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Best Kitchen Cabinet Paint: Top Picks for Refreshing Your Units

does rustoleum have the best kitchen cabinet paint?
(Image credit: Rustoleum)

The best kitchen cabinet paint can transform your kitchen design with a hot new look, without the hassle and expense of tearing out your current cabinets. 

It doesn’t matter if you have a solid wood kitchen, wood veneer, melamine, or a high gloss finish. As long as you prep your cabinets and doors properly and choose the right kitchen cabinet paint, painting kitchen cabinets will be within the skillset of any competent DIYer, and in less than half the time it would take to rip out an old kitchen and fit a new one.

Best Kitchen Cabinet Paints

is johnstones the best kitchen cabinet paint?

(Image credit: Johnstones)

Johnstones Revive Cupboard Paint

Quickly transform your kitchen with this specialist paint

Tine size: 750ml | Coverage per litre: 12m2 | Drying time: 5 hours | Finish: Satin | Base type: Water

Easy to apply
Low odour
Lack of colour options 

If you are looking to transform your wood, melamine or MDF kitchen with the minimum of fuss then this specialist cupboard paint from Johnstones is just the ticket. You don’t need a primer or undercoat for this water-based kitchen cabinet paint, so this will save you time, but you will need to clean and sand down your cabinets to make sure that you get the durable finish you’ll want. 

You will need a minimum of two coats to cover, three on darker cabinets and doors. The paint is self-levelling and is touch dry within an hour and you can add another coat after 5 hours. Once completely dry you get a smooth professional looking satin finish.  

Buy Johnstones Revive cupboard paint

is dulux quickdry satinwood the best paint?

(Image credit: Dulux)

Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood

Get a strong good-looking satin finish with this paint

Tin size: 750ml | Coverage per litre: 16m2 | Drying time: 6 hours | Finish: Satin | Base type: Water

Durable and washable finish
East to apply
Takes longer to dry than others

If you’re renovating your kitchen cabinets with a few coats of paint you will need one that is durable, hardwearing, washable and looks good. And this is exactly what you get with this satin offering from Dulux. But you will need to prep and prime your cabinets and doors properly to get the best finish. It’s really easy to apply and provides good coverage, but to get a strong finish you need to apply a couple of thin coats with a brush or roller. It may say it’s quick drying on the tin but it’s not as quick as you might expect or hope, but it’s worth the wait. It is touch dry within an hour and fully dry and ready for another coat in 6 hours.  

Buy Dulux Quick Dry Satinwood

does rustoleum have the best kitchen cabinet paint?

(Image credit: Rust-Oleum)

Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint

A paint specially made for kitchen cabinet and doors

Tin size: 750ml | Coverage per litre: 14m2 | Drying time: 4 hours | Finish: Matte | Base type: Water

Durable finish
Easy to apply
Wipe clean
Water and scuff resistant
Takes a week to fully harden

This is a paint specially formulated for kitchen cupboards and does a great job of transforming tired cabinets and doors. It is easy to apply and typically needs two coats, but you may need to apply a third to get a durable and scrubbable finish. 

Its flat matt finish is resistant to water, scuffs and stains and if you do drop ketchup on it it’s easy to wipe clean. There’s no need for a primer, so less prep time is needed and works well on wood or melamine cabinets and doors. The paint is touch dry in an hour and hard dry and ready for another coat in four hours. But it does take a week to fully harden so you’ll need to be careful to avoid any cleaning until then. 

Buy Rust-Oleum Kitchen Cupboard Paint

Nuvo Cabinet Paint Kit

A quick-start kit to transform your kitchen

Tin size: 31 oz (approx 915 ml) | Coverage per litre: 6m2 | Drying time: 8 hours | Finish: Soft satin | Base type: Water

Includes paint, brush and rollers
Tough durable finish
Lack of colours 

This kit comes with everything you need to renovate and transform your kitchen into a clean and contemporary space that you will love. It comes with a roller arm, two roller covers, a 2-inch angled brush - ideal for edges and corners - and two tins of 31 oz (almost a litre) Nuvo Cabinet Paint. This provides enough paint to cover 100 square feet of cabinets and doors, the perfect size for small to medium kitchens (depending on what’s being painted). 

The water-based modified acrylic formula bonds to wood and laminates, is touch dry in 2 hours and is self-priming meaning you can cut down on prep time and still get a strong durable soft satin finish. One downside is the lack of colour options, but if they have the colour you want it’s a great no-nonsense solution.   

Buy Nuvo Cabinet Paint Kit

does frenchic have the best kitchen cabinet paint?

(Image credit: Frenchic)

Frenchic Furniture Paint

Easy to apply eco-friendly paint with good coverage

Tin size: 250ml, 750ml | Coverage per litre: 16m2 | Drying time: 2-3 hours | Finish: Matte | Base type: Water

Smooth finish
Long time to be fully dry
Small tin sizes 

 Frenchic paints are all-natural, eco-friendly, contain zero toxins and are virtually odour-free, making them a great choice for the environmentally conscious and ideal for painting indoors. The Lazy range is a chalk and mineral paint with a wax infusion with a full range of pastel colours. It is easy to apply, provides good coverage and is self-priming, self-levelling paint and water-resistant. 

This means you get a smooth often brushstroke-free finish that not only looks good but is wipeable, helping your paintwork looking fresh for longer. It is touch dry within an hour and ready for another - recommended - coat within two hours in ideal conditions. But you need to leave for 48 hours for it to be fully dry. 

Buy Frenchic Furniture Paint

does zinsser have the best kitchen cabinet paint?

(Image credit: Zinsser)

Zinsser AllCoat Interior

Gives a strong smooth durable finish

Tin size: 1, 2.5 & 5 L | Cover per litre: 9m2 | Drying time: 3-4 hours | Finish: Matte/Satin

Strong, durable finish
Low odour
Good for spraying
Good colour range
Long drying time

If you want a paint that has everything then this oil-based 4-1 primer, sealer, stain blocker and finish is a tough act to follow. It adheres to all types of surfaces without sanding making it ideal for high gloss and melamine kitchen cabinets - though we still recommend sanding first. 

A low odour paint with hundreds of colours to choose from it is touch dry within an hour, re-coatable in around 6 hours and hardens to a strong durable finish in less than 24 hours. Coverage is typically less than most water-based paints, so you will need more but you can get it in 5 litres tins. It can be applied with a brush, roller or pad, but to get a smooth professional finish it is ideal for a paint sprayer. 

Buy Zinsser AllCoat Interior

Choosing the Best Kitchen Cabinet Paint

Choosing the best kitchen cabinet paint for your kitchen will very much depend on what type of cabinets you have, what type of finish you want and of course the colour. 

Most kitchen cabinet or cupboard paints are water-based and these are easier to apply and clean up than oil-based paints. But oil-based paints typically have a stronger finish and are less likely to chip. However, in everyday use, there isn’t much difference between the two. You might get away with a single coat of oil-based paint, but in reality, whatever paint you choose two coats are always better. 

Real wood kitchen cabinets and doors are the easiest to paint. A quick rub down and on your top coat goes. If you have melamine or gloss doors you will need to prep them with a good rub down and most probably a primer. Once prepped properly though you can choose whatever finish you want. 

The finish you choose is very much a matter of personal taste with gloss, eggshell, satin and matt the common choices. Eggshell and matt finishes are typically harder to maintain and clean but are easy to recoat. Satin and gloss finishes are easier to wipe clean and keep their appearance for longer. But high gloss finishes are not for everyone. A good compromise is a satin finish. It’s not high gloss, but easier to clean than eggshell and matt. 

The final and maybe most important choice is colour. Are you looking for a contemporary kitchen idea, or simply going white for easy matching? Whatever you want, just make sure that the paint range you choose has the colour you want.

Steve is an avid DIYer with over 20 years of experience in transforming and renovating homes. He specialises in painting and decorating, but has strong all-round building skills, having previously worked in the industry for 10 years.