Tips on Painting Formica Kitchen Cabinets

by THAT Painter Lady

Hi Debra

I have a question about painting Formica kitchen cabinets. Some ideas would be great. Let me tell you that they are Formica with a one inch wood border, on the bottom only, 1980’s style, done in, of course, almond. Can’t afford to replace right now, and I am looking for some color ideas and a process that will rejuvenate them.


Formica cabinets and countertops are many people’s wost nightmare. But I’ll tell you, ANYTHING can be changed and updated with a little bit of paint.

Here are a few instructions to follow in order to paint the formica.

1. Choose a color that would match your kitchen decor. It is hard for me to make suggestions for you without seeing the a picture of the space. When in doubt, go neutral. You may want to hire a color consultant to come in and help you with color suggestions as well. The last thing you want to do is get everything painted and realize that you can’t stand the color.

2. Clean the surface of the cabinets thoroughly. Let dry and then finish with a light sanding.

3. Prime the surface with oil based primer such as BIN or KILZ. Oil based primers give you the best adhesion and durability. But keep in mind that you will need to allow for proper ventilation. If you live in a cold climate, you may want to wait until the Spring so you can keep the windows open.

4. When the primer is completely dry, you can then use water based paints. I would go with a semi gloss finish. Paint the base color and let dry thoroughly before the next coat. Use a small mini roller for the flat areas and use a brush to get into the corners. The roller will give a smoother finish as opposed to a brush.

I hope that this helps you. Here is an article that you might want to check out from my site on Faux Woodgraining over Formica –

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