them to paint our cabinets, repair our cooking island, retile our backsplash, and paint our railings/banisters. From the quoting process to the final walkthrough, they are professional and friendly throughout the projects. Matthew did all the cabinet and railing painting and everything is immaculate - it is true artistry. Tim handled transforming our kitchen island from a plain box to a high-end cooktop, and Mark tied it all together with his expert tile work. We couldn’t be happier. Setting up the project was a breeze after we got our quotes so quickly from Kristen. Heather called us to quarterback the whole process - arranging for our color consultation with Jaci and putting all the scheduling puzzle pieces together. We will definitely be using WBD for any future services we need.

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