A Year in Review of How I Painted my Laminate Cabinets

I’ve received a lot of questions over the past few months about how my painted laminate cabinets have held up. I decided that this post is long overdue being that it’s been well over a year since my first ‘painting laminate cabinets with no prep work has been published.  So pull your sleeves up and sit down, I’m going to lay out the good, bad and ugly when it comes to a review of how I painted cabinets my laminate cabinets. Also, I’ll be discussing painting laminate cabinets WITH primer and painting laminate cabinets WITHOUT primer.

A year in review of my painted laminate cabinets

Let me first recap the two posts that I will be reviewing and share a before picture.

Most of you probably don’t realize that I’ve written two posts with two different techniques on how I painted my  laminate cabinets.


My first post, which you can view HERE,  included painting the cabinets with primer, then milk paint and then the top coat. This technique was a lot more expensive and time consuming than my other technique.

My second post, which you can view HERE, included no prep, no primer, and just painting the laminate cabinets with a poly acrylic Ace Hardware paint and a top coat. This technique was obviously much cheaper and less time consuming.

So which technique has held up better? Take one guess…

Painting laminate cabinets with the primer or without the primer?

The first technique I used with the primer and milk paint has held up like a champ. Unfortunately I can’t say the same of the second technique, although it hasn’t been terrible.

Most of you are probably thinking, duh, adding primer is a no brainer.  Well, that’s what I thought too before I started to paint my cabinets.  The first technique I used with the primer held up so well, that I thought, maybe the primer isn’t necessary.

I’ve done A LOT of research on how to paint laminate cabinets, and 4-5 times out of 10, the blogger or writer did not use primer.

So my justification was “ok, if half of bloggers who have done this before DID NOT use primer, and their cabinets look great, then maybe I’ll be ok without it.”

37 thoughts on “A Year in Review of How I Painted my Laminate Cabinets

  1. I wish the couple who lived in our home before it spent a little more time with your technique when painting our cabinets. It looks like yours held up pretty great!

  2. So many bloggers write about their experiences painting cabinets, but not many actually follow-up on the experience. Thanks for sharing the truth not only about the process you used, but how it’s held up and thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  3. Your cabinets are beautiful! I would love to paint mine, but keep putting it off out of fear of messing them up and finding the time to do it. This was very helpful! Thank you for linking up to Party in Your PJ’s. I pinned to my DIY Projects board!

  4. These look brilliant. So interesting to see the results of both techniques here. I would love to give my kitchen a facelift but can’t afford to replace the lot. This looks like such a great way to improve your kitchen yourself. Thanks for sharing with #fortheloveofBLOG

  5. These are amazing! I love your honesty too. Thanks for joining us at the TO GRANDMA’S HOUSE WE GO – LINK PARTY #58 this week! Your project has been pinned. Would love for you to join us again this Wednesday! Cheers!

  6. And there you have it. There are no shortcuts when it comes to kitchen cabinets. They are a high traffic area and need to be taken care of. Thanks for your honest review.

  7. Thank you so much for taking the time to post a follow-up! It’s great that you tried two methods and could compare. We are buying a new home that has 80’s melamine cabinets, and we’re researching our options. I hadn’t seen mentions of milk paint before! Your before pics look more like wood. I guess I just haven’t seen the darker ‘wood look’ melamine. Ours are those awful almond color with a wood look trim…so ‘mod’ in the 80s I guess.

    1. I’m so glad you found my post. My melamine cabinets are fairly new, so that’s why they might look a little different than yours. Even though they are new, they are still cheap looking and the paint really transformed them. Good luck with your kitchen cabinets. Let me know if you have any questions.

  8. I have white laminate cabinets that yellowed horribly over the years the boxes have stayed fine so I am planning to repaint the doors they are a mess need repairs in some places because the material the door is made of has blown out. Ugh. Once this is done what to you use to clean the cabinets that won’t damange the paint.

    1. Hi Diane, I would suggest painting them and then adding at least 2 coats of a Polycrylic top coat. The old polyurethane top coats caused the yellowing, which is probably what you are seeing. Honestly, I wipe mine clean with a clorox wipe still (I have two kiddo who like to spread germs everywhere) and I have not seen any yellowing yet! I hope this helps.

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