Mini Master Bathroom Makeover – Cabinet Painting

My husband suggested I pick one space to focus on at a time as I truly make this house ours.  I started with the master bathroom.  My head is still swirling with all the little updates and projects I want to work on in every room in the house, so I believe he was trying to infuse a little focus to my projects.  It was helpful when I was out shopping to put the blinders on to anything not related to the bathroom.  (Except for the times when I was out looking for the perfect TV stand.)

We didn’t replace any flooring or major fixtures so that is why I’m calling this a “mini” makeover.  But it didn’t feel very mini when I was cutting in paint on the 10 foot ceilings over the bathtub!

It started with the idea that I wanted to paint the bathroom cabinets.  I had toyed around with making our kitchen island navy blue and ultimately decided not to, but figured I could use that blue into the bathroom.  I thought I was going to use Benjamin Moore Hale Navy and that’s the only color card I got.  I decided it might be a little dark and went with the lighter color just above – Newburyport Blue.

Master Bathroom Cabinets Before

Bathroom Before Shot

I read through several tutorials on painting cabinets and what supplies to use.  My process ended up being a hybrid of what I read and recommendations from people in the aisles of Home Depot and Ace Hardware. It’s a fairly simple process but it ended up being pretty time consuming.  It didn’t help that I had to prepare for a hurricane in the middle of it all.  I really wanted to have the bathroom done before Hurricane Irma arrived so after I got my water and gas and had my evacuation plan in place, I had cabinets to paint!

Since you can find many many cabinet painting tutorials on the web, I won’t go through the steps but I’ll share some of the problems I encountered.

  1. The primer came off the cabinet frames in the bathroom really easily after the first coat.  I was able to rub it all off with a rag.  I don’t know what the issue was so I gave it a much better sanding and started over.  The primer seemed to adhere to the doors a little better and I didn’t need to start over but I did give them a 3rd coat of primer.
  2. I realized that the humidity was way too high to paint in the garage.  After the first coat of primer, I brought the doors in for painting and drying and back out for sanding.
  3. Adding cabinet hardware is no joke!  I originally made a cardboard template.  It worked for the small drawer but I moved on to the bigger drawer and drilled holes that were not level.  I bought a plastic template and tried that.  None of the holes seemed to line up centered where I wanted them.  Finally I realized that my quilting rulers would probably help me and they did.  But I still made mistakes and drilled some holes on the bottom of two doors instead of the top.  Wood filler to the rescue.  I drilled the holes in the middle of the primer stage so I could sand the rough edges and not mess with the final coat.
  4. More issues with the drawers.  I took the drawer face off the middle drawer (like I saw the professionals in my kitchen do.)  I couldn’t get the screws out of the bottom drawer so I taped it off and painted it while still connected to the drawer.  Putting the 2nd drawer back together took me many many tries.  I could not get the face lined up with the pre-existing screws and even when I decided to make new holes, I couldn’t get the face lined up with the rest of the drawers.  And then the handle looked crooked.  It took me a few days to finish installing the drawers as I would have to set them aside and wait for my patience to come back.  And maybe my perfectionism interfered a bit.

I was ready to call in a professional at one point to get my drawers and hardware level.  I don’t think they’re perfect but I persevered and with everything put back together, I don’t notice it anymore.

So the cabinets are painted and I love how they look!  Just looking back at the really dark before pictures makes me so glad that I tried this even though it was a lot more time consuming than I thought it would be.

Master Bathroom Painted Cabinets

I’ll share the rest of my bathroom updates in the next post!  (That’s why I cropped the cabinet shot so much!)


(Links contain affiliate links that will not change the price for you, but will provide me with some compensation if you use them.)

Primer – Kilz 2 Latex Primer/Sealer/Stainblocker

Paint – Benjamin Moore Advance Waterborne Interior Alkyd Paint

Color – Benjamin Moore Newburyport Blue HC-155

Hardware – 5″ Brushed Nickel Square Bar Pulls






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