Upcycling your kitchen

We had that awful “orange” tassie oak kitchen.  As a quick fix until some later renovations, I gave it a shabby chic look and painted it with chalk paint (and sealed with wax) which stayed perfect for 3 years until we did some major renovations in the kitchen area.  We tore down a wall and made it double the size so used half of the old tassie oak kitchen and we got raw tassie oak on the new side to match.  We did use as much of the previous kitchen as we could.  To upcycle and makeover your kitchen, it is quite easy.  I will say it is a big job though.  It is not something you’ll knock over in a few hours.  Depending on the size of the kitchen, it may not be a weekend job either.  It’s repetitive, but so worth it when it’s all finished.  Painting your kitchen will literally give it a new look and it won’t break the budget.  Don’t take short cuts and go the extra mile and you’ll be happy with your diy kitchen makeover.

Choosing a colour can sometimes be the most agonizing part.  They say you should go with your original pick.  If you are undecided on colours, I recommend doing a few colour samples by painting some of the doors.  It will help give you a better idea.  It will also give you a feel for the colour with what it is like to paint with – some colours are easier to paint with than others.


When I originally chalk painted my kitchen, I removed all handles and gave it a really good clean and then painted straight over with chalk paint.  I didn’t use a primer, just cleaned, chalk painted, gave it the shabby chic look and waxed.  I painted it a light olive colour which had great coverage.  I then waxed it (yes, waxing is a big job) and I wouldn’t wax again – there are now many great brush-on sealers.  It was a real shabby chic look and I got lots of positive comments about it.  Chalk paint has less prep work involved and is an amazing paint to use for your DIY projects because it requires no prep work and eliminates the need for priming.


However, after our major renovations we had a new section to the kitchen that we matched to the existing and I painted it with Pureco’s Mineral Paint and wanted a sleek, Hamptons look.  When using mineral paint, prep is very important.  Once again, I started by removing all the handles.  I then gave it a light sand down – remember I had previously chalk painted some of it and the other half was the new raw timber section.  I wanted to remove any brush marks from my previously chalk painted sections.  I also had a little bit extra sanding to do on the raw timber – raw timber gives you a fluffy surface if not sanded down properly.  I did all this leaving the cupboards on – I have also painted another kitchen and took them off.  In my opinion, leaving the doors on or taking them off, is up to you.  I do not paint the hinges though.  If you wipe off any paint on the hinges while painting, it looks nice and neat for the finished result.  You can also tape up the hinges if you prefer - use frog tape or 3M tape from Bunnings.  If you are spraying, obviously you need to remove all the doors.


With cleaning the kitchen doors, drawers and kick board, give it a thorough clean and scrub down using vinegar and dishwashing detergent in warm water.  Kitchens are prone to getting a greasy oil residue on them, so cleaning is quite important.  A sponge scourer is also much better to use than a soft cloth.  If you use any heavy-duty cleaners (like sugar soap) be sure to fully wipe off and rinse before applying any paint.  Sometimes using heavy duty cleaners can leave a residue and therefore can cause adhesion issues.


When I painted my kitchen in the mineral paint, once fully cleaned, I then did one coat of primer.  You can either roll or brush with painting your kitchen – you can even spray.  I’ve done two kitchens -  brushing one and the other kitchen rolling.  Rolling is definitely quicker, but you still need your brush for the edges and recesses / cut outs (if any) – and make sure you use a good quality brush.  Be sure to always look over where you’ve painted for runs, drips etc. – particularly on the edges of your doors and in any recesses if they have any cut out’s.  I used Pureco’s Base & Blocker (this product works in conjunction with Pureco’s Mineral Paint).  On the raw timber pieces, I did give a light sand after the primer.  The existing chalk painted doors were fine and didn’t require a light sand.  After priming, it is always a good idea to look over the individual pieces for any defects – if there are any dints to fix, I’ll use a filler at this step.  Then lightly sand when dry and touchup with primer. 


You are now ready to start painting but at this step, make sure before starting to paint that you actually STIR your paint.  Shaking the heck out of a tub of paint just doesn’t suffice.  Sometimes the tint/s in the paint sit on the bottom, so when you stir, stir from the bottom up.  Most often before I paint, I will sit the paint upside down to ensure the tint gets off the bottom and then stir.  Then it is time to start painting - for me personally, I had to do 4-5 coats for full coverage.


As I was using white for the Hampton’s look, I had to do more coats than you normally would with colour.  I also wanted a bright white, and unfortunately the white I chose had a clear base – therefore it requires more coats.  This is something to keep in mind, if your whites have a white base, they will have better coverage.  If your whites (and some colours) have a clear base, they will always require more coats for full coverage.


Once fully painted, I gave the kitchen two coats of sealer.  I used Pureco’s Eggshell Sealer.  Normally when I seal furniture, I do just one coat.  However, because a kitchen is a high use area, I wanted the extra protection and did two coats. 


Be careful if you are painting white, that you don’t use a polyurethane sealer as it is known to yellow.  Your whites will slowly turn to a yellowish, cream colour.  So, make sure your sealer doesn’t have polyurethane in it and don’t use an oil based sealer either.


If using mineral paint, you then have to let your kitchen cure – so be very careful with it for around the 21 day mark. 


I will mention that you can paint over laminate kitchens.  I used a product from Bunnings called ESP – you wipe it on, and it gives you an adhesion for your paint to stick to the laminate.  Then paint away.   When I did my laminate kitchen, I used an enamel paint – so I just did a few coats and that was it.  I went back to the house 10 years later for an open home inspection (purely to be a sticky beak) and it was still perfect.


In closing, I’ll leave you with some tips with painting your kitchen –

  • if you take off the doors, number them or label them!
  • If you are time poor, this is a job that you can do slowly – paint a door a day and eventually, before you know it, you will have painted your kitchen
  • have a few grades of sandpaper (fine, medium and course)
  • invest in a good paint brush and/or roller
  • use a scourer sponge instead of a soft cloth to clean
  • replacing your handles will assist in giving a new look
  • rags and baby wipes are always a great to have close by
  • instead of washing your brushes after each painting session, you can put your brushes in a zip seal bag or cover the ends with glad wrap and then put them in the fridge until next time you paint – this saves heaps of time!


Enjoy your painting and if you are researching all of this before painting your kitchen, good luck and go for it 😊



Tamie x