The Best Paint To Transform Your Kitchen Cabinets

Makeover your kitchen with a new lick of paint on old cabinets.

Kitchen cabinet paint

by Eleanor Weaver |
Updated on

Whether you’re a new home-owner or your kitchen has seen better days, giving your cabinets a lick of paint is a great, economical way of giving your kitchen an instant face-lift. You can save a fortune compared to renovating your kitchen with new cabinets and create a new space you’ll love.

Often described as the heart of the home, you want your kitchen to be a welcoming space where you can express your individuality. Pick on-trend hues, have fun with bolder colours or choose a cool, neutral shade to complement your existing kitchen décor – the choice is yours.

We’ve shared a handy guide to the best paint for your kitchen cabinets with a huge variety of colours and finishes to choose from. Take a look for a little inspiration to help you find the right colour for your home and top tips for getting that perfect application.

What Kind Of Paint Should I Use On Kitchen Cabinets?


The best paint for your kitchen cabinets needs to be durable against cooking steam and easy to clean when things inevitably get spilt or mucky little fingers search for snacks. That’s why you should choose a paint finish that’s satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, or gloss. The sheen finish not only looks good, but it also makes these kinds of paints much more water-resistant and easier to wipe clean. If you’re after a matte finish that’s durable, you’ll need to find paint specially designed for kitchen cabinets.

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Paint Type

Oil-based paint is considered best for kitchen cabinets as it’s more durable and resistant to staining and wear and tear over time. However, water-based paint is both a greener and easier-to-use option. Without VOCs (volatile organic compounds), water-based paint is more eco-friendly, low cost, easier to apply even on uneven surfaces, and is easier to clean up. A much better option for your average home decorator and the recommended paint type for home applications. Oil-based paints are best applied by a professional as they require greater care on application and good ventilation as the paint fumes are strong.


The next decision is colour scheme. You may want to just touch up your existing cabinets, in which case you just need to hunt down a colour match, or you may be looking for a completely different colour to transform and modernise your kitchen. If you’re not sure what to go for, take some inspiration from the experts.

With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, Paul Jenkinson, Founder and Managing Director of British kitchen brand LochAnna Kitchens has his fingers on the pulse when it comes to kitchen trends. He says, **“**More than ever before people are wanting to express individuality and have fun with bolder colours in the kitchen, while introducing a sense of calm to their living space. Throughout 2021, we saw increased demand for earthy, rich tones that sought to bring nature into our spaces, whilst we spent more time indoors.

LochAnna Kitchen
LochAnna Kitchens ©LochAnna Kitchen

“However, with the continued emergence from lockdown regulations, we are now seeing huge demand for colours reminiscent of the sea, such as airy and fresh tones of bright blues and greens, that encapsulate feelings of optimism and new horizons. This bright hue can be paired with more neutral tones such as wooden counters or if you want a bolder look, pair a bright blue cabinets with a beautiful white countertop for a classic and eye-catching colour scheme.”

Alternatively, there’s plenty of inspiration to be found on Instagram for you to fall in love with:

Best Paint For Kitchen Cabinets

Best multi-surface cabinet paint

With a smooth, satin finish and exceptional coverage, the Rust-Oleum Satin Furniture Paint is a sure-fire way to bring a new lease of life to your kitchen. It can be used on wood (bare or painted), varnish, wax, any suitably primed rigid surface, and more, making it a great choice if you’re looking to enhance those cabinets.


Finish: Satin

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 16 colours available on Amazon

Pros: No priming necessary, good coverage, easy to use, cost-effective

Cons: Limited colour range

Review: “Excellent product, painted my utility room cabinets to match my new kitchen, no priming, required 3 coats, looks amazing, and arrived on the day stated in the order, thank you.”

Best for MDF and melamine cabinets

Whilst the Rust-Oleum can tackle most surfaces, Johnstone’s Cupboard Paint has been made specifically to tackle cabinets made of MDF or melamine. It’s easy to use, dries to a smooth satin finish and can be applied directly onto cupboard surfaces without the need to prime or undercoat first. It doesn’t have the biggest colour range available, but each is very on-trend and well suited for a kitchen facelift.


Finish: Satin

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 7 colours available on Amazon

Pros: Low odour, good coverage, touch-dry in an hour

Cons: Some reviewers found the final colour to be lighter than expected

Review: “I bought this paint to freshen up kitchen cupboards. I have 10 cupboards and just used it on the fronts it went on very easy and the coverage was very good, I was really pleased with the paint the only thing is the colour turned out at least two shades lighter than what was shown on the tin, was a bit disappointed but it looked lovely and the shade still matched.”

Best for wood and metal cabinets

Made for interior wood and metal, not only does the Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood Metal & Wood Paint come in a range of neutral colours, but you can also opt for an eggshell or gloss finish option if you prefer. With a 6-hour drying time, this paint is non-drip, easy to apply, and provides long-lasting protection – a must-have for kitchen cabinets. It can be used on wooden or metal cabinets, or you could use the leftover paint to coordinate your cabinets with your radiators in open-living spaces.


Finish: Satin

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 38 colours available on Amazon

Pros: No undercoat required, quick drying, non-drip

Cons: Coverage not as good as other paints - requires multiple coats

Review: “My cupboards were brown before. It was quite a big job for us but it’s looks amazing and we saved thousands on a new kitchen. Thank you, Dulux & Amazon.”

Best for luxury

At £71 for a 2.5L pot, or £29 for a 0.75L pot, there’s no denying the Farrow & Ball range is expensive. However, for this higher price you get a luxe paint that’s packed with pigment for deep, rich colours and a high-quality paint with technical precision to help you create a look that lasts. You can customise your pot with a choice of nearly 150 colours, and Gloss, Matte, and Eggshell options. And don’t worry, you can buy sample paint pot to test the colour out for just £4.95.


Finish: Gloss

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 148 colours available

Pros: Fantastic colour range, long-lasting finish, excellent coverage

Cons: Expensive

Review: “Just been re-painting the kitchen (with White Tie) today. Only the first coat on at the moment but even now it's looking the business! I've never used F&B paint before but it certainly won't be the last time.”

Best for matte finish

If you’re after a matte finish on your kitchen cabinets, you’re best choosing a specialised paint like this one from Rust-Oleum. The Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint is hardwearing, scrubbable, and has increased durability to withstand the wear and tear of everyday kitchen use. It can easily be applied to melamine, wood, and gloss cupboard with a highly pigmented formula that’ll provide lasting coverage. And with a green-themed colour range, it’s very on-trend for 2022.


Finish: Matte

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 14 colours available

Pros: Stain-resistant despite being matte finish, quick drying, no primer necessary

Cons: Limited colour range

Review: “Very easy to use, fantastic results. Needs two coats. Dries very quickly. Extremely pleased with the results.”

Best for tested durability
V33 Renovation Soft grey Satin Cupboard & cabinet paint
Price: £27 (was £39)

Specially designed to renovate heavily used surfaces in your kitchen, the V33 Cabinet Paint is extremely durable and resistant to culinary and domestic stains. The complex combination of exclusive polymers in the paint provides a great stain barrier, something that’s been tested against for hot and cold fats, vinegars, wine, ketchup, coffee, and tea. All the main culprits. The paint is easy to apply but it is essential to wash down the surfaces with an alkaline cleaner before applying.


Finish: Satin

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 4 colours available on B&Q

Pros: No undercoat necessary, highly resistant to stains and scratches

Cons: Limited colour range - designed for builders/decorators

Review: “I was dubious about trying this, my kitchen was outdated but after reading the reviews decided to give it a try and boy was I glad. You really need 3 coats to give a really good professional finish, doing tiles next. Definitely the way to go on a budget, hard work but worth the effort.”

Best for on-trend colours

With 57 colours to choose from in contemporary colours well suited for a modern kitchen, each provides a trendy, soft sheen and rich coverage. Designed especially for humid, wet areas, or those prone to heavy dirt, the COAT Soft Sheen Paint is moisture-resistant and easy-clean, perfect for kitchens. It’s self-priming so really easy to apply, and has low VOCs so you can breathe easy as you paint away.


Finish: Soft sheen

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 57 colours available

Pros: Good colour range, low odour, rich coverage, choice of finishes

Cons: Quite expensive

Review: “The quality of the paint is amazing; you only need two coats and it gives really an even coverage. It has also proven hard wearing; we were able to wipe down with a wet cloth and you couldn’t tell the difference!”

Best for eggshell finish

For a beautiful eggshell finish that provides a mid-sheen, we’d recommend Lick’s Eggshell Paint range. Great for interior high traffic or wet areas such as kitchens or bathrooms, this paint is wipeable and durable. With great coverage, you can expect a flawless finish with fewer coats and whilst it’s recommended for wooden kitchen cabinets, you can use this paint on pretty much any indoor surface.


Finish: Eggshell

Paint type: Water-based

Colours: 123 colours available

Pros: Excellent colour range, eco-friendly, durable, good coverage

Cons: Quite expensive

Review: “This is the 4th Lick colour I’ve used and I’m hooked! The paint quality is unreal, amazing coverage and virtually odourless too. Highly recommend!”

OUR VERDICT: Best Paint For Kitchen Cabinets

Our top contender for kitchen cabinet paint would have to be the Farrow & Ball Gloss Metal & Wood Paint. Not only does it have an impressive range of colours to choose from so you can find the perfect match for your kitchen, but it gives you the option to choose between Full Gloss (our recommendation), or a Modern Eggshell or Estate Eggshell – both with a robust and mid-sheen finish. However, for a more slightly more affordable option, we’d also recommend the Lick Eggshell Paint. With a lower price-tag you get a range of trendy colour options and a paint that’s multi-surface, durable, and provides great coverage.

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How To Prepare Your Kitchen Cabinet For Painting?

In order to make your gorgeous new paint job go the distance, you need to put in the prep. Follow these steps to make your painting a breeze:

  1. Clean your cabinets to remove any built-in grease and grime. If it’s particularly dirty, use a degreaser or sugar soap solution.
  1. Lightly sand the surface of your cabinets to help the paint to grip.
  1. Wipe the dust off with a damp cloth and allow to dry.
  1. Run masking tape over hinges and edges you don’t want to get paint on.
  1. If possible, remove the cabinet handles.
  1. Apply a primer to create a smooth base for your paint. Some furniture-specific paints don’t need a primer so check the paint tin if you’re unsure.

Should I Use A Brush Or Roller To Paint Cabinets?

This is another one that’s entirely up to you. Using a foam roller will be quicker and will provide a smooth finish. However, if you’re after a more rustic appeal, you can use a brush. This option is only suitable for wooden cabinets and it’s best to paint in the direction of the wood grain.

With each, expect to apply at least two coats of paint for a solid finish, leaving at least 24 hours between layers.

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