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How to Paint a Bathroom Cabinet with Milk Paint

We’re sharing how to paint a bathroom cabinet with General Finishes Milk Paint today.

As always, a big thank you to the One Room Challenge and media partner Better Homes and Gardens for hosting this bi-annual event.

If you’re new to the One Room Challenge, each week for the next 8 weeks, guest participants and featured designers will work to makeover their spaces from top to bottom.

You can check out our latest projects in these posts:

To Paint Or Not To Paint…

When you live with someone that can’t bear to paint over “good wood,” it’s hard sometimes!

Especially when you know-that you know-that you know the cabinets you have in mind would look SO much better if they were painted.

Over the years, I’ve had to bide my time working on other rooms in the house, staying respectful of opinions that don’t align with mine, and above all remaining grateful to live in this little island cottage that brings so much joy.

So, imagine my pure elation when I was finally given the green light to paint the bathroom cabinet in General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow White.

It was like Christmas came early!

Here’s a look at how to paint a bathroom cabinet with milk paint…

How to Paint a Bathroom Cabinet with General Finishes Milk Paint Supplies:

  • General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow White
  • General Finishes High Performance Top Coat
  • Zinsser 123 Water Based All Surfaces Primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Foam Cabinet Roller
  • Paint Tray
  • TSP
  • Lint-free Cloth
  • Medium Bristle Brush (to wipe away sanding debris)
  • Sandpaper (we used both 120-grit and 320-grit)
  • Kraft Paper or Dropcloth (to protect worksurfaces)
  • Blue Painters Tape
  • Screwdriver
  • Self Locking Container (to keep hardware together)

How to Paint a Bathroom Cabinet with General Finishes Milk Paint Steps:

Prep the Night Before You Paint…

Gather your supplies and begin prepping the night before you plan to paint.

This includes laying down a dropcloth or thick brown kraft paper to help protect the floor and other worksurfaces. Secure in place with blue painter’s tape.

You’ll also want to place painter’s tape on any surrounding surface paint might come in contact with. For example, the bathroom counters, the inside of the bathroom cabinet, and the cabinet molding.

Next, using caution and care as the screwdriver will be sharp, remove all the hardware on the cabinet doors (and drawers if you have them).

Use a container with a locking lid to keep all of your hardware together.

Remove the contents of the bathroom cabinets. Make sure the cabinets are clean and free from dirt and debris.

Sanding Your Bathroom Cabinet…

Lightly sand the bathroom cabinets (these are maple) with 120-grit sandpaper.

Using a medium bristle brush, remove any sanding dust, dirt, or debris.

Cleaning the Bathroom Cabinet…

Clean and wipe down the bathroom cabinet with TSP.

TSP is concentrated so you’ll need to make sure you add the appropriate amount of water based on the amount of TSP you’re using.

The instructions for this step can be found on the back of the TSP bottle.

Priming the Bathroom Cabinet…

Since this cabinet is used multiple times a day all day, we primed the bathroom cabinet with Zinsser 123 Water Based All Surface Primer before painting with General Finishes Milk Paint.

We used a paintbrush for the raised portion of the cabinet and a foam roller for the flat portions of the cabinet.

As mentioned above, this cabinet is maple so we used two coats of primer and allowed plenty of drying time between each coat.

Painting the Bathroom Cabinet in General Finishes Milk Paint…

After the primer dried overnight, we painted the bathroom cabinet with General Finishes Milk Paint in Snow White.

Truthfully, I don’t have a lot of experience with milk paint but this stuff is awesome! I’ve always been a chalk paint girl but this paint was so simple to use I’m already looking for something else to try it on.

While I was careful to shake and stir the milk paint well, the consistency of the paint is smooth to use straight out of the can. And the paint glides off the brush easily too!

Sanding Between Coats of Milk Paint…

Once the milk paint had completely dried, we lightly sanded using 320-grit sandpaper between each coat.

Two coats of paint probably would have been ok. We had a few spots we had to touch up though so I would say this entire bathroom cabinet took about 2 ¾ coats of General Finishes Milk Paint.

The milk paint dried with a bit of a sheen and not at all like the matte finish of chalk paint which we didn’t mind a bit.  I would say this finish is closer to a satin finish as opposed to a flat or eggshell finish.

General Finishes High Performace Top Coat…

To seal, General Finishes has an easy-to-apply top coat called High-Performance Top Coat. It is a durable polyurethane great for bathroom cabinets and kitchen cabinets too.

You’ll want to make sure you’ve allowed the paint on the cabinet to dry completely before applying the top coat, at least 48 hours or longer.

Cabinet Hardware…

I decided to keep the original cabinet hardware.

Right now, all the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms have the exact same hardware. They’re all still in good shape too.

On a side note, if you have several doors or drawers you’ll want to make sure you keep them well labeled during the painting process, trust me.

How to Paint a Bathroom Cabinet: Before and After…

Here’s another look at the cabinet before…

and after…

It’s such a simple change but I swear it makes the entire bathroom look bigger now!

There are still plenty of things to work on in this space but we’re making great progress so far! Be sure to check out all the other creative spaces happening for the One Room Challenge! 

Until next time, I’ll see you on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.

Many blessings,


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  1. Gorgeous, Coco! What a pretty and clean white. I have loved every General Finishes product I have tried, but haven’t yet given the milk paint a go! You’ve inspired me, now to talk the engineer in to painting our bathroom cabinets! 😉 If you’ve got any secrets for that part, let me know…

    1. ha ha did you read the part about waiting 7 years Kimm! It’s so hard when you’re trying to be respectful yet want to shout “just get on board already” from the rooftops. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you girl. Hugs, CoCo

  2. Beautiful! So crisp and airy! Blessings…

    1. I appreciate you, Betty, thank you so much! Hugs, CoCo

  3. How did we miss this post?! Wow – this is an amazing transformation! Love the color you chose and definitely digging how light and bright the space is now. Great job!

    1. Thanks so much ladies, I appreciate it! Hugs, CoCo

  4. Love the new look, CoCo! I think I have those exact cabinets in our bathroom and after seeing this I want to paint them :).

    1. Oh my gosh, Amy, we have these same cabinets in our kitchen and I want to paint them so bad now. I had no idea they would look this good. I bet your cabinets are going to look great too. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you and you keep your fingers crossed for me! Hugs, CoCo

    1. Thank you so much, Karen, I really appreciate it. It’s been fun to put this space together these last few weeks and I feel like things are finally coming together. Hope your day is a fun one, CoCo

  5. Oh this is such a great makeover!!!! I am so glad to read this as I have never used the General Finishes brand of Milk Paint. I think I need to give it a try. I’m sure it was a great idea to prime first especially being in the bathroom. Thanks for sharing your cabinet makeover!!!

    1. Thanks so much, Maria! Using this milk paint definitely took a lot longer than using chalk paint but I think the finish will ultimately last longer. Before you paint a cabinet this size, I would paint something smaller like a piece of furniture just to get used to the paint. The coverage is good but you know how the tannins in wood can sometimes be tricky. Especially, when it comes to painting. Can’t wait to see what you think. Hugs, CoCo

  6. I’ve considered painting cabinets so many times, but the process always seemed so daunting. Not anymore! Your easy step by step photo instructions make the task seem so doable. Thank you so much for doing such a fabulous job explaining the process!!

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