Take on this home-improvement project with help from a paint pro. 

By Grace Haynes
November 05, 2019
The kitchen is naturally shaded by oak trees that surround the exterior, so Herod thought critically about maximizing light with the dark cabinets. "People believe they shouldn't use deep colors in a dark space, but that's not necessarily true," she says. "There's a lot you can do to reflect light and bounce it around." Her tricks? Use a high-gloss finish on cabinets and bright trim throughout the room. Here, she went with Benjamin Moore's White Dove (OC-17; benjaminmoore.com). A striped Roman shade (Linton in Blue; pindler.com) mounted above the window softens the casing but "lets in as much light as possible," says designer Lindsey Herod. She left other backyard-facing windows bare to brighten the blue kitchen. Barstools from Arteriors and three pendants from Circa Lighting frame the island and invite guests to have a seat.
| Credit: Laurey W. Glenn; Styling: Adam Fortner

Never underestimate the power of paint. You can forgo a major kitchen remodel by repainting existing cabinets. A fresh new paint color can makeover the space and bring boring cabinetry back to life. For the best results, it's crucial to prep your cabinets with a deep clean to remove any built-up grease and grime. Then determine the type of paint that will work best in a high-traffic, splatter-prone kitchen. Navigate the paint store with the help of a pro. Rick Watson, director of product information and technical services at Sherwin-Williams, offers his expert advice for picking the best paint your cabinets.

Pick a paint with a higher sheen or gloss.

"We've always recommended eg-shel, semi-gloss and gloss wall finishes in the kitchen, since durability is essential in a place with moisture and high traffic. Paints with a higher gloss/sheen will generally be easier to clean. Most stains wipe clean with water or mild soap," says Watson.

Prep your cabinets before painting.

"Prep is key to any paint project, including kitchen cabinets, and I always recommend starting with a clean, dry, dull, and sound surface. After removing the hardware, I recommend that the cabinets be thoroughly cleaned with a good cleaner or degreaser to remove all grease and oils that normally build up on kitchen cabinetry over time. Next, apply a test sample of a primer in an inconspicuous area (if the cabinets are previously finished or are laminate). Once you have established good bonding or adhesion, you can prime the entire surface. Keep in mind that any surface prep short of clean, dry, and dull or adhesion may compromise the service length of the system used. Many people request the use of a latex finish, for that reason I recommend Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel in Gloss, Semi-Gloss or Satin. This product has excellent flow and leveling characteristics for a smooth and durable finish on cabinets, doors and trim," Watson says.

WATCH: This Is Joanna Gaines' Color Secret for a Kitchen with Wow-Factor

Choose your color.

Picking the right shade for your cabinets is up to you! You can't go wrong with a crisp, classic white like Sherwin-Williams' Alabaster (SW 7008). Pick a neutral with a soothing undertone, like the subtle gray-green hue of Sherwin-Williams' Austere Gray (SW 6184). Or shake things up with a bolder shade, like Sherwin-Williams' 2020 color of the year: Naval (SW 6244).