How To Paint Veneer Kitchen Cabinets

by Debra

in Cabinets

I just bought a home with kitchen cabinets that are disgusting, unfortunately I have to keep them a while.

I am sure they are not solid wood, looks like partical board with something glued over top for a wood look.

My question is…I would like to paint them with a soft vanilla color and put a shadow of brown on the inside of the raised part.

Would this work? and how would I do it so that it looks like the modern cabinets that have it?

Your response would be greatly appreciated. Brenda

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Hi Brenda, Thank you so much for contacting us at We would be happy to try and help you answer this question concerning your kitchen cabinets.

  • Can you tell me exactly what type of material is glued onto the partical board?
  • Is it wood veneer?
  • Has it been painted or stained before?
  • Does it have a glossy sheen to it?

Once I get a picture of what we are working with, I can better answer your question. We look forward to hearing back from you, DAWN

Yes, they have a wood veneer glued on to the cupboards. They have been
stained. They are dull.

The raised area is the same but the scallop around them is flat but stained.
I am attaching a pic of the cupboards if that is okay.

P.S my appliances are white, and I am planning on a new countertop. The
color for the cabinets I have chosen is an Almond Honey. I was planning on
putting nantucket knobs on the doors and priming with bin.

Thanks again,


I forgot, the light fixture, tile has already been removed. Unfortunately, I will be keeping the floor tile. I will be completely renovating kitchen in two years. But I would love for it to look great in the interim.

Again thanks, Brenda

How to Paint Veneer CabinetsHi Brenda, thanks for the picture. It helps give me a better understanding on what you are are working with.

To be very honest with you, this is a huge undertaking. We recently had someone ask a similar question about painting their dark bathroom cabinets, so I am copying the info I sent to her, and sending it to you.

Here are the steps you will need to follow:

1. Clean the cabinets thoroughly with soap and water or a non-abrasive cleaner. Let dry.

2. Remove hardware from cabinet doors

3. Remove cabinets doors – This is optional, depending on how good of a job you want to do. Removing the doors allows you to get a smooth finish without smudging between the door and the door frames

4. Lightly sand with a fine grit sanding pad or steel wool. (In your case, you may need to use a palm sander because you have a lot of cabinets, so it will go faster) It is important that you scuff the surface in order to get a surface that the primer and paint will stick too.

5. Prime the cabinets with a good primer/sealer.

6. Paint away with whatever color you choose. I would use a semi-gloss paint finish for the cabinets. It has a slight shine, and will look gorgeous.

You may want to seal it with a clear coat, but it may not be necessary.

I hope this helps, let us know how it goes. Talk to you soon, That Painter Lady, DAWN

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Melody November 24, 2008 at 12:00 am

What would you suggest if some of the veneer is peeling or missing all together?? Then what?? Please help, I have same problem in my kitchen…

Debra November 25, 2008 at 12:40 am

You must “fill” these holes in the veneer. Make sure to use
“wood filler”. This filler is hard enough and will grip to the wood. Sand as smooth as you can… then do all the painting steps as listed above.

Good luck and have fun. If your “in the mood” any project always
turns out well. 🙂


Angela February 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Brenda~ I know this is an old post but am planning on doing the exact same thing to almost the exact same cabinets! I’d LOVE to see your finished product 🙂 I too have white appliances and wanted to do a two tone paint job. Thanks, Angela (

RTA Cabinets March 30, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Great post, thanks for the tips! What a great idea for those who are looking to redo a kitchen without spending all of the money necessary. I’m sure it turned out great!

Renee September 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I have these cabinets! I don’t want to paint everything, just the doors and drawer fronts. I thought a sage green would look good, and the dark brown of the base/cabinet would look like trim in contrast. I’ve been looking everywhere online for a pic of this. Has anyone done it or seen it before? I can not possibly be the first one to think of this, right?

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