How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity
This post is sponsored by KILZ.
Last week, I showed you our new stenciled bathroom floors. Because of that project, our guest bathroom was already looking 10 times better and it motivated me to keep going with the improvements. Next up? Painting the bathroom vanity!
Our second floor was added in the late 90s, so this bathroom is at least 20 years old…and it shows. The wood vanity has seen better days and the wood, itself, was not in the best shape. But instead of replacing the entire vanity, I wanted to give it a facelift on a budget and that’s where primer and paint came into play.
This is actually the first time I’ve ever hand painted cabinets. Can you believe that? We sprayed our office built-ins, so I never got a chance to paint the wood with a roller and brush. It’s something I’ve always wanted to tackle and I was excited to learn how to paint a bathroom vanity for this project. I learned a lot along the way and have plenty of tips and tricks to share. Let’s dive right in.
- Painter’s Tape
- Palm Sander
- Sanding Block or Palm Sander
- Krud Kutter (or some kind of degreaser/cleaner)
- Paint Brush
- 4 inch Paint Roller and Tray (be sure to buy roller covers that are meant for cabinets)
- KILZ® Mold & Mildew Primer
- BEHR PREMIUM PLUS® Interior Paint and Primer (I used the color “Starless Night” in a Satin finish)
How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity
As with most painting projects, there’s a lot of prep work that you’ve gotta do before you get to the painting. We will be using this vanity every single day, so I wanted to make sure we ended up with a finish that lasts and lasts. So don’t skimp on the first few steps and rush right to the painting…take your time.
First, I removed the old hardware, the cabinets, and the drawers. I figured it would be easier to work on the cabinets and drawer fronts outside of the bathroom so I worked on those in our yard. There is much more room out there!
I always like to save all of my parts in a plastic baggie so I don’t lose any screws along the way.
I then got to work sanding down everything with our palm sander. I started with a medium grit (120) and went over every single surface. I then went over everything with a fine grit (220) until it felt soft and smooth. I also used a sanding sponge to tackle the crevices and smaller areas on the wood.
After sanding, it was time to clean the cabinets really, really well. I had some Krud Kutter leftover from my bathroom floor project, so I used that with a rag to clean the cabinets. I got into every crevice, making sure to get rid of any excess dust or grease. I then let everything dry for about 30 minutes before moving onto priming.
Use the Right Primer
Primer is essential for any good painting project and I chose KILZ Mold & Mildew primer for this. It’s a water-based primer, sealer, and stain blocker designed for humid environments. This bathroom sees a lot of action with Finn showering here and Rory taking her baths in here, so I knew I would need to use the right product for this moisture-filled space. By using this as a base on the vanity, it ensures that the paint won’t peel and I’ll have a finish that lasts…no matter how steamy this bathroom gets!
I first taped off the floor and walls to make sure I didn’t get any primer on those areas. Then, I used a brush to get the primer into all of the nooks and crannies and followed it up with a small roller to go over it for a smooth finish. One coat of the KILZ Mold & Mildew primer was all it took for even coverage.
The cabinets and drawers got the same treatment outside. Soup cans came in handy to prop the cabinets up so I could paint the sides.
The primer dried in an hour (so fast!) and I was ready to start painting. I used BEHR PREMIUM PLUS Paint in the color “Starless Night” in a satin finish. Be sure to buy roller covers that are meant for painting cabinets. They’re smoother and will leave a nice finish.
Don’t use too much paint. Instead, focus on light coats. You don’t want any gloppy areas where the paint gets thick and it’s hard to dry. It only took two light coats to get everything deep dark blue.
Add Your Hardware
I let the drawers and cabinet doors dry for two days before adding the hardware. I ended up using the same knobs that I have in Rory’s nursery. I always like having a few elements of the house look cohesive and this brings the two rooms together. I was antsy to get the drawers and doors on, so I put them on after those two days of drying. But you may want to wait even longer for the paint to really cure.
Okay, you ready to see the big before and after?
Before & After
I mean, can you even?! It’s crazy how different the room looks after these two quick projects. It only took me one day to paint the bathroom vanity and it was so worth the time and effort. That old wood is now gone and the new look is sleek, clean, and fresh!
I was worried about the finish, but it ended up turning out nice and smooth. And the color is absolute perfection! It’s the perfect blue, but it doesn’t feel too cold. Instead, it goes well with the warm greige floors.
With the floor and vanity done, I’m allllmost there! Next, I’m removing the mirror, replacing the light fixture, and swapping the shelves out. This means I’ll have lots of holes and drywall repair ahead of me. I figure I might as well prime and paint the walls so everything looks clean and even. I’m planning to use the same KILZ Mold & Mildew primer and then I’m going to paint the walls white (the color “Snowy Pine” by BEHR). Stay tuned for those updates in the coming week!
It’s hard to believe that just a few weeks ago my bathroom looked like this! I can’t wait to share a photo of me standing in my new guest bathroom.
Budget Bathroom Makeover Series
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.