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Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

I bought myself a new kitchen two years ago after living with a revamped, painted kitchen for over 20 years. To be honest I was amazed it lasted as long as it did. Admittedly the doors fell off on a regular basis, but what are screwdrivers for? It was a dark brown MFI 'oak' monstrosity with a creamy laminate worktop, I can't remember what the tiles were like and can't find the before pictures now, and I think it had a red lino floor. So as you can imagine, I couldn't wait to get rid of it. BUT we had spent all our money on buying the house, so couldn't afford a completely new kitchen. So the next best thing was to replace the doors, add a pelmet, top and bottom for depth, paint them, add new worktops, tiles, door knobs and a new floor. Here she is in all her glory, sorry the pic is so dark and please ignore the mess, I thought this was tidy!

This was a Farrow & Ball colour, Ball Room Blue? They don't do it any more but its sort of in between Parma Grey and Lulworth Blue. The tiles were from H & R Johnson My ex-husband painted the units and did a pretty good job as it lasted all those years, bits of the doors chipped off but the paint never did, if that isn't a good testimonial I don't know what is. Anyway, onto more stylish painted kitchens, but first a bit of expert advice. ASK THE EXPERTS has this to say: "Because of all the cooking that goes on in the kitchen, it’s inevitable that units and walls get greasy. So, you will need to remove all the grease and dirt before painting. If you don’t clean the cabinets properly, the dirt will be embedded in the wood which will cause problems in the future. The best way to do it is by sanding. It’s laborious, but will give you the best base to start from. If you can’t face that, many professionals use HG Intensive Cleaner for Painting Without Sanding, £4.89 for 1 ltr, Amazon, or Fluxaf Pro-Clean available from which is also biodegradeable, both can be used on all paints, varnish, lacquer and polyurethane. It will remove dirt, grease, grime, smoke, mildew and also wax from unpainted wood. Make sure you always use gloves if using these products.

You may need 2 or 3 brushes for painting kitchen cabinets. To start, apply primer, and we recommend using Zinsser Cover Stain or BIN, both available at - and apply it with a Purdy Pro-Extra brush, it’s stiff, cuts in nicely and applies paint evenly. Then for the top coat, we use Purdy Sprig for water-based paints and Purdy Pro Extra Monarch for oil-based paints. All But our members also recommend Fox brushes, available from and Royal and Langnickel from brushes too."

Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director at Little Greene explains “Choosing a durable finish is key to getting the look you want. Our water-based Intelligent Satinwood is ideal for kitchen cabinets. It’s extremely hard-wearing with a scrubbable finish and able to withstand the many knocks and scuffs a kitchen is prone to. It dries to a beautiful mid-sheen, so it’s not too glossy and is dry within four hours. However, if you want a glossier finish, choose Intelligent Gloss which has a sheen of 85% and is also quick drying and easy to clean."

Let's start with something funky from Dulux. I LOVE these colours! I'm not sure if I could have a kitchen this colour personally but I think it looks fab here. Shaker-style cabinets are timeless and the design adds interest. Here, the pink paint - Berry Pop - has been used on the lower wall to 'extend' the kitchen. Then build up the colour story with contrasting shades, here a muted pink - Pink Sandstone has been used on the upper wall and Lost Coral has been used on the island unit, with a rug cleverly incorporating all the colours. The colours are then picked out in the accessories, the lampshade, clock and Marimekko tea towel. All Dulux paints. Dulux Easycare Kitchen paint, £30.04 for 2.5L is an exceptionally tough, grease-resistant paint. It's grease-proof formulation resists everyday cooking stains, and is washable without the colour fading, so even the busiest kitchens will look great for longer.

Although whites and greys are still the go-to for most kitchens, there is a huge interest in green for kitchen cabinets this year with search increases up by more than 250% for sage green kitchen ideas and 300% for forest green kitchens. This look goes the whole hog with the kitchen cabinets and walls both in this moody shade. This is Crown's new Kitchen Paint with easyclean technology, from £20.50 for 2.5L, which can be used on walls, ceilings, wood and metal, so you only need one paint to do everything. Makes the job so much quicker, and if you make a little mistake, no-one will notice!

Another, lighter green, not really sage, more pistachio I would have said, but a lovely calming colour for a kitchen, it's Fernwood Green 2145-40 £24 for 0.94L by Benjamin Moore and used in a unique way - on the kitchen island then on the windows and window frames, one wall and the ceiling joist.

Dark blue kitchens have been trending for a while now, and show no signs of waning in popularity. If you haven't tried dark colours before, this is a good introduction. It's dramatic, looks great with wood and neutral shades and is forgiving in a high use area. Brass handles and taps look particularly good with it. Choose a warm blue shade rather than anything too chilly, especially if your kitchen is north facing, good examples are Indigo by Edward Bulmer and Hague Blue or Stiffkey Blue from Farrow & Ball or Deep Space Blue by Little Greene. Blue Shaker Kitchen by Harvey Jones

These cabinets have a real retro feel to them and are painted in a retro colour that is making a statement this year - terracotta/brick/spice, call it what you will. This is Drummond 16 from Little Greene in Intelligent Satinwood, also used on the kickboard. This combination of colours is lovely, and unusual, with the walls in pale green, Apple 137 matt emulsion £53 for 2.5L which picks up the colour of the worktop. The wall unit and tiles in Bone China Blue Deep 18, Satinwood £75.50 for 2.5L and Eggshell £68 for 2.5L and floor in Dock Blue 252 Floor Paint £74 for 2.5L. Intelligent All Surface Primer, £42 for 2.5L is used on all surfaces.

I can't talk about painting kitchen cabinets or any wood furniture or laminate for that matter without mentioning Annie Sloan - the Queen of painted furniture. She introduced us all to Chalk Paint, a wondrous product as there is little or no prep, you just slap it on! genius, so it's great for a quick revamp, especially if you are renting. She is famous for her Chalk Paint but here Annie's Wall Paint £41.95 for 2.5L has been used as its more durable and hard-wearing and therefore better suited to a kitchen environment. Here she mixed Aubusson Blue with Emperor's Silk to get this sumptuous aubergine colour, with the walls in Antoinette. Once you are satisfied, finish with Chalk Paint Wax, or Lacquer in gloss or matt for a hardwearing finish £54.95 for 2.5L.

And finally my new kitchen as seen in House Beautiful mag. No, its not painted, I just thought you might like to see the difference! Kitchen Howdens, Floor and Wall Tiles Mandarin Stone - and yes even though I love colour I played safe and went monochrome because it will probably be another 20 years before I do it again!


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