Decorating, DIY, My Home

How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding – $100 Room Challenge Week 2

It’s week 2 of the $100 Room Challenge, and this week I’m excited to share with you how to paint oak cabinets without sanding! The oak cabinets above our washer and dryer provide lots of great storage, but I wanted to give them a budget-friendly makeover.

Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!

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WEEK 1 | WEEK 2 | WEEK 3 | WEEK 4 | WEEK 5

This month I am joining in on the $100 room challenge with Erin over at Lemons, Lavender and Laundry. We just moved into a new house and I am so excited to make it feel like our home! Our laundry room is getting a makeover with some budget friendly updates to keep it under my $100 budget.

We have oak cabinets above our washer and dryer that I wanted to update. The most budget friendly way to update cabinets is with paint! I painted our kitchen cabinets at our last house and while it took quite a while, it was definitely worth it in the end!

Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!

I had some leftover paint from a living room project, and some leftover supplies from when I painted the cabinets at our fixer upper. So this cabinet upgrade cost me nothing! Painting cabinets can be such a great way to use up leftover paint that you may have laying around.

Materials Needed:

How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding

  1. First you will need to clean your cabinets. I use Krud Kutter to both clean them and de-gloss the surface. This creates an ideal surface for the paint to adhere to so that it will stay on the surface well. I did NOT sand first, as the Krud Kutter does a great job of de-glossing and preparing the surface for paint. To apply follow the directions on the bottle, and use a damp rag/towel to apply. After they were clean I removed the hinges with a drill. It is way easier to paint the cabinets when all the hinges are removed!
  2. Next you will start by adding 2 coats of primer, letting it dry completely between coats. For a smooth finish I use an angled paintbrush for the hard to reach areas of the cabinet bases, and for the detailed inset parts of the cabinet doors. Then I go over the cabinet doors and easy to reach places on the cabinet base with a foam roller to apply the rest of the primer. You’ll want to make sure that you have a good amount of paint on the roller, but you don’t want it dripping off. Too much paint can drip onto un-wanted surfaces and make the finish uneven on the cabinets. If you feel you have too much paint on your roller, roll it out on the paint tray a few more times until you have your desired amount. Before you let your primer dry, make sure too check for any drips or pooling. It’s easiest to catch them quickly so you can simply go over them with the paint brush or roller to flatten them out. If you don’t catch them before the paint dries, you’ll have to sand down the areas after it has dried to re-apply. To save money I used a water-based primer that I already had on hand. Some oak cabinets can have a very deep grain that needs a great seal that a oil-based primer can provide. If you are on the fence about what primer to use, I’d go with an oil-based primer like this one to make sure that you are covering up the grain completely so it won’t show through later.
  3. Time to paint! I usually apply 2-3 coats of paint on cabinets to ensure good coverage. I used some leftover Behr paint from Home Depot in the color Coney Island. The color is a smokey teal and I’m loving it right now! I used the same process as the primer, using an angled paint brush and a foam roller to apply. Always make sure to read your paint can to see how long it takes for the paint to fully cure. This will help you to not mess up that beautiful paint job that you took the time to do! Because this paint has a sheen to it (eggshell) I didn’t add a topcoat. The sheen acts like a built-in topcoat. If you are concerned about chipping, you could add a water-based polycrylic sealer that will not change the color of the paint at all. I like to use the matte finish on my projects (like this play kitchen makeover that I recently completed!)
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!




Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!

Almost Done With Your DIY Oak Cabinet Makeover!

After your cabinets and cabinet door are dry, you can attach the hinges back onto the doors and onto the cabinet base. My cabinets did not have any hardware on them, so I’ll be drilling holes for new handles. I had some extra silver drawer pulls from our last kitchen renovation that I spray painted to modernize them! I’ll be adding those on in the next couple weeks.

I LOVE how the cabinets look now! It took me a few hours to get everything painted, but it was definitely worth it! The new color completely changes the look of the oak cabinets. This oak cabinet makeover has such a big impact!

Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!
Budget Friendly Laundry Room Makeover - $100 Room Challenge Week 2 - How To Paint Oak Cabinets Without Sanding!

Oak Cabinet Painting Questions Answered

Should I use a paint sprayer on my oak cabinets?

You don’t have to use a paint sprayer on oak cabinets. I used my angled paint brush and foam roller method to successfully paint oak cabinets with a beautiful finish.

What is the best color to paint oak cabinets?

I think cabinets can look beautiful in an array of colors! I think white cabinets are the most popular choice, and can look absolutely beautiful! Painting oak cabinets in an accent color like I did can totally change the look of a room.

Do you have to sand your oak cabinets before painting them?

No! I painted the cabinets in our last house using Krud Kutter to prepare the surface, and it can take the place of sanding. The Krud Kutter de-glosses the surface and helps the primer and paint stick to the surface.

Make sure to follow along each week this month as we transform our spaces for $100! I’m really excited to start my next project for our laundry room, a hand painted accent wall!

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14 Comments

  • Reply Elizabeth Jones | Jonesville September 10, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    Paint is so amazing! Great progress!!

    • Reply Leslea September 21, 2020 at 2:15 pm

      Thank you Elizabeth! Isn’t it? It can change SO much!!

  • Reply Jackie @jackiecantblog September 10, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    I love all the Krud Kutter products too! It’s my go to for painting small furniture. This color is so good- and covered the oak so nicely. Can’t wait to see the finished room

    • Reply Leslea September 21, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Aren’t they amazing Jackie? I’m so glad I found the Krud Kutter products – a total game changer! Thank you! I’m loving the color too!

  • Reply Maria September 15, 2020 at 11:46 am

    Iā€™m painting cabinets too for challenge! Love all your tips! The color is wonderful.

    • Reply Leslea September 21, 2020 at 2:16 pm

      Maria – that’s so awesome! Painting cabinets is such a fun way to change things up!

  • Reply Joy September 16, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Beautiful color! I love the result!!

    • Reply Leslea September 21, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Thank you so much Joy! Isn’t it? Love the color so much!

  • Reply Joy September 16, 2020 at 7:35 pm

    Beautiful color! I love the result!!

  • Reply Erin- Lemons, Lavender, & Laundry September 17, 2020 at 8:26 am

    I need to try Krud Kutter! I have always used TSP, but this looks easier to work with, and I love that it deglosses as well. Your cabinets look amazing! Love that color.

    • Reply Leslea September 21, 2020 at 2:18 pm

      It’s so amazing, Erin! It definitely makes the process easier and faster! Thanks, I’m loving the color too! šŸ™‚

  • Reply P. Gordon November 10, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Many times I meet the idea of painting an old cabinet. I like your result “After”. Does the paint hold well? Is it practical to use? Is it possible to wipe the cabinet after painting?

    • Reply Leslea November 18, 2020 at 9:24 am

      Hi! The paint does hold well, it is recommended to follow the suggested drying time so that the paint has time to cure (dry). It’s best to wait to handle them until after the paint has fully cured. Then you should be good for regular use and you’ll be able to wipe the cabinets down as normal. Hope this helps! You can read about recommended dry times on the Sherwin Williams website šŸ™‚

      • Reply P. Gordon November 18, 2020 at 1:42 pm

        Thank you. Very helpful answer

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