Guest Bathroom Makeover Project: How to Paint Oak Cabinets

Guest Bathroom Makeover Project: How to Paint Oak Cabinets

We recently moved into our new house, from a one-bedroom apartment in Dallas. We have little furniture, and it will be a slow process to complete our rooms and furnish our whole home. I was feeling unsettled, so I wanted to make an inexpensive improvement towards having at least one single room in our home feel complete. A guest bathroom makeover to be the perfect place to start!

When we painted our house upon getting the keys, but we didn’t do the guest bathroom or guest rooms to save time and energy. Painting an entire home is an undertaking on your own, let me tell you! However, when I decided to do the bathroom I knew it needed a fresh coat of paint and I loved how the rest of our house turned out, I used the extra paint and completed it in an evening. I do wish we painted it while we were doing the rest of the house though!

Next, I hung shelves and added decor like art and candles, but the bathroom still felt incomplete. So, I made the decision to paint the cabinets. I did a lot of research beforehand, and it turned out fantastic. It was relatively simple, however, took a few more coats on the cabinets than I originally imagined. This post is based on my experience, and I am not a professional, but my DIY skills appeared to be up to the challenge!

Guest Bathroom Makeover: How to Paint Oak Cabinets

Time: About 1 week

  1. Remove all drawers and cabinet doors and hinges.
  2. Sand the cabinets, drawers, and doors. Your goal is to remove the shiny coat over the wood, this will also even out some grain marks, however if your wood grain is very deep, you can fill it will wood filler, however I did not take this step. I used a sander on the flat surfaces adn a sanding sponge on the small or uneven surfaces. After sanding, use tack cloth or I just used a towel to wipe away the dust.
  3. Next you’ll prime your cabinets, then paint in your desired color. I just used regular wall paint we already had in the color White Metal by Behr.
  4. Complete your cabinet paint with a clear coat to seal the paint, I did two coats of Minwax Polycrylic, sanding lightly in between.
  5. Finish up by re-attaching the doors if you have not yet, and then add hardware as needed!

Guest Bathroom Makeover Timeline

Day 1: Clear out the bathroom and paint walls (depending on your paint you may need a day for priming or a second coat)
Day 2: Remove cabinet doors, sand, and prime
Day 3: Paint, re-attach cabinet doors and drawers
Day 4: Touch up paint, clear coat #1
Day 5: Lightly sand and clear coat #2
Day 6: Add Hardware and decor

Mistakes to Avoid / Learning Moments for your Guest Bathroom Makeover

Plan for enough time. I imagined getting this project done in a weekend, but I was pretty far off on that judgment. I didn’t plan for so many coats on the cabinets, I would allow for at least one week to get all of this done. When painting cabinets you definitely have to sand them first. I had to buy a sander before starting this project. Sanders can cost upwards of $150, but for our purposes, we went with a simple $40 one. The one issue I had with it was the cord was almost not long enough to reach the bottom of the vanity which would have been a simple extension cord fix.

When it came to the paint I only needed one coat after priming, but I did not think through painting the edges of the doors and not letting them touch the ground. I’m not entirely sure what the solution here would be, to be honest, but that is why I re-attached the doors and drawer after my first coat of paint. I also needed to touch up a lot of edges and corners on the doors. After my first clear coat, I saw how streaky and uneven my first attempt was. Clear paint/sealant is really hard to see where you’ve covered properly, so I would plan for a second coat every time here.

Guest Bathroom Makeover: Total Cost Breakdown

I used a lot of things I already had to keep the costs of this update low.

Wall Paint (PPG color Moondance color matched in Behr paint):$0 – Already Owned
Cabinet Paint (White Metal by Behr):$0 – Already Owned
Primer, and painting tools: $0 – Already Owned
Sander: $40
Min Wax Polycrylic: $10
Rug (similar)- Safavieh: $12
23.6in Shelves: $22 each
Pink Door Photo: $20, now $7
Baskets (similar)- Home Goods: $8-12
Various Decor and Products- Llama Planter, Voluspa Candle: $0 Already Owned
Shower Curtain (similar) & hooks: $0 Already Owned
Plastic Shower Liner: $3
Drawer Pulls/Knobs (similar, here, and here) – Home Goods: $8
Towels– Home Goods: $6-15

Total: About $170

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