We painted our kitchen cabinets! (Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee)

Sharing our updated kitchen cabinets! We painted them using Benjamin Moore Advance in Swiss Coffee (satin finish).

You guyyyyyyys. We finally did it! These cabinets have been bothering me for almost two years now. There was absolutely nothing wrong with them, but our kitchen always felt kinda dark and gloomy. I knew a coat of paint would brighten things up, but we kept putting it off, especially with the Pilot’s travel schedule. (I *could* have done it solo while watching the girls but it would have taken me twice as long and, let’s be real, it probably wouldn’t be very enjoyable.) We decided there was no time like the present and decided to finally go for it!

Here’s the final product!!

Before and after:

So much brighter and happier!

I thought that with the paint color I’d want to replace the granite, too, but I actually love the way it looks with our tiles and the tan paint. (If we went light marble for the countertops, I feel like we’d have to replace our floors to match and we’re not sure how long we’ll be in this house.)

Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee Kitchen cabinets

(Please ignore our kitchen rug. It got so dirty and paint-covered in the painting process. This one is on the way from Target.)

How to paint cabinets without sanding

– Liquid deglosser is key! I did a ton of YouTube research and liquid deglosser (or liquid sander) can be safer and less time-consuming than sanding. Sanding is one of the things that originally discouraged us from tackling the cabinets. It’s such a messy pain, so we were pumped when we found out you didn’t have to do it! The Pilot did most of the liquid sanding – he didn’t like my method lol – and you have to rub it onto the cabinets using a cloth, in a circular motion. You can wipe the cabinets afterwards or leave as is. Since it’s a chemical, you should definitely wear gloves when you do this step.

What paint to use for cabinets

– I heard awesome things about Benjamin Moore Advance paint and was really impressed with the quality. It went on so smoothly and dried beautifully. We could have gotten away with one coat, but two coats was even better. We ended up choosing the satin finish, which adds the slightest amount of shine but they’re not overly glossy.

– Before painting the cabinets, we also did two coats of Valspar primer. (We had some leftover from when we had the red wall painted, so I decided to use the rest of that. We ended up needing another gallon and used about half.)

Tools we used to paint our cabinets

We set everything up in the garage and did most of the painting in there. We left the door open to the house for air circulation and we also opened the garage when it wasn’t windy. This made it super convenient because everything was in one spot (save for the actual cabinet frames in the kitchen) and we could work in batches without worrying about the girls touching anything or little dog pawprints leaving their mark.

Here’s everything we used:

– Liquid deglosser

– Lots of cloths for the deglosser

– Gloves

– Disposable paint trays

– a drop cloth

– Paintbrushes – we had a quite a few rollers, angled brushes, and 1/2-inch brushes for the tiny inner corners. A tip: paint as much as you can with a roller in long, vertical strokes, because it will help to make the paint more even and uniform.

Getting under the cabinets was the worrrsssstttttt.

How to organize everything:

The Pilot had an incredible organization system so that we could work in batches and also keep track of what we’d already done. He labeled the inside of each cabinet with a number and letter (he wrote its “name” in the circle where the hardware goes with a permanent marker). We also had a map of the kitchen with the location of each cabinet (so we could tell where 1A was located, etc) and taped the hardware in the corresponding spot on the map.

The Pilot also had a tracking sheet which included each cabinet’s number and its current status: deglossed, primer x 2, and paint x 2.

I’m not going to lie; it took a LONG time. We started the project on Friday afternoon and finished up Tuesday night before he headed off on a work trip. It was a photo finish for sure! By the end of the project, we definitely had a groove going. I would prime as soon as he was done deglossing, and when all of the deglossing was finished, one person was priming or taping while the other was painting. The deglossing took the longest time.

Even though it took quite a few days, the results were so worth it and we saved a ton of money! It would have been at least $1500-2000 to have everything painted by the pros, but we spent less than $300 for everything.

There we have it! Next up: replacing the carpet upstairs (you know, when this whole “never leave your house” thing is over).

So here’s what I’m trying to figure out: should we add hardware? I kind of like the simplicity and brightness without it. If we were to add some, I’m thinking we’d go for stainless steel to match the appliances. I’d love to hear what you think!

xoxo

Gina

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53 Comments

  1. Nic on May 4, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Definitely add hardware! Jewelry for your house. Always makes it better.

    • Theresa on May 4, 2020 at 11:48 am

      Its looks great! Thanks for the inspiration! Definitely go with the hardware. You worked too hard painting your cabinets white. You will keep them clean with the hardware.

      • DKP on May 4, 2020 at 4:35 pm

        Inspired me also and stainless steel bar pulls would be amazing!

      • Jessica on May 4, 2020 at 5:14 pm

        You guys did a fantastic job, looks great!

      • Laura on August 4, 2020 at 9:41 am

        Gina i am in the process of doing the same, and i chose the same color! I love the soft look and i too am going with the brushed nickel, as all my appliances have handles in the brushed nickel. Bravo great job!

    • Lynda on May 4, 2020 at 7:50 pm

      Definetly hardware . It modernizes the kitchen

    • Cris h on May 5, 2020 at 10:01 am

      Add hardware i painted my maple bathroom vanity white and put crome pulls on looks great plus it keeps dirty hands off your nicely painted cabinets. Hardware pulls were $5 each at home depot nice solid heavy duty ones make a template or buy one for screw hole locations.good luck

    • Rachel Volmer on May 5, 2020 at 12:06 pm

      Definitely add hardware. Only because if you are constantly touching the bottom of the cabinet to open it, the paint will eventually wear down in that area
      I might switch it up and do black hardware but maybe not if your faucet it stainless too. decisions, decisions. Lol looks great though either way! Great job! Love a good diy!

    • Belinda on May 5, 2020 at 8:55 pm

      Hardware for sure! Great job! I am tackling mine and you gave the inspiration to just get it done!!

  2. Alyssa on May 4, 2020 at 7:35 am

    We did the same thing with our cabinets a few years ago. It made a huge difference but the workload is just horrible. We also added handles to the doors and that made a big difference too. Looks great, I’m sure you feel ridiculously accomplished too!I

    • Lauren on May 4, 2020 at 9:06 am

      Definitely add hardware! With white cabinets you*think* you have clean hands til your cabinets show you otherwise! We have stainless steel appliances and brushed nickel hardware, looks great!

      • Peggy A Carlson on May 4, 2020 at 8:38 pm

        Takes months for paint to cure 100% so without hardware you may see you paint wearing where you grab your do8r to open it. Happen to me. Mine doirs look pretty bad because of it.

    • Elle on May 4, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Have to do some pretty hardware! It’ll be a couple hundred, (at least). Use a mixture of handles and knobs.
      That puts the lipstick on the pretty pig

    • Jessica on May 5, 2020 at 7:59 am

      Question! Did you wait the full 16-24 hours between first and second coat of the BM Advance? Thinking of using it in my kitchen also but that’s a looooong dry time. Thanks for your help!

      • James on May 5, 2020 at 7:04 pm

        Jessica you can touch in just a few hours but you have to let the 16 to 18 hour dry time happen. The long drying time would be the same if you were using it a oil. Only reason to try and time is so long is because you wanna make sure all the water evaporates out of the first coat if it does not it will not cure. And this goes for all waterborne alkyd products. Just let it dry give it a light scarf I love to use a red maroon pad it doesn’t leave any sand scratches apply your second coat and let that cure and be very carefully putting your hardware back on only screw it from the back don’t twist from the front and you won’t have any problems with this product.

    • Vickie Brzezinski on May 5, 2020 at 1:36 pm

      You did a great ORGANIZED job! I have been researching to redo mine & the chart of where everything goes is so smart. I’m definitely going to do mine no.

  3. Jen on May 4, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Beautiful! Adding hardware may help keep the cabinets nice in clean…I’d even suggest possibly matte black hardware…still work with the appliance, but just really nice looking in my opinion. I’m currently remodeling my bathroom and may just be a bit matte black obsessed!

    • Diane on May 5, 2020 at 12:34 pm

      Hardware without a doubt. It will look nicer, keep them cleaner, and trust me from experience, you will definitely get tired of opening the cabinets from the edge of the doors. Nice job!!

  4. Julie F. on May 4, 2020 at 7:57 am

    Love this post! My husband and I want to re-do our kitchen cabinets white too and the thought of doing it ourselves was so daunting! Reading your post and how you guys did it, I think we’re going to go for it now! He especially liked the chart idea to keep track #engineerbrain lol and I don’t think you need hardware. It looks clean and simple!

  5. Carol on May 4, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Definitely add hardware. I didn’t for the longest time and I don’t know why. It looks better and it’s more convenient too.

  6. Michelle on May 4, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Looks great! Yes to hardware! You can buy different individual pieces to see what you like (return the ones you don’t). We bought ours at IKEA & they’ve held up well.

  7. shayna on May 4, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Wow, that looks SO good! Totally brightens the whole space. I vote hardware to tie a nice ribbon on the whole thing.

  8. Margaret Knowles on May 4, 2020 at 11:21 am

    It looks great! Really brightens up the space. And your husband’s plan for keeping everything organized was genius! I love how detailed the tutorial is. You make me feel inspired to try this in my own kitchen.

  9. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on May 4, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    WOW it looks amazing!!! I have a newer house, but I’ve never loved my dark cabinets and always wondered how light cabinets would look with the dark granite so this gives me hope!

  10. Stacey on May 4, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Definitely add hardware – Like Lauren said, it’s only a matter of time before you have hand prints everywhere!

    • Nadia Dakroub on May 5, 2020 at 11:30 am

      We did the same thing. It took a week. We used a natural deglosser and i washed the cabinets twice with it. Then we primed, then we painted. It looks amazing. The hardest part was changing out the old brass hinges. I scoured the internet because i could not find them in the big box stores or local family hardware stores. I wanted brushed nickel instead. Our doors are beveled, so before you do this project make sure about your hinges are going to work. If you decide to change the hardware make sure you find them first before you take all your cabinet doors off.
      My kitchen sat without cabinet doors for a month.

      My countertops are black galaxy granite so the white looks great. My pulls are brushed nickel and the appliances are stainless. What a difference from outdated orangey oak to fresh, crisp white.

  11. Lora T on May 4, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Home stager here, with well over 200 AZ homes remodeled and staged. Definitely add hardware, especially for resale! Brushed nickel knobs would be perfect. I use them in all price ranges, and they’re timeless. I’ve found the best deal (and quality) on Amazon of all places!

    Nice job on the kitchen! Swiss Coffee is one of my go-to neutrals. 🙂

  12. Julia on May 4, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    I recommend hardware. I painted my cabinets white and installed the hardware myself. The trick was figuring out drill bit sizes, and having a template for placement. I used a smaller drill bit to get through the cabinet door or drawer, and then use the actual sized drill bit after that. I don’t remember why I did it that way, but I know there was a reason.

  13. Jessie R on May 4, 2020 at 3:04 pm

    Wow! Looks amazing and you can’t beat that price tag! You are really tempting us to make it happen :D. Our kitchen is not as big, thank goodness haha.

  14. Tracy Giles on May 4, 2020 at 3:21 pm

    Looks great!I be been wanting to paint our dark grey cabinets a light cream. This might just inspire me. Add the hardware. Just make sure you don’t get the ones that always grab your clothes , lol.

  15. Kimberly C on May 4, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    These look fantastic! Great job! We took on painting our kitchen cabinets during the great stay home effort of 2020 and we have only one regret- why didn’t we do it sooner! I think the countertops look great with your color. And hardware is personal. If you didn’t have it before there’s nothing to miss! But if you find something you love and want to go for it then put it on. The the fun part of it being your house!

  16. Olviya on May 4, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Great job! I love how it looks with the white. I would add hardware. We bought ours on Amazon (matte black), and they were super inexpensive and look identical to the ones you buy at HD/Lowes.

  17. Nancy Rand on May 4, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    Why not but some glass inserts in the upper cabinets??!!!

  18. Vonda Turner on May 4, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    Great job! Swiss coffee is the color? It looks more on the creamy side…still looks nice. I also can agree that Benjamin Moore advance(expensive paint) its very good for kitchen cabinets bcuz that’s what I used for mine 3yrs ago. You had help I did mine alone!! If took me a week after work every day.

  19. Mary Jane Piede on May 4, 2020 at 7:11 pm

    I just finished painting our bathroom cabinets. Similar to what your kitchen cabinets looked like. I used valspar lovely bluff. I have black handles on the cabinets and drawers. It looks amazing. I definitely agree with the others knobs/drawer pulls finish off the project. Enjoy.

    • CAROL S. on May 4, 2020 at 8:32 pm

      BEAUTIFUL JOB! WE HAD OUR KITCHEN CABINETS PAINTED A SATIN WHITE AFTER THE HOLIDAYS…PAINTED OVER HONEY OAK! WE ALREADY HAD SATIN NICKEL KNOBS ON THE DOORS AND DRAWERS BUT I DECIDED TO HAVE CUP PULLS PUT ON THE DRAWERS. THE CUP PULLS COME IN DIFFERENT STYLES AND I PURCHASED THEM FROM AMAZON.
      TODAY THE PAINTER STARTED THE CABINETS AND DRAWERS IN BOTH BATHROOMS AND WILL BE USING THE SAME HARDWARE THAT IS IN THE KITCHEN. I LOVE THE LOOK! YOU WILL TOO!

  20. Jessie on May 4, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    Looks great! I love it. I need to do this our cabinets in our new house we moved into. Please keep us posted on how it holds up. I’m nervous if the paint starts chipping

  21. Nancy on May 4, 2020 at 9:59 pm

    Add hardware. Recently did our too I have stainless steel but I spray painted hardware champagne mist- from Rust-Oleum. It’s so beautiful!!!

  22. Michelle on May 4, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    You did a fantastic job. I would add brushed nickel round pulls on the doors and brushed nickel cup pulls on all drawers. We have stainless appliances and I have never tired of my choices of hardware; it’s been 13 years. You have inspired me to paint our medium wood cabinets a soft white and our island a french country blue…keeping our hardware.

  23. Monica Chi on May 5, 2020 at 8:28 am

    I love BM’s Swiss Coffee! What a difference a little paint makes! We had ours painted a few years ago and have never looked back. Thinking now about doing our bathroom cabinets ourselves, so thank you for the detailed process. One thing – you have to add hardware. It will make your project look “finished” as well as protect the paint for longer. I would do shiny stainless for a clean look. Enjoy your new kitchen!

  24. Josie on May 5, 2020 at 9:43 am

    It looks so good! We have the same color cabinets as your before. Definitely planning on painting them, just waiting for the time and a color decision!

    And yes, get the hardware! You’ll be amazed at how much nicer it is to open cabinets and drawers with them! I feel like hardware really completes the look. When we bought our home the cabinets had white knobs with pink flowers. Once we switched them out for a silver, it made a huge difference!

  25. Mary Carter on May 5, 2020 at 11:17 am

    I just yesterday replaced my hardware with new pulls. I highly recommend this company: Cosmas Hardware. I liked a certain pull on Amazon but they didn’t have all the sizes I needed so I checked the manuf. web site and they had them all and they were cheaper than Amazon! My whole kitchen only cost like $90, and they arrived in days!

    Actually, I replaced brushed nickel with brass, so I have 24 not-that-old nickel pulls (in Phx), if you want to do it really cheaply!

    I painted my oak cabinets white myself when I bought this house. I used BM Advance but didn’t degloss or sand and they came fine. They do get dirty, even with hardware. But it’s easy to repaint the fronts while they hang, too.

  26. Lydia on May 5, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Searching the web for paint color ideas for my kitchen cabinets brought me here. This looks amazing!! I have beige walls, beige tile floors and oak kitchen cabinets similar to your before picture. I’ve been wanting to paint my cabinets but not sure what color. Now, I have to look no further! I will definitely be painting my cabinets with BM’s Swiss Coffee Paint, which is a warm white. Awesome job thanks for sharing!! YES!! I agree with every one get the hardware adds “bling” to your beautiful cabinets! Happy Cinco de Mayo!

  27. K on May 5, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    Those look great!!!

  28. Melissa McG on May 5, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    Love how it turned out! And big yes to hardware! There are so many to choose from–I found some really great pulls for my blue and white kitchen that pulls it together so well.

    • Kim on May 5, 2020 at 8:09 pm

      Yes hardware. We have the exact same cabinets and added black hardware. Looks great!

  29. Laura M. on May 7, 2020 at 11:34 am

    The cabinets look great! My condo has literally the same styling as yours did before you painted
    https://www.realtor.com/realestateandhomes-detail/741-N-Milwaukee-St-Unit-602_Milwaukee_WI_53202_M73796-86032
    As for hardware – I think you could add some sleek pulls on the drawers, but agree that the uppers and lowers don’t really need anything!

  30. Mandy on May 8, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    looks so great and love the way it brings out the counter tops! I would for sure add hardware loos nice and easier to open things.

  31. Mike on May 8, 2020 at 8:20 pm

    Sorry if this is a dumb question but is the base cabinets a regular white and the tops are the cream color? Beautiful job btw!

  32. Jill on June 1, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Oh my gosh, the cabinets look amazing! I am super impressed with the Pilot’s organization – I just showed my husband his method for future reference! We are planning on doing this in our kitchen this summer, so thank you for the all the tips! I definitely think you should add hardware.

  33. Shevawn on August 24, 2020 at 12:13 am

    Linear cabinet pulls are ALL THE RAGE. (Realtor here!) Lots of trends are leaning toward matte black, but with your stainless appliances & faucet, I would do brushed nickel. Vertical pulls maybe 4-5” on the cabinets & horizontal pulls – maybe 5-6” for the drawers. You could do cup pulls for the drawers if you prefer a more traditional look to modern. Looks great & I love Swiss Coffee – the drink AND the paint! Ha

    • Fitnessista on August 25, 2020 at 12:23 am

      amazing ideas – thank you!! <3

  34. Cathy on October 24, 2020 at 11:09 pm

    Hardware for sure! I would choose knobs for the cabinet doors and pulls for the drawers. How about satin brass? Looks like you have brass hardware on the adjacent door. Love your before and after, the Swiss Coffee is a great white for your countertop and floor finishes!

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