How to Decorate Melamine Kitchen Cabinets

Choosing to paint over melamine cabinets--rather than replace them with expensive new ones--is an easy way to freshen up the look of your kitchen. Melamine is just as paint-able, if not more, than standard plywood cupboards. It is an organic compound that is mixed with chemicals (mainly formaldehyde) to create a resin. Being that it is not a solid wood, you must get products geared toward it. Get the right supplies to do the job and, as in any interior design project, you have won half the battle of creating a sense of style in the space.

Pick a paint colour that fits in with the rest of the space. If you already have a specific theme in mind, go with a hue that matches it. Another way to go is to get a contrasting or complementary shade to the rest of the decor. For example, with all white appliances and black counter tops, the cupboards could be done in either colour to blend in with their surroundings. Choose paint that is specifically geared toward the material. Look for a urethane oil-based paint geared toward multiple surfaces, such as laminates, plastic and glass. The product information should include whether it's appropriate to use on melamine.

Wash the cabinets thoroughly and dry completely. Apply a primer first and allow it to dry. Next, sand lightly and apply the paint. Use brushes and rollers that the manufacturer recommends.

Decide on any other surface embellishments. Choose a few stencil patterns to paint on the the front to incorporate more of a theme. Tack on small trim pieces in a pattern, painted to contrast or blend in, to add depth and architectural interest. When you are satisfied with the general look of the cupboards, finish them off with hardware. One of the easiest ways to transform the heart of your home is by investing in quality hardware that sets off the rest of the scheme. The smallest details can ruin the best-laid plans.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Primer
  • Painting supplies (brushes, tape, small roller, pan)
  • Sandpaper
  • Bucket
  • Soft sponge or clean rag
  • Mild detergent
  • Stencils (optional)
  • Small trim pieces (optional)
  • Hardware
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About the Author

Rosallee Scott has been a freelance writer since 1998. Currently, her career is focused on creating informational articles for Web content. Though Scott's articles cover a variety of topics, her concentration is predominately on garden-related issues, decorating and interior design.