How We Painted Our Cabinets Without Fuss

RV Painted Cabinets

When we bought our Winnie, she was full of old light oak cabinets and a lot of fake wood panelling.



Even the fridge had paneling.


I’m not a big fan of light oak or fake wood paneling, so I urged Mark to paint the cabinets.  As we were reading up on how to do this, we came across lots of advice.

Most of the instructions we found stressed the importance of sanding and included primer and enough prep work to make me suddenly fond of light oak and fake wood paneling.  I had also read about painting with chalkboard paint to cover the need to primer and sand all-in-one.

We had settled on the chalkboard paint method until I came across a pin Pinterest about Giani Granite’s Nuvo Cabinet Paint.  I watched the video and was intrigued.  Minimal sanding (for fake wood areas).  No primer.  You didn’t even have to remove the cabinet doors.

I contacted Giani and was thrilled to be able to test their cabinet paint out.  This is what came in my kit.


Everything I needed for the job.  I figured I’d need more than 2 cans since there are so many cabinets in our RV, but I wanted to test it out before I bought any extra.

We decided to remove the cabinet doors because we were going to update the hardware and hinges.  I prepped my surfaces by wiping them clean, (I used diluted orange oil) and also lightly sanded the fake wood.  We used wood filler to fill some (though not all) holes.


Over the slide, we had fabric covered cabinet fronts that needed to be removed and there was a little strip of wood that needed to be prepped.

underside-of-cabinets-before-painting fabric-covered-cabinets-prepped

Next we painted like crazy.  The paint went on very nicely and had great coverage. This paint is not normal paint.  Which is great.  When I was trying to wash the paint of my hands, it required some serious elbow grease.  Given the fact that was going on cabinets, I was extremely happy about that.

Nuvo-Cabinet-Paint-Update-in-RV rv-cabinets-after-nuvo-cabinet-paint kitchen-cabinets-painted


By the time we were done, we needed 5 cans of paint (but we covered all the cabinets in a 37 foot camper with Nuvo!  So for about $175, we dramatically changed the appearance of our camper.  I think this update was one of the most important updates we did and the Nuvo paint worked wonders.  I love that we didn’t have to sand and primer.  It was very easy to do.

The before…


And after…


Amazing right??

If you’re interested in Nuvo’s Cabinet Paint it can be found, here.  I can’t imagine having to go through all the steps we’d have had to if we’d gone another route.

80 thoughts on “How We Painted Our Cabinets Without Fuss”

  1. I found Giani several years ago when I redid my kitchen, but at that time they only had countertop paint. LOVED it and the way it looked. We spent many, many hours sanding, priming and painting 2 coats on our cabinets. Now I wish we had just waited a few years til this came out! Great job!

    1. Thank you so much Jennie! Nuvo made the cabinets a breeze, which I’m so thankful for because we have so many cabinets in the RV.

      Did you end up using the Giani countertop paint? I’m preparing a post to show that redo and I’m so pleased with the results.

      1. I just found your blog through pintrest. I just bought a 1990 park model and all the cabinets are dark and I wanted white – it will bring some light and freshness to the kitchen. Thanks for this post. At 60 years old, I just want to paint and not have to do so much sanding.

          1. Hey Julie,

            We want to paint the cabinets in our RV. How well has this product held up over the past two years?

            We found you on pinterest!

  2. Pingback: How to Refinish an Ugly Booth Dinette | The New Lighter Life

  3. I am looking to update my RV as well so I am so happy I’ve found your blog!! Did you also paint the walls? Did you have any problems with the wallpaper or did you just paint over it (if you had it)? I’m looking forward to doing all this to make it feel like home since my husband and I are full time RVers!

    1. Hi Kelsey! We did paint the walls. Our particular model did not have wallpaper so I cannot speak to that. I’m certain that I’ve read that others paint over wallpaper without problems. Main thing is to make sure you use TSP to clean the walls.

      The entire remodel was a lot of work but so worth it. It does feel like home. Thanks for stopping by!!

        1. Hi Jenny! I can’t quite remember what we used so many years ago. But we are almost done with another remodel to a camper we bought last summer. On our latest remodel, we used Sherwin Williams Cashmere paint (color Repose Grey) and it looks amazing! This paint is the top of the line from Sherwin Williams but has awesome coverage and we have been very happy with it. We did not prep our walls other than to primer them and are super happy with it.

    2. Ours did have wall paper. We spray painted instead of primed and then applied a textured. After that we used Behr on the textured walls. They look amazing. It was a lot of work (3-4 days) but worth every moment!! Next is cabinets and countertops for us. FYI: those nasty brass ceiling fans look completely different with a little brushed nickel spray paint and new tulips. Amazing. The place is coming along nicely.

    3. We painted the the paper on the Walls 2 year ago with 2 coats of a white paint which already had primer mixed to it. Works well and is durable too. Just make sure to wash with tsp Before painting.

  4. Jennifer stansel

    Thank you for all of this!!!!! We bought a 1994 Winnie and your blog is really a invaluable amount of information.

  5. I LOVE this! We have just put the deposit down on our first rig. We ended up getting a new one and it makes me hesitant to paint, but I so want the wood (and fake wood) to be white! This will certainly make it easier!! Loving your blog!

    1. Thank you Tanya, and congratulations! I’m a big fan of white cabinets and in the small space of an RV, it’s such a good change!

  6. I was wondering if this paint could be used on Wood Paneling used on walls, not just cabinets. I have 5 rooms in an old house to paint before I move my furniture in, and am looking to skip the step of sanding or primer.

      1. I've been exact same way with my Inaagsrtm. It's such a great little tool to take pictures. Much easier than lugging around a huge camera. I'll have to follow you on Instagram because I am loving your pictures.

  7. Also how has it held up? I have two kids and I am nervous about peeling and scratches. I saw a blog on the touch up of nuvo. So it seems it might not hold up well?

    1. I think with any cabinet paint, there are chips. I have a friend who had her cabinets (in her stickbuilt home) professionally painted, she still needs to do touchup after a year. Wish it was a permanent fix but touchups seem to be inevitable. I think our cabinets held up fairly well. In our small space, there was way more contact and use. Overall, we’ve been very happy with it.

  8. This looks fantastic! I found your blog because I am buying a used RV and really wanted white cabinets, but it has wood (or wood look, anyway). I had no idea how to refinish them, so I did a search, and I have already found two products – this one and one by Rustoleum. This one sounds like it may be easier. 🙂 It definitely looks great!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Laura! I love the white cabinet look and I really thought the paint was high quality. Of course, white cabinets means that any spill is VERY noticeable…so just keep that in mind. 🙂

  9. When you say fake wood, is it the stuff that has like that really thin laminate almost wood looking paper over it? Because that’s what we have in our RV and I’m surprised if you could paint that but I would love to!

  10. Hi Julie. Your job looks wonderful. I just purchased a used 21 ft motorhome that the previous owner had been refinishing the wood walls and cabinets. He stained and sprayed some sort of shiny finish on them. Brand unknown. Does this paint go over the top of that, or would I still need to sand?

    1. Thank you! Hmmm…because I’m lazy….I would just paint over it. Sounds like it’s just paint right? If so, I think it would work but any areas that are peeling would need to be sanded.

  11. Pingback: painting wood furniture without sanding

  12. Pingback: How To Paint Furniture Without Sanding Uk

  13. Thanks great blog and your coach looks outstanding. Were getting ready to do our 2004 Damon Challenger and saw this. Started pulling the furniture out already. Going to pick the paint today. Hard to tell from the photos did you paint the walls a little different color or white also.

  14. I love the cabinets!! I was wondering how long it took to do this? I want to do this and am wondering how many weekends it will take to do it. We have a 30 ft fifth wheel.

    1. It took quite a while. There are a TON of cabinets in an RV!! LOL! I’d guess 2 weekends of very tedious painting. 🙂

  15. We bought a motorhome that had light wood cabinets. We did the opposite. Stained them dark brown mahogany to where they almost look black. Took off all the original 30 year old wallpaper and painted the ceilings and walls in Behr “Innocence” eggshell which is gorgeous. Pulled up the nasty carpeting and put in light maple floating planks. I contemplated doing white but for me personally, it would have been too much of that one color.

  16. Julie, we just purchased our first rv. It is an older model and has woodblock cabinets and trim. When I say woodblock I mean it has a paper over ? Some paper is peaking away. Please let me know if you had this and if you did, did you remove the paper and sand what you found under? Did you have any surprises?

    Our cabinets even has brass strips all around the edge. I thought of removing it. Not sure if it would come off. Did you have something like this and if so what did you do?

    Many thanks!

    1. Hi Jackie! We did NOT have woodblook cabinets so I can’t help you there. But we did have those brass strips and we just painted over them.

  17. Love it!! Did you paint the wallpaper too? I want to do this with my 2006. I am a little worried about paint chipping off. Have you had any problems with this? Did you put a final coat or finish?


    1. No, we didn’t have wallpaper in our RV and we didn’t have any problems with chipping. Go for it!! You’ll love the results!

  18. Love this for updating our 1996 trailer. Any suggestions for covering some glass paneled cabinets? They have flowers etched in there, too. Not sure if I do the white cabinets, how the 90’s glass style will look with it? Luckily only 5 cabinets have this.

  19. I want to paint my fema trailer in bright colors. I live in it full time. The walls are brownish but cant tell if they are wallpaper or just fiberboard like stuff. How do I paint the walls. Plus I want my wood or fake wood high gloss red. How can I do this. Thanks vickie. 936 714 3442

    1. If you are unsure whether it’s wallpaper or fiberboard, I’d be willing to bet it is fiberboard and painting would be a breeze. Sorry, I’m not sure about how you could paint your wood to be high gloss.

  20. Ur camper had the exact same as ours does it is truly amazing how beautiful it turned out. My question is did u put a new table in ? that wasn’t painted was it. It looked so shiny almost like marble. thanx for the know how……..

    1. Hi Dawn! Renovate it! 🙂 We painted our table with countertop paint but it didn’t hold up so we covered it with a vinyl table cloth (and stapled it in place).

  21. What color kit did you do? And did you just buy one kit and then buy additional quarts? Thanks we are planning on doing this in the next couple of weeks after much research and great read from your article

    1. We purchased the Titanium Infusion color. Yes, I would purchase additional quarts as needed. Good luck! I think you’ll love it!

  22. Saw your remodel and looked great. Our campers are similar size and was curious on how much paint it took for paneling? Saw you had 5 quarts on cabinets. Just seeing if you painted paneling and doors with same paint and colors. Like the gray paneling and white cabinets. I know approximately 5 quarts for cabinets, how much for paneling and doors? Thanks. Did you do bathroom to match?

    1. It’s been a while Gabe, but if I’m remembering right, we purchased 1 gallon of kitchen/bath paint and that was more than enough. And yes, we did do our bathroom to match.

  23. I just bought some nuvo paint after reading your blog! I’m updating a 1964 GM Bus converted to an RV. Right now it has the ugly fake wood everywhere. I started painting one of the cabinets yesterday with the nuvo kit, but it came out clumpy and bubbly. Maybe I stirred the paint too much and layered it on too thick? Or maybe I need to do a better job sanding? Any tips would be appreciated!

  24. Hello, the remodel looks great. We are in the process and I think I’m going to try this product. I noticed in the end product you removed the valences that were over your windows. Was that difficult? How did you get them off and everything looks so good?

  25. Looking at your before pictures is like a mirror of my place (live in, parked 5th wheel). The burgundy & green flower print is everywhere. That’s my first task. Do have a video of the removal process or do you just literally unscrew the whole window covering? Also, did you do anything to the material (?) of the ceiling? Your place is gorgeous by the way!

    1. Hi Robyn! Thank you so much! Yes, we simply screws out of the valances and threw them out. We could have repurposed them I suppose but we wanted to not have valances to block light.

  26. Julie,
    I see that you painted your walls as well, What type and brand of paint did you use on your walls? By the way that looks awesome..

      1. We are in the process of doing the same on a 2009 allegro open road 35 qba. For the walls did you paint over the “wall paper/vinyl” with the kilz primer and Behr paint or did you remove? It seems it would be a major job trying to remove all of this. Did you use the kilz Behr combo on all of the fake wood panels or did you use the nuvo cabinet paint on these parts as well. Any help is appreciated!

  27. I see this post was 3 years ago. How has the paint held up on your cabinets? The reason I ask is I visited the link you provide for Nuvo Cabinet Paint, and they have since changed the prep instructions to include sanding all surfaces prior to painting.

  28. Joanne Glasmire

    Interested in this technique but need to be sure I’m dealing with similar cabinetry. My kitchen cabinets are for lack of a better word, particle board with a fancy stain. The encasement ( other than the doors) is covered in a very thin laminate type paper…very cheap. Should I peel that off, to expose particle board or leave it alone….its NOT peeling but I could get it off if needed. Suggestions please and thank you!

  29. So the real wood – on the cabinets as well as the fake wood were painted with the nuvo. Was there any color difference between the fake vs real wood? and the walls were primmered and painted with another brand/type of paint. Were the walls real wood or the same type of fake wood as the cabinets? other than cost is there a reason you decided to prime and paint the walls as opposed to using the nuvo?

  30. Hey there, just found your blog via Pinterest! Curious how its all held up after such a long time, and how much paint you ended up using in the end! We are planning on using it on all of our “wood” in our 5th wheel, thought maybe you could help me out on amount! Thanks!

  31. Great information provided. Thank you. I hear a lot about people who repaint their RVs and then have issues with cracking and peeling later. Did that happen? P.S. Found you on Pinterest

  32. Hi!
    Just found you through Pinterest. I’m curious if you still have this RV? If so, how have the cabinets held up? We are considering buying an rv for a screaming deal, yet the cabinets are pretty hideous… Maybe I could paint them?

  33. Julie, It looks amazing! We just recently traded our 14 year old 5th wheel with Bunkhouse in for a “Empty Nesters” unit with rocker recliners/fireplace and big beautiful master bedroom. Cabinets are all dark, and I acutally love them, because our other unit was a light oak, similar to what yours was. I would love to do a few things, like a new backsplash. I see at Lowes and Home Depot the stick on backspashes, very light weight. I can’t seem to get an answer from anyone in the RV world on this….will they stay up? We live in SW FL, the summer time, our RV bakes! Its so hot. I just wonder how the adhesive will hold up. Any thoughts? Thanks so much!

  34. Pingback: Progress on the Camper Remodel - The New Lighter Life

  35. Pingback: Our New Rig - The Before - The New Lighter Life

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

More Interesting Posts

Thank You & Welcome!

Soon you’ll receive a confirmation email 
to your inbox to confirm your subscription.

As a thank you, here is your printable Jam Guide, which includes the best Rhubarb Jam recipe eva-ah!



FREE gift for subscribers!

Enter below for access to my FREE printable jam guide that includes my very best rhubarb jam recipe!


I hate spam & promise to keep your address safe.
You can easily unsubscribe if you change your mind.