How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets Black and White

Furniture and Cabinetry Redouxs, Furniture Makeovers

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Black and White 

Hello, and thank you for stopping by my kitchen! I am preparing to do my third and final painting of my kitchen cabinets. We have lived in our current home for 20 years. As time passes, better products and techniques have come on the market. I spent many years as a professional Furniture and Cabinet Painter and want to share all my best tips and tricks with you! Coming January 2024, my exclusive online course teaching YOU how to paint your Kitchen or bathroom cabinets like a pro, without the stress! Get on my waiting list here, and I will send you my exclusive Getting Started Painting Furniture and Cabinetry guide when you sign up! 

I enjoy a clean kitchen, and a Black and White Kitchen Makeover is timeless. I originally wrote this post many years ago when my children were younger and we could enjoy school breaks! Those breaks are long gone, but I am thrilled to say my Black and White Kitchen Cabinets still look almost new ten years later!


Last weekend, I finally completed the beast that had been on my back for some time. Several years ago, I painted my cupboards and island, but like many early projects, we see where improvements could be made with time and skills improvement. It was my goal to finish the kitchen this summer, and I almost made it. (My kids are back in school, so summer ended for us).

I didn’t take too many “before pictures” because I think I was just anxious to move on with the project, but here is the general feel:

I originally painted Antique White kitchen cabinets, with a Tobacco Brown glaze over the top. The initial painting was entirely long before Debi’s Design Diary Chalk and Clay Paint came into my life, or for that matter, chalk paint even existed.

I did not have it within my budget to replace the knobs.  I waited until I could find what I wanted at the right price….fast forward three years.  I not only found the knobs, but I also found the paint I wanted!

If I were to do this project today, I would definitely use Debi’s Design Diary DIY Paint.  I recommend Little Black Dress, Vintage Linen, and Big Top Brush-On Sealer.

 One of the drawer fronts had broken, and we had a cabinet maker replace it, never quite got around to painting it to match.  Yikes!
This was my island. I loved the cheery yellow, but the more color I put in my home, the less I liked it in my kitchen.  I was longing for a more neutral pallet and something more distinct.
Yes, the drawer is broken here too….Ah, children! 
 It dawned on me to take a picture of the front when I started the prep.  This has always been my first step in painting cabs. I was putting the paper down. (After the TSP cleaning).
Along the way, a happy accident occurred. I removed all the cabinet doors and drawers, stripped them, and thoroughly cleaned them.  I planned to do the island in black, the lower cabs, and the uppers in cream.  I had designed the entire project going quickly because I was using my HVLP sprayer.
The day I was all set to begin, I kid you not!  I was cleaning my gun outside (something I now do not recommend), and a little teeny-weeny part of the tip got lost somehow.  After fruitlessly digging through dirt, I gave up and started calling around.  NO ONE had my lead in stock.  NO ONE.  There was at least a two week turn around from everyone,

Using a Paint Sprayer or a Brushing and Rolling Paint

I had a project to finish and decided to try a different take.  I realized from earlier projects that Chalk paint mixes very happily with my beloved Modern Masters Paints.  The Old White is the same color as the “Basic White” from Modern Masters.  By thinning the Chalkpaint with another high-quality paint, I could stretch it for my whole kitchen.  However, now this must be done by hand………
About two coats of black and three of the white was all it took.  I highly recommend sanding with 220 grit between coats and finishing with 400 grit to get a perfect finish.  The wonderful thing about chalk paint is it is so soft when it is sanded smooth!

How to Top Coat Painted Kitchen Cabinets

Now for the labor-intensive part.  Instead of a poly finish,  I went with a hand-waxed finish on the whole “ball of wax”! (or kitchen, in this case)
I love the contrast with the butcher block counter. Maybe it is inspiring my children to do more homework.
A friend of mine painted that saying on the island many years ago; it represents my Scottish ancestry.
 Before, the cream washed out my granite countertops and farmhouse sink; now they pop!

Adding a Chalkboard Panel to your Black and White Kitchen

This is the pantry area. The chalkboard panel was there before, but now looks refreshed.
I love the contrast between the cream and black.

Adding a Painted Black Island to a Black and White Kitchen

I love how long the Black Kitchen Island is.  We love to entertain, and there is plenty of room for everyone.
 I was hosting my August book club meeting, where I made a large brunch.  Having a kitchen ripped apart was just not for me, so I had some motivation to finish!
It was the best happy accident I have had.  I could not be more pleased with the results, and I feel like this was how they were meant to be all along.  I love my Black and White Kitchen!
Ready to makeover your old cabinets? Get on the list to be the first to find out about my upcoming Paint Your Own Kitchen Cabinet course!  Click the link HERE to get early access, coming in January 2024 


  1. Lucy Designs

    LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! looks so great! thanks for sharing the process

  2. Michele @ {Primp}

    great job–I love the black and cream together too, also love you drawer pulls!

  3. Vivienne @ the V Spot

    I love this! it's gorgeous! (I need the motivation of company coming over too…

  4. Elizabeth

    I love this, everything looks fabulous! How are the chalk paint cabinets holding up to the kids and to general life?

    Must also comment that there is nothing like a visit from family or friends to spur one into finisheing projects. I have a few myself that I must finish before the relatives come in Sept for a visit!

  5. Vicky

    What a fabulous transformation! I love the two colors together.

  6. Karen

    It looks fabulous, I love the color contrast. Will the wax hold up to the wear and tear of kitchen use like poly? I would rather use wax if it can stand being wiped down frequently without constantly reapplying.

  7. bj

    Hi, over from 504 Main..:)
    Your kitchen is adorable. I first thought, when you said you use AS paint, “wow, that must have been really expensive”..then I saw that you mixed paints.

    I, too, have a two-toned kitchen. Here's the link

    Come by to see my fun kitchen, too. 🙂
    xo bj

  8. Courtney ~ French Country Cottage

    It looks wonderful~ I love the dark mixed with the lighter and how your island came out! I would love for you to come share at Feathered Nest Friday at my blog sometime! 🙂

  9. Maryann @ Domestically-Speaking

    So glad your accident turned into a gorgeous kitchen. I'm putting it in the PoPP Spotlight… thanks for linking up.

  10. niartist

    WOW! What a transformation. Oh you give me hope that I can do this myself one day!!!! Really, WOW. I'm bookmarking so I can remember this!!

    I love transformations! I just turned my secretary into a bar area in my dining room. I really hope you'll stop by and check it out:

    See you soon, I hope!

  11. Ellie

    It's beautiful! Love the new look.

  12. The DIY Show Off

    Beautiful! I love the black and cream, I love the quote and your accents! We're still deciding on the color of the island for our kitchen. I know I want distressed and I'm thinking a dark stain next to the white (actually they're gray but look white) cabinets. Thanks so much for sharing your inspiring kitchen in the Roomspiration party! 😉

  13. Elizabeth (Blue Clear Sky)

    What a great kitchen! I love black and whites together and it looks great on your cabinets. Great sink and counters too.

  14. A Vintage Vine

    O.K, Girlfriend…..Scottish ancestry?….ME too! Haha! I am now picking up my chin up off the floor! Your kitchen is incredible! I want to put a wash up on my top cabinets….got any suggestions! I do like your choice to go black! Everything in there is perfect! I was a fan of your creations before but now….I am a “Fan X 3″…Thanks for sharing!

  15. ANNE

    Looks fantastic, and very European. I just did my first chalk paint project, it IS good stuff…!

  16. Rene

    Cream and black together reminds me of Chanel – classic.

    Thanks for sharing your kitchen in the Room By Room series!


  17. anangloinquebec

    Lovely, I especially love the pots hanging over the sink. Beautiful space!

  18. Linda @ It All Started with Paint

    That looks great! Last year I painted both my upper and lowers chocolate brown, but am rethinking perhaps lightening up the tops …

    … it was a huge project … and I have a million other things to do first … and my husband would probably have me institutionalized!

  19. Gwen @ The Bold Abode

    It's so crisp and fresh. We have blackish granite and it is so washed out by the dark cherry stain on the cabinets…I've been toyin' with painting them…I do believe you've inspired me to get my butt in gear…What ratio did you use to thin the chalk paint? And is the finish as Matte as it looks in the photos? I really like it.

  20. kirby carespodi

    It looks great! (Coincidentally, I’m making my kitchen black and white this summer, too!)

  21. Andi



  22. Hetty

    Love the look of your new kitchen! wow, you worked hard..this is a fabulous transformation! Congrats.

  23. cassie

    WOW, Karen! it’s FABULOUS!!!!!! It’s so very you, too!

  24. andrea

    Man, when you get the yen to power through something, nothing stops you! Great job, LOVE the lower cabs in black, and I also love your prayer on the counter. That’s something I’ll keep in my back pocket for the future!

  25. Dani

    Your cabinets look great! You really did a good job. And I like the darker color on the bottom cabinets. It really makes your countertop pop. Have a great week.

  26. cindy the cottage chick

    Totally beautious!!! I love two tone kitchens, and hope to do something similar in my new house! Great visual inspiration…thanks 🙂

  27. Patricia Krank

    LOVE your kitchen re-do! Maybe part of it is because I just re-rid mine in the same colors. You’ve added some beautiful extra touches too. Blessings to you, Patti@OldThingsNew

  28. Janice

    What a great job! I just love it.

  29. Savannah Granny

    Your copper pots really caught my eye. The entire kitchen is fantastic. I enjoyed reading and seeing the process even tho I am too old to do that. I have wanted to paint my island a darker color, I might could pull off that. Thanks for the inspiration. I am following, xoGinger

  30. Jill Flory

    I LOVE it! the waxed look is so worth it if you can handle the time it takes! I hope to do wax finishes on my kitchen cabinets when i finally get to that project!

  31. Linden Townhouse

    This is fantastic!

  32. Tanya

    Gorgeous Karen!! I cannot wait to redo my kitchen, I hope it turns out as lovely as yours 🙂

    xo, Tanya

  33. Donna Allgaier-Lamberti

    That was certainly a labor of love! I love the contrast between the cream and the black as well as the black and flooring. I also ADORE your beautiful long counter. What a pleasure that must be to serve (and eat) from!

    A lovely job…congratulations!

    Small House / Big Sky Donna / White Oak Studio Designs / SW Michigan
    Hand-Painted Vintage Furniture Transformations
    Facebook: (for portfolio of chalk painted work)

  34. Judy

    Came over from MMS’s. Wow, the kitchen turned out beautifully. I love the island..Happy Friday..Judy

  35. Danielle

    Love the mix of black and white. Your kitchen really pops now. Thanks for sharing at Silver Pennies Sundays.

  36. Roeshel

    Woo hoo! Everywhere I look I see something I love! I think your happy accident led to an amazing result. It’s one gorgeous kitchen, black and cream is a great choice!

  37. Scottiev

    Still looks fabulous!!

  38. Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co.

    Oh wow Karen, your kitchen is striking! I love the contrast of the cabinets and your countertops and farmhouse sink really do shine now! Great hardware! And your copper pots just sparkle in the sunlight! You must be thrilled!

  39. Mary @ Redo 101

    Great job, looks fabulous!!! Saw your feature at Make it Pretty Monday, congrats!


  40. Jane

    Love your kitchen. Especially the bar stools. Can I ask where you got them?


  41. Debbie

    Gorgeous kitchen. How are the finishes holding up? I found this blog post by searching for the image of the pot rack. Would you share your sources? Or post a DIY for the pot rack? Please??


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