One Room Challenge | Week 4: The Dos & Don’ts of Painted Cabinets

Happy Wednesday, friends!  We are now past the half way point in the ORC (One Room Challenge) – Week 4!!

If this is your first venture to this little blog of mine, the ORC is a 6 week “design challenge,” where 20 featured designers and hundreds of guest participants support each other to makeover one room in their homes in just 6 weeks!  It’s hosted by Calling It Home and House Beautiful, and you can check out all the amazing room transformations at the One Room Challenge page!  We here at Fiddle Leaf Interiors (or more affectionately known as Casa del Ochoa) are renovating our KITCHEN!

You can catch up on our progress thus far here:

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

You can also read my ORC Preparation blog post HERE!

So on to this week – Week 4!  Week 4 is allegedly the hardest week for most ORC-ers.  However, for us it was the easiest thus far! I think that’s because we hit so many snags and bumps in the road up front, that this week seemed like a breeze.  We are still on schedule, which is AMAZING! In fact, I got a couple of things done that weren’t even on our original list (shiplap wallpaper above the sink, anyone?)!  And now – a full progress update from this week (and later I’ll share some Dos and Dont’s of Painting your Kitchen Cabinets!):

**This post may contain affiliate links – see my Disclosure for more information**

one room challenge

Week 4 Progress Update:

Here is what our kitchen looks like CURRENTLY:

diy kitchen renovation

And here is the before, just to remind you:

kitchen renovation

Is it even the same room you guys?! I cant believe the transformation!!

Totally giving myself a high five right now! And can you believe that we even took ALL of Friday OFF!! And yesterday as well?! Go us!

The main things we did this week were:

  • Reattach cabinet doors/drawers
  • Attach hardware to doors – we used these Cabinet Pulls from Amazon and I LOVE them!
  • Use Joint Compound to flatten textured walls above sink
  • Hang shiplap wallpaper on peninsula and on area above sink (hence the need to flatten out the texture)
  • Put up ALL trim (this included side trim, two different baseboards, and two types of crown moulding, one at the very top of the cabinets (now the cubbies) and a smaller version between the original cabinet tops and the bottom of the cubbies to cover up the seams
  • Caulk all of the trim/moulding
  • Finish 99% of all cabinet paint touch ups
  • Paint trim of pantry and back doors the same color as the cabinets (Bistro White by Valspar)
  • Paint hinges of pantry and back doors black
  • Put away 90% of our dishes back into the cabinets
  • Order new barstools (oops! this wasn’t supposed to happen until we sold our old barstools, but we decided that if we’re gonna do this, lets do it ALL. THE. WAY)!

And here is all of that amazing progress in photos!

painting cabinet tips

We made sure to label all of our doors/drawers and corresponding hinges – It made putting up the doors and drawers again super simple!

This is right after we got all the doors and drawers back in their places (except for the one in front of the sink). I was giddy with excitement!

how to make a textured wall flat for hanging wallpaper

This is what our textured grey wall looked like after I added the joint compound and sanded (it was super easy to sand, btw!)

how to hang shiplap wallpaper

Here is the wallpaper (Valspar shiplap wallpaper from Target!) mid-hanging – it was actually super easy to hang and I did it on my own! If you use this wallpaper though, know that the texture of the wood “grain” matches up with a specific piece of the wallpaper – its not just the lines between the shiplap “boards” that match up. Depending on what space you are covering, this may result in waste. For example, this window created a ton of waste for me, but my peninsula created virtually no waste at all! Overall, I am super happy with it though!

shiplap wallpaper

Here is the wallpaper on the peninsula! And you can see the baseboards and some trim up too!

We tested all of our trim on a scrap board first before nailing. This allows you to adjust your nail gun to the appropriate settings so you can avoid splitting your board – you can see here that we split a couple here – so its a good thing we tried it out before actually doing it on our cabinets!

how to make your moulding look seamless

Hard at work! Caulking the trim/moulding was absolutely essential to making them look seamless with the ceiling and the cabinets!

faux wood chalkboard door

Here the trim is freshly painted and the hinges are painted black instead of stainless steel. Loving the contrast and how the hinges now match our cabinet hardware. I just used simple black acrylic paint, too – super easy. (P.S. I’m clearly already having fun with the chalkboard)!

Here you can see the shiplap wallpaper above the sink completed, as well as the moulding and trim! So excited about how its coming together!

extend cabinets to ceiling

And one more close up of the cabinets as they stand now, trim and moulding and all! I can’t wait to style them! (P.S. I totally suggest trying to find new cabinet pulls that will fit the holes that are already in your doors/drawers – it will save you a ton of work! But of course, pick what you LOVE)!

And that’s our progress! If you read my post from last week, you’re probably thinking, “hey, I thought she was going to wait on the shiplap wallpaper until after her concrete countertops?”  And that is true! But, when I realized we couldn’t apply the trim/moulding until after the wallpaper was up, I quickly changed my mind.  So, we will just have to be extra careful to cover those babies when we sand the countertops! 🙂

And here is our progress per my original outline from Week 1:

  • Week 3: Remove thermafilm from lowers; Sand, Prime, and Paint lowers; Install shiplap wallpaper on peninsula; score countertop and backsplash to prep for concrete and tile installation
  • Week 4:  Install trim on doors and paint doors; Install new doorknobs; Install cabinet hardware; Install trim and moulding on cabinets; Start DIY concrete countertops if possible (requiring moving of appliances and sink)

We obviously didn’t get started on the countertops, but I did paint the door trim and the hinges, as well as touch up all the cabinet paint, which I didn’t contemplate or have in our timeline initially.

And here is whats coming for Week 5:

  • Week 5: Remove old sink and move major appliances (if not already done above); Finish DIY concrete countertops; Start DIY subway tile backsplash; Begin working on rearranging plumbing below sink to fit new one basin sink

So all in all, we are on track, and that’s all I can ask for!  But boy oh boy I can’t wait to see this beauty all finished up!

Be sure to also check out all the other amazing bloggers and their Week 4 updates HERE!  But, before you do, scroll on to read my Dos and Don’ts for painting your cabinets!:

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Dos and Don’ts of Painted Cabinets:

So first, I originally planned to do a painting cabinet tutorial.  But, after painting ours, there are SO many things I would not recommend doing again, or would suggest you do differently, that I feel this Dos/Don’ts way of approaching it is much better and will be more helpful for y’all.  I’ll also disclose up front, our cabinets are FAR from perfect.  Would you ever know that if I chose not to tell you or post close up photos? Nope. Because from a distance, they look FAB! But I want to keep things REAL with y’all.  There is no point in these posts if I paint a pretty rose colored glasses picture without all the nitty gritty, because its the nitty gritty that will actually HELP you make your own projects better!

So, without further ado – here ya go, the Dos and Don’ts of painted cabinets!

DO:

  • DO pick up paint chips/samples from your local home improvement store and test them out in your home

Just because you love how a color looks in someone else’s home does not mean it will work in yours.  Paint takes on different shades depending on the colors around it, so pick out some colors you think you might like, tape them up in your home, and ponder it for a few days.  After you are 100% certain you like one specific color, take them down and PUT THEM IN ANOTHER AREA IN THE ROOM.  Yes.  This process takes about a week.  Move them around. Look at them in different lighting.  The whole shebang.  Because once you pick and paint, you don’t want to be thinking you really should have gone one shade darker.

(P.S. We chose Valspar Bistro White for our cabinets, just for reference)

  • DO test out your methods on ONE cabinet door or drawer first – preferably one that will be installed in a less noticeable place

I understand that you just want to get started and do the damn thing!  Trust me – because that’s what I did.  But I WISH I would have tested things out on ONE door that hangs in a less noticeable place.  I think that would have prepared me a bit more for what to expect going forward throughout the process.

  • DO LABEL EVERYTHING.  Seriously.  We even labeled the hinges that came off each door and which was top and bottom (you saw that above).  I truly believe this save us a TON of time because everything fit back together so easily!

  • DO use a paint additive

This is particularly relevant if you are rolling your paint – probably not so much for paint sprayers (and you’ll need to check that the additive is compatible with your sprayer as well).  We used an additive for oil based paint called Penetrol (aside – we chose oil based paint because our doors/drawers were MDF, and MDF can expand with water based paint).  There is a corresponding additive for water based paint called Floetrol.  The purpose of these additives is to EXTEND the drying time of your paint, which is particularly helpful if you roll it on, as it allows the paint more time to level out.

Make sure to stir it into your paint WELL. Also, fair warning, this stuff is potent. It smells like VERY strong alcohol and is not safe for those of you who are preggo. And for those of you who are not, ventilation is key! As always, please follow the instructions on the product!

  • DO strain your paint (and primer!)

You don’t need to do this for the first pour.  But after that, your paint/primer will likely accumulate dust/debris – some so small you cant even see.  But guess what?  Once it’s on your doors, you’ll see it!  Any steps you can take to eliminate unwanted goobers on your cabinets is a win in my book – and this is so super easy to do!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, y’all!

  • DO (especially if using oil based paint) use a new roller/brush for every coat

This is totally a you do you tip.  For me, spending extra money on fresh rollers/brushes was worth far more than the time it was going to take me to adequately clean them after each coat.  This isnt as big of an issue if you are using water based primers and paints, because water will wash them well enough.  But oil based paint that needs mineral spirits or some other miracle substance to clean? Nah, not for me.  But like I said, you do you!

  • DO sand down your original surface with several different grades of sandpaper so that it is SUPER smooth

Sand and then sand some more.  Think you’re done? Nope, sand again.  I really wish I would have spent just a bit longer on this step, because even though the MDF has a kind of built in texture, I think I could have gotten a lot of it smoother had I just been a bit more patient with this step!

  • DO use self leveling paint (preferably made specifically for cabinets so you don’t have to seal it at the end

This is a big reason I actually liked using the oil based paint we used, especially with the additive.  It really is great at leveling itself out.  The only texture I actually have is from the material I painted, not from roller or brush marks, which is AWESOME.

vaslpar cabinet enamel

Again, we used valspar cabinet enamel. Overall I’m really happy with it. And the best part is that if you spill on your cabinets in the future, they clean right up with warm soapy water!

  • DO elevate your doors and drawers off of the ground/table so you can access the edges better

We do have some drips on the edges of the doors and drawers – its almost inevitable if you don’t spray your cabinets, and even then, you have to be careful.  I was able to sand most of them down with steel wool (more on that in a second), but I know it would have been much worse had we not elevated our cabinet doors off the floor while I painted.  We just used scraps of wood as little risers and set the doors on them – it helped me access the sides better than had they been on the ground.  It also helps prevent them from sticking to the ground once your paint dries!

You can kind of see how they are elevated here (And the drawers we wrapped with paper and leaned agains paint containers)

  • DO set up a dust free space.

Over time it wont be so dust free anymore, but anything helps! We set up plastic tarps in the garage and that was my painting “studio” for the week!

DON’T:

  • DON’T use your paint sprayer for the first time when you are trying to start this project – PRACTICE on something else instead

This was our first major error. We should have practiced – but, we also had JUST gotten our sprayer in the mail, so we didn’t really have time.  If you have the time though, learn how to use your sprayer and test it out before you start on your project (aka don’t take it out of the box and expect it to magically work flawlessly like I did).  I still would recommend a sprayer (if it works for you) over rolling, as it takes less time overall and eliminates some of the texture you get from rolling.  That said, I am still super happy with the way ours turned out, and given that time was of the essence, we couldn’t afford another sprayer mishap, so rolling it was!

  • DON’T skimp on your primer

Use TWO coats. Seriously. Just do it.

  • DON’T use sandpaper on oil based paint – EVER

Ugh – this was THE. WORST.  I thought I was almost done painting, and then I sanded my first coat of paint and created scratches everywhere.  At first I thought it must be totally normal, and figured a second coat of paint would cover the scratches. NOPE.  Come to find out, you aren’t supposed to sand oil based paint (at least with sandpaper).  And no, it does not say this on the paint can.  Maybe some of you have had no trouble in this department, but I can tell you I personally would never do this again.  BUT, I did use steel wool to “sand”, and it was FABULOUS!

  • Conversely, DON’T use steel wool on water based paint – EVER

Steel wool to sand oil based paint is amazing; (but yes, making sure you get out all of the bits of steel that fall off onto your project is a pain).  However, NEVER use steel wool on water based primer/paint projects.  Why? Because of an ugly little thing called rust.  If any little piece of steel is left behind and you paint over it with paint that has a water base?  Rust city, my friends.  And I really don’t want you to cry (because I know I would) when your freshly painted cabinets have little orange spots on them!

  • DON’T be afraid to scrap Plan A and go with Plan B, or C

This happened to us and then it happened again.  First, #paintsprayerprobs.  Second, the scratches on the cabinets (I resolved this by essentially starting over – priming and doing 2 more coats of paint – and spot sanding with steel wool this time).  So moral of the story?  SH*T happens y’all!  Especially during renovations. But sometimes Plan C should have been your plan A all along.  And guess what?  You’ll have learned something along the way! (okay I’ll stop with my motivational speech now, promise)!

  • DON’T expect perfection

Our cabinets aren’t perfect. But guess what? DGAF.  I am so proud of those white beauties that I couldn’t care less. They are imperfectly perfect because WE painted them and poured our love and sweat into them! And THAT is why I absolutely love DIYs!

You can see slight texture here, but really, I think they look AMAZING! They are shiny enamel like cabinets should be, they feel smooth, and most importantly, they are NOT BROWN ANYMORE! #winning.

And that’s all I’ve got for ya this week!  Don’t forget to check out the other amazing guest bloggers HERE, as well as all the featured designers HERE! And, as always, if you want LIVE updates from the Casa del Ochoa kitchen renovation, head over to my Instagram and watch my latest stories!  The most recent happenings of our kitchen renovation are also saved in my highlighted stories for your viewing pleasure!

Enjoy buddies, and I’ll see you next week for Week 5 of the ORC! We are entering the home stretch!

XO,

Ana

one room challenge

P.S. Approximate man hours worked so far: 189!! (I’m starting to understand why paying someone to do these things costs so much)!

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