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I want to share a major tip with you about painting knotty alder cabinets. It’s something I didn’t share earlier when I first showed you my painted kitchen cabinets in my kitchen (which you can see here).
Gold Kitchen Lighting Jennifer Allwood
In our new home we have knotty alder cabinets in both our kitchen and our master bathroom.

how to update knotty alder cabinets - Jennifer Allwood

Basically Knotty Alder has splits, divots and and knots all over in the wood, which looks realllllly beautiful when it’s stained. But when they were painted…. I just don’t love it.
We hired Proline Cabinets in Holt to spray our cabinets and they did an amazing job and exactly what I asked them to do. I didn’t think the knotty look would bother me…. but I was wrong. lol.
Look here… 
See all the cracks and knots? They look like “oops” to me. Or spiders. Or wrinkles.
Again, the paint job is perfect. I just wished I had the knots are filled in.
how to update knotty alder cabinets - Jennifer Allwood
But, it was time consuming and costly to fix AFTER the painting was done, so we just left it. It’s in the master bathroom which is being remodeled next year anyway!
Lesson learned!
how to update knotty alder cabinets - Jennifer Allwood
We were smarter with the kitchen cabinets and had the painters fill all the holes and knots and imperfections! I wanted it to look perfect in the kitchen!


how to update knotty alder cabinets - Jennifer Allwood


The cabinet painters filled all of the holes and knots and cracks with a RED wood filler so that they could see where they had been filled. Then they sanded the heck out of it so it was nice and smooth. 

Next they primed the cabinets and did the filling and sanding again. Then painted it and a final fill for areas that had settled .. which required sand and paint again.  Yes it is time consuming and DID cost us more, but it sure beats wrinkly, cracked cabinets!! These cabinets are drying and waiting their second round of paint.

how to update knotty alder cabinets - Jennifer Allwood

Totally looks like a crime scene! lol.  But worth it…

Just look at these before and afters … The red spots show where the holes were. 

Once the holes have been filled and sanded, the knotty alder cabinets look perfectly painted!

So glad that we went the extra mile in the kitchen and had all of the knotty alder smoothed out for paint!

If you’ve been following our kitchen remodel,  you saw that we did something totally different in this house and painted our cabinets two different colors –> Alabaster and Smoky Blue, which are both colors on my fave list, which you can get FREE here.

If you’re having fun following along our new home remodel, find me on Instagram for some real time fun — @JenniferAllwood



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A simple way on how to Update Knotty Alder Cabinets by Jennifer Allwood _ Kitchen Cabinet Makeover _ Painted Cabinets Before & After _ How to Smooth out Wood Cabinets #kitchenmakeover



  • Kerri says:

    I am wondering with all the labor involved for the knotty alder cabinets, if the cost would’ve been the same to get new ones?

  • The cabinets are stunning!!!!

  • Michelle says:

    Your kitchen looks amazing! Makes me want to paint my knotty alder cabinets! Would you mind sharing where you found the gold pulls and barstools? You have great taste!

  • Angela says:

    Any updates on how the paint is holding up on the cabinets? We are looking at buying a house with the exact same cabinets and color. Too rustic for me! Wondering if we could paint them like you did. Or if you wish you had just replaced them?? Thanks!

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