How to Paint Your Bathroom Vanity Like a Pro

You don't need to be a pro to totally transform your bathroom vanity

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated June 30, 2022
Dark green bathroom vanity
Photo courtesy of Brittany Bailey/Pretty Handy Girl
Difficulty

Intermediate

Perfect for handy homeowners.

Time to complete

72 hours

Including drying time.

Cost

$50–$100

You’ll wonder why everyone doesn’t do this themselves.

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What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Screwdriver
  • Sponge
  • Drop cloth
  • Sandpaper
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Paint brush or roller
  • Painting tray
  • Facemask (optional)

SUPPLIES

  • Putty
  • Painter’s tape
  • Shellac- or oil-based primer

Bathroom vanities get a lot of use over the years, but it doesn’t take much to make them look as good as new. With a can of primer and paint and a bit of sandpaper, your cabinet doors and drawers can be restored to their original glory in just a couple of days. Learn how to paint your bathroom vanity in just a few steps.

  1. Prep Your Vanity

    Old brown vanity
    Brittany Bailey/Pretty Handy Girl

    There are a few steps worth taking before painting to ensure the final product looks the best it can. 

    Use a screwdriver to remove all the different parts of your vanity—cabinet doors, hinges, and knobs. Then, remove the drawers by hand and lay everything spaced apart on a drop cloth. Working on each individual piece will make it easier to reach all the nooks and crannies that might be difficult to get to otherwise. Keep smaller parts, like the hinges and knobs, in a sealed plastic bag to prevent anything from disappearing. Finally, label each door and cabinet so that you know where everything is supposed to go when it’s time to reassemble.

  2. Patch Holes

    Once you’ve removed all the parts, examine your bathroom cabinets for any holes or scratches. Use putty or another filler to patch them up. Then, let them dry before moving on to the next step. 

  3. Sand to Remove Old Gloss and Paint

    Sanding away the original layer of gloss and paint will make it easier for the new coats of primer and paint to stick and help them last longer. It’s not necessary to remove absolutely everything. Simply sanding until you achieve a rough surface will be more than enough to guarantee the new coat takes. When you’re done, use a sponge to collect dust that’s sticking to the surfaces of your vanity and a vacuum to suck up everything else around it.

  4. Prime Your Vanity

    Coating your bathroom vanity in a layer of primer will blot out blemishes and create a smooth surface to paint on. 

    If you’ve decided to paint only the front-facing parts of your bathroom vanity, line the inside with newspaper or plastic to keep it clean. Otherwise, feel free to paint the entire thing, but just be sure to sand accordingly.

    Some bathroom vanities are equipped with removable countertops. In this case, removing it before getting started is the best way to prevent unwanted smudges. If this isn’t an option for you, coating the counter’s outer edges in painter’s tape will keep it safe from splashes. From there, lay down a drop cloth and affix it to the floor with additional tape to maintain the rest of your bathroom while you work.

    Use a brush or roller to apply a layer of primer. Let it dry, then apply one more layer of primer. 

    After applying the primer, it’s best to wait overnight before beginning to paint to guarantee your cabinets have had enough time to dry. When they’re completely dry to the touch, lightly sand the surfaces one more time and remove the dust with a damp sponge. (The last thing you want is dust trapped beneath your new coat of paint!)

  5. Start Painting

    painting bathroom vanity
    Brittany Bailey/Pretty Handy Girl

    Once your cabinet doors are completely prepped and primed, you’re ready to start painting. 

    Oil, latex, and chalk-based are generally the best paint choices for bathroom vanities. Oil paint has a hard finish that protects against scratching and chipping, but it has a strong odor that can be difficult to work with. Latex paints are water based, which means they’re less smelly and much easier to clean. A lot of DIYers favor chalk paint because it doesn’t require a coat of primer, but it won’t last as long as other options.

    Paint two to three coats, letting the paint dry before beginning each new coat, and keep going until the surfaces are fully and evenly covered. You should need a max of three coats to accomplish this.

  6. Reassemble

    adding new cabinet hardware to bathroom vanity
    Brittany Bailey/Pretty Handy Girl

    After another night, your cabinets will be fully dried and ready to put back together. Remove any labels you might have used as well as plastic or newspaper lining and painter’s tape before reassembling. 

  7. Know When to Recruit the Help of a Pro

    If your cabinets are severely damaged or moldy from too much humidity, it might be necessary to replace them completely. In these situations, you’ll save a lot of time and energy by hiring a professional contractor in your area. The cost to install or replace a bathroom vanity ranges from $300 to $3,800 and is about $1,500 on average.

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Get quotes from top-rated pros.