How to Whitewash Your Kitchen Cabinets for a Fresh and Updated Look

What is Whitewashing and How Does it Differ from Painting?

If you are looking for a way to update your kitchen without spending too much money, then whitewashing your kitchen cabinets may be a great option for you. Whitewashing is a popular technique that involves using a thin, watered-down paint or stain to create a semi-transparent, milky finish. The process of whitewashing is a great way to highlight the natural beauty of the wood while still giving it a fresh new look.

Unlike traditional painting, which covers the natural grain and texture of wood, whitewashing allows that texture to show through. This can help to create a more rustic or vintage-style look in your kitchen. Whitewashing is also a more forgiving technique than painting, as it does not require the same level of precision and detailed preparation. It can be a great option for DIYers who want to tackle a kitchen renovation project on their own.

What Are the Benefits of Whitewashing Kitchen Cabinets?

There are many benefits associated with whitewashing your kitchen cabinets. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages is that it can completely transform the look and feel of your kitchen without having to purchase new cabinets. By simply applying a white or light-colored wash to your existing cabinets, you can update their appearance and create a whole new aesthetic in your kitchen.

Whitewashing is also a great option for homeowners who want to add some character and texture to their kitchen. As mentioned earlier, whitewashing allows the natural grain of the wood to show through, which can help to create a more rustic, vintage, or farmhouse-style look in your home. This can be a great way to add some warmth and charm to your space.

Other benefits of whitewashing your kitchen cabinets include:

  • It is a more affordable option than replacing your cabinets.
  • It requires minimal preparation work, making it a DIY-friendly project.
  • It can be customized to your preferred style and color scheme.
  • It can help to brighten up a dark or outdated kitchen.
  • It can increase the value of your home if done properly and professionally.

What Materials Do You Need to Whitewash Kitchen Cabinets?

If you are planning to whitewash your kitchen cabinets, then you will need the right materials to get the job done. While the exact materials may vary depending on the specifics of your project, the list below includes some of the most common items that you will need:

  • Sandpaper or a sanding block
  • Tack cloth or microfiber cloth
  • Wood conditioner (optional)
  • Whitewash paint or stain
  • Water
  • Paintbrushes or foam brushes
  • Paint roller (optional)
  • Lint-free cloths
  • Clear coat (optional)

How to Whitewash Your Kitchen Cabinets

If you are ready to start whitewashing your kitchen cabinets, then the following steps can guide you through the process:

  1. Remove all cabinet doors and hardware, and clean all surfaces with soap and water.
  2. Sand all surfaces with a fine-grit sandpaper or sanding block to remove any existing finish or rough spots. Wipe down the cabinets with tack cloth or a microfiber cloth to remove any dust or debris.
  3. Apply a wood conditioner to the cabinets if desired. This will help to ensure a more even application of the whitewash. Let the conditioner dry completely before moving on to the next step.
  4. Prepare your whitewash mixture by diluting your paint or stain with water in a ratio of 1:1. The exact ratio may vary depending on how opaque you want the finish to be. Stir the mixture well to ensure it is evenly combined.
  5. Dip your paintbrush or foam brush into the whitewash mixture, and apply a thin layer to the surface of the cabinets. Work in small sections, applying the whitewash with light, even strokes. Wipe off any excess with a lint-free cloth. If desired, use a paint roller to apply the whitewash to larger surfaces.
  6. Allow the first coat to dry completely, then repeat the process for a second coat. You may need to apply more coats depending on how opaque you want the finish to be. Allow each coat to dry completely before moving on to the next.
  7. Once the whitewash has dried completely, you can apply a clear coat if desired. This will help to protect the finish and give it a more polished look.
  8. Reattach the cabinet doors and hardware, and enjoy your newly whitewashed kitchen cabinets!

Overall, whitewashing is a great option for adding some fresh style and character to your kitchen cabinets without breaking the bank. With the right materials and some patience, you can easily tackle this DIY project and create a whole new look in your kitchen. Whether you want to create a rustic farmhouse-style space or simply brighten up your kitchen, whitewashing may be the perfect solution for you!

Choosing the Right Type of Wood for Whitewashing

When it comes to whitewashing kitchen cabinets, the type of wood you choose plays a crucial role in the final outcome. Some woods are suitable for whitewashing, while others may not give you the desired results. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right type of wood for whitewashing kitchen cabinets.

Grain Pattern

The grain pattern of the wood you choose will significantly influence the appearance of your whitewashed cabinets. If you want your cabinets to have a rustic look, choose a wood with a prominent grain pattern like oak or hickory. The grain pattern will show through the whitewash, creating a unique and textured look. On the other hand, if you prefer a smoother finish with a more subtle grain pattern, consider maple or birch wood.

Density and Porosity

The density and porosity of the wood affect how much whitewash it can absorb and retain. Woods with a lower density and higher porosity, like pine or ash, will absorb more whitewash, resulting in a more pronounced white finish. Conversely, woods with higher density and lower porosity, such as cherry or mahogany, will absorb less whitewash, leading to a lighter and less distinct look.

Natural Color

The natural color of the wood can also affect the final appearance of your whitewashed cabinets. Woods that naturally have a yellow or orange undertone, like pine or oak, may result in a warmer white finish, while woods with a cooler natural tone, like maple or ash, will create a cooler white hue. It’s essential to keep in mind that the natural color of the wood will show through the whitewash slightly, altering the overall shade of the kitchen cabinets.

Grain Direction

The direction of the wood grain can also influence how the whitewash appears on the cabinets. When the grain runs horizontally, the whitewash will look like a glaze, highlighting the natural grain pattern of the wood. When the grain runs vertically, the whitewash will create a more opaque finish, without much wood grain showing through.

Availability and Cost

Finally, when choosing the right wood for your whitewashed cabinets, don’t forget to consider the availability and cost of the wood. Some types of wood may not be readily available in your area, while others may be too expensive for your budget. It’s essential to consider all these factors when selecting the type of wood for your cabinets.

In conclusion, choosing the right type of wood for whitewashing your kitchen cabinets is crucial to achieving the desired look. Consider grain pattern, density and porosity, natural color, grain direction, as well as availability and cost to ensure you get the perfect outcome for your kitchen. With the right wood and whitewash, you can transform your cabinets from drab to fab in no time!

Preparing the surface

Before you start whitewashing your kitchen cabinets, it’s important to prepare the surface properly. This will ensure that the whitewash adheres to the surface properly and lasts longer. Here are the steps to follow:

Clean the surface

The first step to preparing any surface for whitewashing is to clean it properly. Use a mild detergent and warm water to clean the cabinets. This will help remove any dirt, grease, or grime that may have accumulated on the surface. You can also use a degreaser to remove any stubborn stains.

Remove any existing finish

If your kitchen cabinets have an existing finish or varnish, you need to remove it before whitewashing. This is because the whitewash will not adhere well to a surface that has an existing finish. Use sandpaper or a chemical stripper to remove the finish from the cabinets.

Sand the surface

Once you have removed the existing finish, you need to sand the surface of the cabinets. This will help the whitewash to adhere to the surface better. Use a medium grit sandpaper to sand the cabinets. Make sure you sand in the direction of the grain to prevent any scratches on the surface.

Filling any gaps or holes

If there are any gaps or holes on the surface of your cabinets, you need to fill them before whitewashing. Use wood filler to fill in any gaps or holes on the surface of the cabinets. Once the filler is dry, sand the surface again with a fine grit sandpaper to ensure a smooth surface for whitewashing.

Prime the surface

After sanding the surface, it’s recommended to prime it before whitewashing. This will help the whitewash to adhere to the surface better and create a more even finish. Use a primer that is specifically designed for wood and follow the instructions carefully.

Selecting the right tools

Selecting the right tools for whitewashing your kitchen cabinets is important to achieve a smooth and even finish. Here are the tools you’ll need:


You’ll need a variety of paintbrushes of different sizes for whitewashing your kitchen cabinets. Make sure the brushes are of good quality and clean to avoid any stray bristles on the surface of the cabinets.


Rollers are useful for applying the whitewash to larger surfaces of your cabinets quickly. They come in different sizes, so choose one that fits the size of your cabinets.


You’ll need sandpaper of different grits for preparing and finishing your kitchen cabinets. Medium grit sandpaper is good for sanding the surface after removing the existing finish, while fine grit sandpaper is perfect for a final sanding before whitewashing.


You’ll need containers for mixing the whitewash and primer. Make sure they are clean and free of any dust or debris that may affect your finish.


You’ll need stirrers to mix the whitewash and primer thoroughly before application. Wooden stirrers are perfect for this purpose.


You may need to use tape to protect any parts of your cabinets that you don’t want to paint. Painter’s tape is perfect for this purpose as it doesn’t leave any residue and is easy to remove.

With these tools and proper surface preparation, you’ll be able to achieve a beautiful, whitewashed finish on your kitchen cabinets.

Step-by-step Guide to Whitewashing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets play a vital role in enhancing the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen. However, kitchen cabinets that have suffered wear and tear can look quite tired and may need a fresh coat of paint. In recent years, whitewashing cabinets has become the latest trend in interior design. This technique enables you to add a clean and elegant touch to your kitchen decor. In this article, we will highlight the step-by-step guide to whitewashing your kitchen cabinets.


Before you paint your kitchen cabinets, you need to prepare the surface for the new paint layer. Prepping your cabinets will ensure that the new paint goes on smoothly and adheres to the surface. The first step is to remove the cabinet doors, drawers and any handles. Sanding down the stained surfaces can remove any grease, dirt or grime. Scrape off any peeling paint with putty knives. Once done, wipe down the surface with a clean cloth.

Select Your Paint

You need to select the appropriate type of paint to whitewash your kitchen cabinets. Ensure the paint that you choose is oil-based and that the consistency is not too thick. Oil-based paint works best on kitchen cabinets since they tend to resist stains, scratches and marks, making it durable.

Whitewashing Your Cabinets

Once you have prepared the surface and selected the right paint, it’s time to start painting your kitchen cabinets. Start by applying the first layer of paint on your kitchen cabinets. Ensure that you cover all areas thoroughly. You may need to use a paint brush so that you can reach all the crevices of your kitchen cabinets. Use even and steady strokes to cover the surface with paint. Allow the paint to dry up; a few hours to overnight should be enough.

The second layer of paint should be a mixture of your first coat of paint and some water. For example, if your first coat is 1 cup of paint, add about 1/4 cup of water to it. Mix thoroughly and repeat the same process as before. Using a brush, apply the paint with even strokes and let it dry for a few hours.

The final layer of paint should be diluted with 50-50 paint to water ratio. Apply the diluted final layer to your kitchen cabinets for that perfect whitewashed look. This coat should be the thinnest and should be applied carefully. Allow it to dry up and ensure that all surfaces are fully covered with paint before proceeding to the next step.

Finishing Touches

After the paint dries, reattach any cabinet doors, drawers and handles. Next, apply a topcoat, such as a sealant or wax. This will protect your kitchen cabinets from stains and scratches, ensuring that your cabinets look as good as new for longer. Apply the sealant or wax with a paintbrush and allow it to dry for a few hours. After it dries, inspect your kitchen cabinets for any parts that may need additional touch up, and go in with your brush to complete the task.

In conclusion, whitewashing cabinets is a great way to upgrade your kitchen’s aesthetic appeal, and with this step-by-step guide, you can DIY without paying a professional. Remember to prep the surface, choose the right paint, paint your cabinets with several coats, and finish up with a topcoat. With these steps, you can achieve that perfect whitewashed look that will leave your kitchen looking clean and elegant.

Whitewash Kitchen Cabinets: Tips for Maintaining the Finish and Avoiding Common Mistakes

Whitewash kitchen cabinets can enhance the look of any kitchen, imparting a rustic yet modern feel to your home. The unique appearance of this type of cabinet finish comes from the wood grain showing through the whitewash, adding depth and visual interest to your kitchen. If you’re considering this type of finish for your cabinets, there are a few things you should know to keep them looking great.

Tips for Maintaining the Finish

1. Clean Regularly – One of the most important things you can do to maintain the finish on your whitewash kitchen cabinets is to clean them regularly. By keeping them free from dirt and grime, you’ll help preserve the finish and extend the life of your cabinets. Use a soft cloth and a gentle cleaning solution to wipe down the cabinets, avoiding harsh chemicals or anything abrasive.

2. Protect Against Scratches – Another important way to maintain the finish on your whitewash kitchen cabinets is to protect them from scratches. Be sure to use soft cloths and gentle detergents when cleaning, and avoid using abrasive sponges or any other tools that could scratch the surface. If you do accidentally scratch the finish, you can use a touch-up kit to repair the damage.

3. Keep the Cabinets Dry – Whitewash kitchen cabinets are made from natural materials and can be damaged by exposure to water. Be sure to wipe up any spills as soon as possible, and avoid spraying water directly on the cabinets when cleaning. If you’re concerned about water damage, consider installing a waterproof sealant on the cabinets to provide additional protection.

4. Avoid Direct Sunlight – Direct sunlight can cause the finish on your whitewash kitchen cabinets to fade over time. Try to position your cabinets away from windows and other sources of direct sunlight, or install blinds or curtains to block out the rays.

Avoiding Common Mistakes

1. Skipping the Test Patch – Before applying any finish to your kitchen cabinets, it’s always a good idea to do a test patch on a small, inconspicuous area first. This will help you ensure that the finish will adhere properly and give you the look you want.

2. Overlooking the Prep Work – Proper preparation is key to achieving a great finish on your whitewash kitchen cabinets. Make sure that the cabinets are clean and dry before you begin, and consider sanding or stripping the existing finish to ensure that the new finish will adhere properly.

3. Using the Wrong Products – Using the wrong products can lead to a subpar finish or even damage to your cabinets. Make sure to carefully read the instructions on any products you’re using, and avoid using anything that isn’t recommended for use on wood surfaces.

4. Applying Too Many Coats – Applying too many coats of whitewash can make the finish look thick and muddy, and can even hide the wood grain you were trying to highlight. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and apply no more than the recommended number of coats.

5. Rushing the Drying Process – Rushing the drying process can lead to the finish not adhering properly or even cracking. Be sure to allow each coat of whitewash to dry completely before applying the next, and avoid using heat or fans to speed up the process.

In conclusion, by following these tips for maintaining the finish and avoiding common mistakes, you can enjoy the beauty of your whitewash kitchen cabinets for years to come. Remember, proper care and attention can make all the difference in preserving the natural look of the wood and keeping your cabinets looking great.