How to Paint a Kitchen Island

Bring customized style to your kitchen by painting the island a color that complements the room.
Beige Kitchen With Island, White Cabinets and Granite Counters

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.

Kitchen cabinet island with hardware removed.

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.

Wiping down a kitchen cabinet once it is sanded.

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.

Kitchen Island With Drawers and Door Removed

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.

A kitchen island, with the interior protected with masking paper.

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.

Floor and Island Countertop Covered in 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.

A kitchen cabinet with caulked with wood filler.

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.

A kitchen cabinet door front with primer paint applied.

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.

Gray Sanding Pad With White Dust

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.

Brush Stroke With Neutral Paint

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.

Next Up

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