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Painting a Bathroom Cabinet DIY | Step by Step Tutorial

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Last Updated on May 14, 2024 by lindseymahoney

The existing vanity in our kid’s bathroom had seen better days and was in dire need of a makeover! A fresh coat of paint is the quickest way to update a bathroom vanity cabinet on a budget. If you have a wood vanity that is in good shape this bathroom vanity makeover is a great option for you! Today I am taking you through the step by step process for painting your bathroom cabinet to tackle this easy DIY project on your own.

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

Let’s get started!

Table of Contents


How to Paint a Bathroom Vanity Cabinet | DIY

Here is what the original bathroom vanity looked like in our kids’ bathroom before the makeover.

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

DIY Materials Needed for Painting the Bathroom Cabinets

  • Primer: I prefer Sherwin-Williams Extreme Bond Primer
  • Durable Latex Paint: Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel Paint by Sherwin Williams
  • Paint brush
  • Foam roller
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth
  • New hardware (optional)
  • Wood putty – needed if you are changing the location of the old hardware
  • Sanding sponge or paper
  • Paint tray

1 | Remove Doors and Drawers from Cabinet Frame

First, remove the cabinet doors and drawers from the bathroom vanity frame and move them to an area where you can set up a painting station.

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

Use a screwdriver to remove the hinges and label them so you know the exact door and location to install after painting. If the hinges are mixed up, your doors may not attach to the wood frame properly and they can look crooked.

Protect the floors by using painter’s tape and laying down a drop cloth before beginning this paint job.

2 | Sand All Cabinet Surfaces That You Will Be Painting

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

This step is especially important if the original cabinet surface has oil-based paint. Use fine grit sandpaper to create a surface that primer paint can adhere to. Using a damp cloth, wipe down the vanity surfaces to ensure a smooth finish without dust and debris.

If you are changing the cabinet hardware that requires new holes, now is the time to fill the old holes with wood filler and drill the new holes into the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

3 | Apply Primer Paint

Next up is paint!

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

You will use a paint brush and foam roller to apply primer paint to the vanity frame and doors and drawers at your paint station. I used a paint brush for this entire project, but a foam paint roller is a great option for painting the flat surfaces of the vanity.

If you don’t like the look of brush strokes, a paint sprayer may be your preferred method of application. This is not the tutorial to using this tool, however.

I applied one coat of primer, let it dry for a few hours, and then painted a second coat of primer. Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer is what I primarily use for painted surfaces on furniture. It is a water-based paint that doesn’t have the same strong smell as oil-based primers and paint.

4 | Apply the Final Paint Finish

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

Apply the first coat of paint using your preferred application method.

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

I used an angled paintbrush to paint most of the vanity surface and used a small craft brush for the hard to reach areas.

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

I applied a second coat of paint and could still see the white primer in a few areas because the paint color I chose was so bold. A third coat of paint was needed for complete coverage of the vanity.

The cabinet doors took longer to paint because I had to give each side enough time to dry before flipping it over and painting the other side. Let the paint cure for at least 24-24 hours. It will take a few weeks for the paint to fully cure to the vanity surface.

What is the best paint for a bathroom vanity?

There are many types of paint to choose from at your local hardware store, but I highly recommend choosing a type of paint with a more durable finish. Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Enamel paint is great for high-traffic areas and furniture with heavy use. 

Another type of paint that I really like to use on furniture is Rust-Oleum’s Cabinet Transformations kit. The kit includes deglosser so you don’t have to sand the surfaces, bonding paint and then a clear protective top coat. The one downside of this paint kit is that it is limited in paint color options.

When in doubt, chat with your local paint store representative to choose the best high-quality paint for your project. This will get you the best results.

How much paint do I need when painting cabinets?

For our bathroom renovation, I purchased a single quart of paint. It was more than enough for three coats of paint and plenty left over.

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

For our kids’ bathroom makeover, I wanted the new look of the vanity to feel young and fresh. I chose a saturated green paint color called Arugula by Sherwin Williams. The paint is in a satin finish which is the perfect choice for the kids’ vanity!

When it comes to painting furniture, I prefer a lower luster paint sheen that is still easy to clean. High-gloss paint could be really cool if applied properly, but I didn’t have that kind of patience for this project.

5 | Re-install Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

When the paint has dried, re-install the cabinet doors and drawers to the vanity frame using a screwdriver. Attach the new cabinet hardware to complete the look of your bathroom vanity! 

Easy DIY | Painting Bathroom Cabinets Yourself - Step by step tutorial

I chose to install wooden knobs and paint them the same green paint color as the rest of the vanity. This gives a more relaxed look that fits perfectly with the cottagecore vibe.


Painting your bathroom vanity will make a huge difference in the overall look and feel of your bathroom. I hope this DIY has inspired you and encouraged you to tackle your own bathroom cabinet painting project!

If you have any questions about this paint project, please ask them in the comments below and I will respond the best I can!

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