Painted Kitchen Shelves

Get tips on painting kitchen shelves.

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Photo by: Peter Rymwid

Peter Rymwid

If you've recently painted your kitchen cabinets, you might wonder if painting the kitchen shelves is also necessary. That answer, quite frankly, is really up to you.

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Kitchen shelves can start to look shabby over time because of wear and tear from dishes and glasses constantly being put in and taken out. In addition, stains can accumulate and paint can chip. If you don't have glass cabinets or open shelving, it's easier to not fret about shabby shelves, but you'll still be seeing them every day when you open and close your cupboards.

If you do decide to paint the inside of your cabinets, you'll need to select a color. A lighter color usually works best in such a small, contained space. For a low-key, traditional look, choose a neutral shade such as white, gray or beige. If you want something more playful that will make you smile every time you see it, try a more striking shade such as bright yellow, mint green, aqua, sky blue, or raspberry. Make sure that the color you choose goes with the rest of the room, but if you're taking the time to paint the inside of your cabinets, you might as well go with a fun color.

When you're ready to get started, remove everything from inside your kitchen cabinets. Cover your countertop, backsplash, floor, and appliances with drop cloths to prevent any paint from spattering on them. It's also helpful to remove your cabinet doors to make it easier to paint inside them. If your shelves are removable, take them out and paint them one by one.

Before you start painting, make sure to clean your kitchen shelves using a mild detergent to remove any stains and debris. If the shelves don't feel even and smooth, you'll want to sand them a bit to ensure your paint will stick. After you've sanded, make sure to use a tack cloth to wipe up any dust.

Prime your kitchen shelves before you paint them, then sand again once the primer has dried to ensure you're working with a smooth surface. Apply your paint color with either a clean nap roller or a nylon-polyester paintbrush.

If painting the inside of your cabinets feels too tedious, try lining them with contact paper instead. Search on Etsy for fun vintage style contact papers or choose one in a bright shade. By lining your shelves with contact paper, you'll be able to hide any imperfections on your shelves and add some life to your kitchen cabinets without so much work.

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