May 31

In What Order Do You Paint a Kitchen?


If your kitchen is trapped in the 80s, you might’ve decided it’s time for a refresh. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders, brightening the space and adding character that reflects your design choices. But if you’re doing a total overhaul of your kitchen, what order should you paint it in?

Generally, it’s best to work from the top to the bottom. This way, you don’t have to worry about unsightly dribbles marring the freshly painted surfaces throughout the space. 

Kitchen Refresh: What Order to Paint a Kitchen

When painting your kitchen, it’s usually best to work from top to bottom. Of course, preparation is key, as you’ll need a clean, prepared canvas for a good result. 


First and foremost, you need to prepare the space. Ideally, you could work with a completely empty room, but since that doesn’t always work, start by moving out everything you can. Remove items from the countertops and move major appliances out of the space (if possible). 

If you can, remove the cabinets, too. This will make it much easier to paint the walls and cabinets, as it eliminates the need to tape and cover the cabinets while painting the ceiling and walls. However, if taking out the cabinets sounds like too much work, they can stay put. 

Once you’ve removed everything that you can, clean the surfaces throughout the space. Wash the walls, ceiling, trim, and cabinets to remove grease, grime, and dust. This debris could affect the paint, preventing it from adhering to the ceilings, walls, and cabinets, so it’s important to clean thoroughly. Use a mild cleaning detergent or degreaser to achieve sparkly clean surfaces. 

Next, you’ll need to repair any damage throughout the space. Repair damaged drywall, fill small holes with spackle or putty, and sand all patched areas and rough surfaces. Wipe down the repaired areas with a damp cloth to remove sanding dust. 

With that done, it’s time to tape off areas where you don’t want paint. Use painter’s tape to mask off edges, outlets, light switches, and any areas you want to protect. Lay drop cloths over the floor, cabinets, and large appliances that you were unable to remove. 

With each surface, remember to prime first before painting. 

Painting the Ceiling

When embarking on a painting project, it’s crucial to start from the top and work your way down. Imagine the chaos if you painted the ceilings last—paint dribbling onto your freshly painted walls and cabinets. Now, you’ve got unsightly dribbles drying on your freshly revamped walls and cabinets. Not a pretty sight, right? 

So, start with the ceiling. Tape off fixtures and walls, cover items in the room with a drop cloth and protect the floor with plastic or a drop cloth. Paint the ceiling, giving it time to dry before you move on to the next phase of the process. 

Painting the Walls

After the ceiling, it’s time to move onto the walls. While you could swap the order of walls and cabinetry, we prefer to do the walls before the cabinets. If you were able to remove the cabinets, it’s best to paint the space while the cabinets are out of town. This way, you won’t have as many things to tape off and cover. 

Paint the walls the desired color, then remove the tape from cabinetry and trim (if applicable).

Painting the Trim and Cabinets

Last but not least, you’ll need to paint the trim and cabinets. If the cabinets are still installed in the kitchen, paint them first. Tape off the freshly painted walls around the cabinets and cover any surfaces that you don’t want paint on with a drop cloth. 

When you’re ready, paint the cabinets. Once the cabinets are dry, tape and cover surfaces for painting the trim. 

Finishing Touches

After you’ve finished painting the kitchen, it’s time for the finishing touches. Look over the surfaces you painted for missed spots or areas that need touch-ups. Use a small brush to fix areas that need attention.  

Peel away any painter’s tape left behind, reinstall the cabinet doors, and move furniture and appliances back into the space. If you removed the cabinets for the project, reinstall the cabinets throughout the kitchen. 

Wrapping Up

Painting a kitchen can be a daunting task, especially if you’re painting the ceiling, walls, cabinets, and trim. But with the proper sequencing of each phase of your painting project, you can create a beautiful and seamless result free of unsightly dribbles. 

Of course, if the prospect of prepping, priming, and painting all of those surfaces sounds overwhelming, you can always leave it to the professionals. After all, even just painting the cabinets can be a massive project in itself, and when you add the rest of the kitchen to the mix, it can be downright daunting. 

So, if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of it all, do yourself a favor and hire a professional painter. You’ll get a beautiful result without all of the work. Win-win, right? 


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