Updating kitchen cupboards

Updating kitchen cupboards

A new kitchen would be dreamy however it’s financially not always an option and with primer and paint galore available these days, tarting up your existing units is a feasible option.

Our kitchen units are melamine, which has a laminate texture. The units were originally cream but we desperately wanted darker units. We felt a darker shade would look more modern and also less grubby.

Before you begin to treat and paint your cupboards I would advise detaching the doors from the main unit. It makes it much easier to paint into all the cracks and it also won’t cause your back to ache as you try to bend yourself into tiny corners!

Once you’ve removed the doors, you’re ready to begin.

After a little research we discovered a surface primer by Owatrol. This primer can be used over multiple surfaces including walls, existing paint, ceramic and melamine. It doesn’t require any sanding down before hand, just clean off any stains or dust first.

After applying a layer, leave it to soak for 5 minutes then wipe over the surface with a clean cloth. We then left the Owatrol to completely dry overnight.

This primer gives an excellent base to then begin applying your chosen paint.

We used Farrow and Ball paint in Manor House Grey. This required two coats to ensure a good even finish. Once both coats were dry we then re-attached the doors.

We actually didn’t seal or varnish over our finished doors, because by this stage we were so bored of painting, we merely couldn’t be arsed, but it’s probably a good idea. Saying this, we have zero chips in any doors so I don’t think it’s the end of the world if you don’t get round to sealing them.

The process took 4 days in total and be prepared for a little upheaval as you try to manoeuvre about in a kitchen with lots of doors propped up everywhere. We love the finish and are now, 2 years later, even starting to think about painting a different shade!

Total cost was £100 for 5-litre tin of paint and £20 for a 1-litre tub of primer. You could obviously use a cheaper brand of paint to make this a little cheaper still.

Best of luck




  1. Ed Lanwarne
    June 30, 2018 / 10:00 am

    Hi there,

    Great post, Ive actually been considering doing exactly the same and I have very similar cupboards to yours, so great to hear it’s possible.

    Did you paint with a brush? Did you find it went on evenly without too much streaking?

    Many thanks,


    • Stacey
      June 30, 2018 / 10:08 am

      Hi Ed, we used a small roller and a small brush to get into corners. Best of luck with it

  2. Natalie
    July 1, 2018 / 9:39 am

    Your kitchen looks amazing! Please can I ask what finish paint you used? Natalie x

    • Stacey
      July 4, 2018 / 9:17 am

      Hi we used Farrow and Ball estate eggshell for wood in Manor House grey x

  3. Megan
    July 4, 2018 / 9:15 am

    Thanks for the tip of Owatrol! We just painted our kitchen island this weekend and the Owatrol worked brilliantly as a primer.

    • Stacey
      July 4, 2018 / 9:16 am

      That’s so great to hear and thanks for letting us know.x

  4. September 26, 2018 / 2:38 pm

    They look so good! Possibly a silly question – did you bother painting the inside edges (ie not just the doors)? We want to do this in our kitchen but.. we’ll.. I’m lazy! But keen to know if you did with yours?

    • Stacey
      September 26, 2018 / 2:44 pm

      Thanks for reading. We painted the inside edge but not the actual inside door (nobody got time for that ?)

  5. Dawn
    February 2, 2020 / 11:15 pm

    The kitchen looks amazing. May I asked where the splash back tiles are from?

    • Stacey
      February 3, 2020 / 11:44 am

      Hi they were Topps tiles

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