Considerations Before Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets with Chalk Paint

While painting the two desks for my project studio during the last couple of weeks, I had lots of time to think.  What did I think about?  Well, I thought  a lot about…mostly painting.  Surprised?  Haha!

Someone told me a while back that they plan to paint their kitchen cabinets with chalk paint.

You could’ve knocked me over with a feather!  “Why?”  I asked her.

Said person‘s reply was no answer at all.  “Well, it’s wonderful!”  (Really?  How does she know?)

Said person has never painted a thing with chalk paint.  She hasn’t experimented.   Ever.

As I painted, I thought to write this post so you will consider a few key points in kitchen cabinetry before making such a drastic decision.  By now, you clearly know how I love to paint furniture with Annie Sloan™ Chalk Paint (and my favorite substitute, Valspar™ Super Flat Paint and Primer).  Love it or not, we must realize kitchen cabinetry is altogether different from furniture pieces!

Chalk Paint Considerations


  • Paint something else first.  Yes.  Do it now.  Do not pass GO.  You need a point of reference on a product before deciding to repaint your kitchen cabinets.  If you’ve never painted anything with chalk paint, paint at least one piece – preferably several.  Said person  has no idea what the end result feels like, looks like, wears like, etc.  You should know, too.
  • Do you plan to wax the cabinets?  Use different waxes on trial pieces, clear wax, then dark wax, and then no wax.  Annie Sloan recommends no wax for pieces placed on a porch.  With no wax, notice how the paint comes off every time you wipe it clean.  If you want to skip the step of waxing inside your cabinets, think again.  Every time you wipe them out, you’ll take some paint off.  That means repainting more often than anyone wants to do it!
  •  Consider cleaning.  Have you noticed a certain build-up of dust/grease/grime in certain areas of your kitchen – especially near the stove?Range Hood

    Chalk paint isn’t smooth like regular paint, so I question whether it’s scrub-able.  After the wax of your trial piece has hardened and “set up” well, handle it, wipe it, put a cleaner on it, like I did on this step-stool I painted two years ago.

    Chalk Painted Step StoolWhat do the chemicals do?  What happens to the feel of the wax?  I have to say my chemicals didn’t change the feel of my finish with one application of cleanser, but I don’t know what would happen over time, after many cleanings.  A hard surface would be my top choice for a kitchen.

  • High traffic, high heat, and wet areas.  Think of the heat sources around your cabinets.  Near the stove/oven, will the wax melt or get gummy over time?  That’s a chance I personally don’t want to take.  In the video below, you’ll see what happens in wet areas.  While chalk paint is obviously the look this woman loves in her kitchen, it’s totally not a color or shabby style I personally would choose – nor said person, I believe.  Said person currently has and likes her very sleek white cabinets.  I personally would want water and heat to be impenetrable through my cabinet’s finish.  Regardless of color and shabby-ness, this video is pretty telling of how chalk painted cabinets held up after a year of wear.  (And, I apologize to this woman if I’ve hurt her feelings at all.  If she loves her cabinets, I’m happy for her.  Truly.)

I guess you can tell I have a slanted opinion against using chalk paint for kitchen cabinetry.  But, that’s just my opinion.  Our island had a nice, sleek painted finish that was done before we moved in over ten years ago, and it still looks the same.

Painted Kitchen Cabinetry - Regular Paint

Our cabinets survived a family of four until our kids went away to college a few years ago.  The main cabinets are stained and coated with a hard finish that’s very durable and scrub-able.  I am blessed.

I may eat my words in the future, but for now I’m convinced that I’d be unhappy with chalk paint in the long run.

For your kitchen, the choice is yours!  What are your thoughts so far?














  1. says

    Kim, I have warm maple cabinets and Butch would freak out if I said that I was going to paint them. My cabinets were installed in 2003, and they look as wonderful now as they did then. I try to be true to my own style rather than following the latest trend, if you follow trends, you won’t ever stop painting! Very good post! Happy Monday!
    Pam Richardson recently posted…Simple + Southern Sunday No. 119My Profile

    • says

      Thank you, Pam. Guess I’m too much of a traditionalist. But, who wants to redo cabinets more often than necessary? I love your cabinets. We had something similar int he GA house, and word got back to me after moving that the new owner (a shabby sheik fan) painted those Ferrari cabinets. That was hard to swallow! There went the warranty of 9 baked-on layers of finish! She didn’t have a clue, even though I left the paperwork so she’d know the fine cabinetry we’d put into the kitchen when we overhauled it 3 years prior. You are so smart not to follow trends! I hope you have a great week. 🙂

  2. Robin says

    I haven’t used chalk paint. Yet. I had doubts about it for kitchen cabinets because of the same reasons you stated. I would think a poly sealer would be best in the kitchen. We have a LOT of grease near the stove. I use olive oil just about every day. The wall behind my stove is grease city. It’s horrible. It wasn’t just us, there was already some grease spots on the beige builder grade painted wall there. I can’t wait to tile that space!

    I think I may do a bit of distressing. Maybe. And call it a day. No chalk paint in the kitchen for me!

    • says

      Yes, tile sounds nice and non-absorbant. 😉 For now, we have drywall, too. Someday, we’ll redo things, but we’ll put it off a little longer. Distressing your cabinets sounds like the easiest answer at this point if they’re already bumped some from use. When you mentioned chalk painting your cabinets last week, I wanted to get this post out to you ASAP. I wouldn’t want you to regret doing such a huge project because it didn’t turn out like you’d dreamed. We have enough disappointments in life! Happy Monday! 🙂

    • says

      I have to agree, Lu. Spots show up on white cabinets, so they have to be wiped clean often. No telling how dirty my stained cabinets are because I can’t see the dirt. Yikes! Please don’t tell, OK?

  3. says

    Kim, I have never entertained the idea of chalk painting my kitchen cabinets. That sounds like a never ending challenge. We have been in our home since 1994 and our ash cabinets have yellowed so I think I am going to have them painted. But to tell you the truth I don’t want a painted look and prefer the wood. But the yellow is/has been driving me crazy. I wish I could do a ‘Bewitched’ and wiggle my nose and get the cabinets looking like they used too! I am so glad you shared this video so I know for sure I will not venture into the chalk realm!

    • says

      I don’t understand why your cabinets yellowed, either. White oil-based paint yellows over time, but I think you’re saying your stained cabinets yellowed. Is that right? Rather than having them painted, you could have someone sand off the current finish and re-stain. then add a sealer. Sanding is messy and a lot of work, though. Tough decisions… I hope you get what you like after you decide. 🙂

  4. says

    hmmmm…not sure about this one, I have several pieces that are painted and waxed, and they are very durable, no problems with the finish or paint coming off…but I agree, kitchen cabinets really should have a professional finish on them…
    Jenna Meon recently posted…Recipe Box, Random WednesdayMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge