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Sunmica vs. paint – which is better for a kitchen makeover?

Sunita Vellapally Sunita Vellapally

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After a few years of using a kitchen, the colours in it can get boring. The cabinetry is one of the most vital elements of a modular kitchen, so repainting the cabinet doors in a different shade is the simplest way to bring a noticeable change to the room. However, repainting is a time-consuming and messy process. Moreover, the painted surface can get scratched easily, so at best it’s a temporary solution for renewing kitchen cupboard designs. Decorative laminates, such as Sunmica, are a convenient alternative for refurbishing kitchen cabinet doors.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of Sunmica design laminates and paint to ascertain which is a better option for the cabinet surfaces in kitchens.

Pros and cons of kitchen paint ideas for a makeover

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SJR Watermark, 3 BHK—Mr. Ankit


One of the main advantages of painting the cabinets during the kitchen makeover is that it is economical, which means that you can use the leftover funds on other elements such as a sophisticated quartz countertop. Additionally, it’s easy to implement as repainting the kitchen cabinets in a fresh colour makes the room look like it is new. With a perfect paint job, the kitchen will resemble one of the modular kitchen images you see in magazines.

The disadvantage of repainting cabinet doors is that it is a long-drawn process. The method also might not work on all types of kitchen cabinets. Another con of using paint is that the colour can vary between what one sees in the container and the final coat once it dries on the door.

Advantages and disadvantages of Sunmica design laminates for kitchen cabinets

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SNN Raj Serenity, 3 BHK—Mr. Ramprasath


It’s essential to understand that Sunmica is different from standard laminates that many interior designers use for kitchen cabinets. Veneers comprise several thin sheets of wood, whereas Sunmica uses a mix of paper and plastic materials treated at high pressure to create a decorative laminate.

The pros of Sunmica is that it comes in a wide range of colours and designs, making it easy to match with almost any colour palette that one wants in the kitchen. If you’ve seen modular kitchen photos with printed patterns on cabinets surfaces, they are likely to have Sunmica laminates. It also comes in several finishes, including glossy, matte and textured. One can even find Sunmica laminates with digital prints. It makes them a creative and versatile solution for refurbishing the kitchen cabinet doors. Additionally, they are incredibly easy to clean by wiping with a wet cloth.

Sunmica design laminates can work out costlier than repainting for cabinet doors. As a result, there will be less money left over for other elements such as the appliances and counters. While laminates are relatively durable, maintenance-free and scratch-resistant, they need a bit of care to ensure that they don’t get damp as it can cause the material to warp. Moreover, the laminate can chip, requiring replacement of the entire door surface unlike paint, which can be touched up in spots, if necessary.

Find ideas on the best materials to use for kitchen cabinets in India.

Kitchen paint ideas – how to repaint cabinet doors

If the kitchen cabinet surfaces are not too worn out, repainting can be the best solution as it won’t cost much and will be easy to implement. If you like DIY projects, you can consider doing it on your own if you have the time. Use the following steps as a guide to repaint your kitchen cabinets to make them look like one of the modular kitchen images you see in magazines.

1.      Removal of cabinets: The first step is to dismantle the kitchen cabinets, and their doors to make the process of painting much more accessible. At this stage, it’s wise to label the cabinets so that you don’t lose track of the order in which you need to reinstall them.

2.      Cleaning: The cabinets surface and doors tend to accumulate grease and dirt over time. Use Tri-Sodium Phosphate (TSP) to rid the cabinets of grime or any other dirt build-up.

3.      Repair the surface: Sometimes, the old cabinets might have dents or holes on the surface. Fill them up with a wood filler to level the surface.

4.      Sanding: Before the kitchen cabinets doors can be painted, they need to be sanded to smoothen the surface. After sanding, wipe the surface with a clean cloth to remove any traces of dust or dirt.

5.      Apply primer: It is a base coat on which the final shade is painted. Usually, the primer comes in a light tone. Therefore, if the cabinet colour that you choose is dark, it’s advisable to add a few drops of pigment to the primer to get the desired result. Repeat the sanding and priming process once more to ensure a super-smooth finish. Wipe clean once again to remove any dirt before applying paint.

6.      Painting: If you are going to use a spray gun to paint, it’s advisable either to move the cabinets to a workshop or to cover everything in the kitchen with plastic wrap. Otherwise, the spray can damage other surfaces or appliances in the kitchen.

7.      Reinstall: Wait for the paint to dry completely before reinstalling the cabinets. Replace the hinges and handles at this stage, before you install the cupboards.

How to refurbish your kitchen with Sunmica colour combination kitchen cabinet doors

While one can go the DIY way for changing the look of kitchen cupboard designs with the help of laminates, it is advisable to hire a skilled professional through your kitchen planner or interior designer. The first few steps are the same as that of repainting the cabinet doors.

1.      Removing the cabinets: Take off all the cupboards in the kitchen. Separate doors by removing the hinges. Label the units to keep track of their exact arrangement in the kitchen.

2.      Cleaning: Like with painted cabinets, use TSP to remove any grease or dirt from the surfaces.

3.      Sanding: Use sandpaper to add a slight roughness to the surface of the plywood on which you will fix the laminate. After sanding, wipe with a clean cloth to remove dust.

4.      Measure: Next, you should measure the area where you will install the Sunmica laminate.

5.      Cut the laminate sheet: Add an inch to your measurements, using masking tape to outline the markings, and use a saw to cut the Sunmica sheet to the required dimensions.

6.      Coat with adhesive: Use a strip of laminate or plywood to apply the contact cement or adhesive at the back of the laminate sheet.

7.      Paste on the surface: Align the sheet along the edge of the plywood and use a roller to push it into place and roll out any pockets of air trapped in between the two surfaces.

8.      Trim: Use a trimmer to cut excess material from the sides.

9.      Install: Allow sufficient time for the adhesive to set before installing the cabinets.

Installing Sunmica or other laminates for the kitchen cabinet doors is not a job for a layman. It’s a complicated process since the door surface sometimes has bends or curves. It’s best to hire a professional to get the job done.

Which is a better option – paint or Sunmica design laminates?

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Mantri Webcity, Duplex 3 BHK—Mr. Vishal


It all depends on the look you want to achieve as well as the budget. For single-toned cabinets, paint is a more economical and easy to implement option. However, if you want your kitchen to stand out by using unique decorative patterns on the cabinet doors, then Sunmica is preferable. Consult an interior designer to get more information on which of these options is better for your kitchen.

Consider these points before replacing kitchen cabinets.

Will you choose Sunmica or paint for your kitchen cabinet makeover? Leave a comment to tell us the reason.
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