The Best Cupboard Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

There may be days when you use the kitchen only to stare into the fridge or make a cuppa, but most days it is the heart of the house. A glum colour or an outdated scheme can really bring the mood and feel of the room down, when what you really want is a cheering space to cook dinner (or wait for the old pierce and ping). Cupboard paint can give your kitchen the makeover that you want at a mere fraction of the cost of a reno.

The best kitchen cupboard paints in the UK

Below we have a guide to three of the best kitchen cupboard paints in the UK. Further down we have a guide to using traditional wood gloss finishes for your cupboards (the range of colour choice is greater, but the pay off is that it is more work).

Cupboard paint
Dulux Cupboard Paint

Dulux Cupboard Paint – 10 times tougher

Dulux Cupboard Paint is 10 times tougher than their conventional water-based satin paints, meaning it can stand up to the knocks and spills of kitchen life without staining or damaging. It is:

  • Water-based and low odour
  • Durable and hard wearing
  • Self-undercoating and quick drying
Cupboard paint
Ronseal One Coat Cupboard Paint

Ronseal Kitchen Cupboard Paint – For wood, melamine and MDF

With no need for a primer or a second coat, the Ronseal Cupboard Paint is the fastest and easiest of the options. If you can’t have your kitchen out of service for long, this is the paint for you.

  • Available in 11 colours in gloss and satin
  • Won’t scuff or scratch
  • One coat coverage and dry in 2 hours
Cupboard paint
Johnstone’s Cupboard Paint

Johnstone’s Cupboard Paint – A smooth satin finish

Johnstone’s easy-to-use Cupboard Paint can be used on wood, melamine and MDF cabinets, and provides a smooth satin finish for your kitchen surfaces. It is:

  • Self undercoating and quick drying
  • Low odour
  • Available in 6 colours 

How to paint kitchen cupboards with wood gloss

If you have a very particular shade in mind for your kitchen cabinets, you may want to opt for a traditional gloss. When trying to match a colour scheme with your kitchen paint, you can more easily find the right colour from the full range, rather than making do. If you do opt for gloss, you will need to use a primer to ensure full adhesion and protection for your paint. You will need to:

  1. Wash down and degrease your cabinets – Any residue will impede a perfect finish
  2. Once dry, sand with fine paper – This gives extra grip for the primer
  3. Apply an appropriate primer – Use the manufacturer’s instructions regarding whether to apply with brush or roller
  4. Apply colour – Once the primer is dry, you can apply your gloss! If there are any drips in the primer, you can sand these with a very fine sandpaper to ensure a smooth and even finish
Cupboard paint
Dulux Primer for Difficult Surfaces

The right preparation and primer for the job

Primer is an important step when you are painting over new bare surfaces, glossy surfaces, or changing from dark to light colours. Kitchen cabinets are traditionally painted with gloss and will need to withstand damage from food and accidents. Primer provides a strong adhesive layer of protection that also aids with final appearance.

Dulux Primer for Difficult Surfaces (pictured) is suitable for MDF, tiles, melamine and UPVC. It provides excellent adhesion on difficult interior and exterior surfaces. It is quick drying and only requires one coat, so you can get back in the kitchen faster.

Cupboard paint
Johnstone’s One Coat Satin

Wood gloss for cupboards – Go for satin finish

Kitchen cabinets are normally painted in a midsheen finish. It is low gloss, but not matt, and is good for hiding the occasional spill. It is also soft to touch, perfect for high-touch surfaces like doors. But just because something is usual does not mean you also have to do it. High sheen or matt on your cupboards may just be harder to maintain.

Johnstone’s Quick Dry Satin (pictured) is a perfect example of a gloss that you can use for cabinets. It has a silky finish and is touch dry in two hours so you can get back in the kitchen, albeit gently.