Painting Laminate Cabinets

A blessed Easter it was, we spent some time with my family, ate too much, and came home happy and content. I trust you had some good times with your family too this weekend.

painting laminate cabinets

Several of you asked me about painting these white laminate cabinets, so I thought I’d do a little post on that. These are indeed white laminate cabinets, as are my kitchen cabinets. I think the bases are probably wood, but the doors are definitely laminate (that plasticy material). And the good news is, you can paint it! I painted this 3 years ago and it still looks great.

I found this bit of information by Googling Laminate primers:

The Zinsser company makes two primers that it recommends for use over laminate: Bulls Eye 1-2-3, an acrylic formula in a water base, and B-I-N, a pigmented shellac formula with an alcohol base. Tim O’Reilly, manager for primers and sealers at Zinsser, recommends the shellac formula even though it will leave your kitchen smelling like alcohol for an hour or so and even though it’s more of a hassle to remove from your tools. (You’ll need to use ammonia or denatured alcohol.) The reason for his recommendation: Once the alcohol evaporates from the primer, typically in 45 minutes, the shellac finish is fully cured. Not only can you can proceed immediately to put on the finish paint, but you greatly speed up the time when your kitchen can return to being fully functional.

painted laminate cabinets

I did not use a laminate primer on my cabinets, but I did prime them with water-based Kilz, so if you want the extra protection OR you are going to paint your laminate kitchen cabinets, I would definitely recommend you get a primer made specifically for slick surfaces like laminate. This will save you a lot of headaches. Mine have held up well, since this bathroom is not used all the time, it’s a guest bath. I primed first, then did 2 coats of Satin Ralph Lauren paint called Turret Stair (you can get Ralph Lauren paints at Home Depot). It’s a deep rich, chocolately brown. I used a small foam roller and a 1 or 2” brush to get into the crevices. It goes on pretty smoothly with the roller. You can see I only painted to the edge of the lip inside the cabinets and the same with the drawers and kept the insides white. Save yourself the headache of painting the insides of your cabinets!

Painted laminate drawer



I did take my doors off to paint them, but next time I would just leave them in place. I had a little bit of a hard time getting the doors back on properly, so I think you could just as easily leave them on. You’ll just need to stand on your head to get underneath the bottom of the door. 🙂 Let every coat dry one day in between and you should have a great looking coat of paint on your laminate cabinets.

I’ve painted several cabinets, but this was the first time I’ve had laminate, so be sure to prime them well first and it should work out great. Proper prep is the key! I do have laminate doors in my kitchen too and may end up painting them one day if they end up getting beat up. Laminate is bad about getting nicks around the edges of the doors, so I think painting them would seal them up and make them last longer. I know in our bathrooms, we had some water damage on the edges of some of them, so laminate doesn’t even last forever.

I’ve also heard about a product called Cabinet Coat, but have never used it. It’s supposed to be a tough as nails finish that leaves a very hard and protective surface for cabinets. I think you can get it at Ace Hardware and other places. So, this would be a very good option for painting cabinets too. One thing I read online was that this gives a really smooth surface over a sanded primer, and to lightly sand between coats for the best results. That’s how you get a really professional looking painted surface, not that any of my cabinets I’ve ever painted are professional looking, but they were good enough for me.

Cabinet coat

I’ve had to touch these cabinets up just a couple of times in the last 3 years. Sometimes the pressure points of the doors will leave a little spot and I just take a paint brush and touch it up. Not a problem! I know there are also tougher paints especially for cabinets that you can get, so that is another option when you are buying your paint.

If you want to paint your laminate cabinets, go for it! I’m joining Susan over at Between Naps on the Porch for her Met Monday party. I think this makeover fits the bill.

If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss the giveaway on my Review Blog that is currently happening! it will be going on until early a.m. Wednesday and you don’t want to miss it.

- Rhoda


  1. Hi Rhoda,

    I didn’t think there was any hope for my white laminate bathroom cabinets. The picture of your bathroom really inspired me so I ran to Home Depot to get the exact color and paint. Although Home Depot doesn’t carry the Ralph Lauren paint anymore, they still had the formula for turret stair and were able to make me a can of the paint. I’m happy to say that my bathroom cabinets look fabulous.

    Thanks so much!

    • Thanks for sharing that, Susan! Turret Stair is a great color. Glad you are happy with it.

    • Yes, Turret Stair is a wonderful color. I featured my cabinets on my blog today and have a link to your blog as well. I hope you don’t mind.

  2. I have laminate cabinets in the kitchen and I want to paint them in white color. I think that the kitchen will look much cleaner and brighter. Thank you for the helpful article! You helped me a lot!

  3. Thank you Thank you Thank you!! I’ve been scouring the internet trying to figure out how to paint my white laminate to brown and yours is the first one I’ve finally found. All the others have been brown laminate to white and I wanted to make sure it would work going from white to brown.

  4. Mary Currier says

    Thank you Rhoda for the info on your laminate cabinet do over. I have some old Sears relaminated cabinets that need updating to the 21st century. The primer is especially helpful!
    Your Pops garden reminds me of my grandmother’s who also spent her days working in her yard and bringing in the fresh produce for Sunday supper after church. She was from East Alabama, not far from you in Georgia. Thank you for sharing the video!


  1. […] to paint them.  Isn’t the Internet fabulous?!  I was excited when I found Rhoda’s Southern Hospitality blog which outlined how to paint the […]

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