Step #1: Apply the first coat of paint
Before you can refinish the bathroom cabinets, you need to remove all the doors and sand them down to make sure all traces of the previous sheen are gone. Sanding off any varnish ensures that the paint will adhere better to the wood. Ideally, you want to use a sponge sanding block with two different grits; medium on one side and fine on the other. The medium grit is used first, and the finer grit adds the final smooth finish. Be sure to wipe or vacuum away any sanding residue, to make sure it does not get stuck under the paint.
As soon as all varnish is removed and the surface feels smooth to touch, you can apply the first coat of paint. Use painter’s tape to protect any surfaces that you do not want color on. There is no need to use primer, but you can if you like. Paint both the interior and exterior surfaces of the bathroom cabinet. Paint the exterior doors first, and then you can prop the cabinet against a pedestal to allow it to dry. Replace them back in the cabinet and paint the interior.
Step #2: Apply a second coat of paint
Re-sand all the surfaces again to remove and bumps that may appear from painting. Use the fine grit side of the sanding sponge. You can then apply a second coat of paint, ideally a semi-gloss latex paint in the color of your choice. Be sure to do the exterior and interior surfaces. Often once the paint dries, the fresh new look of the bathroom cabinets draws your eye to the old hardware. This now looks out of place against the sleek new finish. Flat paints hide uneven surfaces better, so if you are using a high gloss paint, you may want to spend a little extra time sanding. The gloss is infamous for pointing out every small bump.
Step #3: Install new hardware
Make sure that the new handle pulls you get require the same holes as the original ones. If you end up with hardware lacking two holes for attachment but only have one hole, then you will need to start drilling. This can be tricky because you need to make sure to line the second hole up precisely. If you put a hole in the wrong place, you have to patch it up, re-sand and re-paint. So take your time and get the hole placement right the first time around.