Giving a home kitchen a makeover doesn’t need to involve replacing cabinetry–a fresh coat of paint can work wonders and give new life to an old, outdated kitchen. While some prefer a wood grain look, painted kitchen cabinet doors have the advantage of color-matching wall and countertop colors perfectly. The key is selecting the right paint for the job. 

Cabinet Types and Corresponding Paints

Some paints are superior for specific surfaces; paints that are perfectly suited for one cabinet material may damage or ruin other types of surfaces. Knowing the difference is crucial. 


While primer may look like paint, it is different. This is the first layer that should be added to any new painting project. It helps to protect cabinets from moisture, and makes an ideal layer for the coat of paint to stick to. Oil-based primers are superior and offer the best moisture protection. 

Latex Paints

Latex paint is a popular choice with the DIY crowd. There’s no worrying about how to dry painted cabinet doors, because latex paint’s quick drying time minimizes waiting between coats. The fact that it is water-based also makes it easy to clean up spills and remove excess paint. 

However, water-based paint is the wrong choice for MDF and real wood cabinets. The moisture can quickly seep into any cracks and cause the MDF and wood to swell and warp. Therefore, latex paints should only be used on cabinets made of laminate or wood cabinets that have already had a sealant applied. 

Oil-Based Paints

These paints are prized for their durability, especially with wooden and MDF cabinets. Their slow drying time helps to ensure the paint has time to settle and level out, which can reduce brush marks. 

Oil-based paints are also excellent at locking out moisture, which is essential for the humid environment of a kitchen. Before starting, hanging cabinet doors to paint them is recommended for maintaining an even coat with oil-based paints. 

Acrylic and Enamel

The most durable of paints, acrylic and enamel will hold their shine for years. These paints aso make cleanup a breeze–a wet rag and a few wipes are all that's needed to remove most stains. 

Enamels and acrylics are the go-to choice for metal cabinets, as they offer superior corrosion protection. They also produce less fumes than oil-based paints, which makes them more comfortable to work with. 

Choosing a Finish

The finish of a paint refers to its texture and reflectivity under light. While it may seem like a minor difference, this can greatly influence how easy cabinets are to clean.


This paint finish has a high shine factor. Depending on a kitchen’s lighting conditions, this finish may cause harsh light reflections, but in a dimly-lit kitchen or a room with recessed lighting, it can look fantastic. 

The biggest advantage of gloss paint is the ease of cleaning. The gloss forms a protective layer over the paint that makes staining it very difficult and cleanup a breeze. 

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As the most popular finish for interior paints, semi-gloss paint is the best of both worlds. It has a slight shine that isn’t harsh, making it ideal for kitchens lit with chandeliers or open light fixtures. Its gloss also helps maintain the durability and ease of cleaning. 


With a more muted shine than semi-gloss, satin finishes have a subtle look. This paint is best for cabinets that are far from sources of splashing, like the stove or a blender. Its texture allows stains to adhere to it more easily, so prompt cleaning is a must for any splashes.


Matte finish offers a modern look that is well suited to darker colors, such as black and navy blue. However, matte paint tends to cause marks and stains to stand out, and is therefore seldom used in high-use kitchens. This finish is best for cabinetry that is separate from humid and messy areas. 

Purchasing Colored Cabinetry

27estore offers a wide range of cabinetry to help make your dream kitchen a reality. Metal, real wood veneer, and durable high-pressure laminate cabinets are all available in a range of finishes so you can choose the right look for your kitchen. Browse our full selection today and find out how you can get the kitchen update you’ve always wanted shipped directly to your door!