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The Right Paint for Cabinets and Bookcases

Tips on selecting the right kind of paint for cabinets and bookshelves


painted cabinets

I recently made a really big mistake!

You might remember our large, dare I say 'ugly' living room that was all dark and cave-like with its wood paneling and dark wood bookcases.

Don't remember? Here's a little look back...

dark wood bookcase before painting

The faux wood was kinda orange-y-yellow and really made the room (already light-challenged because of the large, brick, double-sided fireplace) look rather bleak!

I was overwhelmed with the thought of painting all that wood myself...so I hired it out.

And here's where I made my big mistake.


I asked the painters to use latex paint...which was totally fine for the walls, but not the best choice for the bookcases.

You might be wondering WHY latex paint is a bad choice for bookcases.

And I am here to tell you exactly why...

...it leaves the surface tacky!

Sadly, I know this from first-hand experience!

After the painters were finished, I let everything cure for about 3 weeks before putting items back, but here's what happened.

marks left by the wrong paint

dark marks on painted surface

Everything left ugly black marks on the recently painted surfaces!

And when I picked something up, it didn't really want to move at first...it was stuck to the paint!

Urghhh...frustrating! Freshly (expensive!) painted bookcases that looked bad already!

Aside - I have lots of experience painting furniture with chalky paint, and even waxing and sealing. And never have I experienced this issue with items leaving marks on the paint! Chalk paint cures to a hard finish and doesn't leave a tacky surface.

So learn from my mistake and don't paint your cabinets with latex paint unless you plan to add a protective sealer! I was bummed and knew I needed to do something to fix this.

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. View my full advertising disclosure here.

The timing was perfect because I read about DecoArt Satin Enamels...a great choice for painting cabinets! You can read more about this paint here and why it's perfect for painting cabinets.

According to DecoArt,

This formula was specially designed for revitalizing old cabinets. It gives them a durable finish making it ideal for high-use kitchen areas.

I figured if it was good enough for the kitchen, it would be a good choice for bookcases as well!

The helpful folks at DecoArt sent me a few samples so I could try to match my painted bookshelves.

After experimenting with the pure white and warm white, I found a match! By mixing 4 (pure white) to 1 (warm white), I came up with a color that was almost a perfect match to the Valspar Bistro White of the bookcases.

DecoArt satin enamels

Here are the tools I used to fix my mistake.

SUPPLIES



supplies used

I started by removing everything from the surface of the bookcase.

It's a huge bookcase, so I had several large piles spread out around the room! I took a picture beforehand so that I could put everything back where it had been.

I also taped up my WiFi receiver so we didn't have to lose service while I was working. Frog tape is great because it's strong but won't pull the paint away when I remove it!

prepping

There was no need to paint the sides and back of the bookcase because nothing sits on them, just the flat surfaces.

I lightly sanded the surfaces smooth, removing any lumps and bumps. This also prepares the surface for new paint.

The damp rag wiped any sanding dust away and I was ready to paint.

I rolled on two coats of the satin enamel paint, using the brush to edge in and paint the corners. I won't bother showing you pictures of this step as white paint on a white surface won't show up well!

But the results speak for themselves!

After giving the paint 3 days to cure, I carefully, fingers-crossed, replaced items on the bookshelves.

painted bookshelves

And I'm happy to report that nothing is sticking to the surface!

painted paneling and bookshelves

And while I don't have a dramatic before/after to show you because the new white paint matches the old, I am very happy to have a functional bookcase again.

I love moving items around, and now there is no damage!

the right paint for bookshelves

adding light to dark spaces

paint that won't leave dark marks

Whew, crisis averted!

I definitely learned from my mistake and will be careful in the future when selecting paint for cabinets!

Feel free to Pin this image for future reference!
choosing the right paint for bookshelves and cabinets
Have you ever done something like this or had issues with tacky surfaces after painting?

It just proves the point that there is always something new to learn...even in an area that you may be quite familiar with!

You can read more about this dramatic room makeover and see pretty pictures here. You'll find the DIY farmhouse clock tutorial here and I'll be sharing a magnolia wreath tutorial very soon!

Thanks for following along!


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Disclosure: I am a member of the DecoArt Blogger Outreach program and received free product to use in this post. My opinion are my own!

7 comments:

  1. Awesome work. I believe that following your guidelines, I will be able to have the best paint for my home to use and have shiny home.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your room is so much brighter painted white. It's amazing what a difference painting made! While it was a bit of a bummer with the shelves at least it was a fairly easy fix and a lesson learned. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Pam, yes the lighter paint has made a HUGE difference in this room! The cave-like feeling is gone! Appreciate your commenting :)

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  3. Your room came out great! It's hard to believe it's the same one!

    Kate | The Organized Dream

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate, we are loving the lighter space!

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  4. So, this info would have been very helpful to me if I had seen it before I repainted my shelf! I am glad to know why latex isn't good for cabinets now, though. It explains why every diyer I know who has painted their own doors, cabinets, etc., ends up with doors that stick, paint that pulls off, and so on. I don't know when I'll get around to fixing my mistake since I only did it because I happened to have paint on hand, but I will definitely keep this in mind when my next painting project rolls around. Thanks for sharing all the details!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, you too?! So sorry!! It is such a bummer to spend all that time and money... only to have sticky results!

      Delete

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