Bathroom cabinet transformation

A few weeks ago, I shared the details surrounding my (almost) finished thrifty master bathroom makeover. Today I am happy to report that I am done with the room for real (i.e. I finished the “almost” part).

Every once in a while – OK, a lot – I find myself entrenched in a DIY project that seemingly drags on forever. Have you ever noticed that the longer a project takes to finish, the less motivation you have to complete it?

So the master bathroom has been one of those projects. But, hallelujah! I’m finally done with the last part, the bathroom cabinet transformation.

Here is what the cabinets looked like before:


And if you want to go way back … the before before of the bathroom:


So my goal was to paint the cabinets in a creamy white to help give the whole room a light and airy, coastal feel.

Painting over finished cabinetry requires some good preparation and products, so for this project, I used the Rust-Oleum® Cabinet Transformations™Light Kit. I started with the Pure White color but it turned out a little too bright for the room. I have fixtures and accessories in varying shades of cream and the cabinets needed to blend well with them. I tried adding the glaze, but that made them look vintage, whereas I was going for more of a “new, off-the-showroom-floor” look. So I ended up using the Linen color (without the glaze) instead, which turned out perfectly.

I started the project by removing all the cabinet hardware, drawers and drawer fronts before I went to work.

Step 1: Clean and degloss the surface of the cabinetry.

DeglosserThis step is very important as it thoroughly preps the wood to accept the bond coat.

I applied the deglosser using a heavy-duty scrub pad provided in the kit; wiped the surfaces down with a damp cloth; and dried them with a dry, lint-free cloth. Then I let everything dry for at least an hour before I started painting.

Step 2: Apply bond coat.

I painted the cabinet frame first. Since I was brush-painting everything (I still don’t have a sprayer yet), patience was especially key. I applied a total of three, thin coats of the bonding paint to avoid drips and paint overload. This photo was taken after the first coat:


If you’re brush-painting cabinetry, it is crucial to follow a particular pattern with your brush strokes in order to get a professional-looking finish. The instructions in the Rust-Oleum® product pamphlet explain this in more detail.

For example, with regard to the cabinet frame, I used horizontal brush strokes for the rails, and vertical brush strokes for the stiles and frame sides.


I used the same method for the cabinet doors.


Rust-Oleum® recommends painting the cabinet frames first, then the cabinet doors and drawers, beginning with the backs of the doors. It is also recommended that you use a prop to elevate the doors off the worktable. Or you could position the door you’re painting so that it hangs off the edge of your table and rotate each side as you paint. Just sayin’. 😉


Step 3: Apply protective topcoat, rehang doors and add hardware.

After applying three coats of paint and a protective topcoat – and letting everything dry really well, I was ready to add new hardware and call the cabinets done. Here’s what they look like now:




I’m really happy with the finish and the new hardware. It looks like we have new cabinets now!


What do you think of the transformation?

Special thanks to Rust-Oleum® for providing, at my request, the products needed to complete this project. 

You may also like...

37 Responses

  1. cassie says:

    so pretty! love the new hardware- it makes a huge difference!

  2. Debbie says:

    The new look is amazing, updated, and fresh! I appreciate all your pictures, the steps, products while doing your redo… thank you!

  3. Runt says:

    Wow! They look fantastic! I’ve been thinking about using this process for our kitchen cabinets, but I’m scared… lol

  4. Dawn Rene says:

    *Sigh* …so calm and relaxing. What a beautiful job you’ve done.

  5. Kala says:

    It really does look great and professional! No sign of brush strokes from what I can see! 🙂

    …and I have this issue with anything I think will be a quick project and only take a day or two automatically takes me like 3 weeks. Blah!

  6. ISABEL says:

    Wow! Great job

  7. Fabulous job! I’m loving the white cabinet trend!

  8. Pat Rodowsky says:

    Beautiful! You did a wonderful job…..well worth the time invested.

  9. Peggy says:

    Wow! And love all the jewelry, faucets and pulls!

  10. Dorth says:

    I noticed that you framed your mirror, too. Looks great.

  11. Gaylene says:


  12. teresa says:

    Just beautiful. I especially like how you considered the colour and undertones of the vanity top and flooring. It looks like you picked it all out to go together from the get-go. Bravo!

  13. Sharon says:

    Absolutely superb! So i think i just read that you got the cabinet pulls and knobs at Lowes – correct? Did you also get your Rust-Oleum product there? And am I also reading correctly it comes in the color linen? I live in Canada, but have quick access across the border so will look for the product there. So amazed at the finished product you achieved. I echo my thanks for posting such great pictures and process!

    • Susan says:

      Sharon, I got the pulls and knobs at Lowe’s. The products came to me directly from Rust-Oleum. Yes, I used the Linen color. It may be helpful to make a quick call to your home improvement store to see if they carry that color. Thanks so much for the feedback and best of luck with your project!

  14. Kristen says:

    Absolutely gorgeous!!!

  15. Marie says:

    Beautiful I just went today and picked up the kit in linen, I have the same vanity and mirror starting the project this week, I love what you did with the mirror did you buy a frame kit, and what color did you go with? Love the faucets too. Where did you purchase them? Thank you for posting your pictures.

  16. i love the mirror it’s exactly what I want can you tell me how you or where you got it? Great job looks amazing!

  17. Pam says:

    Hi! Your cabinets look wonderful!! I’m trying to decide between pure white and linen for my kitchen cabinets. Was it a huge hassle to change from the pure white to linen once you noticed that you needed to make the switch? Did you have to purchase a new kit?


    • Susan says:

      I did have to use a different kit for the project when I decided to go with Linen. 🙁 Honestly, the Linen is so close to white it is really the best choice, in my opinion. It is just a smidge softer than the pure white. I felt like the Pure White was so bright it almost looked a little institutional, if that makes sense. I absolutely love the Linen color and would use it again in a heartbeat. Hope that helps!

  18. Brigette says:


    What is the difference between using rust-oleum and regular paint?

    • Susan says:

      Painting over old, finished cabinetry is tricky because you need to create a super durable finish that will go over old polyurethane, varnish or semi-gloss paint and still withstand heavy use. You can certainly pick your own really good deglosser, primer and paint and purchase those separately. Rust-Oleum’s Cabinet Transformation kit comes with all those products in one package and provides an ultra durable finish that is hard to replicate, in my opinion.

  19. Anna says:

    Can you share the pros of using this product instead of using regular primer and paint? And were there more fumes than when using regular paint?

    • Susan says:

      The pros are the durability and the fact that all the products you need are included in one package. To make sure the product works as it should, be sure to do a thorough job of scrubbing your furniture down with the deglosser included in the package. No harsh fumes at all. I think you could probably get similar results from a good primer and paint, but I also get nervous painting over cabinets that have a glossy finish. I would probably still use a deglosser first or sand the piece to rough it up so the paint will adhere well.

  20. Mary says:

    Hi there, checking in on the cabinets now in 2016. How is the paint holding up around the knobs. Any chipping? I love the linen color. Very pretty.

    • Susan says:

      Holding up perfectly! No chips or scratches. If you do this project, make sure you properly prep the cabinets by scrubbing them down with a de-glosser first. It makes all the difference in the durability.

  21. Emeline Evrard says:

    Are the cabinets knobs chrome or brushed nickel?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *