Painting your bathroom cabinet is an inexpensive way to give your bathroom an update. Here’s how: 

First, fill in any dings or holes on the surface. You’ll need to use some wood putty and a putty knife. Take a small amount of the putty and spread it evenly over the ding. If you’ve never worked with wood putty before, just ask your local paint shop how to use it.

Next, rough up the surface of the cabinet. Chances are the cabinet had a varnish applied to it at one time, especially if it is in the bathroom. It may be all but gone now, but you still want to go over the entire cabinet with sandpaper (100 grit is the general choice here) to remove any final remains of a slick surface so that the paint has a good surface to stick to when it’s applied.

After you’re done with the sandpaper, go over the entire surface with a clean cloth to remove any dust

Next, prime the surface using an oil-based primer. The primer will offer good adhesion on the wood and under water-based latex paint (the kind you will use here).

Next, using a sponge/foam brush or a paint brush, apply your water-based latex paint. Brush with even, side-to-side strokes that overlap each other. The trick is to use a light coating of paint: you will need to apply at least two coats, so don’t try to get complete coverage in the first coat. It’s better to have spots and get them in the second (or third) coat than to deal with a drippy mess by coating too much on in the first coat.

Now comes the varnish. Since this piece is in a high traffic area – a bathroom – apply a water-based varnish over the paint once it’s completely dry. The varnish will help protect the paint. Apply the varnish with long, thin strokes. Try to go from one end of the piece to the other. Otherwise your piece might end up looking streaky.

Last, swap out those dated knobs and pulls with ones you like.

And you’re done! 

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Lexi is an interior decorator living in Oak Park. Her projects range from simple color consultations to gut rehabs. She fully appreciates that not everyone salivates at the thought of shopping for home...