Tips for Painting your Kitchen like a Professional

By Patrick Heath

Many homeowners have the desire to paint their kitchen, but just don’t have the “stomach” for it (no pun intended). If you take these pieces of advice, you will have all the knowledge you need to update your home’s busiest room.


The first step is surveying the kitchen to determine what type of paint is already on the walls. If it is an oil-based paint, you will need a highly adhesive latex primer, which will be applied before you apply a coat of a more eco-friendly latex paint.

One thing to keep in mind is that today’s latex paint is easily scrubbable, meaning that there is no need for an oil-based paint.

Part of the kitchen preparation will be much the same as any other room, including repairing scratch marks, and filling and sanding holes. A water and bleach mixture should be used to remove any traces of mildew. It must then be thoroughly rinsed and allowed to dry before you begin to paint. If you plan on painting the cabinetry, be sure to remove all hardware and handles before beginning.

Choosing a Finish

The choice of paint for the kitchen is made difficult by two very distinct factors. The first is the fact that it is usually one of the highest traffic areas in a home, and more importantly, it also collects the most grime. The choice should be a durable, washable and stain-resistant paint, with a gloss or semi-gloss being a good place to start. A more subdued paint with a lesser sheen is fine, and some eggshell finishes actually perform as well as semi-gloss, offering superior stain-resistance.

On a side note that is somewhat unrelated to painting. A kitchen painting job is made a lot easier if there is a range hood in place, and they are highly recommended for any home. It is much easier to begin painting when you don’t have to start by removing a thick coat of grease and grime from every wall. A range hood will filter out all the unwanted vapors and residue that are a result of cooking, and keep them off of your walls.

The Importance of Priming

Unless you want to be painting again in another year or so, you will want to prime the areas you will be painting. To ensure the primer adheres properly, you should thoroughly clean and sand (lightly) each area. Just like with paints, not all primers are the same either. Kitchens usually have a varnished or enamel finish, and a super-adherent primer will be needed. If the kitchen has any existing stains or is prone to water stains in crevices, a primer with high stain-blocking capabilities will be crucial. The advanced primer of today can cover iron or steel, and offers rust inhibitors.

Picking a Color

There aren’t any strict guidelines to follow when it comes to the color choice, as that usually boils down to the tastes of those in the home. However, studies have actually shown that certain colors enhance the appetite. Some of these colors are lime green, terra cotta, peach and yellow. Another common style, especially in a home having white appliances is traditional black and white.

Be Creative

Paint is a fairly inexpensive design tool, why not take it to another level and use paint to completely make over your kitchen space? There is nothing that says you can only paint the walls. There are many candidates that may be in need of a paint makeover, such as a countertop, backsplash, cabinet, ceiling, and even that range hood we talked about earlier.

A Final Tip

If you have decided to paint that range hood, or any other appliance, there are important things to keep in mind. Most importantly, it must be extremely clean. Paint can do wonders, but it won’t stick to grimy or greasy surfaces. Start with the cleaning and then use a high-quality metal primer, before you use steel wool to do some light sanding. Your finish coat on something like a range hood should be oil-based, and not a latex paint. A final tip for painting these extra items in your kitchen is that two or three lighter coats work much better than trying to apply one thick coat.

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