Kitchen Painting Ideas

Here are some kitchen painting ideas to support the function - AND the look of your kitchen. Is your kitchen multifunctional - is it also your daily dining room, or do you work in it? Then it's extra worth the effort to make something nice out of it. Click here for kitchen color schemes, or scroll down for some practical ideas on kitchen painting.

Kitchen painting ideas - keeping it clean

First of all, kitchen painting ideas need to be practical - food can end up in funny places, and that greasy film on top of the kitchen cabinets needs some serious scrubbing, every now and then. If you paint your kitchen walls with an acrylic semigloss paint, your walls will not take on stains and will be strong enough to endure some old fashioned cleaning.

That doesn't mean your paint has to be a one-coat hiding job. You can do all the finishes you want, when you use a good primer, and protect the results with a strong polyurethane transparant laquer.

Much of the styling possibilities will be defined by the flooring and the cabinets, if you don't intend to replace them sooner or later. There are a few major visual surfaces in a kitchen: first the kitchen cabinets, then the floor, and after that the walls. It's best to first adjust the kitchen cabinet colors to the floor, and then the walls to these two.

Kitchen painting idea

Kitchen painting ideas: the cabinets

Kitchen cabinets make out a big visual surface in your kitchen, and there are several kitchen painting ideas for (re)styling them.

  • do you want them to be 'objects' or 'part of the wall'?

  • If they reach up to the ceiling, they can look as a 'wall' and give an ordered and peaceful look. In general, you might want to keep them light then (or in an uniform neutral or blue shade). If you paint them brown-red, they'll look like objects, no matter what you do. If you want the kitchen cabinets to look like 'objects', they can be made of wood, have tole painting patterns on them, or you might think of using faux painting techniques. But a fresh good color with matching handgrips can be great too.

  • How much light do you have? When your kitchen is not that big, be careful with dark colors.
  • Do you prefer a cleanly, ordered kitchen look?
  • Or would you rather turn the kitchen into a living space (that happens to be the kitchen too)?
  • Kids love to draw - when you put chalkboard paint on (one of) your kitchen cabinets, your kid can enjoy his/herself while you're busy cooking.

Kitchen cabinets often are made of laminate. It can be painted over, but it does need a special primer. Click here for more on painting over laminate

Kitchen color schemes

In terms of green and blue: almost all not-too-dark greens are good. Fresh spring-green can be particularly harmonizing, and looks great in a dark brown and white kitchen (and modern design). A light sky-blue ceiling gives a very pleasant feeling of natural freshness, but a whole kitchen of it may look cold.
Turquoise is great too, for a feeling of freshness and hygiene, especially when you live in hot area's. Combining turquoise and orange gives an abundant feeling (maybe a bit campy). Lavender gives a quiet and meditative mood (and also good for hot area's).

Trouble getting up in the morning? Have some yellow accents, or a yellow ochre accent wall. A warm yellow can mend your mood.

Practical kitchen painting ideas

Kitchen cabinets are used intensively, so a strong paint is recommended. When you paint over a laminate finishing, it's best to take a shellac primer to make you new paint hold.
If you want to work fast (I assume you need your kitchen daily), you might want to hang your cabinet doors to dry, then you can paint both sides in one go. If you can't use the hinges for that, you could screw 2 little hooks in every door, in the hinging side. Hang them on clothes-hangers, on a horizontal stick in the garage.

Wallpaper might be an issue - it's not a very good basis for strong acrylic laquers - better take it off. But it might be okay using latex over wallpaper on wall-areas that are not too close to the stove or the sink. Click here for more on painting over wallpaper.

Need to block stains or odors on the walls? Shellac sealer (Zinsser bin sealer) is also good for that. It prevents old stains - AND odors - from bleeding into your new paint layer. You can work over the shellac primer with latex, or oil based paint.

Kitchen painting ideas on color

Of course, kitchen colors are a matter of taste. But some colors just make you feel good about food, and others don't.

Here's a recipe for that creamy off-white kitchen color that was much used in the 1950's:

  • 95% of white paint
  • 5% of yellow ochre paint
  • a tiny hinge of black (less than a drop)

Red things look edible, and blue signals "you can't eat me". Strong reds and orange-reds may make you want to eat, unless you use them in big amounts (then they make you feel like you already ate). Carmine and burgundy are good for you appetite too, but less forceful. In light versions (I mean, mixed with white) you get very pleasing cherry-red and raspberry shades. Brown-reds are good, they give a solid, warm, earthly and cosy feeling. Skin colors might look funny in a kitchen - but when carefully arranged with brown and violet tones, they can give a feminine and luxury feeling.

Kitchen painting ideas on styling

  • Country kitchen
  • Think of warmly stained wood with an old, used look (that was polished shiny again). Painted wood in fresh colors can be nice too. An old, wooden table is almost a must. Curtains can have pretty fabrics, patterns and colors. Walls can be plain white, if there's enough color in the rest of the kitchen. A chair rail is a good idea (with another color underneath).

  • French kitchen
  • Think of whitewashed wood and lavender paint. Matte milk paint can be particularly cute, when combined with flowers and patterned fabrics. Think of tiny and refined patterns, or patterns with flowers.

  • high-tech kitchen
  • In a high-tech modern kitchen, the pretty machinery should be in full display. Black, white and beige (or neutral or another accent color) can be divided in pleasing amounts, and the quality of the materials you use will be important. High-gloss paint looks very classy - but eggsheen is more practical. On highgloss paint you see every fingerprint, and it only looks good on a flawless surface.

  • Sixties kitchen
  • Think of purple, green and orange colors, and natural woods. Have flowers in the kitchen (real ones), and decorate things to your taste - with jewelry, lamps, posters etc.

  • New folk style kitchen
  • Here you can use your imagination and unusual materials. A concrete countertop, cabinets made of old wood and chicken wire, newly invented tole painting patterns. Colors can be abundant, but they shouldn't look as if they have to do it all by themselves. Take colored materials: authentic-looking colored materials or authentic milk paint. Avoid plastic, unless it's a wink to the fifties.

  • A warm home
  • Home is where the heart is, so follow your desires. Take some time to make an interior painting design for it.

Here you'll find a lot more kitchen painting ideas and good things for your kitchen: You'll land on the page "kitchen design basics", and on other pages you'll find a lot more on kitchen stuff.

Related pages:

Oil Painting Techniques

Acrylic Painting

Watercolor painting

Color Schemes

Interior Painting techniques

Interior Painting Ideas


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