How to Paint a Kitchen Island

Bring customized style to your kitchen by painting the island a color that complements the room.
Neutral Transitional Kitchen With White Cabinets

Neutral Transitional Kitchen With White Cabinets

White cabinets and kitchen island complement the white tile backsplash. Geometric-patterned pendant light hang above the island to accent the gray granite countertops.

By: Janell Beals

Materials Needed:

  • painters' tape
  • masking paper
  • 1 tube caulk
  • caulk gun
  • wood filler
  • 2 gallons semigloss oil-based paint (tinted to a color of your choice)
  • 2 gallons oil-based primer
  • 1 quart conditioning additive for oil-based paint
  • 4 extra-fine sanding pads
  • high quality oil paint brush
  • putty knife
  • 4 tack cloths

Prepare Cabinets

Gather supplies and remove all hardware from cabinets. Tip: Place hardware in a plastic bag and label cabinet doors and drawers with numbered strips of painters' tape to make reassembly easier.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Preparing Cabinets for Painting

Painting a Kitchen Island: Preparing Cabinets for Painting

The first step in painting a kitchen island is to gather supplies and remove all hardware from the cabinets. Tip: Place hardware in a plastic bag and label the cabinet doors and drawers with numbered strips of painters' tape to make reassembly easier.

Clean and Sand

Wipe cabinetry clean then use sanding pad to lightly sand surfaces to be painted.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Clean and Sand Surfaces

Painting a Kitchen Island: Clean and Sand Surfaces

After you have gathered your supplies and removed the hardware, Step 2 in painting a kitchen island is to clean the cabinets. To do this, wipe the cabinetry clean with a soft cloth and then use a sanding pad to lightly sand the surfaces to be painted.

Remove Drawers and Door Fronts

Remove all drawers and doors to expose frame.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Expose the Island's Frame

Painting a Kitchen Island: Expose the Island's Frame

After cleaning and sanding the surfaces to be painted, expose the island's frame. Remove all the drawers and doors to view the interior surfaces.

Protect Cabinet Interior

Cover cabinet interior with masking paper. Carefully tape into place to protect interior surfaces.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Protecting the Cabinet Interior Before Painting

Painting a Kitchen Island: Protecting the Cabinet Interior Before Painting

Step 4 in painting a kitchen island is to protect the cabinet's interior before you begin painting. Cover the cabinet's interior with masking paper. Then, carefully tape it into place.

Protect Surrounding Surfaces

Cover floor and countertop with masking paper and tape into place.

Protect Surrounding Surfaces With Masking Paper

Protect Surrounding Surfaces With Masking Paper

After protecting the inside of the cabinets, protect the exterior surfaces. Cover the floor and countertop with masking paper and tape it into place.

Caulk and Fill

Caulk seams between panels and door frames. Fill any holes with wood filler. Let wood filler dry one hour. Sand dried wood filler until it is flush with the cabinet's surface. Wipe cabinetry clean with tack cloth, carefully removing all traces of dust to ensure a smooth paint job.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Caulking Cabinet Seams

Painting a Kitchen Island: Caulking Cabinet Seams

Step 6 in painting a kitchen island is to caulk the seams between the panels and door frames. Fill any holes with wood filler. Let wood filler dry one hour. Sand dried wood filler until it is flush with the cabinet's surface. Wipe the cabinetry clean with a tack cloth, carefully removing all traces of dust to ensure a smooth paint job.

Apply Primer

Paint all surfaces with oil-based primer. Let dry 24 hours. Tip: Mix conditioning additive for oil-based products into primer to lessen brush marks.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Applying a Primer to the Cabinets

Painting a Kitchen Island: Applying a Primer to the Cabinets

After you have sanded the wood filler, Step 7 in painting a kitchen island is to prime the cabinets. Paint all cabinet surfaces with an oil-based primer. Let them dry for 24 hours. Tip: Mix conditioning additive for oil-based products into the primer to lessen brush marks.

Sand Primed Surfaces

Remove visible brush marks with sanding pad. Wipe cabinetry clean with tack cloth.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Sand the Primed Surfaces

Painting a Kitchen Island: Sand the Primed Surfaces

After you have applied primer to the island, sand the surfaces that were primed. To do this, remove visible brush marks with a sanding pad. Then, wipe cabinetry clean with a tack cloth.

Paint and Reassemble Island

Mix conditioning additive into oil-based paint. Apply two coats of paint with brush. Let dry 24-36 hours between coats, lightly sanding surfaces before applying the second layer of paint. Allow 48 hours for paint to fully cure then remove protective coverings. Reinstall drawers, door fronts and hardware.

Painting a Kitchen Island: Paint and Reassemble the Island

Painting a Kitchen Island: Paint and Reassemble the Island

After you have sanded the primed surfaces, paint and reassemble the island once it is dry. Mix conditioning additive into oil-based paint. Apply two coats of paint with a brush. Let it dry 24-36 hours between coats, lightly sanding surfaces before applying the second layer of paint. Allow 48 hours for the paint to fully cure, then remove the protective coverings. Reinstall the drawers, door fronts and hardware.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Streamlined Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

With a few simple steps and basic materials, you can take the look of your kitchen cabinets from humdrum to high-end.

Kitchen Update: Add a Glass Tile Backsplash

Adding a high-end glass tile backsplash is a lot easier than you may think, and it makes a tremendous difference in your kitchen's style.

Update Kitchen Cabinets With Glass Inserts

With these easy, step-by-step instructions, anyone can quickly and inexpensively transform builder-grade cabinet doors into beautiful, custom-looking glass insert doors.

Magnetic Kitchen Boards and Shelves

Transform empty kitchen wall space into functional, modern display and storage space with our easy-to-create magnetic accessories.

Upgrade Your Kitchen With a Budget DIY Backsplash

Bored with your kitchen's backsplash? Make a new one with upholstery fabric and clear acrylic — the color and pattern options are endless. Perfect for renters, this application can be customized and easily removed when you move out.

How to Build a DIY Kitchen Island on Wheels

Need some extra workspace in your kitchen? Build a rolling island for added functionality and style. One side stores a stand mixer, sheet pans, cutting boards and more, while the other side allows for extra seating. Perfect for small spaces, this portable kitchen island easily rolls out when you need it and neatly tucks away when you don’t. 

How to Modernize a Traditional Brass Chandelier

With a few simple steps, take an old brass chandelier from old, fussy and formal to functional, fun and fresh.

Create a Vinyl Photo Backsplash

In a few quick steps, turn a favorite photograph into a durable, hip kitchen backsplash.

Distressed and Antiqued Kitchen Cabinets

Add cottage-style charm to white painted cabinets by distressing then applying antiquing glaze. This quick and easy project will give builder basic cabinets a custom look in no time.

Custom Kitchen Drum Pendants

Create contemporary kitchen island lighting with easy-to-make custom fabric-covered shades on pendant fixture kits.
More from:

Fast Fix: Kitchens

On TV

Good Bones

6:30am | 5:30c

Container Homes

7:30am | 6:30c

Fixer Upper

8am | 7c

Fixer Upper

9am | 8c

Fixer Upper

10am | 9c

Fixer Upper

11am | 10c

Fixer Upper

12pm | 11c

Fixer Upper

1pm | 12c

Fixer Upper

2pm | 1c

Fixer Upper

3pm | 2c

Fixer Upper

4pm | 3c

Fixer Upper

5pm | 4c

Fixer Upper

6pm | 5c

Fixer Upper

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Fixer Upper

8pm | 7c

Fixer Upper

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

Fixer Upper

11pm | 10c

Fixer Upper

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

Fixer Upper

2am | 1c

Fixer Upper

3am | 2c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.