How To Paint Ikea Cabinets…

Sure enough, my worst fears were realized.  I had hoped, wished, crossed my fingers that it wouldn’t happen but alas it did.  I had seen all the peoples on the internet say “Ikea Ramsjo white doors are PINK.” PINK!  Some people said “oh but it only depends on lighting” or “if your kitchen isn’t painted with red undertones you’ll be FINE.”  I began to look at zillions of pictures and sure enough, there was a pinky hue to the ramsjo doors.  I told my dear, sweet hubby about this dilemma concerning our newly ordered kitchen cabinet doors, but we both decided that we liked the overall look of the doors and that it would be okay to paint them.  *sighs*

So that’s precisely what we did.  Upon arrival, I quickly held one up to our newly installed Quartz countertop and realized that the pinky hue was quite evident and they would need to be painted.  After reading lots of tutorials that said many different things, here is the process and products that I used to paint our Ikea Ramsjo “white” cabinet doors white.

How to Paint Ikea Cabinets...


Products I used:

-Paint brushes (I used ones from the dollar store) = $1

-High density paint rollers (2 pack from Home Depot) =$2.67 (11% off using Raise Gift card)

-1 Gallon BIN Zinsser Primer -White (Home Depot) = $37.36 (11% off using Raise Gift Card, used about half)

-1 Gallon Sherwin-Williams Cashmere Flat Paint -White = $35.69 (30% off using a coupon in the mail, used about half)

-1 Qt General Finishes Polyurethane Satin Finish = I had this on hand, but it can be ordered here.(affiliate link)

Total for the project:  ~$76.72

Step 1: Prime.

First, I laid all of the door fronts on their front so that I could start by priming the back of the cabinet doors.  I found that the best way to get an even finish was to brush on the primer and then go over the brush strokes with the high density roller.  This eliminates the streaks.  Let dry for 4 hours.  Flip them over and repeat the process on the front.  I definitely think this is the primer to use for the project.  It sticks really well to doors (even though they aren’t “wood” doors).  It will also stick to everything else, so prepare accordingly.

Disclaimer:  I used the cardboard boxes that the doors came in to paint.  This worked well, HOWEVER, when I painted the sides the paint inevitably caused the doors to stick to the cardboard. 🙁 blah.  So, when you paint your cabinets, make sure that you use something to elevate the cabinets when you paint the sides.

I did two coats of primer.

This is the cabinet after two coats of primer...

This is the cabinet after two coats of primer…

UPDATE (8/24/2015) – I had to paint a piece of ramjo siding for some finishing touches the hubs is making to the kitchen.  I was lazy and decided to skip the primer step.  The paint peeled off in a week.  So… definitely 100% decided that Zinsser primer is an absolute must for this project!

Step 2: Paint

After the two coats of primer, we decided to paint the cupboards white.  The primer is kind of an off-white color.  I chose Sherwin-Williams Cashmere paint because it is self-leveling, meaning that it will help eliminate brush-strokes/roller marks.  I used the exact same painting process with the paint that I had with the Primer (Paint and then roll over the paint).

You can see here the color difference between the Paint (on the upper part) and the primer

You can see here the color difference between the Paint (on the upper part) and the primer

After a full coat of paint...

After a full coat of paint…

I didn’t find it necessary to do a second coat of paint, but you can definitely do that if you so desire/find necessary.

Step 3:  Poly   

This step I wasn’t sure was necessary until we put the hardware on the drawers and realized that we needed SOME kind of protection.  Now here’s the thing, we Really didn’t want the cabinets to be shiny. Something we didn’t like about the other Ikea door options is that they almost looked “plastic-y” because of the shine.  The internet was also very unhelpful in finding a solution.  So really, the reason that I decided to try the Poly is because I had some on hand and I knew that it worked.

To apply, I used a rubber glove and an old sock.  Yes, really.  Simply wipe the polyurethane on and you’re done.

Tips:  I let the paint dry for 24 hours before putting the poly layer on.  If you are painting your cabinets white, I highly recommend holding them in natural light to make sure that you got an even layer of poly on the door (I found it really hard to tell what areas I missed otherwise!)

You can tell there is a slight sheen to the door now...

You can tell there is a slight sheen to the door now…

I’m not gunna lie, it took me about a week to get the doors completely done because after each coat, I waited until the next day to do the next coat (even though Zinsser says it’s totally cool to go ahead and paint after a couple hours).  Overall, I’m pretty happy with the end product… especially since I was able to paint them all for less than $80 (even less if you consider I only used half of my paint and primer).  But I really wish Ikea would make a cabinet door that was true white… (please Ikea?  Please?!)

So there you have it!  This is the process I used to paint my Ikea kitchen cabinets.  Let me know if this helped you out or if you have any of your own tips in the comments below!

To see a sneak peek of the whole kitchen, click here!


2 thoughts on “How To Paint Ikea Cabinets…

  1. sharon

    Thanks for this. We are also using the laxarby. ( Australian version ) And , although mostly using the dark doors, we are creating an island bench with the “pink” ones. Yes, I think this re paint job is, unfortunately, a must for us too. I agree, why can’t they offer us white doors!!!! Argh!

  2. paul White

    Thanks for taking the time to post this. It’s a project I’m about to undertake as Ikea stopped making replacement doors for our kitchen. Repainting is definitely cheaper than refitting the entire kitchen!


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