Decor, DIY

Painted kitchen cabinets and tile backsplash — a year later

Painted cabinets and tile backsplash results after one year

Over a year ago I took the plunge and painted my entire kitchen, including cabinets, backsplash tiles and walls. (And I didn’t take the doors off!) You can see the how-to post here.

Here are a couple before and after pictures:

painting kitchen cabinets before and after

Transform your kitchen with paint - before and after pictures

So how have they held up? I’d say pretty darn well! I’m a happy DIYer when it comes to this project. We have some wear and tear on the two most-used drawers and about six random, small chips.

Chip on painted cabinet

But honestly, I’m surprised their aren’t more dings with two boys slamming their toys into them every day and a husband that does everything in a fast forward, caveman-like fashion.

upclose view of painted kitchen cabinet

I find that the polycrylic finish provided quite a bit of protection and allows for easy wiping up — even old, dried up food splatters. There has been zero yellowing, and we get a lot of compliments on how much lighter our space is now. Ok, no compliments from our contractor friend who installs high-end cabinets for a living. He sort of examined them and didn’t say much. Haha! But when I consider that I did this project for $200 and we have minimal wear, I’m a very happy girl.

My painted kitchen results one year later

The paint above the stove even withstood the rising steam of daily cooking.

Painted tile backsplash results one year later

The tile remains exactly the same as the day I painted it! Not one chip or scratch and splatters and oil wipe right off. I couldn’t be more pleased with the function of the oil paint here.

Touch ups

Tools for touching up kitchen cabinet paint

I decided to touch up the dings and wear around a couple handles this week. Here’s what I did with what I already had leftover from my project a year ago:

  1. Remove hardware.
  2. Wipe down area you will paint. I would suggest not sanding unless the spot is really bad. I tried it and it made the polycrylic peel past the point I was planning on repairing.
  3. Mark chips with Post-Its before you paint so you will know where to apply the clear polycrylic when it’s time.
  4. Paint over worn area with Cabinet Coat and an artist’s brush. Oh, and don’t forget to shake the can well beforehand! Let dry and see if you need another coat.
  5. Apply 3+ thin, even coats of water-based polycrylic finish with sponge brush, allowing to dry after each application.
  6. Put hardware back on.

Painted kitchen cabinet results after one year, plus touch up tips

The silverware drawer was our only real trouble spot, but now it’s all fixed up again. I put extra, extra coats of polycrylic on this time!

Painted kitchen cabinets one year later

What do you think? Would you ever take on this project?

Come follow along on my Instagram for more pics and decor tips, and be sure to check out the House Mix Pinterest page, too!

55 thoughts on “Painted kitchen cabinets and tile backsplash — a year later

  1. Brilliant! A google search for “painting cabinets without removing doors” led me straight to your blog post and I’m so glad it did. A fantastic looking result. We move house in a few weeks and the kitchen is dark jarrah – aaargh not my taste at all. I’ve repainted tiled bathrooms with good success so figured I could take on the ugly kitchen. Your post was just what I needed to read. Thanks!

  2. It’s amazing how much it brightens the space and makes it feel bigger to go white! So glad I could help. Let me know how it goes!

  3. Hello! I’m thinking of painting my kitchen cabinets and I’m curious if you painted over your hinges? I refuse to take my doors down but I’m worried that painting over the hinges won’t hold up or will make the doors close funny.

  4. Hi Sandy! I did not paint the hinges — for the same reason you gave. I painted around them with an artists brush.

  5. Trying to find Pinterest re: painting ceramic tile?
    Also how to paint door knobs ( with colors)
    Can you help?

  6. I painted my backsplash with oil paint successfully, but I’ve never painted door knobs. Spray paint might be a good option for even coverage and that stuff sticks to everything! They also make a whole variety of colors now.

  7. Thank you for your detail explanations…i love it. I’m putting my house up for sale in the summer and no money for big projects. I’m painting the walls white/beige, i dont have any backslash but it need some work and the cabinet i will definitely paint. Any suggestions for make-do backslash?

    Thank you…great job!

  8. amazing. love it. have you ever painted a countertop? the one in my bathroom is pink, I will probably have to just replace it.

  9. Thanks, Natalia! I have not painted a countertop … yet. I’m thinking about trying to paint the one in our laundry area, but not sure what color! Probably not pink ;)

  10. I have read and reread and can’t find a name of the white paint color you used for your cabinets??? Love the look!

  11. Hi Deborah! I just used the standard white that the Cabinet Coat enamel comes in. You can order it on the Home Depot website (I don’t think they carry it in stores) or on Amazon. I hope that helps!

  12. Hi Christina. I’m not sure if it can be. They sell it online at Home Depot (and possibly in-store). Maybe it’s a question they would be able to answer that. I’d love to know too, if you find out :)

  13. I found you while searching ‘paining kitchen back splash’. I’m currently painting my cabinets and I know my tan backsplash won’t match. I’ll look into the paint you suggested. Just need to see what colors are offered. Thanks, you have given my encouragement. Now my husband, he may freak out! Lol

  14. I’m glad I could give some encouragement! Once you get the ball rolling it’s hard to stop isn’t it?! I hope everything turns out beautifully.

  15. Hi Carrie! Yes, it’s hard to make that first step. I was very nervous to touch that sander to the first cabinet! Let me know how it goes! :)

  16. Why did the home depot fellas say NOT to paint your backsplash? I’m thinking of painting our tile in powder room that covers the walls (currently it’s like a bland beige marble-like tile.) I’m assuming I’d have to scratch up the surface with some sand paper first so that it sticks, but just curious what reasons they would give NOT to paint it.

  17. Hi Molly. I think they said not to paint the tile because they were worried the paint would chip and then the tile would be ruined. For me, if I ruined the tile I was going to replace it eventually anyway, so fear of chipping did not slow me down. Maybe practice on a more hidden tile and see what happens!

  18. Hi Kate, thanks so much for the post! It looks like my rental kitchen is going to get a makeover given landlord approval :) Out of curiosity, did you use that little angled sander for all the crevices of your cabinets, or di you need to get in there with something finer?

  19. Great! I used the little sander for all of it. The good news is that it’s harder to scrape inside the crevices … at least that’s what I told myself! Send me a picture when you’re done!

  20. Wow! I just came across this post while looking for ideas on trying to make my taupe/brown/beige granite counters and stone backsplash match my new grey walls in our open concept family room/kitchen. And you have THE SAME BACKSPLASH!!! I’ve never seen it anywhere else. I loved it so much when we put it in that I also put it in our cottage kitchen, where I still like it. My husband will probably kill me if I paint it, but I am going to show him this post and hope for the best! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas and successes. It looks great!

  21. Hi Lynette! That’s crazy, I’ve never seen that backsplash anywhere else either! That was actually the easiest thing to paint and stayed perfect for years afterward. Because it is porous, I didn’t have to prime or sand or anything! Let me know how it goes :)

  22. Hi Kate,
    This is fantastic. I have told my husband several times I am going to paint the cabinets white, he has replied, “don’t do it” LOL
    I have two questions:
    1) You mentioned it doesn’t have a factory finish (of course) but how “not factory finish” would you say it is? Your photos look great but I don’t want it to totally look like a cheap DIY kitchen fix…. your thoughts?
    2) With regards to sanding, I know you mentioned sanding the surfaces and not wanting any “bleed” but did you sand the crevices or did you just get as close as possible and clean them thoroughly….?
    Hope this isn’t redundant.
    Yours looks really fantastic and I’d really like to attempt it.

  23. Hi Shannon! After painting quite a few cabinets and furniture pieces with this method, I would suggest sanding as much as possible and you have energy for! I got lazy at the end and focused more on the most used cabinets and definitely not at the top of the tall cabinet. The silverware drawer and junk drawer can probably never have enough sanding, haha! I was satisfied with the finish, really. I highly suggest using a sponge roller to reduce streaking from brushes. I tried to show it as best and honestly as I could on the posts. Most people didn’t notice that they were DIY!

  24. I envy you! Used to be avid DIY but nowdays I’m very limited. I painted the kitchen cabinets in my rental 5yrs. Ago. Landlord loved it. Needs it again. This time I cannot take off old hardware nor remove doors. Ok to put poly on hardware? YOUR kitchen is– I’m at a loss to come up with a new accolade. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  25. So I have currently older cabinets that have previously been painted by former owner, the paint is white and is chipping in many spots. I have NO clue what they used to paint them. I’d like redo them but not sure what to use or if I can even just paint over them or if I need to get the paint off somehow. Do you have any advice?

  26. Thank you so much for your kind words, Shelia. So you can’t remove the hardware at all, huh? Hmmmm. If I were doing it, I would use an artist’s brush to go around the hardware and avoid painting over them. Over time the poly might peal with use and not look so great. Wishing you the best of luck! I’m glad to hear it lasted 5 years in a rental!

  27. Hi Kelly. I don’t have experience repainting cabinets, but I might try painting over the existing in a less noticed spot to see what happens. Is the paint they used sticking well or does it easily scratch off. If it scratches off or they did a poor job painting them, you’d probably be better off sanding off the old. I’m sorry I can’t be much help!

  28. I love your kitchen so much! Your painting totally transformed it and it is beautiful. Great job! Thanks for the inspiration.

  29. i’m honestly blown away. this is amazing. when you sand, does it make a mess? how do you manage this with kids– how much did you do at a time when it came to the cabinets? like two a night? more/less?

  30. Thanks! So sanding does make a bit of a mess, but my sander wasn’t super powerful so it wasn’t too bad. I did a lot of it at night or during naps so the kids wouldn’t be in the way. But of course, some of the time I put the TV on and barricaded the kitchen with chairs so they wouldn’t come in the kitchen and touch the pain! haha! I do not know how long it took to do the cabinets all in all because I did it bit by bit whenever I could, but definitely more than two nights. I’ll be honest, it’ a commitment. But it was worth it to me in the end.

  31. Hi, Ive been wanting to paint my kitchen and bathroom cabinets but for same reasons as you said dealing with taking doors off etc. Yours look awsome!! Question did you sand between coats?

  32. Very nice! I so want to paint my yucky cabinets white, but #1. I am a chicken, and #2. My husband is so old school and thinks it’s a sin to paint wood. Ugh!!!

  33. I can relate to both of those things, Kelly! In fact, I got comments from people telling me I should have left well enough alone, haha! We’ve since moved from that house and have dilapidating laminated cabinets. Oh my, not much I can do with those.

  34. I,too, have painted my porous backsplash tile.
    Before painting, I smoothed on spackle on the tile AND grout which I mixed with black paint. Then Ipainted everything black and it has held up great.
    I would sand if near water splash areas.

  35. Oh that’s really interesting, Robin. Thank you for sharing that! I’ve moved into a new house since this post and am currently in the process of painting more tile over here! I might give this a try.

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