A gorgeous kitchen after using the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit

SpongeBobsMom’s kitchen cabinets after repainting


Here’s a demonstration of how much good, useful information, inspiration and moral support you’ll find on The Home Depot’s Community Forums. A fairly basic question about kitchen cabinet refinishing. The reader wanted to know the easiest way to repaint some old kitchen cabinets, and it resulted in a very active topic on the Forums, and some striking before-and-after photos of a beautiful kitchen re-do.

It started when Community member Jenhangan asked for advice on his plans to remodel a vintage kitchen:

The kitchen in the house I bought hasn’t been remodeled since the house was built in the 1900s!!! We can’t afford to gut it and redo it right now, so I’m looking to freshen up the cabinets. There is some wear and tear on the cabinets so I would like to make them darker. I want the frames black and the cabinets doors/drawer a cherry or walnut color with a textured look.

I have no idea where to start. I am on a budget, and I am doing this on my own. Do I need to sand the old paint off? (Please, please, please say no.)

Forums associate ChristineClaret assured Jenhangan he probably doesn’t need to sand the old paint off, as long as the old paint isn’t chipping, peeling or flaking off. Then came the recommendation that might save Jenhangan a lot of time and trouble: Consider using a Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit:

This would be a great alternative to painting your cabinets and drawers. Since you are wanting to have two different colors, painting the frames black would be most ideal and then you can use this kit for the door and drawers.

The kit includes everything that you need to cover 100 square feet. There is a deglosser included, so no need to prime the cabinets or drawers if you use this kit. I have heard many positive things about this kit and the durability of it is pretty awesome. There is also a glaze included in the kit that may give the texture you are looking for.

That’s when Community member SpongeBobsMom chimed in with her experience using a Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformation Kit. And she got a big response when she posted some photos to show off the results in her kitchen after painting them Rust-Oleum’s Espresso color from the “Dark Color” kit:

It is time consuming (took me 5 weekends, but I ONLY worked on them on the weekends… if you can do some at night during the week, it will speed the process up because a lot of the time is waiting time), but the instructions are easy to follow and it doesn’t take a lot of hard physical work. …

I [did have a problem with] the glaze looking streaky. A Home Depot Forums associate here told me to use a foam brush instead of a bristle brush, and it worked wonderfully! In fact, I used a foam brush on the final top coating step too, as I had seen on here that many people had problems with bubbles…. the foam brush didn’t cause any bubbles.

Take a look at her kitchen. The final results are at the top of this page. And though the “before” kitchen is certainly attractive, there’s no denying the “after” kitchen is a showcase.


Kitchen before cabinets were repainted

SpongeBobsMom’s kitchen before the cabinets were repainted


We’re so happy SpongeBobsMom posted the before and after photos of her kitchen re-do. You can see them in our I Did This section of the Forums, where Home Depot customers show off their DIY projects.

We LOVE to see photos of your home improvement projects. If you’re about to start a project, take a few shots, and then shoot some more once you’re done. Then post them on the Forums, and share your experiences and product recommendations.

There’s a very helpful list of frequently asked questions about Cabinet Transformations on the Rust-Oleum website. Take a look at that for more information. And, of course, don’t hesitate to ask a Home Depot associate for advice or recommendations on using this product.

This video shows you more about Cabinet Transformations and how to use the product.


Want more advice from our experts? Join the conversation. Visit the Forums for DIY tips and tricks from our store associates. From the Forums Friday is our weekly column highlighting expert advice and the best of The Home Depot’s Community Forums. 


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  1. Tonia says:

    Just curious about going from the 1980′s Honey Oak cabinet with Black appliances – What color do you suggest to go with ? We also have a white gas stove… The counter tops are travertine with black granite accents on back wall. Any advise would be helpful. Thank you

  2. Jenn says:

    I did our master vanities about 2 years ago as a “test” to see how well it worked and how well it would last. Our vanities look as beautiful today as they did the day I did them. I did the espresso over oak. I loved it so much I just finished doing my laundry room in the linen, it’s so crisp and clean… LOVE IT! Next week I’m doing my boys’ bathroom vanity. This is such a great way to change-up things, without dumping perfectly good cabinets into our landfills. It’s a win-win!!

    • Craig Allen says:

      We’re glad it worked out so well for you. We hear so many customers say the love this product. Thanks for sharing your story, Jenn.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  3. Andrea says:

    We used the cabinet transformation kit in expresso to update one of our rental properties and were delighted with the results. It did take four full days of work for two of us, but the cost and updated look were worth it. Added some new hardware and paint and the kitchen looked new. We found renters in three days and they attributed their love for the place due to the “modern kitchen “.

  4. Connie Haworth says:

    PS – we also did the old kitchen table with the left overs – EQUALLY as beautiful, one of the few products I WOULD TOTALLY RECOMMEND, we are do it your-selfer’s and our hands on experience has taught us a lot !

  5. Connie Haworth says:

    WE did this – we did a lighter finish, biscotti … was concerned that all the work would not lead to AWESOME result – OH MY I am so please with my cabinets – would do this again and again – go RUSTOLEUM !

  6. Gale Peterson says:

    Just used this product on my master bathroom vanity to “try it out”. Putting in new tile flooring, etc. and wanted to upgrade the vanity. Love the results and it was very easy. Chose the Toasted Almond color. All ready to do the vanity in the main bathroom and eventually the kitchen cabinets. Drying time between steps was important.
    In answer to an earlier question, I read that it can be used a new wood, but it must be sealed or primed first.

  7. Marja McGinnis says:

    I have wanted to do this for a long time. Results look fantastic, however before doing this I would like some feed back about the longevity of this product. Chipping or flaking? Cabinets are fine now, just wanted to go from dark to light, but not if it doesn’t last. Thanks

    • Sandra White says:

      I used the Rust o leum cabinet refinishing kit to refinish some dressers in my sewing room 3 years ago. Not only was it easy, but it looks great and has not chipped, peeled or faded one bit. It is time consuming, but that’s because each step in the process requires thorough drying time before you begin the next step. I used a darker color with the glaze and it is beautiful! !

  8. Marja McGinnis says:

    I have been wanting to do this to my kitchen cabinets for a couple of years now. I love the results, but I am wondering how long this will last? There really isn’t anything wrong with them now, I just want a color change. If it’s going to start chipping or flaking, then I will leave them alone. Any feed back on the longevity of this product?

  9. Terry Knight says:

    I used the Rust-olem kit to re-do my cabinets with the white. They look awesome except the top-coating turned somewhat yellowish when applied on the white paint. I highly recommend this product.

  10. Tonia Breen says:

    This product is genius! I’ve been wanting to repaint my cabinets for a long time, but the thought of sanding and/or stripping them was very unappealing. I’m wondering though, could you also use it on a metal front door? And what if there are some chips in the current paint, is there a spackle like product for that? Thanks! :-)

    • Craig Allen says:

      Rust-Oleum says this will work with metal cabinets, as well as wood, laminate and melamine.

      You will want to fill in any scratches or gouges with plastic wood putty, also fill in the holes of old cabinet pulls if you’re changing to new ones. You could do the same for chips in the current paint. But you’ve indicated you’ll be using Cabinet Transformations on metal cabinets. In that case, you might want to very lightly sand the edges of the area of chipped paint so that it won’t be noticeable after applying the new finish.

      I urge you to discuss this with a Home Depot store associate, though. He or she can get a better idea of your situation, and might (will most likely!) have better advice than I can give you here. Take some photos of the chipped area to show them.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  11. Chrissy says:

    Can you use this on the old ugly 80 ‘ laminate with oak trim cabinets? Can you use the Wagner spray gun with the Rust-Oleum?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Yes, you can use this on old ugly 80s laminate with oak trim cabinets. No, you can’t use a spray gun. This product must be brushed on.

      Take a look at the video at the bottom of the article to see how it works.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  12. Hi, i have done this, I had white 70s cabinets & went dark. They look great ! I also did the countertops.

  13. Dorothy K Addington says:

    Love this idea and I’m in but first do I need to replace my counter tops before or after I redo the cabinets??

    • Craig Allen says:

      Dorothy, that’s kind of up to you. I guess it depends on if you think you’re more likely to scratch the cabinets while you change the countertop, or spill paint on the countertop while you renew the finish of the cabinets.

      As part of the process of applying Cabinet Transformations (see the video I just added to the article above), you’re supposed to tape a drop cloth down over the counter top– a pretty easy precaution against spills. So I’m thinking I’d be more worried about accidentally scuffing the cabinetry as I replaced the counter tops, and that means change the counter tops first.

      While you’re thinking of new counter tops… take a look at Counter Transformations– a similar product that’s meant to renew the look of your countertops without replacing them.

      So many options!

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

    • stephanie fulton says:

      Cabinets First. Then Counters.

      Or Remove Counter Finish Cabinets, Add New

  14. Gail Spratley says:

    Love the transformation shown in this article! I also have old cabinets (1973). They are solid wood and good quality, but worn. They are stained a dark walnut color. I want to change them to a light color, white or a ‘white-washed’ or ‘pickled-white’ look. Is it possible with this kit to go from darker to lighter? Also, inside shelving is also solid wood and the same dark color.

    Thank you!

    • Craig Allen says:

      Gail, you should be able to go from darker to lighter with Cabinet Transformations.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  15. Shirley says:

    I too want to refinish cabinets to spruce them up..wanted to make them cherry..is that an option. The color tight now is like a dark walnut and has a glossy type finish..will this product work on that?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Shirley, if you want a cherry wood color, I’m thinking you’ll probably want the Rust-Oleum Transformations in “Cabernet”. That should offer you the color shades I think you’re looking for. And there should be no reason it would not work on your dark walnut cabinets.

      But compare the different color versions of the product when you’re in the aisle in Home Depot, and talk to an associate, too, just to be sure you’re getting what you need.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  16. Melissa B says:

    I also used this kit on my kitchen and my sister’s. It’s awesome! Very easy and not so time consuming. Doesn’t take long to dry. Just make sure you use the top coat evenly to protect the cupboards! Would use this again in a heartbeat.

  17. Lisa says:

    I would love to do this to my lower cabinets in the expresso, however the my upper cabinets I would like in an off white. Would this product cover over that color orangy type cabinets? The color of my cabinets is the same as the picture with this discussion. Thank you.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Lisa, I’m guessing the “Light Color” version of Cabinet Transformations is what you’d use for your off-white upper cabinets.

      I don’t think there would be any problem covering the previous color of your cabinets.

      As I’m urging others here, though, take a look at the different color options when you’re in the aisle at a Home Depot store, and talk to an associate there who can get a little more information about what you’re planning. He or she can make sure you’re getting what you need.

      But, as I say, I think Cabinet Transformation will work great for what you’re doing.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  18. trish says:

    What about the sides of the cabinet? I have the tall pantry cabinet that has a glossy Formica feel on each side plus two other cabinet ends. Can that be painted?

    • Craig Allen says:

      trish, I think Cabinet Transformations would do just fine on the glossy Formica-like part of your cabinets.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

    • Connie Haworth says:

      We cheated, we didn’t have “oak or same wood” on our ends, we painted them the same color as the walls or our kitchen and only refinished the cabinets with the Rustolem kit (which turned out wonderful) but all this looked great, even though we didn’t finish the end like the cab’s – it looked great

  19. Leslie says:

    I live in a mobile home and my cabinets are particle board with a a paper finish on top can I use this on those?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Leslie, to be honest, I’m not sure about using Cabinet Transformations on cabinets with the kind of finish you describe.

      But a trip to the paint department at your local Home Depot store would get you an answer. An associate there can talk to you about your cabinets, and maybe even walk you over to the vanities section to find an example of exactly what you’re trying to refinish. Then he or she could either give you the thumbs-up for Cabinet Transformations, or recommend a better way to go for what you’re trying to do.

      I can say, though, that you certainly do have some options for upgrading the look of your cabinets. I’m just not ready to say that this product is the right one. (Though, it might be!)

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  20. Neysa says:

    I simply need to add drawer pulls to my cabinets
    as mine look the way these original cabinets
    did before the restoration. How difficult is it
    to install the hardware if the cabinets didn’t
    originally come with them?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Adding or changing drawer pulls is one of the easiest and cost effective ways to upgrade the look of your kitchen or bathroom.

      If you have cabinets with no existing drawer pulls, it’s just a matter of drilling holes for them. Really the only trick is making sure the holes are in the right spot on each drawer or cabinet door. For that all you really need is a so-called “drilling template”. The Home Depot sells a number of these.

      Click here to see some online so you’ll get an idea of what I’m talking about. And when you’re in the Home Depot store, don’t hesitate to ask an associate to help you pick one out for the job you’re doing. He or she will also be happy to talk you through the process of adding hardware to your cabinets. It’s pretty easy.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  21. Bailee'sMom says:

    I have white cabinets. I would prefer a darker color, like cherry. Does this work on white and can I get a wood looking finish?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Cabinet Transformation is a really good option for you. It comes in several shades of the different color options. Coverage of your existing white cabinets shouldn’t be a problem.

      You say you want a “wood looking finish”… I don’t think it will create a faux wood grain, if that’s what you mean. But if the existing cabinet is wood, with a wood grain, etc., it will certainly have a beautiful wood finish.

      However, as I’ve recommended elsewhere on this page, take a look at the different color options when you’re in the aisle at Home Depot, and talk to an associate about the look you’re going for. He or she can make sure you’re getting exactly what you need.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  22. Julie says:

    Does this only work on solid wood cabinets?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Julie, your cabinets don’t have to be solid wood for Cabinet Transformations to work. But there are cabinets with a molded paper-like veneer… and I’m not sure it would work for that kind.

      An associate at The Home Depot could help you figure that out. He or she could even walk you over to the vanities department to find an example of the kind of cabinet veneer you’re talking about. Then the associate could recommend a good option for you… which might indeed be Cabinet Transformations.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  23. Michelle says:

    I’ve also been considering this product to update my kitchen but also wondering if it’s possible to use this on unfinished wood cabinets?

  24. Karen says:

    What did she do to update the counter top?

  25. Nick says:

    You can also use the Glidden Trum, Door and Furniture paint that is exclusive to Home Depot. It is a one coat self priming paint that usually covers in one coat(no one advertises a one coat paint due to many variables) regardless of the color change. So it would be a one step project. I have used it many many jobs, love it.

  26. Trudy says:

    What Color is on the after photo of kitchen cabinets?

  27. Doug Morby says:

    I am a painting contractor in the metro phoenix area. I love Home Depot. I buy Glidden paint. I buy thousands of dollars of products each year.
    Lately we have been refinishing cabinets because of the low price compared to replacement. Honey or golden colored oak cabinets have become pretty much out of style. Our customers love the transformation of their kitchens and baths with cabinet refinishing. We have helpful tips for all fell free to call or check out our site…http://www.armadillobros.com

  28. SharonC Sugar Land says:

    Do you have to do the inside of the cabinets? I realize you would do both sides of the cabinet doors put I’m curious about the shelves?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Good question, SharonC.

      I posted your question on our How-To Community Forums to get an answer from our experts. Click —> here <— to see it. (You might have to scroll down the page a little.)

      Thanks for the question!

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

    • DD says:

      I used the same exact kit and color and love it! I did not do the insides, they are a light, pine color inside. I like the contrast. It is up to you.

  29. Linda bartkoski says:

    I loved these cabinets! I am faced with a similar situation – old cabinets and small budget. I also need to replace the counter tops. I love the wood grain look…..I think i read that this is all in one kit? if that is the case, I am heading for my home depot this week end! thanks.

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi, Linda.

      Yes, those results all came from a single kit that has the paint, deglosser, top coat, scrub pad, and DVD instructions. The customer reviews are pretty much all raves, too.

      We’d love to hear about how your cabinet re-do turns out. Post some photos on our I Did This section of the Forums so we all can see!

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  30. [...] We’ve even seen some before and after photos a reader posted on the Forums showing off her spectacular kitchen re-do using the Cabinet Transformation [...]

  31. Teaerica says:

    what colors are the cabinets and walls

    • Craig Allen says:

      Teaerica, I asked about the colors on the How-To Community Forums, where “SpongeBobsMom” posted her kitchen re-do photos. We’ll see if she can answer. And we’ll get one of our paint experts to eyeball it and make a good guess if SpongeBobsMom doesn’t chime in.

      Craig, from The Home Depot

    • Craig Allen says:

      Hi again, Teaerica.

      PatinPaint, one of our Home Depot associates, has a pretty good guess at what color “SpongeBobsMom” used to repaint her cabinets. Here’s part of what he posted on our online Community Forums:

      “…her cabinets appear to be either Chocolate or Espresso, which would have been achieved using the Cabinet Transformations ‘Dark Color Kit’.

      “When referencing their Cabinet Transformations Kit, Rust-Oleum says, ‘The Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations 9-Piece Dark Color Kit is a 4-step application that will give your outdated cabinets a beautiful makeover. No stripping, sanding or priming is necessary. The dark tint base provides 24 color choices for a custom look…

      “A similar number of colors exists in their ‘Light Color Kit.’

      “Colors are displayed on the top of the product box.”

      Let us know if you have more questions. And I encourage you to take a gander at our How-To Community Forums, where you can browse the hundreds of questions on DIY projects, gardening, lawn care and more.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  32. jz says:

    i have been so curious about this product and wanted to see some actual work done. and this is so inspiring. i was blown away. i definitely will make the attempt. i have simiiar cabinets as seen in the before pictures. im anxious to see if my cabinets will have the same dramatic results

    • Craig Allen says:

      We’re so glad you found this post inspiring, jz. Good luck with your cabinet makeover. Send us some before and after photos!

      Thanks for commenting.

      • Joanna Corkran says:

        I am trying to decide between the chocolate and expresso and I am really interested in what color she used. Is there any way of finding this out?

        • Craig Allen says:

          Hi, Joanna.

          There’s been discussion here about exactly what shade that is in SpongeBobsMom’s beautiful kitchen re-do. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been active on our Forums in a while, so hasn’t been available to tell us exactly what color her cabinets are.

          Home Depot associate Pat Sandor (PatinPaint) is pretty sure it’s either… Chocolate or Espresso– exactly the two shades you’re choosing from. So, that doesn’t help much in nailing down which you should choose.

          However, the good news is that both those shades are achievable from the same kit: Rust-Oleum Transformations 9-Piece Dark Color Cabinet Kit. It promises 24 different color options, so you can get exactly the look you want. Check out the product page for the kit (linked in the previous sentence) to read customer comments about it. Most comments say it does take some work, but the results are well worth it.

          Good luck with the project. We’d love to see photos in our I Did This! section of the Forums, where customers show off their DIY projects.

          -Craig, from The Home Depot

          • SpongeBob's Mom says:

            I’m just now seeing all of this! So glad my work has inspired others. I used the Espresso color.

          • Craig Allen says:

            Hey, SpongeBob’s Mom! We’re so happy to hear from you!

            –Craig, from The Home Depot