How’s That Project Holding Up – Updated Kitchen Cabinets

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See how our updated kitchen cabinets look after surviving a year in our busy household and what we would do to improve them.

A year after we painted & added trim to our kitchen cabinets, we took a close look at our handiwork. 

How did our upgraded cabinets hold up after months of spills, knicks, and occasional bumps?

One of the last-minute changes we made to our original plan was switching to paint instead of stain on our cabinets. Did we regret our choice?

painted kitchen cabinets one year later

If you missed the tutorials, see how we updated our cabinet doors by adding trim to the front. And this is our favorite painting tool to paint the cabinets.

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First, let’s start with a picture of our kitchen today:

update kitchen cabinets without replacing them

To give you a little reminder of the space before, have a look below. This was right after we purchased the home; the only thing we updated was the fridge.

kitchen cabinets before

We have updated more of the space since then – see all the other tutorials listed below!


YES!!! Even though this project took a while to complete, it was worth every minute. 

Let’s look at some of the highlights:

Cabinet Trim:

It seemed like a waste of money to rip out our cabinets and replace them – instead, we refinished and enhanced them with trim.

When installing the trim, I was concerned about using MDF because I thought it would fall apart. As of today, I feel comfortable using MDF again. It has held up beautifully and cost very little to install. So, it’s a YES to the MDF trim!

Painting the Cabinets:

For the paint job, I used a standard Behr paint, the kind for walls, since I already had some of it on hand. Next time, I would use a different paint, something on the lines of a Urethane Alkyd. 

I would use a different paint because some spots have worn out, like this door opening below:

Painted Kitchen Cabinets -1 year later

I would also use a different primer because there is some bleeding through on the white cabinet doors (not pictured because it is hard to see in a photo). 

Average Inspired has a useful article about fixing the discoloration that happens sometimes when painting cabinets. 

Adding the Polycrylic was a great idea because this makes kitchen clean-up so easy – splashes and stains are easy to wipe away. So, if you are painting any cabinet, make sure you use Polycrylic over your paint.

Another thing I noticed on the base cabinets is white marks from chairs (my kids pull them up to the cabinet not so nicely).

Painted Kitchen Cabinets -1 year later

In a couple of years, I plan on adding more cabinets to the space. I will be painting them again but I will try a different paint this time.

What do we think?

Overall, it was a successful upgrade. I would highly recommend adding decorative trim and painting cabinets to update them. 

The only thing I would do differently is to use a better paint!

paint kitchen cabinets white and grey

UPDATE 7/2018: The cabinets have not changed and most of these pictures were updated in 2018. 

Here is the list of projects we have completed in the kitchen so far:

Thanks for stopping by!

kitchen cabinet makeover one year later
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  1. My wife and I want to do that to our cabinets. Was the light fixture over the sink there or did you add it? What primer did you use and did you use a satin paint or flat? What color is the bottom cabinets?

    1. Hi Brian, I actually (made the light fixture). The primer was Kilz Premium but I had some bleeding through with that primer. And I used a satin paint with two coats of Polycrylic (also satin). The bottom cabinets are a mixed color. Hope this helps and good luck with your cabinets, I am still loving ours!!!

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