You might remember me talking about wanting to paint our media cabinets dark grey last week.  They are currently Sherwin Williams Divine White (flat) and Jamestown Blue (Sherwin Williams??) on the back wall.

And I want to paint them dark grey like this:

I actually don’t WANT to paint them myself, so I called the painter who painted my office for $100 (well worth it in my opinion) to get a quote.  I’m not sure what I expected, but it sure wasn’t $750!  He said he would paint it with his spray gun and the cost is really in the care he has to take in covering everything else in the house so it doesn’t get sprayed with paint.  
I politely declined. 
My question is:  Is this something I can tackle myself?  I painted the back wall, but that was easy, no drawers and doors, etc.  I really admire all you DIYers out there that wouldn’t even hesitate to paint this yourself, but I’m very hesitant because I want it to look good, especially because it’s such a focal point in the room.
Would you paint it yourself? 
What do you think is a reasonable price to pay to hire someone?

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  1. May 9, 2013 / 2:43 am

    I say go for it. I am cheap, so I wouldn't pay anyone to paint. Take your time between coats, use really good quality paint and it will last. I wouldn't use a flat paint though. I think it is hard to clean and scuffs up easier. My favorite is semi-gloss.

    Good luck!

    {PS} I think it looks fabulous in white. Maybe instead you just want to paint the insides gray {where the blue color is}. That would take a lot less time!

    • May 9, 2013 / 3:27 am

      Maybe I'll start with that- thanks for the tips!

  2. May 9, 2013 / 2:49 am

    Hi Megan, I wanted to paint my kitchen island grey. It is currently black, and my contractor told me that it would cost me between $800 and $1000 to get it done right. He said not to attempt it myself, even though I have done many other painting projects…so I too opted out but wanted to share my experience with you because I thought it sounded crazy but it must be a lot harder than we think:)

    • May 9, 2013 / 3:28 am

      Thank you for your input! I had no idea what is a reasonable price for the job.

  3. May 9, 2013 / 2:51 am

    I have no idea about how much it should cost-but I would definitely pay someone for this project! Maybe it's worth it to invest in one of those paint sprayers and DIY? Maybe ask him how much it would cost if he doesn't have to do the actual covering of everything…that's frustrating…

    • May 9, 2013 / 3:28 am

      I was thinking that- maybe if we cover everything ourselves??

  4. May 9, 2013 / 3:16 am

    I would do it my self but, only because I've been painting furniture for so long and I've gone and made all the mistakes I could; finding what doesn't work. If you feel comfortable and confident I'd say go for it! 🙂 That piece is quite the beast in my opinion. It's large and if he's using a compression sprayer then yes most of it is in all that taping, the price he gave you wasn't terrible. I've seen higher just for a dresser.
    If you do it by hand make sure to prime properly, lightly sand and wipe away all the debre from sanding even detailed with q-tips.. and use multiple roller sizes maybe small med, and large. with a slanted brush for those angled edges.

    I think the hardest part about this job is keeping the little ones far from it. Long enough for the primer and paint to dry and cure. Maybe consider tacking it over a weekend no kids are around? Thats what I would do because it's stationary.

    You can do it! your great at all this stuff! Good luck!!

    • May 9, 2013 / 3:29 am

      Oh my gosh-that sounds like so much work, especially for someone who isn't really that fond of painting! Can you come over- I'll keep the kids away!

  5. May 9, 2013 / 3:18 am

    I know you are a little worried but you can easily paint this piece of furniture. Get Valspar bonding primer and Valspar signature paint, a good brush and you are on your way!!! Keep us posted! Dianntha

  6. May 9, 2013 / 3:19 am

    Its a big job but def wouldnt pay $750! I think since its white already you at least dont have to worry about undercoating and if you can get your hands on Chalk paint, you would only need 1 coat. Reckon you would get it done in a weekend.

  7. May 9, 2013 / 4:27 am

    I wouldn't do it myself. I'd not want to mess it up and have it look homemade or anything. I wouldn't mind with other projects but with something so large and expensive I wouldn't touch it myself! But, that's just me!

  8. May 9, 2013 / 4:48 am

    I don't think I could do it. I've painted odds and end furniture, but something that big – it would drive me nuts if there were brush/roller marks etc. I was just reading about an additive (can't think of it now) that you put in the paint to eliminate the strokes. Maybe get another painters bid? But for sure the best way is to have it sprayed (and probably not with latex) and all of the time is in the prep.

  9. THE Princess Bombshell*
    May 9, 2013 / 4:58 am

    Get more estimates and quotes. 🙂 He's got competition out there somewhere.

  10. May 9, 2013 / 11:16 am

    You can totally do it! Get some Benjamin Moore Cabinet Paint. It is self-leveling, so the finish is really smooth and pretty. Roll it on with a small roller and use a brush to get the hard to reach places. I'm a designer and I've used it for clients a number of times with great results. After watching my painter apply it I did my own kitchen cabinets and they look great! I'm convinced the pros try and scare the DIYers out of doing their own painting for job security! 😉

    • May 12, 2013 / 1:26 am

      I've never heard of that – thanks for sharing!

  11. May 9, 2013 / 12:05 pm

    Don't do it. My husband (who is handy) painted all our interior doors gray (SW Urbane Bronze) and they look amazing but just the trim on the doors was tricky…can you imaging doing the trim etc. on that?? Look for a groupon for a painter or ask a local mommy group.

    • May 12, 2013 / 1:27 am

      That's a color I was considering too:)

  12. May 9, 2013 / 12:29 pm

    I think that is a reasonable price for this piece of furniture. My husband paints and he is very detailed. You can probably find someone to do it cheaper, but you usually get what you pay for. A room is much different than this, and most of what you pay for is the prep work.

    Maybe you could paint the back grey yourself (like someone else mentioned) and then decide if you want to continue with the rest…

  13. May 9, 2013 / 12:42 pm

    Wow! Ask him what he would charge to paint it with a brush/roller. That way he wouldn't have to cover as much. I'm not much of a painter but my husband is a perfectionist and I don't have to pay him 🙂

  14. May 9, 2013 / 1:00 pm

    We are in Houston – don't know if location matters- but we paid that exact amount for our built in to be primed, sanded, and painted. I had just spend $1500 to have it built out and did not want to mess it up. That said, I have painted the back of my bookshelves myself. It does not look as smooth and awesome as the job they did, so I leave that to the pro's, but think that is a good option for you. Start painting the backyourself and see if you like it, then if you do, pay the pros.

  15. May 9, 2013 / 1:06 pm

    I would ask him how much it would cost to do it by hand. We do a combination of DIY and hiring people. It depends on how busy we are and the size of the project. I have picked up some great tips on painting woodwork from our painters and can paint like a pro. At least I think so. 😉 My favorite paint for woodwork is Sherwin Williams oil based enamel. Zinnser makes an oil based primer that bonds to anything without sanding. It sounds crazy, but you really don't have to sand. We have our downstairs wainscoting sprayed on and our upstairs was done by hand. I can tell a very minor difference. The oil based enamel is such good paint that it levels itself out. Good luck!

  16. May 9, 2013 / 1:21 pm

    That's a tough one! Since it's such a focal point in your home, I would hire out! I think it's really tough to make sure it's done right (sanding, priming, painting around hardware, etc.). It would be terrible if you put all that hard work into it and it started to chip. Maybe offer him $500 and say you'll help move furniture, cover furniture, etc?!

  17. May 9, 2013 / 1:24 pm

    I paint a lot, but I wouldn't tackle such a large piece of furniture on my own. Painting furniture is very tricky and you can ruin your furniture.

  18. May 9, 2013 / 2:10 pm

    I would get another quote. I had ALL of my kitchen cabinets (a good size kitchen) painted for $900…and they had to cover EVERYTHING and sprayed. They did an amazing job too (sanding in between each coat). But, I also think you could do it yourself…it's just a pain in the butt!

  19. May 9, 2013 / 2:43 pm

    I have been following your blog for a little while now and after seeing some other projects you have done, I definitely think so! Just do your research and save some money! My recommendation is to make sure you take a power sander to it REALLY well! Any time I didn't take the time to sand my sand down furniture, I always regret it! Good luck!

  20. May 9, 2013 / 2:47 pm

    Take off all of your hardware and paint that baby yourself! Hubs and I painted our small built in cabinet downstairs ourselves (RH Slate) and it wasn't too bad. Prep will be 90% of the work. Take off the doors Tape below the unit by the floors, etc. The inside was a pain but you can always leave that white.

    Let me know if you need help!


  21. May 9, 2013 / 2:50 pm

    I would do it myself too rather than pay somebody. I agree with Trina, leave it white and repaint the back. White is classic and timeless and it is such a nice piece of furniture.

    Good luck. I love your home.

  22. May 9, 2013 / 2:54 pm

    That is a decent price for painting cabinetry. These projects really need to be sprayed to avoid brush stroke marks.

  23. May 9, 2013 / 3:16 pm

    I would highly recommend to have it painted professionally just for the fact that it is such a focal point in the room. Generally when using a sprayer, the results are of much better quality with no brush strokes, drips, or uneven coats.

    I would ask around, and see if you can get some more quotes. We had all our our kitchen cabinets professionally sprayed (our kitchen is very similar to yours in size/cabinetry) and for everything to be sprayed it was $650, plus paint, and it was worth every penny.

    Hope this helps! 🙂

  24. May 9, 2013 / 3:22 pm

    I am not a do it your-selfer. at all. and as someone said, it is such a huge beast 🙂 and focal point in the room. if you know you are going to keep it that way for years to come, I say it is worth the investment. everyone will see it and imperfections will make it look cheap, when it is really so beautiful!

  25. May 9, 2013 / 3:38 pm

    I wouldn't be fond of anyone spraying paint in my house, unless it was during the construction phase. While the paint may appear to only be going on the built-ins, particles are going into the air, into your air ducts, etc. I painted ours myself. Went from white to a dark chocolate color and then distressed it a bit. (I also did our fireplace mantle, island and all of our bathroom cabinets) I first sanded everything just to get the sheen off, primed with Gripper primer-tinted a couple of shades lighter than the finish coat using a really good brush and a roller for the shelves. Then applied two coats of the final color, lightly sanding in-between. It is NOT hard, but VERY time consuming. Especially with our humidity…you really need to let the paint dry and cure in-between coats. Also, I am not sure I would paint the backs grey as well…it is dark, and your accessories might not stand out as much unless you go with lighter/brighter items. $750 seems a bit steep, especially since they are spraying. By hand, maybe???

  26. May 9, 2013 / 3:53 pm

    Hi Megan!
    I have loved and admired this piece of furniture since the day I came across your blog! I would leave it as is and change only the blue color to grey. I think it would look absolutely beautiful that way. Also remember your walls are grey already. Good luck!

  27. May 9, 2013 / 4:04 pm

    $750 sounds like a lot, but it's a beautiful piece of furniture and the focal point in your room so it needs to look great. I do think spraying is definitely the way to go. Get a few more quotes maybe? Or check with your local hardware store about renting a sprayer? Maybe you'll even meet someone in the paint department who would do the job on the side? Most of the guys I've worked with in the paint dept are former painters. Or maybe they'd have a recommendation? Just a thought…. Good luck!


  28. May 9, 2013 / 4:24 pm

    Hi Megan! Although I am sure you would do a fantastic job yourself…I would go with hiring out the paint job. The reason is because it can be extremely difficult to get a smooth finish with the enamel. Also, considering the quality of the finishes that you have throughout the rest of your home, I think you would be disappointed if you were not able to achieve a consistent finish on your focal point built-in. I have a super painter who does a beautiful job and charges $25 and hour. I would think he could finish the job in less than 30 hours…but my guess is that you will end up around $500 for the job. But hey, in my opinion, a fabulous paint job is worth its weight in gold! Message me if you want his details.

    • May 12, 2013 / 1:30 am

      Thanks Jennifer, will do- I have another paining project in mind too!

  29. May 9, 2013 / 4:51 pm

    I agree with Trina Miner, instead of painting the whole cabinet start with the inside walls that are blue. You just might like it more!

  30. Abby M. Interiors
    May 9, 2013 / 1:56 pm

    I'm going to go against the crowd here, and say that it's totally worth hiring out for this one. This is a huge piece, and to me, what you're paying for is the *right* way to have it done to keep it from scratching and wearing. Otherwise, I'd paint the whole thing myself and have the painter spray the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

    I recommend Krylon's enamel high gloss paint. It gives a very hard finish! But you need to wait at least 24 hours between each coat. Good luck! Abby M.

  31. May 9, 2013 / 7:27 pm

    That sounds high but it will a lot harder to do it well than to paint a wall. I got an estimate from a kitchen rehab company on repainting our kitchen cabinets – which is similar work – and it was going to be $75 per linear foot for top and bottom. So if your cabinet is 5' wide then it would be $375. Just sharing as a reference point.

  32. Amanda
    May 9, 2013 / 3:17 pm

    Hi Megan- actually $750 is about right for a professional that does it right. Ive had clients hire someone who charged much less and the job turned out "much less" -its one of those you get what you paid for. If you have the patience and a steady hand I say paint it yourself. I myself am not a patient or clean painter so I know Id screw it up. You could also rent a professional sprayer from Lowes and remove the doors & drawers and spray those outside-that way you;ll get a more professional finish and then hand paint the rest (make sure you add flotrol to the paint to minimize the brush strokes)

  33. {Hi Sugarplum!}
    May 9, 2013 / 3:18 pm

    I wouldn't WANT to paint them either (pain in the patootie), but I wouldn't pay $750, either!! If it were closer to $200, I'd write that check! maybe get him to requote without spraying…just using a brush/roller.

    If that still doesn't work…try painting just the backs first, and see if that's the impact you want. If it's the full cabinet, just get high quality paint, and use a combo of foam roller and brush. If you can wait until August…I'll help you 🙂

    • May 12, 2013 / 1:30 am

      Ok, come help!!

  34. May 9, 2013 / 8:41 pm

    you could diy…but it is an insane amount of work… it won't look as smooth as the pic… I would save a bit and hire

  35. May 9, 2013 / 8:53 pm

    I am not a DIYer or "crafty" in any way, but I painted my kitchen cupboards black with the help of two girlfriends. The husband helped out a little with the sanding, but we girls did most of it. The kitchen looks wonderful and I'm glad I didn't pay someone else to do it.
    Heather from Friendship, Life and Style

  36. Sixty-Fifth Avenue
    May 9, 2013 / 4:00 pm

    750 sounds high to me too. Maybe you can tape and plastic everything yourself and see how much he would charge to spray it. A paint sprayer would give you a perfect finish.

    If you tackle it yourself, just remember to get a good Purdy brush and do very thin coats and take your time. Good luck!!

  37. Mary Ann at classic•casual•home
    May 9, 2013 / 4:11 pm

    This is such a pretty room…but you have great taste so I'm sure whatever you do would be great. I would get a couple more bids to have it professionally done…I can paint chests in the kids rooms…but the family room piece would intimidate me.

  38. Sandy A
    May 9, 2013 / 4:14 pm

    For $750 I would paint myself. Read up on some blogs who have painted, buy some really good paint and brushes and rollers–and go to it!! Taking your time I think always results in best final finish of project. Yes–you can do it!!

  39. Traci
    May 9, 2013 / 4:54 pm

    I painted all of my kitchen cabinets. It wasn't the easiest job but it wasn't what I would call difficult either. If you painted the back without a problem you can certainly do the job!

  40. May 9, 2013 / 10:21 pm

    Hi. I live in the Houston area and I need a good painter for my room. Can you send me the info for this painter? Thanks!

  41. May 9, 2013 / 10:46 pm

    I would NEVER DIY something like this. I think your painter is giving you a really great deal. My brother is a contractor in the Houston area so I know the prices for stuff like this and that is a great price!

  42. May 10, 2013 / 12:38 am

    i think you can absolutely do this job yourself! i just went and bought a sprayer last weekend and i'm about to spray all of my kitchen cabinets over the summer. i'd definitely try this before putting out that kinda money! good luck.

  43. May 10, 2013 / 12:41 am

    i think you can absolutely do this job yourself. i just bought a sprayer last weekend and i'm going to spray ALL of my kitchen cabinets this summer. i'd definitely try it yourself before putting out that kinda money. good luck!!

  44. May 10, 2013 / 1:37 am

    Girl the next think you need to do is get a few estimates. I always get about 3. With that said, I think more like $500 is definitely reasonable for the built-in(but remember you get what you pay for), and after hiring out my kitchen cabinets, there's no way I would attempt your piece myself! The professionals who do this daily and know their paint sprayer just get the perfect finish. Even if you are a good to great DIY'er, I don't think you will achieve the look a professional painter can get. There is a huge difference in using a sprayer vs. using a brush and roller and I'd definitely have it sprayed. Just my 5 cents! 🙂

  45. Jenny @ Simcoe Street
    May 10, 2013 / 12:39 am

    I'd hire out but I'd shop around for quotes. Since you have a relationship with your painter, I'd be upfront and say it wasn't what you had expected or budgeted, and given that you work together in the past and you'd like to keep working with him, is there a better rate available, e.g. if you are really flexible on when he does it (so he can squeeze you in between other jobs) or something like that. Obviously I mean for you to ask really nicely, but it never hurts to try to (gently) negotiate because you have a budget, while still making clear that you realize his skill is valuable.

    Anyway, DIYing could totally be great, but for the sake of time and because it would suck to have a big focal piece like this not turn out (I'd start by practicing on smaller pieces of furniture to figure out what works and what doesn't and hone your skills) I think this is a good one to splurge on.

    Jenny xo

  46. May 10, 2013 / 6:45 am

    My hub is a professional contractor/painter. This is a great price. If you want it to look professional, do not DIY. If you don't mind imperfections and are patient, you can attempt it. Keep in mind, you can sometimes negotiate bids, they are not always in stone. Also, winter is a great time to hire out painters for interior jobs because there may be more wiggle room in their bids, as winter is a slow time and they may need the work. Spring/Summer brings nice weather and that is their busy time, you are likely to pay a bit more, only because they are scheduled out and simply don't have the room to negotiate. Good luck! 🙂

  47. May 10, 2013 / 8:03 pm

    Hey Megan, I vote for hiring out on this one. We are big DIYers, but we hired out for our kitchen cabinets and I'm so glad we did. They sprayed ours and the finish looks beautiful. It took them about 7 hours to tape off everything with plastic and paper, but once that was done, the actual painting process was quick. We did it in the Fall and the weather was nice, so we opened up our home during the process. I think the price isn't bad, because the spraying process is different from brushing/rolling, but might be a good idea to get another quote. I posted about our whole process here:

    Wishing you a Happy Mother's Day!

    • May 12, 2013 / 1:32 am

      Thanks, I'll take a look!

  48. May 10, 2013 / 9:01 pm

    I would ask him (or others if you get comparable bids) what he would charge if you did the prep work yourself–Bower Power blog uses their own sprayer to paint and she's posted about how to prep the room for spraying. If that's the bulk of the cost, you could take care of that yourself with a bit of time, but as someone who enjoys painting and refinishing furniture, you'll never get it quite as perfect as a pro.

  49. May 10, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    I say go for it! But I'm a die-hard DIY'er if there's a way I can "do it myself"



  50. May 11, 2013 / 1:09 am

    I would get a couple more bids. If you are anything like me, you might start the job yourself and then find yourself crying with frustration halfway through the project!

  51. May 11, 2013 / 1:03 pm

    YOu can totally paint that yourself! I would never in a million years hire someone, but that is just me. I can paint with the best of em. Ha! I painted my kitchen cabinets and and they look awesome! My next door neighbor is a painter. I should ask him what he thinks is a good price for that. If I run into him soon I will ask and let you know!

    • May 12, 2013 / 1:31 am

      Thank you Nicki!

  52. May 11, 2013 / 8:21 pm

    You most definitely CAN DO THIS YOURSELF! Personally I am a fan of a good old fashioned paint brush….LOVE the brush strokes showing. Choose semi-gloss paint and be patient and take your time. That's ALOT of money..,just think of all the things you can do with $750?????

  53. May 11, 2013 / 10:00 pm

    We had ours done and it was $1100 in the midwest

    • May 12, 2013 / 1:31 am

      Good to know!

    • May 13, 2013 / 6:00 am

      I would pay to have it done. Look at it as an investment in a piece of furniture you will love. I love DIY, but I've painted furniture before & it is a process & not easy. It's not worth the risk. Whenever I've done it I have moved the piece into the garage, doing it in your home is going to be difficult.

  54. May 12, 2013 / 9:43 pm

    I've been reading your blog and others for years and this week I am painting my kitchen cabinets. So So hard!! And I was prepared and informed. Brush strokes – yuck! Foam roller working better, but still, so many things come up you don't think of. It's not easy. Especially with a little one, breakfast, lunch, laundry, school, sports. I have to do it and can't afford to hire someone, but it's not easy and it will look good enough for me, but I would have loved to hire someone to spray!!

  55. May 16, 2013 / 11:00 pm

    $750 sounds outrageous to me. I get there is time to be taken to protect everything else but at that price I would do it myself. My husband and I have been painting the entire interior of our house right now so this looks easy peasey. Take the hardware off and make Frog Tape your best from, turn on some good tunes and have fun. Go slow if need be. Shouldn't be too hard since its all one color. And protect the floor even if that requires taping down a drop cloth.

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