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How To Paint a Bathroom Cabinet Or Vanity

Remodeling a bathroom can be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint to your cabinets or vanity. With the right paint, this cost effective paint project can be the makeover your bathroom needs. Get a new bathroom for less at The Paint Shed. Shop our wide range of bathroom friendly paint from Dulux Trade, Johnstone's Trade, Sandtex Trade and more.

Painting bathroom furniture is a quick and easy project that will have your bathroom looking good as new. It can be completed in just a few days but when done correctly can last for many years. Follow this quick and easy guide to paint your bathroom cabinets like a professional.




Paint tray

Painter roller

Paint brush 



Putty knife

Drop cloth 

Fine grit paper

Painters tape


To avoid spilling paint on floors, it’s wise to place a drop cloth or plastic sheeting around the work area. Apply painter's tape to any surface you want to protect, such as countertops where they join the cabinets.

Remove everything from the cabinets and drawers. Stick masking tape on the inside of each cabinet door and drawer and number each piece to identify which cabinet the door or drawer was removed from. Remember you’ll need to move it as you prime and paint each side of the door or drawer.

Use a screwdriver to remove the doors and hinges from the cabinets - you may also want to replace all of the hardware to give your cabinets a new look. If drawer fronts are difficult to remove, just leave them attached.


Wash the doors, drawers and cabinets with soap and water, then wipe them down with clean water. If you are painting the cabinet interiors ensure they are properly cleaned as well. For stubborn grease and grim you can use TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) or a less toxic substitute. Be sure to always wear gloves when handling or using TSP.

If there are any nicks and dents on the cabinet bases, doors and drawers use a putty knife and suitable filler to repair the damage. Apply and allow it to dry, then sand it smooth.

Lightly sand the outside of the cabinets with fine grit paper, as well as the doors and drawer fronts. This will aid the primer and paint will better adhere to the surface. Be extra thorough when sanding the trim and indentations around the door handles, you should aim to roughen all surfaces to create a solid base for your paint.

Wipe down the surfaces with a damp cloth to remove dust.


Apply primer to each door and drawer front using a sprayer, roller or brush. If you have one, a paint sprayer will better achieve a professional finish.They can be rented at hardware stores or purchased here. If you use a brush, paint with long, smooth strokes so the brushstrokes are less visible. Allow the primer to dry.

Turn the cabinet doors over and prime-coat the other sides. Go over the edges a second time and wait for the primer to dry. If you are painting varnished cabinets, an oil primer is recommended for the preliminary coat. Latex paint will adhere best over an oil based primer.


There is a lot to consider when picking a bathroom paint, just like bathroom walls, the cabinets and vanity unit need protection from moisture, humidity, staining and chipping. Bathrooms are busier than other parts of the home, so they need paint that is easily washable and mildew-resistant. 

There are two different types of paint suitable for this job – latex or oil-based paint. Oil-based paint has a robust finish which may be appropriate for high-traffic areas and is less likely to show brushstrokes than latex paint. However, oil-based paint takes a long time to dry, and paint brushes must be cleaned with chemical solvents. Latex paint dries much faster and can be cleaned-up with water. 

For a professional, cleanable finish opt for gloss, semi gloss, satin or eggshell (oil based) based paint. All are suitable when combined with the correct primer (consider manufacturers instructions when purchasing).

If you are using latex paint, use a synthetic paintbrush or sprayer. Oil-based paints should be applied using a natural-bristle brush or sprayer. Allow to dry completely before applying a second coat.

Remember that a few thin coats are better than one or two thick ones. This not only gives a better finish but makes for a more hard-wearing surface.

When the last coat is completely dry, reattach the old (or new) hardware and assemble draws, cabinets etc.

Bathroom paint at The Paint Shed 

Bathroom cabinets and vanities offer a unique opportunity to inject and little colour and life into a functional space. Browse our wide selection of colours to find your perfect shade. If none take your fancy, fear not, because we can mix one for you. Contact us today to take advantage of our fantastic colour matching service. With all the UK’s best paint brands on offer at The Paint Shed you are guaranteed a perfect finish. 

Have a question?

We're here to help. Get in touch by calling 033 3320 2369 or email [email protected] 

For a simple and professional guide to painting your bathroom walls click here. 

Read more tips and advice from the paint experts on our blog.