How to Paint above Kitchen Cabinets-Mastering the Art

To paint above kitchen cabinets, prepare the area by cleaning and sanding the surface, then apply a primer before painting with your chosen color. Painting above kitchen cabinets can help to freshen up the space and give it a new look.

By following a few simple steps, you can achieve a professional-looking paint job that will enhance the overall aesthetics of your kitchen. Whether you want to update the cabinets with a new color or simply refresh the existing paint, this guide will provide you with the necessary steps to get started.

So, let’s dive into the process of painting above kitchen cabinets!

Choosing The Right Paint Color

When it comes to painting above your kitchen cabinets, choosing the right paint color is essential to achieving a cohesive and stylish look. The color you select will greatly impact the overall aesthetic of your kitchen, so it’s important to consider a few key factors before making a decision.

Considering The Kitchen Decor

Before you start browsing paint swatches, take a moment to consider your kitchen’s existing decor. Does your kitchen feature warm or cool tones? Are you going for a traditional or modern look? By taking these factors into account, you can narrow down your options and choose a paint color that harmonizes with your kitchen’s style and ambiance.

Testing Paint Samples

Once you have a few colors in mind, it’s time to test paint samples. This step is crucial in ensuring that you select the perfect shade for your kitchen cabinets. Instead of relying solely on paint chips or online images, it’s best to test samples directly on the cabinet surface. Paint small sections with your chosen colors and see how they look in different lighting conditions throughout the day.

When testing paint samples, pay attention to how the colors interact with the rest of your kitchen. Do they complement the countertops, backsplash, and flooring? Keep in mind that lighting can greatly affect how a color appears, so test in natural light as well as under artificial lighting in the evening.

By taking the time to test different paint samples, you can avoid any potential disappointments and ensure that the final color you choose enhances the overall look and feel of your kitchen.

How to Paint above Kitchen Cabinets: Mastering the Art


Preparing The Surface

Before you start painting above your kitchen cabinets, it’s crucial to prepare the surface properly. This involves two main steps: cleaning and sanding, and priming the cabinets. Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to prepare the surface for a successful painting project.

Cleaning And Sanding

Before anything else, ensure that the surface of the cabinets is clean and free of any grease, dirt, or residues. Use a mild detergent solution and a sponge to clean the area thoroughly. Let it dry completely before moving on to the next step.

After cleaning, sand the surface of the cabinets to create a rough texture that will help the primer adhere better. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the area, focusing on any glossy or smooth surfaces that need to be roughened up for better paint adhesion.

Priming The Cabinets

Once the surface is clean and sanded, it’s time to apply a coat of primer to the cabinets. Choose a high-quality primer that is suitable for the material of your cabinets, whether it’s wood, laminate, or metal. Apply the primer evenly and let it dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Priming is essential for ensuring that the paint adheres well to the surface and provides a smooth, long-lasting finish. It also helps to prevent stains and discoloration from bleeding through the new paint.

Selecting The Correct Tools

Selecting the correct tools is crucial when painting above kitchen cabinets. Using the right brushes, rollers, and ladder can make the task much easier and more successful. Let’s delve into the key tools you need for this project.

Brushes Vs. Rollers

When it comes to painting above kitchen cabinets, choosing the right tools can make a big difference. Brushes are great for detail work and corners, while rollers are perfect for larger, flat surfaces. Having both in your arsenal can ensure full coverage and a professional finish.

Choosing The Right Ladder

Finding the right ladder is essential for safety and accessibility. Make sure to select a sturdy, non-slip ladder that provides the appropriate height. A step ladder or an extension ladder might be necessary depending on the height of your cabinets.

Painting Techniques


When it comes to painting above kitchen cabinets, using the right techniques can make all the difference. The right painting techniques will ensure a smooth finish and vibrant color that enhances the overall look of your kitchen. In this section, we will discuss two important techniques for painting above kitchen cabinets: Using Even Strokes and Applying Multiple Coats.


Using Even Strokes


To achieve a professional-looking paint job, it is important to use even strokes throughout the painting process. This technique helps to distribute the paint evenly and prevents streaks or uneven coverage. Here’s how you can use even strokes:

  1. Start by cleaning the surface of the cabinets to remove any dust or grease. This will ensure that the paint adheres well to the surface.
  2. Apply a primer coat to the cabinets before painting. The primer will help the paint to stick better and create a smooth surface.
  3. Dip your paintbrush or roller into the paint, making sure to remove any excess paint.
  4. Begin painting from one corner of the cabinet and use long, smooth strokes to spread the paint evenly. Avoid applying too much pressure, as this can cause the paint to drip.
  5. Continue painting in this manner, working your way across the cabinet surface. Remember to overlap each stroke slightly to ensure even coverage.
  6. If you’re using a roller, you can go over the painted surface with a brush in a light, vertical motion to smooth out any roller marks.
  7. Allow the paint to dry completely before applying a second coat, if necessary.


Applying Multiple Coats


Applying multiple coats of paint is essential to achieve a rich, vibrant color on your kitchen cabinets. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. After the first coat of paint has dried completely, assess the coverage. If the color looks uneven or thin, it is recommended to apply a second coat.
  2. Before applying the second coat, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface for better paint adherence.
  3. Clean the surface again to remove any dust or debris from sanding.
  4. Apply the second coat using the same even strokes technique mentioned earlier.
  5. Ensure each stroke overlaps the previous one slightly to achieve consistent coverage.
  6. Allow the second coat to dry completely before deciding if additional coats are necessary.
  7. You can repeat the process of sanding and applying additional coats until you achieve the desired color and coverage.

By using even strokes and applying multiple coats, you can transform the look of the space above your kitchen cabinets with a fresh, vibrant color that complements your overall kitchen decor.

How to Paint above Kitchen Cabinets-Mastering the Art

Dealing With Tight Spaces

When painting above kitchen cabinets, dealing with tight spaces can be challenging. It requires strategic planning and the right tools to ensure a smooth and efficient painting process.

Utilizing Extension Poles

Extension poles are essential for reaching high areas above kitchen cabinets. Choose a sturdy and adjustable pole that allows you to comfortably reach tight spaces without straining.

Masking Off Areas

Masking off areas is crucial to prevent paint from getting on surfaces where it shouldn’t be. Use painter’s tape to carefully cover edges and corners before starting the painting process.

Adding Final Touches


Once the main painting job is complete, it’s time to focus on the finishing touches to enhance the overall look of your kitchen cabinets.

Installing New Hardware

  • Upgrade the appearance of your cabinets by installing new knobs or handles.
  • Choose hardware that complements the style and color of your kitchen to create a cohesive design.

Cleaning Up

  • Thoroughly clean the cabinet surfaces to remove any dust or debris from the painting process.
  • Wipe down the cabinets with a clean cloth and mild soap to ensure a smooth and polished finish.


Maintenance Tips

Maintenance is an important aspect of keeping the area above kitchen cabinets looking fresh and well-maintained. Here are some maintenance tips to ensure your painted kitchen cabinets look their best for the long haul.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is essential to maintain the freshly painted look of the cabinets. Use a gentle cleaner and a soft cloth to wipe away any dirt, grease, or dust accumulated on the surface. Avoid abrasive cleaners that can damage the paint finish, and always wipe in the direction of the wood grain to prevent scratches.


Over time, minor scratches or chips may appear on the painted surface. For touch-ups, keep some extra paint from the original job in an airtight container for future use. Use a small brush to carefully apply the paint to any damaged areas, and allow it to dry completely before blending it with the rest of the surface. This will keep the cabinets looking new and well-maintained.

How to Paint above Kitchen Cabinets: Mastering the Art


Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Paint Above Kitchen Cabinets

How Can I Prepare The Area Above Kitchen Cabinets For Painting?

To prepare the area, start by cleaning the surface thoroughly to remove any grease or dirt. Next, cover the surrounding area with drop cloths to protect it from paint splatters. It’s also important to sand the surface lightly to ensure proper adhesion of the paint.

What Type Of Paint Should I Use For Painting Above Kitchen Cabinets?

For painting above kitchen cabinets, it’s best to use a high-quality satin or semi-gloss paint. These types of paint are durable and easy to clean, making them ideal for the kitchen environment. Additionally, they provide a smooth finish that can withstand the occasional scrubbing.

What Tools Do I Need To Paint Above Kitchen Cabinets?

You will need basic painting supplies such as paint trays, rollers, brushes, and painter’s tape. A step ladder or sturdy stool will also be necessary to reach the higher areas. Additionally, consider using a small roller extension pole for ease of painting the upper surfaces.


Painting above kitchen cabinets is a simple and cost-effective way to enhance the overall look of your kitchen. By following the step-by-step guide outlined in this blog post, you can achieve professional-looking results without the need for professional assistance. Remember to choose the right paint, prepare the surface properly, and use proper techniques to ensure a long-lasting finish.

With a little time and effort, you can transform your kitchen into a space that reflects your personal style and taste. Happy painting!

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