Before I started my "kitchen project" I read as much as I could about painting kitchen cabinetry. There are many sites online where one can glean this information. Some say "clean, sand, prime and paint", the others say "use tsp, deglosser and paint. Well, I have tried them both. I first started with "use tsp, deglosser and paint". That didn't go to well, it was time consuming, stinky and I had to use more coats of paint. My sweetie and I followed the directions on the deglosser product and in my humble opinion it didn't degloss enough. Ok, let's try the other "painting expertise". Clean, sand, prime and paint....works much better. My expert suggestion in this (expert because "I" made the mistakes and learned from them); if you have a low gloss finish (this is for stained and varnished pieces) clean with tsp, sand, use a light coat of primer (if you are going with a dark color have your primer tinted), and paint. If you have a high gloss piece use the deglosser (but clean with tsp first), sand prime and paint. By the way, Benjamin Moore makes a great paint, with low VOC and they will color match for you. Another by the way, TSP is a cleaner; it cleans the grease and grime from the wood. We all know if any grease or grime is left on the wood, the paint will chip off from that area.
My second suggestion is...expect the project to be time consuming! Unless you have a really small kitchen with very few cabinets and drawers, it will take several days to complete; if you work full time like I do, it might take a couple of weeks to complete; if you travel like I do, it might take a couple of months to complete. But, you know I can't leave you on a negative note, stop dreaming about it and talking about it, take the plunge. I'm not finished with the project yet but I'm already happy with what I am seeing.
Final suggestion; before you start, pull all your thoughts together for this project. Make your decisions on the color and style you want and finalize them. This will minimalize second guessing yourself. Second guessing myself has been the biggest problem and frustration I have encountered in this kitchen redo. It's hard to have a sense of peace about anything if you are playing the second guessing game.
My lower cabinets were one of the things I kept second guessing myself on. I finally chose a Valspar color called "Fired Earth". This color is a deep chocolate color that is brown-black. I love it! I plan to paint a couple of chairs with this color and a dresser. It is deep and rich, exactly the color I was hoping for.
I hope these suggestions help you. If you have any questions or just need some encouragement because you are in the middle of a kitchen redo, send me an email, I'm here to help anyway I can.