How to Paint Kitchen Walls, Tiles & Cabinets

Want to change the look of your outdated or dingy kitchen surfaces but don’t want to take on a full kitchen remodel? Then consider one of the easiest and least expensive kitchen do-overs: a paint job.

How to Paint Kitchen Walls

Step 1: Choose a New Kitchen Color Scheme

Decide on a new color scheme for your kitchen. Not sure where to start when selecting colors? Explore color options at your local True Value and get inspired by Designer Cards, Idea Cards, Lifestyle Cards, and Whole Home Cards that detail specific color combinations.

Once you’ve settled on a color scheme, simply add a few pops of color here and there with accessories such as vases, bowls, wall hangings, or colorful kitchen gadgets set around the room.

Step 2: Prepare the Walls for Painting

Now that you’ve settled on your kitchen color, it’s time to prepare the walls for painting. If you can’t move your furniture to another room, cover it with tarps and protect the floor with drop cloths. Using a damp cloth, wash the wall’s surface with mild detergent and water. Patch any holes and wall damage with spackling compound. Scrape off flaky areas of old paint using a putty knife. Remove switch and outlet plates, ceiling fixtures, cover plates, and other hardware with a screwdriver. Cover edges and trim with painter’s tape.

Even though it’s not necessary to apply a coat of primer before you paint, it’s a good idea. Doing so will give you better coverage and help the paint withstand wear. If your walls are stained, be sure to use a stain-killing primer prior to painting. When painting a light color over a dark color, you will get better results with fewer coats by applying a primer first. Also, if you are planning on painting a very dark color, you will get truer color by using a tinted primer coat first.

Priming doesn’t require as much care as painting, but you’ll use the same technique. Apply EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer—move in 6′-square sections using a series of overlapping “W” strokes from right to left, then back from left to right. Spread the primer evenly using horizontal strokes. Continue in 6′-square sections until the entire surface is primed.

Helpful Tip

Put a window fan (set to “exhaust”) in your work area and open a nearby window. This helps to minimize dust and fumes in your house by venting much of it outside.

Step 3: Apply Ceiling Brushwork

“Cut in” or outline the walls where they meet the ceiling. This will allow you to reach areas you ordinarily can’t use a paint roller. Mask the perimeter of the ceiling with painter’s tape, then paint using EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint and a paintbrush around the ceiling perimeter. An angled sash brush or edging pad works well for cutting into corners. Get as close to the area as you can and apply the paint about a ¼” away from the edge of the surface. On the second pass, apply more pressure to carefully push the paint into place.

Helpful Tips

To roll closer to the edges without making a smeary mess, put your hand inside a plastic bag and slide the paint-soaked roller so it extends about 1″ past the end of the roller handle cage. This allows you to roll right up to the edges and cover any brush stroke messes.

When doing ceiling brushwork, it’s easier to pour paint into a small paint pail or a coffee can. That way you don’t have to lug a heavy paint can up the ladder with you

Step 4: Paint the Ceiling and Walls

Start with the ceiling before painting your walls. Use True Value EasyCare Ultra Premium Ceiling Paint. Always use a quality latex paint on walls such as EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint. Use the same technique as priming your ceiling and walls, moving in 6′-square sections across the ceiling and walls. Be sure to feather the edges of the squares, using less pressure when applying paint at the edges of the square. This will keep the finish even and prevent any lines where the paint overlaps from another section. Keep working with the squares until the surface is completely painted. Without adding paint to the roller, use light strokes to re-roll from the bottom of the wall to the top (or across the ceiling) to ensure everything is even.

If your paint is any finish other than flat, you should go over the entire surface (for very large areas, do two square sections at a time) once again with one-directional, overlapping, non-diagonal strokes to blend the paint.

Helpful Tip

Be sure to choose a roller cover that suits the surface texture. If you have a “popcorn” or textured ceiling, use a roller with a thicker pile. Your local True Value can help you find the right roller cover for your paint project.

Use a brush wherever your roller can’t reach. Dip the bristles no more than an inch into the paint and go over areas in the corners, next to doors, windows, and molding. The first coat doesn’t have to be totally dry, but the longer you let the paint dry, the better the coverage will be. Paint the second coat the same way you painted the first.

Step 5: Clean Up

Pick up your drop cloths or tarps and close up your paint cans. Dispose of used paint cans appropriately. Cleaning paintbrushes and other tools can be made easy with warm water and soapy water. Thoroughly rinse your roller covers and brushes in water, and then place them in a brush/roller spinner, if you have one, to remove excess liquid. Store in their protective sleeves or hang them on nails or hooks. Pick up drop cloths carefully, making sure not to spread around any paint that may have gotten on them. Next, remove painter’s tape at a 45-degree angle to avoid removing any fresh paint. Remember that the longer it stays on, the harder it is to remove.

How to Paint Ceramic Tile

If you’re tired of the color of your ceramic tile or you’re changing your décor or kitchen color scheme, painting kitchen tile can save you the expense of re-tiling. The key is very careful preparation, as well as using the right primer and the proper paint.

Step 1: Clean the Tile and Grout

Use a good commercial bathroom tile-and-grout cleaner to remove all grease, dirt, and grime. If there is any mildew, be sure to use a product designed to kill mildew and remove any stains. Use a non-metallic abrasive pad to clean. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of cleaner.

Safety Alert!

Wear rubber gloves and goggles to protect skin and eyes from harsh cleaning chemicals.

Helpful Tip

If grout repairs are required, they have to be done at least 48 hours prior to painting so the new grout will have adequate time to cure.

Step 2: Sand the Tile

For the primer and paint to bond properly, you have to sand the tile adequately. Use a very fine, 220-grit sandpaper to remove the gloss without scratching the surface of the tile. Any scratches on the tiles will show through the new finish, so take care when sanding the tiles.

Safety Alert!

Wear goggles, a dust mask, and other protective clothing when sanding.

Step 3: Remove Dust and Debris

Clean the tile thoroughly with a vacuum, soft brush, and a slightly damp, lint-free cloth. This will remove all sanding dust, but it will also reveal any areas that you missed—those will look like glossy patches. If necessary, re-sand the glossy patches.

Step 4: Prime the Tile

Use EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer. Because the primer is critical to a successful paint job, you may want to apply two coats.

Step 5: Paint the Tile

Using the same technique as with the primer, apply EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint over the primer. Paint the second coat after the drying time specified on the label. Latex primers and paints may take a full 14 days to become resistant to scratches and abrasions.

Helpful Tip

Put a window fan (set to “exhaust”) in your work area and open a nearby window. This helps to minimize dust and fumes in your house by venting much of it outdoors.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets is a simple weekend project with results that speak for themselves. Kitchen cabinets see a lot of use, so you’ll want to use EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint to withstand the daily wear-and-tear.

When painting your cabinets, you don’t have to paint the interior of the cabinets themselves. The interior is only visible when the cabinet is open and leaving the inside of the cabinet as is won’t have any effect on the final result. However, you will want to paint both sides of the cabinet doors.

Helpful Tip

Put a window fan (set to “exhaust”) in your work area and open a nearby window. This helps to minimize dust and fumes in your house by venting much of it outdoors.

Step 1: Remove Cabinet Hardware and Clean Surfaces

Remove the door handles, knobs, and closures using a screwdriver. If you’re going to paint with the doors on, you don’t have to remove the hinges. You can paint the hinges so they match the cabinets, or cover them with blue painter’s tape. If you aren’t planning on painting the hinges, you may want to remove the doors to avoid the hinges altogether.

Be sure to protect your floor and/or countertops with drop cloths. If you choose to remove your cabinet doors, it might be easier (and safer) to paint them in the garage.

Clean the cabinets with trisodium phosphate (TSP)—a heavy-duty cleaning powder. Dilute the TSP with water according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Use a sponge and the TSP solution to wash the doors and the cabinet exteriors, letting them dry completely.

Sand any shiny surfaces with coarse-grit sandpaper until they are dull. This will give the surface a rough texture for the primer to bond to.

Safety Alerts!

Use TSP as directed by the manufacturer. TSP can corrode metal and damage finished wood. Be sure to wear protective eyewear, clothing, and rubber gloves.

Wear goggles, a dust mask, and other protective clothing when sanding.

Step 2: Prime the Cabinets

Using a small roller, apply EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Primer/Sealer to the front and back of the cabinet doors—then prime the cabinet façade. When you’re done with the roller, go back over the primed surfaces with a paintbrush and prime any areas the roller couldn’t reach. Make sure the cabinet doors don’t close during this process—your cabinets might stick shut. Leave the cabinet doors open and let them dry overnight.

Step 3: Paint the First Coat

After the primer has dried, apply the first coat of EasyCare Ultra Premium Interior Paint. Follow the same pattern you used for priming the cabinet. Again, leave the cabinet doors open and let the paint dry for 24 hours.

Step 4: Paint the Final Coat

Lightly sand away any bubbles that formed with the first coat of paint, using fine-grit sandpaper. Now it’s time to apply the final coat. Do the brushwork first in the areas you know the roller can’t reach. Then finish up with the roller. When done, let the cabinet doors dry for 24 hours before hanging them. It takes a couple of weeks for the paint to harden, so take care with your freshly painted cabinets because they will be susceptible to scratching.

Congratulations! Your kitchen has been updated with paint and without the cost of a complete remodel.

Project Shopping List

Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.