When we bought our house, the kitchen was very orange. The cabinets were solid oak and they were in great shape, but the colour just made them look outdated. The wall colour didn’t help either, more orange. And of course the trim was all 90’s wood too.

outdated kitchen makeover

At one point we talked about removing this wall, in the picture below, between the kitchen and the dining area and adding a peninsula. But when it came down to it, it just seemed like too much work and we might not have made our money back when we sold the house. Plus, this wall has tons of storage space that we weren’t willing to give up.

1990s kitchen makeover1990s kitchen makeover

We replaced the ceiling fan in the kitchen and the orange track light in the breakfast nook with two matching drum shade lights.

1990s outdated oak kitchen makeoverkitchen makeover

The first thing I did in the kitchen was paint all the trim. I did a coat of primer then two coats of semi-gloss paint in Benjamin Moore Simply white. Next I did the wall colour. It is called Ashen Tan, by Behr. I really like this colour. It’s nice and light, not really grey and not really beige, but still warm. And it still provides enough contrast between the trim and the wall colour.

simply white painted kitchen

Before we could actually paint the cabinets, we had to do all the prep work – this was the most tedious part of the project. After taking the doors off and removing all the hardware, we washed them with TSP then rinsed with water. Then we sanded them all lightly. We wanted to get rid of as much of the oak wood grain as possible, so Tony used drywall mud to fill the cracks, then sanded them again once that was dry.

We painted the kitchen cabinets in two stages. Tony set up a spray booth in the garage and he made a shelf that held half the cupboard doors at one time. So while he was spraying the doors in the garage, I painted the cupboards inside. I used a roller and a brush, and used CIL SMART3 paint for furniture and cabinets, also in Simply White. This paint is supposed to self-level and dry really smooth and hard. I did a coat of primer first, then three coats of paint.

simply white painted oak kitchen

Tony spray painted all the doors using his paint sprayer. He did a coat of primer, then at least 5 or 6 coats of paint on each side of the door. The actual painting part didn’t take very long, but the dry time is what made this project take a long time. We were living without cabinets doors for at least a month. But for about $500 of paint and supplies, I would say this kitchen makeover was totally worth it.

simply white painted oak kitchen


8 thoughts on “90’s Oak Painted Kitchen”

  1. Thanks for sharing this oak woodworking tip in your blog. This is one thing I didn’t know when I was starting – different types of wood, different painting approach (and expectation).

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