How to paint IKEA Faktum Kitchen Cabinets and save lots of money.

We have an IKEA Faktum kitchen which was installed when we first moved in to the house. It looked good then, but after 15 years and a handful of floods from a leaking roof it is looking a bit of a mess and needs replaced.

The kitchen is a bit dated

The kitchen is a bit dated

Roof has leaked a few times

Roof has leaked a few times

With so much work needing done across the whole house the expense of a completely new kitchen was not something we could justify at the moment so we decided to just update the doors and change the worktops. The only problem is, IKEA hvae stopped making the FAKTUM line of cabinets and have replaced them with a new range which all have different dimensions. This meant we had to either completely replace the cabinets to get the new doors to fit, or we would need to get custom doors made.

The cost of the custom doors was going to be considerable compared to how much the replacement doors would have cost from IKEA so we came up with another plan: painting the original doors to give them a fresh look. Below are the steps we took to do this:

  1. Before removing the doors label them with some masking tape so you know where they go, this is only really an issue if you have lots the same size that could get mixed up. As we had decided on new handles as the old ones were rather worn and also looking dated the holes were marked for where they would go. To make the job a bit easier we bought a drill template, although this one is from IKEA it is pretty universal as the new handles came from Amazon and it worked perfectly.

    Marking the holes

    Marking the holes

  2. Remove cabinet doors. You don’t have to unscrew the hinges to get them off as there are clips at the back of the hinge that allow the door to come off with part of the hinge and then they clip back on when you are done. This saves a lot of time as you don’t have to realign everything. (I wish I had known this before I unscrewed all the doors and then found out about the clips!)

    All the cabinet doors removed.

    All the cabinet doors removed.

  3. With the doors off the new holes were drilled for the handles.

    Drilling the holes

    Drilling the holes

  4. Sand down the doors. We used a detail sander with 120grit paper to do this. The detail sander was good as with the doors being ‘shaker style’ it made it easier to get in to all the corners. The doors just need a light sanding to give the paint a surface to adhere to. It would be possible to just use a sanding block, it would just take longer to do it manually.

    Sanding the doors

    Sanding the doors

  5. With the doors sanded apply the undercoat. After some research we decided on the Farrow and Ball range of paints their Estate Eggshell range is designed for going on cabinets so we used their matching woodwork undercoat for the cabinets. The undercoat is just the standard undercoat, nothing specific for cabinets, but the colour of the undercoat depends on the colour of the top coat so make sure to check.Two coats were applied. Initially the backs of the doors were painted so that they could then be put back on the cabinets and the remainder painted (Make sure you have a large area available to do the painting in as the cabinets take up a lot of space and need a long time to dry properly):
    Painting the backs

    Painting the backs

    Painting the fronts

    Painting the fronts

  6. After the process had been repeated for the second coat of undercoat the doors were taken off again and given a light sanding with 320grit paper to smooth off any rough brush marks. A test door was painted with a brush, roller and paint pad before we started to see what they looked like and we decided that the brush looked the best. Just make sure to apply thin coats of paint and the brush strokes won’t be too visible and any rough bits can be smoothed out with a light sanding.
  7. The top coat was applied in the same manner as the undercoat, backs first, allowed to dry and the put back on to do the fronts. Again a thin coat was applied, a light sanding was done and a second coat was then put on to finish them off:
    Top coat on the backs

    Top coat on the backs

    Inbetween coats

    Inbetween coats

  8. With the paint applied a final light sanding with 1800grit was applied only to doors that had rough edges or paint drips before we put the handles on and the job was complete:

    Job Done!

    Job Done!

The painted doors have made a huge difference to the kitchen, even though the new worktops and flooring aren’t fitted yet the kitchen looks like new. It is a massive change from the old tired looking doors and handles.

All told the job cost around £150. the paint was £100, and then the new handles along with the template were £50. When we were pricing up doors, if IKEA still made the FAKTUM range they would have been £25 a door and the custom replacements were in the £35-40 range. We made a huge saving as we needed around 20 new doors and 6 new drawers, between £500-700 depending on where we got the doors from.

The main thing about doing this job is taking the time to do it properly.  If possible try and do a test door if you have a spare door, if not paint the back of one so you can see how it will look when it is finished.

It took us a week of work to get it done, that was with painting the backs of cabinets in the morning and then waiting for them to dry enough to put back on so in the evening we could paint the fronts. Add in a day or two for sanding as well.

One thing to bear in mind is the doors take up a lot of area when they are off the cabinets and being painted, we could only manage about half of them in one go, so make sure you have an area you can dedicate to laying them out on that you don’t mind giving up for a few days.

It is very labour intensive, but for the result and the savings I would say it was well worth it. There are no big expensive power tools required and apart from drilling holes for the handles, if you need them, there isn’t really much that can go wrong, if the paint doesn’t look great sand it down and try again, or try a different colour.

I would say it is a job for people with any DIY skill level, you just need patience.