The 8 Best Paint for Cabinets of 2022 That Look Factory-Finished

When it comes to picking the eight best paint for cabinets, we highly recommend Farrow & Ball’s Estate Full Gloss Paint as our top pick.

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Best Paint for Cabinets of 2022

Home Depot

If it’s high time your kitchen cabinets got a little spruce up, you don’t have to fork out a ton hiring a professional painter to take on the job. You need the best paint for cabinets. With some time, effort, and the right tips and tricks you can successfully paint them on your own. 

“Painting your cabinets is a great way to update your kitchen or bath for less than installing them new, and there’s an almost unlimited choice of colors,” says Diana Hathaway, color expert, interior designer, and founder of Gorgeous Color. The first step, however, is choosing the right color. “Once you narrow down to four to five color choices, sample them all before committing so that you have a cabinet color you know you’ll love,” Hathaway advises.

On a more technical note, Lucy Small, founder of interior design and supply company State and Season, explains that “cabinet paint should have about a 20% sheen, which won’t be shiny but will allow you to wipe the paint clean easily.”

The Farrow & Ball Full Gloss Paint is our top choice for the best paint for cabinets. This high-end paint beloved by interior designers and home decor influencers everywhere provides a professional, factory-like finish, lasts forever, and doesn’t flake or peel. There’s a choice of 130 colors, and the paint has a low odor, earning a superior indoor air quality rating.

Here are the eight best paint for cabinets.

Best Overall: Farrow & Ball Full Gloss Paint

Farrow & Ball

 Courtesy of Farrow & Ball

Why You Should Get It: It’s an expensive-looking paint that is washable, wipeable, water-resistant, and retains its bright color and shine for years

Keep in Mind: It’s on the expensive side compared to the other best paint for cabinets. 

If you were ever on the fence about whether to paint your kitchen cabinets, one look at the luscious range of paints from Farrow & Ball will sway your decision to a massive yes. Known for its array of high-quality colors and supreme finishes, the company also provides affordable samples so you can do a little test patch before you commit. This high gloss option is our top pick for the best paint for cabinets as it provides a professional finish that will look like the cabinets came already lacquered from the factory. 

It has a water-based finish that is also suitable for outdoor cabinets, and you can even paint over metal cabinetry and wood. It’s water resistant, won’t flake or peel over time, and will retain its bright and luminous color for up to six years. The paint is washable and wipeable, so keeping your cabinets clean will be a breeze. There are over 130 beautiful colors to choose from, and the paint is also highly rated for indoor air quality.

Price at the time of publish: From $8

Product Details:

  • Size: 0.6 and 1.3 gallons
  • Finishes: 10
  • Number of Colors: 132
  • Dry Time: Dries in two hours, then re-apply a second coat four hours later
  • Primer Required: Yes

Best Acrylic: Beyond All-in-One Furniture Paint

Beyond All-in-One Furniture Paint

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: No sanding or priming needed—this paint covers any marks effortlessly for a professional finish. 

Keep in Mind: You might need three coats to cover dark marks and get a smooth and even result.

This highly-rated acrylic paint from Beyond Paint is an all-in-one primer, color, and sealant, meaning you can bypass the priming stage altogether. While it is on the expensive side, this paint does save you from having to invest in a sealant or primer. Unless your cabinets look rough, you won’t have to strip or sand them. As a result, it’s an all-around time saver for anyone who wants a quick and fuss-free kitchen cabinet refurb. It’s also easy to keep clean with just a damp sponge.

It comes in 16 colors, which isn’t a great deal, but there’s enough variety to suit all styles. Though it says it’s a gloss, the finish is more of a sheen, bordering on matte, and it can last for years without chipping or peeling. The paint doesn’t need stirring—it’s ready to go as soon as you get it. It covers unsightly marks like a dream and provides a professional-looking end result.

Price at the time of publish: $111

Product Details

  • Size: 1 gallon
  • Finishes: Gloss
  • Number of Colors: 16
  • Dry Time: Dry in two hours, recoat in three hours
  • Primer Required: No

Best Budget Acrylic: Rust-Oleum Transformations Cabinet Paint

Rust-Oleum Transformations Cabinet Paint

Walmart

Why You Should Get It: It’s a highly affordable paint that is scratch and stain resistant and dries very quickly. 

Keep in Mind: It might need more than one coat to cover darker paint or marks, and you’ll need to prep by scrubbing the cabinets with a degreaser.

You don’t have to fork out a truckload of good paint for your kitchen cabinets. This paint from Rust-Oleum is highly economical and performs exceptionally well. It comes in five colors that are all the rage in kitchen interiors, including black, linen white, and a gorgeous Capri blue. Plus, it features a semi-gloss finish that is stain and scratch-resistant. It also dries relatively quickly, which is a timesaver. You can apply the second coat after a couple of hours. This one-gallon can easily cover up to 200 square feet of cabinets, and you can also paint all your trims to match. 

Once you’ve painted them, the cabinets can stay clean with your average kitchen cleaner, and if you accidentally get it anywhere you shouldn’t have, it comes off with just dish soap and water. Darker cabinets or ones that have a lot of texture might need three coats of this paint for an even finish. While you might not have to sand the cabinets beforehand, you will have to de-gloss any high-shine from the previous paint (or coatings) and scrub the cabinets with a degreaser to remove any dirt. This is one of the best paints for cabinets for anyone on a budget. 

Price at the time of publish: $61

Product Details

  • Size: 1 gallon
  • Finishes: Semi-gloss
  • Number of Colors: Five
  • Dry Time: Dries in 30 minutes, recoat in two hours
  • Primer Required: No

Best Alkyd: Behr Premium Hybrid Urethane Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint

Behr Premium Hybrid Urethane Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: It’s a mildew-resistant paint that’s easy to clean at a reasonable price. 

Keep in Mind: It needs a good primer and prep of cabinetry before application.

With the durability of oil-based paint and ease of use, and quick drying time, of a latex version, the Behr Premium Hybrid Urethane Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint provides the best of both worlds. It’s suitable for applying with either a brush, nap paint roller, or an airless sprayer and goes on smoothly. It’s dry to the touch in just over two hours, but you should wait up to eight hours before applying a second coat for the best outcome.

This paint comes in either a satin finish or a semi-gloss, and both types clean up easily with just soap and water. In addition to your cabinets and trim, it's also suitable on other surfaces, such as brick, cinder block, stucco, and plaster. You can also apply this paint to aluminum, wrought iron, and wallpaper. 

Price at the time of publish: From $21

Product Details:

  • Size: 1 quart, 1 gallon, and 5 gallons
  • Finishes: Semi-gloss and satin
  • Number of Colors: 34
  • Dry Time: Dries in two to four hours, recoat in four to eight hours
  • Primer Required: Yes

Best Oil-Based: Behr Oil-Base Semi-Gloss Enamel Interior/Exterior Paint

Behr Oil-Base Semi-Gloss Enamel Interior/Exterior Paint

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: It’s a high-gloss oil-based paint with a superb finish at a reasonable price. 

Keep in Mind: While this might be one of the best paints for your cabinets, it is an oil-based paint. This means it will take longer to dry due to the high levels of VOCs.

Ranked as the most trusted American paint brand, it’s no wonder why Behr appears twice on our list of the best paint for cabinets. This mildew-resistant paint is suitable indoors and outdoors and can protect your cabinets from scratches and rust. It can be used on wood and metal cabinets and is perfect for trims and siding. The finish looks professional and easy to apply with a brush, roller, or sprayer. 

You’ll need a primer before using this on your cabinets, and if prepped, the result is a high-gloss and durable finish that will look new for a long time. Two coats are recommended for the best outcome, and once applied, cabinets are super simple to keep clean with your regular kitchen sponge. It’s even resistant to kitchen chemicals if you ever need to go over them with a more hard-working cleaner. It comes in the same colors as the company’s Alkyd Semi-Gloss Enamel Paint, so there’s something for everyone.

Price at the time of publish: From $21

Product Details:

  • Size: 1 quart, 1 gallon
  • Finishes: Semi-gloss
  • Number of Colors: 34
  • Dry Time: Dries in two hours, recoat in four hours
  • Primer Required: Yes

Best Latex: Valspar Satin Cabinet & Furniture Paint Enamel

Valspar Satin Cabinet & Furniture Paint Enamel

Lowe's

Why You Should Get It: It provides a factory-like finish with no brush marks and offers 1,000 tint options. 

Keep in Mind: It can only be used on wood and needs four to eight hours between coats.

This satin paint achieves factory-like results and is suitable for wooden cabinetry and furniture. Not only does this paint look great, but it is durable, resistant to stains, scuffs, and scratches. The paint goes on smoothly, doesn’t leave brush marks, and is designed not to fade over the years. The formula, although water-based, is oil-enriched for a more hard-wearing finish.

This enamel paint has a satin finish and is washable with soap and water. Once you’ve painted your cabinets and they’re dry, you can scrub them clean, and the paint will stay intact. The paint comes in this brilliant bright white that can be used as it is, or Lowe’s allows you to customize the color and sheen with around 1,000 tint options. It’s suitable for use with a brush, roller, and paint sprayer. 

Price at the time of publish: $60

Product Details:

  • Size: 1 quart, 1 gallon
  • Finishes: Flat, satin, semi-gloss
  • Number of Colors: Tintable to 1000+ colors
  • Dry Time: Dries in two hours, recoat in four to eight hours
  • Primer Required: Yes

Best Chalk Paint: Shabby Chic Chalked Furniture Paint

Shabby Chic Chalked Furniture Paint

Amazon

Why You Should Get It: Requires hardly any prep work, and there’s no need for primer or base coat

Keep in Mind: This paint is expensive if you have lots of cabinets to cover, and you need to apply a protective top coat.

Chalk paints have become an increasingly popular choice for kitchen and bathroom cabinets thanks to their superior coverage, low VOCs, and durability. Many people view chalk paint as one of the best paints for cabinets, as it requires little to no prep work before you can get started. The Shabby Chic Chalked Furniture Paint comes in a selection of 35 colors, and all you have to do is clean the surface to start. This water-based paint is non-toxic and has very little odor.

The paint provides a distressed finish which is very “in” at the moment in the world of interiors, and, as opposed to other types of paint like oil-based options, the brush strokes are slightly visible to compliment the shabby chic look. To keep its durability and make it suitable for kitchens, you’ll have to provide a tougher outer layer, by applying a wax top coat, like the Shabby Chic Multi-Surface Sealant or Valspar’s Chalky Clear Sealing Wax. The wax takes a long time to cure (a full 24 hours), but the final result can last for years.

Price at the time of publish: $18

Product Details:

  • Size: 0.07 gallons
  • Finishes: Matte
  • Number of Colors: 35
  • Dry Time: Three hours
  • Primer Required: Yes, unless used on wood

Best for Laminate: Cabinet Rescue Melamine Laminate Cabinet Paint

Cabinet Rescue Melamine Laminate Cabinet Paint

Home Depot

Why You Should Get It: It dries quickly and is ideal for elevating laminate cabinets. 

Keep in Mind: If your laminate cabinets are peeling or damaged, they’ll need to be repaired before applying this paint.

As the best paint for cabinets that are laminated, the Cabinet Rescue can glide on your cabinetry effortlessly and securely adhere even without using a primer. It’s one of the fastest drying paints available in this category as you only have to wait two hours before applying a second coat—meaning you can get your whole kitchen refurb done in a day. The paint is mildew resistant and easy to clean with soap and water.

The coat dries hard and is resistant to chipping, staining, and smudging, and it won’t go yellow over time. A single one-quart pot can cover up to 100 square feet making this option economical too. The Cabinet Rescue has an eggshell sheen, and while it's suitable for countertops it doesn't state whether the paint is food-grade or not. So, it's best to stick to just going over cabinets with it. 

Price at the time of publish: $24

Product Details:

  • Size: 0.25 gallons
  • Finishes: Factory like
  • Number of Colors: Tintable to 1000+ colors
  • Dry Time: Dries in one hour, recoat in two hours
  • Primer Required: No

The Bottom Line

As our top pick for the best paint for cabinets, the Farrow & Ball Full Gloss Paint makes your cabinets look like they arrived painted straight from the factory. The final result is smooth, brush-stroke-free, long-lasting, and suitable for outdoor and indoor cabinets, metal, and wood. The paint is washable and wipeable, and the color will stay bright and look new for at least six years.

What to Know About Paint for Cabinets Before Shopping

Paint Base

Paint for cabinets can be either oil-based, alkyd (similar to oil, without any oil in them), latex (water-based), or acrylic (water and chemical-based). “Oil-based paint is the preferred formulation for cabinets due to its leveling qualities while painting, and stain-resistance and clean-up once they’re in use,” says Hathaway. “Latex paint offers easy cleanup but doesn’t have the ease of care that oil-based paint offers.”

Oil-based paints are easy to clean and provide ample coverage over wood and other imperfections. They’re also durable. However, they take the longest to dry (up to 24 hours) and could start to go yellowish over time. These paints also have the highest levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and should be used in well-ventilated areas to avoid irritation. 

Alkyd paints behave similarly to oil-based paints and have many of the same benefits. However, alkyds take much less time to dry, are water-and-humidity-resistant, and won’t fade over time. These paints use petroleum-based solvents and have high levels of VOCs, too.

Latex paints are water-based and super easy to apply, last a long time, and, depending on the formula, can even be scrubbed clean. Their VOCs are low, they dry quickly, and you can even use them on previously painted cabinets. However, they’re thinner than oil-based paints and could show any imperfections. A good primer is important when using latex paints, as is prep work, like sanding and degreasing.

The benefits of acrylic paints include that they have more elasticity and can expand and contract as the room temperatures fluctuate. This means that you won’t get any flaking and cracking over time. This feature makes these types of paints preferable for outdoor use, i.e., if you have an outdoor kitchen area, as they’re also sun-resistant. Their base is water-and-chemical based and durable but priced higher than other options on the market. 

Finishes

When working on a DIY project, it's important to consider the paint's final look and sheen. Semi-gloss is one of the best paints for cabinets because it is durable and washable and has a light-reflecting appearance that can brighten up your kitchen. 

Full gloss is also a popular type of finish for kitchens because it’s even more durable than semi-gloss, is super shiny which makes it easy to wipe clean, and gives the appearance of store-bought laminate cabinets. An eggshell finish can look great but is not as durable as the other two finishes. Plus, it tends to scuff more easily. These paints also aren’t washable. 

There are some other factors to consider, though. “The glossy sheens, like high gloss and semi-gloss, can show every imperfection and every brush stroke,” notes Hathaway. “Satin and eggshell finishes are popular choices because of their depth and blemish-hiding qualities.”

Number of Colors

There are basically a never-ending amount of paint colors available in any type of finish. For example, if you want an off-white, there will be hundreds to choose from; from creamy shades to cooler tones, you’ll be able to find the ideal color to perfectly compliment your kitchen. You will, however, have to factor in the surrounding kitchen colors, for example, the color of your floor, furniture, and even appliances, so that the cabinet paint you choose matches and doesn’t clash.

Dry Time

Each paint type will have its own set drying time, and it’s always good to let the stated amount of time pass between coats. Drying time can also vary between brands, even if it is the same type of paint.

As a general guide, latex and acrylic paints are the quickest to dry, feeling dry to the touch in 30–60 minutes, but you should still wait at least four hours between coats. Chalk paint is also fast-drying and typically dries in one hour and can be ready to re-coat in two to four hours (as long as the directions on the can specify this).

Oil-based paints take the longest to dry, taking around six to eight hours to dry. For the best result with oil-based paints, you should wait a day before applying the second coat. This will ensure that the paint adheres better and won’t peel with time.

Primer Requirements

Unless the paint you’ve bought specifically states that the primer is included in the formula and you don’t need an extra one, you should be priming your cabinets with a product appropriate for the type of paint you’ve purchased.

“Choose a primer that is formulated for the job and the type of paint you buy,” says Hathaway. “The success of your painting project depends on your primer, so it’s a good idea to give it as much thought as choosing your paint.”

Your Questions, Answered

How do you prep cabinets to be painted?

“The easiest way to prep cabinets to be painted is to remove the doors and sand both the doors and the boxes,” Small tells us. Before removing your cabinet doors and drawer fronts, Hathaway advises creating a simple drawing of your cabinet layout using numbers for each piece. Then label each piece (as it’s removed) to help put the cabinet back together. Any loose hardware should be placed into a plastic bag to avoid losing it.

The next step, according to Hathaway, is to use a spray-on degreaser to remove grease, oil, and dirt, before priming. “This is an important step that you may be tempted to skip, but it’s essential that you take the time to clean the cabinet surfaces,” she says.

Next, you’ll have to prepare the cabinet surfaces for a primer with light sanding using 150-grit sandpaper. “The goal is to remove the gloss from the cabinet surface, not remove the finish by sanding it down to the wood,” Hathaway says. “This will help your primer and paint adhere to the cabinet surface. After sanding, follow up with a soft cloth to remove any dust.”

You’ll then have to apply the primer. Follow the directions stated on the product, and give it the proper drying time so that your paint can adhere to it properly. After your primer is fully dry, Hathaway recommends using 220-grit sandpaper to smooth any imperfections. Finally, wipe with a clean cloth to remove dust from the sanding for a smooth paint application.

How do you tape cabinets to be painted?

Once you’ve removed the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, Hathaway advises applying painter’s tape to any cabinet surface adjacent to your wall, backsplash, or molding. “No tape is necessary for the doors and drawer fronts that were removed,” Small says.

“If you can’t remove countertops,” Small says, “make sure to use painter’s tape and drop cloths to cover your floor and countertops from any paint. Stand cabinet doors on drop cloths, preferably somewhere outside.”

How do you know how much paint you need for a cabinet?

“In most painting projects, one gallon of paint can cover 350–400 square feet,” Hathaway explains. “Measure the square feet of your cabinets before taking things apart. Also, take into consideration the inside of your cabinet doors when calculating square feet. Unlike a flat wall surface, cabinets and drawer fronts may have detailed designs, so you’ll want to be sure you have enough paint on hand when you start your cabinet project.”

Small mentions that all paints will be different, so be sure to read the container before starting. “Most popular cabinet paints require a single base coat and main color coat,” Small says. “That means about one gallon for five feet of cabinets.”

Who We Are

This article was written by Kat de Naoum, who has over ten years of commerce writing experience. Kat is also the commerce editor-at-large at Thomas-Xometry, the leading U.S. online platform for supplier discovery and product sourcing. For this article, Kat reviewed multiple paints for cabinets, researching factors such as each paint's base, finish, color selection, drying time, and primer requirements. She also spoke to Diana Hathaway, color expert and interior designer and founder of Gorgeous Color, and Lucy Small, founder of State and Season.

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