How To Paint Above Kitchen Cabinets

How To Paint Above Kitchen Cabinets

Have you ever glanced up at the space above your kitchen cabinets and felt that it could use a fresh touch of color or a new look to tie the room together? The area above kitchen cabinets often remains an overlooked canvas, waiting for a creative hand to transform it into a focal point that enhances the overall aesthetic of your kitchen. Whether you’re looking to add a pop of color, create visual interest, or simply refresh the space, learning how to paint above kitchen cabinets can be a rewarding DIY project that elevates the style and ambiance of your culinary haven

Assessing The Condition Of The Surface

When it comes to giving your kitchen a fresh, new look, painting above the cabinets can make a significant difference. However, before diving into the painting process, it’s crucial to assess the condition of the surface. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and the end result is smooth and professional-looking. Here’s how to evaluate the surface above your kitchen cabinets to prepare for painting.

Checking For Grease And Grime

First and foremost, it’s important to inspect the surface for any accumulated grease and grime. Over time, kitchen cabinets can endure splatters and buildup from cooking, which can impact the adhesion of the paint. Use a grease-cutting cleaner and a sponge to thoroughly clean and degrease the area. Be sure to rinse and dry it well.

Filling In Any Gaps Or Cracks

In addition to addressing surface cleanliness, it’s essential to fill in any gaps or cracks present. Use a suitable wood filler to patch up any imperfections, such as nail holes, dents, or gaps between the cabinets and the wall. Smooth out the filler with a putty knife and allow it to dry completely before sanding the area to create a seamless surface for painting.

Choosing The Right Paint And Tools

When tackling the project of painting above kitchen cabinets, selecting the appropriate paint type and having the essential tools is crucial for achieving a professional finish. Let’s delve into the key considerations for both, starting with selecting the appropriate paint type.

Selecting The Appropriate Paint Type

Choosing the right paint type is the foundation of a successful painting project above your kitchen cabinets. Different surfaces and environments require different paints, so it’s important to consider the specific needs of your kitchen space before making a decision. Here are some common paint types to consider:

  • Latex Paint: This water-based paint is easy to clean up with soap and water, making it a popular choice for kitchen environments. It also dries quickly and emits fewer fumes than oil-based paints.
  • Semi-Gloss or High-Gloss Paint: These sheens are ideal for kitchen cabinet surfaces as they are durable and easy to wipe clean, making them suitable for high-traffic areas like the kitchen.
  • Primer: Using a high-quality primer is essential to ensure proper adhesion and a smooth finish. Consider a bonding primer that is specifically formulated for slick surfaces such as cabinets.

Essential Tools For The Job

Equipping yourself with the right tools is equally important to ensure a seamless painting process and professional results. Here’s a list of essential tools you’ll need:

  • Painter’s Tape: Use painter’s tape to protect adjacent surfaces and create clean edges for a professional-looking finish.
  • Quality Brushes and Rollers: Invest in high-quality brushes and rollers to achieve smooth and even coverage. Look for brushes specifically designed for use with latex paint.
  • Drop Cloths or Plastic Sheet: Protect your kitchen floor and countertops from accidental spills and drips by covering them with drop cloths or plastic sheeting.
  • Sandpaper: Prepare the cabinet surface by sanding it lightly to ensure proper paint adhesion.
  • Paint Tray and Liner: A paint tray will make it easier to load the roller with paint, and using a liner will make cleanup a breeze.
  • Stir Sticks and Paint Can Opener: Ensure you have the necessary tools for stirring paint and opening cans without damaging the lids.

Preparing The Area For Painting

Preparing the area for painting is a crucial step in achieving a professional-looking finish when painting above your kitchen cabinets. Proper preparation ensures that the paint adheres well and provides lasting results. Before you embark on this project, it’s essential to focus on cleaning and degreasing the surface, as well as protecting the surrounding area from any potential damage during the painting process.

Cleaning And Degreasing The Surface

To ensure that the paint adheres properly, it’s imperative to clean and degrease the surface above your kitchen cabinets. Use a solution of warm water and mild dish soap to remove any built-up grease, dust, or grime. For tougher stains or grease deposits, consider using a degreaser specifically designed for kitchen surfaces. Thoroughly wipe down the area with a clean cloth and allow it to dry completely before proceeding with the painting process.

Protecting The Surrounding Area

Before you start painting, take the necessary precautions to protect the surrounding area from potential paint splatter or drips. Use drop cloths to cover the countertops and any appliances or furniture below the cabinets. Additionally, consider taping off the edges of the cabinets and walls with painter’s tape to create clean, defined lines and prevent any accidental smudges or spills on adjacent surfaces.

Applying The Paint

When it comes to painting above your kitchen cabinets, applying the paint is a crucial step to achieving a professional look. Whether you’re refreshing the current color or trying a completely new approach, the right techniques and tips can make a significant difference in the final outcome. Here’s a detailed look at the best techniques for even coverage and tips for achieving a professional finish.

Best Techniques For Even Coverage

To ensure a smooth and consistent finish when painting above kitchen cabinets, several techniques can help achieve even coverage:

  • Start by carefully cleaning the surface to remove any grease or dirt that might affect the paint adhesion.
  • Use high-quality paint rollers and brushes to ensure an even application of paint.
  • Apply the paint in thin, even coats, overlapping each stroke to avoid visible brush or roller marks.
  • Consider using a paint sprayer for larger areas to achieve a flawless finish.

Tips For A Professional Finish

To elevate your painting project and achieve a professional finish, consider the following tips:

  1. Use a primer to create a smooth base for the paint and improve adhesion.
  2. Opt for a high-quality paint that is specifically designed for the surface above kitchen cabinets.
  3. Take your time and pay attention to detail, ensuring that edges and corners are meticulously painted.
  4. Work in small sections to maintain control and achieve a consistent look.

Final Touches And Maintenance

Once you have completed painting above your kitchen cabinets, there are a few final touches and maintenance tips to ensure the longevity and aesthetics of your newly decorated space.

Removing Protective Coverings

After the paint has thoroughly dried, it is essential to carefully remove any protective coverings used during the painting process to avoid accidentally damaging the fresh paint job.

Maintenance Tips For Long-lasting Results

Proper maintenance will help preserve the painted surface and keep it looking vibrant for years to come. Here are some maintenance tips to ensure long-lasting results:

  • Regular Cleaning: Wipe the surface gently with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust and grease buildup. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers.
  • Touch-Up as Needed: Keep a small amount of the paint used for the cabinets handy for any touch-ups required over time due to wear and tear.
  • Protect from Heat and Moisture: Ensure that the area above the cabinets is adequately protected from excessive heat and moisture to prevent the paint from peeling or fading.
  • Inspect for Damage: Periodically inspect the painted surface for any signs of damage or peeling, and address any issues promptly to prevent further deterioration.


By following the steps outlined in this article, you can achieve a professional and polished finish that will make a significant difference in the aesthetics of your kitchen. Remember to properly prepare the area, choose the right paint and tools, and take your time to ensure even coverage. With patience and attention to detail, you can transform the unused space above your cabinets into a visually appealing element of your kitchen decor. Happy painting!

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Are The Benefits Of Painting Above Kitchen Cabinets?

Painting above kitchen cabinets can give the room a fresher look, help hide dust and dirt, and create a more cohesive and finished appearance. 

How Do I Prepare The Area Above My Kitchen Cabinets For Painting? 

To prep the area, start by thoroughly cleaning and sanding the surface, removing any grease or residues, and using a primer to ensure proper adhesion of the paint. 

What Type Of Paint Should I Use For The Space Above My Kitchen Cabinets?

Opt for a high-quality latex or oil-based paint that offers durability and easy maintenance, ensuring it can withstand the temperature fluctuations common in kitchens. 

Can I Paint Above My Kitchen Cabinets Without Professional Help? 

Yes, you can paint above your kitchen cabinets without professional help by following some DIY tips and being mindful of safety precautions and best practices. 

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