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Paint Your Kitchen in 6 Simple Steps

Kitchen design/Photographer: Tessa Neustadt/Kitchen design by Alexander Design; home builder: E. Nero Smeraldo, ENS Builders

Painting the kitchen just isn't like painting the rest of the house. There's grease and humidity to contend with, pricy appliances to protect, design decisions to be agonized over—all in a space used not just for cooking and eating but for gathering and, well, living. Tony Jarvis, the expert painter behind Jarvis Painting & Interiors, breaks down the process into 6 super simple steps.

Step 1: Sample, sample, sample.
Experiment with color samples for the walls, ceilings, and trim, advocates Tony. “See what they look like in different light throughout the day." Consider choosing a low-luster satin finish or matte finish in a humidity-friendly paint, like water- and mildew-resistant Benjamin Moore Aura Bath and Spa Paint. (Bonus points for its matte finish, which is “unusual, as most paint for kitchens have more of a gloss finish.”)

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Step 2: Protect.
Cover appliances with dropcloths, and use dropcloths or construction paper to protect the floors. Adhere low tack painter’s tape to keep things secure.

Step 3: Clean and prep.
“Patch small holes, repair cracks with Ready Patch and/or plaster, and caulk cracks in corners of trim. Sand baseboards, windows, doors and frames. Sand patches and spot-prime. Clean any grease buildup with TSP (trisodium phosphate).”

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Step 4: Prime—if needed.
When should you prime? Prime the ceiling and walls if 1) there's a lot of grease or dirt, and/or 2) you’re using latex—not oil—paint.

Step 5: Paint.
Start with the ceiling, then move on to the walls. Try Tony’s “cut and roll” technique: “Use a brush to ‘cut’ (i.e., paint) the corners and edges of a wall. Then use a paint roller on the walls and blend into the areas you ‘cut’ with the brush.” Two coats of paint is ideal. Then paint the trim using a satin or semi-gloss paint.

Step 6: Clean up.
Then enjoy “your masterpiece!” declares Tony. Feeling ambitious? Consider painting cabinets next. “Painting cabinets can seriously upgrade and update the vibe of a kitchen. It’s a lot of work but a huge payoff in terms of feeling like you have a whole new world to cook in.” Clear your calendar for next weekend!

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