11 October 2011

Guest Post - How to update your kitchen with paint

When someone who knows their stuff approaches me with a solid guest post idea, I see it as a win-win. We all get the benefits of their expertise, and I get a free pass for a week. Thanks, Debbie Zimmer, Paint and Color Expert at the Paint Quality Institute, for your offer, your follow through and your very valuable information:


Kitchen remodeling can be among the most expensive upgrades to a home, often running into tens of thousands of dollars. But a less costly – yet very effective – way to enhance your culinary center is to break out the paintbrushes and rollers to put a fresh face on the space.

It’s actually possible to redo nearly every kitchen surface with paint, from the walls and woodwork to cabinets, and even the floors. However, most homeowners concentrate on the walls, woodwork, and cabinets. Whatever the scope of your project, here are some tips on how to proceed:

1. Start by “visualizing” your project.
You’ve probably seen your spanking new kitchen in your mind’s eye, but it’s wise to go one step further: Visit the websites of some of the major paint companies and check out their “visualizing” tools. Typically, you’ll be able to upload photos and quickly try out various paint colors to see just how your kitchen would look in different color schemes.

2. Lean toward lighter paint colors. There are certainly no hard-and-fast rules on this, but light paint colors make a kitchen seem to sparkle. If the airy feeling of a light tint isn’t appealing to you, consider this: Light-colored walls, woodwork, and ceilings will give the illusion that your kitchen is larger than its actual physical dimensions. And who doesn’t want a bigger kitchen?

3. Use paint with a high level of sheen. Paints with higher levels of sheen -- particularly high gloss and semi-gloss paints -- are more stain-resistant. They are also easier to clean if they should meet with up fingerprints or food splatters. What’s more, since they are the most reflective paints, they’ll make your kitchen look lighter and brighter. One more reason to use a glossier paint: They provide better mildew resistance than ordinary flat paint, no small consideration in a room that where water and steam are often present.

4. Use top quality paint.
Don’t be penny-wise and pound-foolish when purchasing your coatings. You’re already saving thousands of dollars by painting, rather than committing to full-bore remodeling. Spring for the highest quality paint and you’ll get a paint job that will be tougher, more durable, and longer-lasting.

5. Follow the right painting sequence. If you’re doing a top-to-bottom makeover of walls and woodwork, simplify things by working logically. Paint the ceiling, walls, trim (including windows and doors), and baseboards, in that order. This will help prevent you from spattering paint on just-painted surfaces.

6. Doing the cabinets, too? If so, remove the doors before doing any painting in your kitchen. Scrub the cabinets and doors with degreasing solution to clean them. Then sand them to remove any loose paint and provide more tack for your new paint. Wipe off dust from the sanding with a wet cloth. When the doors and cabinets dry, apply a coat of high quality latex primer. Then apply a coat of top quality 100% acrylic latex paint in the color and sheen of your choice – high gloss or semi-gloss for easier cleaning, or more of a matte-type finish, like a satin or even an eggshell, if you don’t want the cabinets to be too shiny. For enhanced durability, finish with a coat of clear polyurethane. (Each coat should be completely dry before applying the next finish.) Re-install the cabinet doors. In this case, paint the baseboards last.

That’s how simple it is to remodel your kitchen with paint. Total cost is no more than a couple hundred dollars, including brushes and accessories – even less if you already have some of these items.

When your project is finished, stand back and admire your handiwork. Then treat yourself to a nice dinner. With all the money you saved on your remodeling, you could afford a nice night out on the town. On the other hand, you just might be tempted to cook at home in your brand new kitchen!


Debbie Zimmer is a blogger, speaker, and nationally recognized expert on color, use of paints in interior and exterior design, and decorative painting techniques. She can be found on Twitter as @PaintQualityIns and the Paint Quality Institute blog.

Photo Credit: All of the kitchens shown are from the Behr Paint website. I used Behr for my recent office update and was quite happy with it!


  1. Lot's of great tips, Debbie- Thanks to Jamie for sharing!

  2. Thanks, Nick! I love guest posts by great contributors... Hint, hint!

  3. Lighter paints would be better for kitchens. It will blend with the other areas of the house and the furniture too.

  4. Good tips to keep the good looks home
    Thanks for advice

  5. IM, our guest poster agrees with you! Megan, glad you like the tips. Thanks for stopping by, folks!

  6. Thank you for listing the steps to a quality painting project so clearly. Many of my clients opt for repainting their existing cabinets and either they or their contractor choose low quality paint - needless to say, the results are not a "quality finish".

    Please give us more information between low and high quality paint. Many people do not understand the value of $100 paint when they can purchase the same colour for $20.

    Thank you - your blog is great!

  7. Thank you, everyone!

    @onkitchenandbathdesign - I think the following article will answer your question: "12 Reasons Why Top Quality Paint Is Worth the Money" http://blog.paintquality.com/painting-tips/12-reasons-why-top-quality-paint-is-worth-the-money/


  8. Thanks, Onkitchenandbathdesign for your kind words.

    Debbie, thanks much for taking the time to respond!


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