Should I Paint Cabinets or Walls First? (Explained)

should i paint cabinets or walls first

When it comes to deciding whether you should paint cabinets or walls first, it’s better to paint the cabinets first. This allows you to see the finished look of the cabinets before choosing a color for the walls, resulting in a more cohesive and visually appealing kitchen design

But why is this the ideal approach, and how can it make a significant difference in the final outcome of your kitchen renovation?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dive deep into the reasoning behind this painting sequence. So, buckle up and get ready to transform your kitchen into a stunning, cohesive space that you’ll absolutely love.

Reasons for Painting Cabinets First

As a homeowner, you want your kitchen to look as inviting and appealing as possible. One of the most common questions during a kitchen makeover is whether to paint the cabinets or walls first. As a professional painter, I can assure you that painting cabinets first is a more effective approach. Here’s why:

Visual Impact

Kitchen cabinets make up a large portion of the room’s visual space. When you change the color of the cabinets, it can have a dramatic effect on the overall appearance of your kitchen. By painting the cabinets first, you create an instant transformation that can inspire your choice of wall color, ensuring a harmonious design.

Better Color Choices

Choosing the right color for your walls can be a daunting task. However, if you paint your cabinets first, you’ll have a better idea of how they will look in the finished room. This allows you to make informed decisions on wall color and select the perfect shade that complements your cabinets.

Benefits of Painting Walls After Cabinets

Now that we’ve established the importance of painting cabinets first, let’s explore the advantages of painting walls afterward.

Preventing Accidental Paint Drips

When you paint your walls after the cabinets, you minimize the risk of paint drips or splatters on your newly painted cabinets. This ensures a clean, professional finish and saves you the trouble of cleaning or repainting cabinets due to accidental paint damage.

Harmonious Design

By painting the walls after the cabinets, you can create a cohesive and harmonious color scheme in your kitchen. With the cabinets already painted, you can easily select a wall color that complements the cabinets and creates a visually appealing, unified look.

Sequence for Painting the Ceiling

Importance of Painting the Ceiling Before Cabinets and Walls

As a homeowner, you may also wonder when to paint the ceiling during a kitchen makeover. As a pro painter, I recommend painting the ceiling first, before tackling the cabinets and walls. This sequence ensures a clean, mess-free finish and allows for a seamless transition to other surfaces.

Minimizing the Risk of Paint Drips on Other Surfaces

By painting the ceiling first, you minimize the risk of paint drips falling onto your cabinets or walls. This way, you can maintain a professional appearance throughout the process, without worrying about paint splatters ruining your freshly painted surfaces.

Special Circumstances

When it comes to painting your kitchen, there may be some unique situations that require a different approach. Let’s discuss two such circumstances:

New Cabinet Installations

If you’re installing new cabinets, the painting sequence might change slightly. In this case, it’s essential to prep and prime the surfaces behind the cabinets before installation to ensure they are protected from moisture and odors. After the cabinets are installed, you can proceed with painting the walls, following the same principle of painting cabinets first for a cohesive design.

Refreshing Cabinets with the Same Color

When refreshing your cabinets with the same color, the painting sequence is less crucial. However, it’s still recommended to paint the cabinets first, followed by the walls. This approach ensures a consistent color and finish across all surfaces, helping you achieve a polished, professional look.


In conclusion, painting cabinets before walls is the ideal approach for a successful kitchen makeover. This sequence allows you to create a cohesive, visually appealing design that elevates the overall look and feel of your space. By following expert advice and incorporating real-life examples, you can feel confident in your decision to paint cabinets first, resulting in a beautiful, well-coordinated kitchen you’ll love for years to come.