How to update kitchen cupboards with paint

Kitchen, the heart of the home and the place where we spend a lot of time in our home, so it has to function and also be comfortable and appealing to look at (if at all possible).

I can’t say the kitchen spoke to me when we viewed the house in December 2015 but it was adequate. With all that needed to be done in the house our budget wouldn’t stretch to a full makeover so we needed to be creative with how we updated it.

Our kitchen when we bought the house

Our kitchen is a galley kitchen with cupboards down one side and the opposite wall has a small fridge, freezer and oven with a pantry cupboard. There is a small step up to the dining area at the end of the kitchen with a window onto the garden.

Here you can see the layout (in a very bad shot from when we viewed the house).

Image of old kitchen from StyleAtNo5

The first job we did before we moved in was to have the whole house painted in Brilliant White from Dulux and that made a massive difference to the whole house, in that it brightened and also cleaned it up. For the kitchen I knew I wanted a dark colour on the cupboards to change the look of the space.

Draw inspiration from Pinterest and magazines

I used Pinterest as my starting point and pulled together some images I liked for kitchen designs.

Image of dark grey kitchens gathered together from Pinterest

I also felt that we could update the kitchen without spending a fortune. Luckily the kitchen cabinets were wooden so I knew we could paint them. I felt with new knobs it would improve it enough to live with it for a couple of years.

Close up image of old cupboard doors from StyleAtNo5

Painting the cupboard doors

We asked our builders/painters to paint the cupboard doors and we chose a dark grey colour, Downpipe from Farrow and Ball . It’s important to remove the doors from the kitchen carcass if you’re painting them, so that you get a smooth finish, with no drips, and you can get in around the edges and not have marks on the carcass. Our builders painted them by hand but you could equally spray paint them in a suitable room.

Freshly painted dark grey kitchen cupboards

The dark grey doors looked better against the dark wood and really changed the look of the kitchen.

Freshly painted dark grey kitchen cupboards

Updating the knobs on the cupboards and drawers

The kitchen knobs were a mismatch of colours, some plain wood and some painted cream. My first upcycle was to spraypaint all the door knobs copper with a spray paint from Valspar, which was a quick and easy job. I unscrewed them all and laid them out on newspaper outside and gave them two coats of spray.

The copper spray painted knobs lasted for about a year or so before they started to get worn and needed to be replaced.

Replacing the cupboard knobs

I had my heart set on brushed gold door knobs from Pushka but at £12 each it just didn’t make economic sense as the kitchen was probably not worth what it would cost to buy all the knobs!

I searched online and in local shops and after trying gold knobs (too big and too shiny) I settled on silver round knobs from The Range. They were nice to look at, in budget, matched with our existing appliances in stainless steel and felt good to touch and handle (very important with something you’re going to handle every day and something you might not think of).

From tired magnolia to light and bright

The kitchen went from magnolia and tired to fresh and bright with just paint and new knobs.

You might be wondering three years on, how is the kitchen holding up? Well, we have touched it up in places and to be honest the paint on the units is wearing from use but as an overall budget friendly update to get you over the initial few years of living in a new house it’s ideal. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever painted a kitchen and what were the results.

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