Today's subject comes to us thanks to my cousin's college roommate, who just recently bought a home upstate and sent me a kind e-mail telling me about some projects he was thinking about undertaking. Being a chef, most of his major wants surround the kitchen and his first idea was to repaint his kitchen cabinet doors before putting on a set of designs; we spit-balled and decided that cooking utensils and accessories would make a great theme.
Removing the doors with a screwdriver is, of course, the first step. If the cabinets are unvarnished, you can begin by wiping down the cabinet with a sponge and cloth to remove any dirt and specks; if it is varnished, sand down the door until the finish has been dulled and then wipe it down. In the case of my friend, it would be best to do the painting first and the stencil or design afterwards, especially if you're still in the midst of making the stencil design.
Lay down some drop clothes and get to painting. Stained cabinets should be prepped with an oil-based primer, whereas bare wood works best with latex-based primers; it's also suggested to use a synthetic polyester paintbrush while working with oil-based primers. To ensure a good finish, make sure you only apply a thin coat of primer to your chosen door(s), as using too much primer will likely cause a lackluster finish. Let the primer dry for a few hours and then get your paint buckets out.
For more open, sunlit kitchens, lighter colors (whites, yellows, light blues and greens) are usually recommended but I've seen some really excellent distinct connections that favor darker colors; a very close friend went cherry red with his cabinets and wooden countertops, despite my constant pleas for him to get black or dark laminate countertops. In the summer and spring months, you could paint outside and gather influences from nature. You could even wait for them to dry and paint some spring-themed images on your cabinet doors to add character to your kitchen. Imagine being able to come into your kitchen, even in the dead of winter, and be reminded of the bloom of spring.