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Geneva Metal Kitchen Cabinets: Painting, Removing Dents, Replacement Handles

A discussion started in but continuing through 2020




Q. My metal kitchen cabinets are from the 1950s or earlier. I would like to paint them since I cannot afford to replace them. They are in good shape but they are ugly. Someone told me there is a no prep metal paint that requires no preparation of the surface - just paint it on. If this does not exist is there an adhesive type primer I can use before I paint and not have to strip or sand the cabinets?

Susan L [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Gloucester City, New Jersey


Q. I also have metal kitchen cabinets that I would like to paint. They are Geneva cabinets and in very good condition, but awful color. Any ideas on how to best do this and the type of paint to use will be appreciated.

David D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Bowling Green, Kentucky


Q. I have Geneva cabinets that are from the 1950's. They are white and in great shape except for the ugly paint. We are trying to redo the kitchen and keep it as retro as possible. What can I use?

Nancy J [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Nebraska City, Nebraska


Q. We have Youngstown 1950's to 1960's vintage cabinets. They have been repainted with an enamel paint and the paint has adhered well but need refreshed again (white). What brands of primer/paint would you suggest ? Do I need to use both, or is there a self-adhering paint that will work ? Also, is it true that I should be looking for an auto body paint, or would an enamel paint be sufficient ?

Cheri Head
Consumer - Geneva, Nebraska


A. We have Geneva Metal Cabinets in our kitchen and we had a company come and spray paint the inside and outside. They did a great job. I believe they used a special sprayer and paint for working on metal. They look great and were finished in a few hours. Well worth the money since we can't afford to gut the kitchen. I would look under appliance and metal painters in the phone book. Our guy was local to our area.

Carmelina Mattera
- St. Louis, Missouri


A. When you don't really care how much it costs, you can do as I did with the 15 piece Geneva Kitchen I salvaged: Disassembled all chrome and plastic, Soda blast to bare metal ($3000) and powder coat ($3200),then reassemble.

Robert Srour
- Rockville, Maryland


A. I also have a kitchen that featured metal cabinets made by Geneva. They were dirty and ugly. After cleaning them up, I used a roll-on, epoxy appliance paint manufactured by Rustoleum. When you roll the paint on, the surface will be covered with tiny bubbles. This freaked me out at first. As the bubbles began to pop (immediately after application) they formed a nice, orange peel texture. It took two coats of white appliance paint to cover. I love the result.

My cabinets have white, plastic inserts that fit behind the chrome handles. I painted these with white spray paint intended for plastic to clean them up a bit. They also turned out great.

Susan Eastin
- De Smet, South Dakota

February 14, 2008 -- this entry appended to this thread by editor in lieu of spawning a duplicative thread

Q. Sirs:
I have the ugly green cabinets Geneva Metal. I have lived in the house for 50 years and cannot afford to replace a new kitchen. How can I have these painted?

Shirley Chamberlain
- Grand Rapids, Michigan

February 25, 2008

A. I have Geneva Metal cabinets in great condition and I can not justify replacing them. I have painted them with regular acrylic paints - use a sponge, not a brush - and then polyurethaned them. You can get a low odor, flat to gloss finish with the polyurethane. My parents and my aunt have both painted their cabinets with different methods, but have not had my success with durability. My aunt had her's sanded down to the metal, primed and painted with car paint. These cabinets started to yellow and degrade within a couple of years. My parents sanded and sprayed their cabinets with an initial great finish, but, alas, they too, started to yellow and the paint is wearing off as we speak (or, rather, read). Painting with the acrylics and polyurethaning has had the most lasting effects. Painting with a sponge is scary, but the air bubbles "dried out" and the finish is a matte finish that is very smooth. The polyurethane just makes the cabinets very cleanable. From the voice of twenty years of experience...

Lori Hart
- Franklin, Pennsylvania

June 2, 2008

Q. I was wondering where you had your cabinets repainted. I have a great set, as we bought a house previous GENEVA salesman. Sorry, no extra parts, but I do DESPERATELY need to know where to get my cabinets painted. Thanks!

Luby Kelley
- Crestwood, Missouri

June 2, 2008

A. Hi, Luby. Any auto body shop (collision repair shop) will have the right equipment and the competent people to spray the cabinets. Although not all auto body shops want to do that kind of work, some are happy to.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

August 26, 2008

A. I have Geneva cabinets in my kitchen that were installed in 1951 by the original owner. We have had them painted twice using epoxy paint.They did wonderfully and I am considering painting them again. The shelves are coated wire so no bugs on the shelves and you can see up into the top shelf easily. If you use epoxy paint you must not stay in the house for 24 hours as the fumes are toxic.

Charlotte Wolfe
- Savannah, Tennessee

June 30, 2009

Q. My question is, I have purple St. Charles metal cabinet that are in great condition, need advise on changing colors.

Jomain Brown
- Lake Charles, Louisiana

June 30, 2009

A. Hi, Jomain. Just scrub them with detergent to remove any film of kitchen grease, very lightly sand them to remove some of the gloss from the existing paint, and spray them with a rattle can of paint. Good luck.


Ted Mooney, finishing.com Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

affil. link
Air Compressor

November 28, 2012

A. Okay, well, I painted these myself. I have the textured fronts and smooth sides and I am not a painter but with a small air compressor and a gravity feed paint gun and some 1-step auto paint, this did an awesome job. I however removed all the cabinets to the garage and lightly scuffed them with a green scuff pad, prepped the surface with some cleaner used for auto paint, and taught myself how to do this... and only one paint run on the whole job.

Dave Kavana
- Marthasville, Missouri, USA

Need handles and inserts for Geneva Metal Cabinets





March 22, 2008

Q. Need handles and inserts for Geneva metal cabinets [circa 1953]

I have white metal Geneva cabinets with plastic inserts that chrome handles fit into. I want to know if there is a source for parts for these cabinets.

Michael Cooney
Homeowner - St Louis, Missouri

August 31, 2008

Q. I am also in need of the plastic inserts! Can anyone help?

Angela Murray
- Falls Creek, Pennsylvania

September 8, 2008

Q. I am looking for a response to the questions from others looking for plastic inserts for metal Geneva Cabinets. Thank you, Jim

James H McRoy
- Southbridge, Massachusetts

Need clips for wire shelves in Geneva Cabinets

September 2, 2008

Q. We are looking for special clips that hold wire shelves in Geneva Cabinets. Any ideas? Thanks!

Martha Gallagher
Hobbyist - Sandwich, Massachusetts

October 15, 2008

Q. Looking for Geneva metal kitchen cabinet hinges... used or new....can anyone help.

Thank you!

William Colby
architect - Montville, NJ

October 21, 2008

Q. I'm in the process of re-organizing my kitchen and find I could use more shelves in my upper cabinets.

The majority are 24" cabinets with the slats in the back. Any idea where I might find some?

Fia Swartwood
hobbyist - Olathe, Kan, USA

February 5, 2009

Q. I, too, am looking for white plastic inserts for Geneva cabinets. I have looked everywhere I can think of, including local salvage warehouses, but with no luck. Anybody have any suggestions?

Margret Schnitzer
- Baltimore, Maryland

April 23, 2009

Q. We are in need of the plastic pieces for our cabinets. Does anyone know where we can purchase some?

Julie Taylor
home owner - Crawfordsville, Indiana

Ed. note: Craigslist and E-bay are possible places to look. Good luck.

December 29, 2010

Q. I also have 60 year old Geneva cabinets, and would like to repaint them. I need new handles, however. Does anyone have a source for these? Thank you.

Amy Medeiros
- Arlington, Virginia, USA

February 10, 2013

Q. Hi,
I have a set of vintage Geneva cabinets that have a couple of styles of handles, and some missing handles. Does anyone know where to get the original style of handles? I have not been successful finding any handles. Does anyone have ideas on what I could replace all of them with? There are holes in the doors, where the plastic inserts fit. I cannot use just regular handles.

Thank you

Janine Lee
- Grand Ledge, Michigan, USA

April 4, 2016

A. I found this recommendation and link earlier from several people that were looking for replacement parts for old metal kitchen cabinets. Am going to contact them to find replacement sliders for drawers in my own similar cabinets.


Susan Raguse
- Cedar Michigan USA

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